Application of national rule on altrenogest clarified in Queensland

The Queensland Racing Integrity Commission (QRIC) has considered but denied a request to support a local Queensland rule permitting Steward’s discretion in certain circumstances where detectable levels of banned anabolic steroids are found in race day samples of the drug altrenogest.

Altrenogest can be used to manage the reproductive cycle of mares and fillies and is currently exempted for use in its pure form. 

However problems in the production process led to prohibited anabolic steroids such as trenbolone and trendione being detected as impurities in altrenogest. In October 2018 the Commission officially warned participants about the risks of using the drug on this basis. This warning was consistent with advice issued nationally.   

Racing Queensland recently asked the Commission to consider supporting the introduction of a local rule similar to that which operates in another state that would allow some discretion if the prohibited anabolic steroids were detected.

The national rule states that if a prohibited substance is detected in a race horse prior to or following the running of any race the horse must be disqualified and its detection constitutes a breach of the rules for the trainer or person in charge of the horse.

Racing Integrity Commissioner Ross Barnett said he has taken independent legal advice which has ruled out consideration of a supplementary local rule.

“The legal advice is clear that a local rule cannot override the application of the relevant national rule, so on the basis of that advice the introduction of a Queensland local rule is not practical and is not supported,” he said.

“We respect the right of other states to respond to this issue as they consider appropriate but our position has now been clarified.

“Settling the legal position has meant that we have not had to further consider other issues including the unintended, but clear, performance enhancement benefit to a treated animal that would occur pre-race as a result of the presence of the prohibited anabolic steroids. 

“It is that demonstrated performance enhancing benefit that sees these products on the banned list.  

“Stewards will now consider any outstanding prohibited substance matters and deal with each of them on their merits.”  


Media contact: Vincene Overs  0472 842 346