Godolphin trainer Mahmood Al Zarooni has been banned from racing for eight years by the disciplinary panel of the British Horseracing Authority, after 11 horses in his care tested positive for two banned anabolic steroids.
Reports indicate that Al Zarooni instructed an unknowing veterinary assistant to administer ethylestranol to seven horses and stanozolol to four others. Al Zarooni has also admitted to administering substances to an additional four horses, for a total of 15 affected. He has referred to this action a “catastrophic error” on his part.
British Horseracing Authority (BHA) chief executive Paul Bittar said in a statement: “The panel has determined that the drugs were administered on Al Zarooni’s instructions. This case has shown there is no place for performance-enhancing drugs in our sport and we have a robust testing system.
“We believe that it is recognised by all who follow our sport that the circumstances in this particular case are exceptional, not only on account of the profile of the owner in question, but also the number and calibre of the horses involved. However, we also believe the outcome is an endorsement for the effectiveness of British racing’s dope testing programme.”
To read the rest of Bittar’s statement, click here.
The seven horses who tested positive for ethylestranol were Desert Blossom, Certify, Fair Hill, Ghostflower, Orkney Island, Sweet Rose and Valley Of Queens. Artigiano, Bathrat Amal, Opinion Poll and Restraint Of Trade tested positive for stanozolol. Al Zarooni further admitted to giving substances to Comitas, Sashiko, Vacationer and Tearless, four horses who were not tested. The BHA has suspended each of these horses for a period of six months.
Following the disciplinary hearing, Godolphin’s racing manager, Simon Crisford, said, “I would like to apologize to Sheikh Mohammed, to all at Godolphin, and to fans of British racing.” He added that it was a “Terrible day for British racing and Godolphin. Zarooni was reckless and we are sorry as he was ours.”
Godolphin Racing is headed up by His Royal Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, prime minister and ruler of Dubai, and husband of Her Royal Highness Princess Haya, the president of the FEI. As a result of this bombshell, Sheikh Mohammed, has vowed that no horse from Al Zarooni’s Newmarket yard will race until blood tests prove they are clear of banned substances.
~ with files from The Paul Report and The Racing Post