BHA Officials To Begin Strict Testing At Moulton Paddocks

Officials from the British Horseracing Authority (BHA) are set to start strict testing at former trainer Mahmood Al Zarooni‘s yard.

Following a BHA hearing, Al Zarooni was banned for eight years after he admitted to administering anabolic steroids to 15 horses under his care at the Godolphin-owned stables in Newmarket. While eleven horses tested positive for banned substances following random checks on April 9, Al Zarooni admitted to giving the drugs to a further four horses. Each of those runners is now subject to a ban of six months from running.

Godolphin is run by the ruler of Dubai, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum. One of the banned horses is Certify, the former 1,000 Guineas favorite, who will be clear to race again on 9 October 2013, as will the other 14 suspended thoroughbreds.

The BHA is due to start testing and chief executive Paul Bittar and Godolphin are currently tackling the issue of who will oversee the training of horses at the yard. Bittar said the BHA team is working with Godolphin to find an immediate solution to the issue and remarked this is done to ensure that the stable remains licensed, although there won’t be a licensed trainer and remarked there are two assistant trainers but neither of them is fully licensed. It’s likely that Godolphin’s other trainer Saeed Bin Suroor will have oversight for a lot of the horses or Godolphin may choose to decide that Moulton Paddocks will not be used at all during the course of the British summer. The BHA chief executive added Godolphin and Sheikh Mohammed have given us a commitment that they will cooperate fully with all of our requirements in terms of investigations and the BHA team will be at Al Zarooni’s stable to scan all the horses and do an inventory.

Bittar said he hoped the bans for Al Zarooni and the doped horses 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 added we welcome the proactive response of Godolphin and Sheikh Mohammed in announcing their intention to review the procedures of this stable and the need to ensure that all horses formerly trained by Mahmood Al Zarooni are tested and cleared before they race again. He also added that the BHA will itself consider the wider issues that are raised by this matter and we will seek to ascertain and collate all other relevant information including, where necessary, interviewing other employees or contractors of Godolphin.

Meanwhile, Godolphin founder Sheikh Mohammed has been vocal in his condemnation of the doping incident and locked down the Moulton Paddocks yard until full testing of every horse is undertaken.

In another development, Godolphin’s racing manager Simon Crisford said Al Zarooni acted with recklessness and caused tremendous damage to Godolphin and British racing and he thinks it will take a very long time for Godolphin to regain the trust of the British public and said we’re shocked and completely outraged by the actions he has taken.

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