"Foremost in the board's consideration was the need for absolute integrity and public confidence in racing," said ARB Chief Executive Peter McGauran. "Racing is a sport and, as such, must be a test of the ability of the individual horse, its trainer and rider and not of the pharmacologist, veterinarian or sports scientist."
The ban, covering all horses 6 months or older, takes effect May 1. Louis Romanet, chairman of the International Federation of Horse Racing Authorities, applauded the action, which the IFHRA has advocated for some time.
"I look forward to further discussion on this matter among all IFHRA member countries to further two key objectives of the IFHRA -- to coordinate and harmonize the rules of the member countries ... and to ensure the quality and fairness of racing in the interest of both the breeding and the public," said Romanet, former director general of France Galop, which regulates French horse racing.
Most racing jurisdictions limit use of steroids but the details and enforcement of those bans cover a wide range of variation.
Godolphin Racing, one of the international powerhouse ownership groups, was rocked earlier this year by a scandal involving use of steroids on out-of-training horses in one of its British stables.