Godolphin Trainer Faces Horse Doping Inquiry

In one of the biggest doping scandals in British racing history, eleven horses from the Godolphin stable have tested positive for anabolic steroids.

Godolphin trainer Mahmood Al Zarooni will be attending an inquiry by the British Horseracing Authority after irregularities were discovered in 11 of 45 racehorses and the trainer has admitted making “a catastrophic mistake”. Though no date has yet been announced for the inquiry, Adam Brickell, director of integrity, legal and risk for the BHA, said the BHA understand the importance of this process being carried out as quickly as possible because of implications for betting markets.

Stable manager Simon Crisford remarked that this is a dark day for the Godolphin stable and everyone is shocked with what all has happened. The 11 horses that tested positive for anabolic steroids together won more than $2m (£1.31m) in prize money include unbeaten Certify, who will not be allowed to run in next month’s 1,000 Guineas at Newmarket. The substances detected were ethylestrenol and Stanozolol.

Adam Brickell, director of integrity, legal and risk for the British Horseracing Authority, said ethylestranol and stanozolol are anabolic steroids and therefore prohibited substances under British rules of racing, at any time – either in training or racing. The BHA confirmed that samples were obtained on April 9 this year from 45 horses trained by Al Zarooni at Moulton Paddocks Stables in Newmarket and that the Horseracing Forensic Laboratory had detected prohibited substances.

Godolphin is the private thoroughbred horseracing stable of the Maktoum family and is overseen by the constitutional monarch of Dubai, Sheikh Mohammed, who appointed Al Zarooni three years ago. Horses of the stable spend the winter in Dubai before transferring to the UK stables of Godolphin in Newmarket. A statement on the website of Godolphin said, Al Zarooni has admitted that he was responsible for the administration of the prohibited substances and the trainer remarked he didn’t realize that was he was doing was in breach of the rules of racing because the horses involved were not racing at that time. Zarooni added that he can only apologize for the damage the doping scandal will cause to Godolphin and to racing generally.

In 2011, Zarooni won his first British Classic in 2011 when Blue Bunting landed the 1,000 Guineas under Frankie Dettori at Newmarket and the filly went on to claim the Irish Oaks. Rewilding provided a victory at Royal Ascot and Monterosso won the world’s richest race, the Dubai World Cup, in March 2012. Zarooni enjoyed a second British Classic success when 25-1 shot Encke upset Camelot to win the St Leger at Doncaster in September 2012. Last year’s Royal Ascot Gold Cup runner-up Opinion Poll was one of four horses testing positive for Stanozolol.

Racing manager Crisford added His Highness Sheikh Mohammed was absolutely appalled when he was told and this is completely unacceptable to him and added that we will await the outcome of the BHA inquiry before taking any further internal action. He also added that Sheikh Mohammed has instructed him to begin an urgent review of all of our procedures and controls and that is already under way and we will take advice from the British Horseracing Authority in completing it.

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