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Friday 11, Oct 2013

  Lord Stevens Appointed To Investigate Equine Doping Revelations

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Lord Stevens Appointed To Investigate Equine Doping Revelations

The former Commissioner of the UK Metropolitan Police, Lord Stevens, will undertake an inquiry into the global racing and endurance operations of Sheikh Mohammed. This was after stables and a private jet owned by the ruler of Dubai were targeted this summer in drugs raids.

Lord Stevens said we will study events surrounding the seizures at Stansted and Moorley Farm, including the chain of custody for the medications in question and their intended purpose. This investigation will also be looking into organizational structures, internal communication, and veterinary practices throughout the equine operations of the Sheikh and will cover his Darley breeding empire and Godolphin stable in Newmarket.

Princess Haya of Jordan, the wife of Sheikh Mohammed, had already started an internal investigation into the seized veterinary banned drugs. Haya issued directives to staff setting out for auditing medical supplies, and requiring staff to uphold the good name of the Maktoum family at all times. Lord Stevens had already assisted Princess, in her role as president of the International Equestrian Federation (FEI), for establishing the clean sport initiatives that formed the central plank of her FEI election manifesto in 2006. Haya’s proposals have proved to be effective across a range of FEI equestrian sports but not so much in endurance racing where her husband is the major player. But the lines of accountability may become complex with Lord Stevens assigned the task of investigating alleged malpractices within the personal sporting entities of Sheikh Mohammed.

Many believe this investigation will serve no purpose as Princess Haya, the wife of Sheikh Mohammed, is the president of the International Equestrian Federation and the head of the investigation. Moreover, the five-man body set up by Princess Haya has members including Saaed Al Tayer, a senior employee of Sheikh Mohammed, and the endurance trainer of Sheikh, Jaume Punti Dachs, whose Newmarket yard was the subject of one of the drugs seizures, is a senior member of the endurance committee of the FEI. Lord Stevens claims that Sheikh Mohammed is adamant that any evidence of violations of law or regulation in any jurisdiction should be shared with the appropriate authorities. He said our primary focus is on preventing any future systemic failures and we will identify best practices and develop protocols and procedures to streamline and improve management and operations. Lord Stevens emphasized that all sporting concerns of Sheikh Mohammed, including the racing yards of Godolphin, will come in his remit. The British Horseracing Authority in the last few days has actively distanced thoroughbred racing from endurance racing.

Recently, Princess Haya of Jordan announced that she will not seek a third term as president of the FEI after opponents flagged up her alleged “conflict of interest” as wife of the ruler of Dubai. She added that we through thick and thin have achieved more than 80 per cent of all pledges laid down in my manifesto and program in an open, democratic, and transparent manner. The FEI president also said she suggested the two-year limit because it is essential to ensure fresh thinking and avoid a sense of entitlement within the leadership of an International Sport Federation.

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Monday 29, Apr 2013

  Godolphin Trainer Faces Horse Doping Inquiry

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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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