disqualified until 2021 by British Horseracing Authority
admitted administering anabolic steroids to 15 horses
Mahmood al-Zarooni, the trainer at the heart of
the Godolphin doping scandal, has been disqualified from racing for eight years
following a disciplinary hearing at the British Horseracing Authority's offices
in London on Thursday . The ban means that he will not be able to enter a
racecourse or training stable in any major racing country until April 2021.
Zarooni left the hearing without comment shortly after the result had
been announced. He had admitted administering anabolic steroids to a total of
15 horses at Moulton Paddocks, his stable just outside Newmarket, which he has
run since being hired by Sheikh Mohammed of Dubai, the world's most significant
racehorse owner, in March 2010.
The eight-year ban effectively ends Zarooni's career in racing, after
three seasons as one of the Godolphin operation's two principal trainers. In
that time, he won two British Classics, the 1,000 Guineas and the St Leger, and
had been expected to saddle Certify, one of the favourites for this year's
1,000 Guineas, at Newmarket on Sunday week. Certify was banned from racing by
the BHA following the discovery that she had been doped with steroids.
Zarooni's ban from the sport comes
less than a week after the BHA published the results of its "testing in
training" visit to the famous Moulton Paddocks stable.
investigators tested 45 of Zarooni's horses, finding 11 which returned positive
tests for either ethylestrenol or stanozolol, both banned anabolic steroids.
Zarooni subsequently admitted to the authority that four more horses had also
been administered with one of the two drugs.
Paul Bittar, the chief
executive of the BHA, said after the result of the hearing had been announced
that it had been "in the public interest, as well as that of the BHA and
Godolphin, to progress the disciplinary procedures as quickly as possible".
In a prepared statement, Bittar also acknowledged 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.
"We believe that the
eight-year disqualification issued to Mahmood al-Zarooni by the disciplinary
panel, together with the six-month racing restriction placed on the horses in
question by the BHA, will serve to reassure the public, and the sport's
participants, that use of performance-enhancing substances in British racing
will not be tolerated and that the sport has in place a robust and effective
anti-doping and medication control programme."
Godolphin's racing manager, read a statement on behalf of Zarooni following the
conclusion of the case. "First and foremost," the statement said: "I would like
to apologise to His Highness Sheikh Mohammed as well as all those involved at
Godolphin and the public which follows British racing.
"I accept that
it was my responsibility to know the rules regarding the use of prohibited
substances in Britain. I can only apologise and repeat what I said in my
statement earlier in the week. I have made a catastrophic error."All 15 horses
named in the case were banned from racing by the BHA when the details of the
case emerged on Monday. The length of time that they will be banned from
competition has been set at six months from the date on which the tests were
taken, and all 15 will be eligible to race from 9 October.
of the suspension reflects the period beyond which the BHA is confident that
the horses in question can have derived no performance-related benefit from the
administration of these prohibited substances," Jamie Stier, the BHA's director
of raceday operations and regulation, said on Thursday.