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Friday 09, May 2014

  BHA Lambasted By Timeform Over Handling Of Godolphin Steroid Scandal

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BHA Lambasted By Timeform Over Handling Of Godolphin Steroid Scandal

Reputed publication company Timeform has severely criticized the British Horseracing Authority (BHA) over their handling of the Godolphin steroids scandal last year. These comments were made in the latest edition of Timeform’s Racehorses annual covering the 2013 Flat racing season.

It was argued by Timeform that it will take “years to repair” the damage caused by the Mahmood al-Zarooni case. The publication giant also urged the BHA for widening the scope of its drug testing and made call for it to seek greater control over veterinarians involved with racing stables. Timeform conclude that any sport that fails to police its doping problems with the utmost rigor pays a heavy price. Timeform added that some awkward, unanswered questions were left due to the speed by which the British Horseracing Authority dispatched the former Godolphin trainer in particular.

Timeform asked how long Zarooni, who was in charge at Moulton Paddocks since 2010, had been administering anabolic androgenic steroids to the horses in his care. It also asked how was the doping program funded and whether it was Zarooni who was responsible for doping of the seven horses, including St Leger winner Encke. The publication group also highlighted the fact that no charges have ever been brought in respect of that septet.

Timeform also pondered the question of how come the disgraced trainer managed to spend much of the period in question (involved in this case) in Dubai while being considered as “solely responsible” for the doping at his Moulton Paddocks Stables in Newmarket. Timeform pointed out that the BHA was strongly critical of ‘management failings’ at Godolphin but not being able to track down and interview Zarooni after the seven new cases came to light.

It was further stated by Timeform that Horsemen’s groups in North America do not grasp the importance for racing’s global image that international events such as the Breeders’ Cup should conform to a worldwide system which bans performance enhancing drugs. In the Racehorses of 2013 tome, the use of anti-bleeding drugs like Lasix that are permitted at the Breeders’ Cup also comes in for critical scrutiny. Timeform said perhaps the Breeders’ Cup organizers would have had more chance of realizing their ambition for a drug-free showpiece if more of those responsible for European-trained runners over the past 30 years had adopted André Fabre’s approach, instead of habitually injecting drugs that are banned in their own countries, in the belief that their horses will be at a disadvantage with the home-trained runners if they don’t.

Timeform contended only time will tell if the latest tinkering will strengthen Britain’s end-of-season domestic program. This comment was made in wake of the Future Champions’ Day, the meeting emphasizing on championship races for two-year-olds, being conducted 24 hours before Champions’ Day itself for creating a climax of two days to the campaign. Timeform also added that it does not reflect well on the architects of the revamped autumn program that a race like the Cornwallis Stakes will have had three different positions in the calendar and been run on two different courses in the space of five years.

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Thursday 02, May 2013

  Newmarket Trainers In A State Of Shock

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Newmarket Trainers In A State Of Shock

After Godolphin trainer Mahmood Al Zarooni was charged after tests found traces of anabolic steroids in 11 of his horses and subsequently banned, Newmarket trainers are in a state of shock.

While a few said they cannot get over how insane the whole thing is, others said the horses administered with steroids could have even won without them, while some believe a big stable like Godolphin should lead by example.

Michael Bell, one of Newmarket’s Derby-winning trainers, said the home-bred trainers are acutely aware of what drugs are legal and illegal and anyone who does it risks their license. Bell said one is putting his livelihood at stake if he uses illegal substances and so he would say it’s not an across-the-board problem and it appears to be one guy going off on his own, taking the law into his own hands. He also added by being tested, you get found out and there’s no escape.

John Berry, speaking at his yard in Newmarket’s Exeter Road, is not much confident about the existing system and said there are so many things about the affair that just defy belief but one of them is that he’s stupid enough to get caught pointing out that two horses of Zarooni tested positive for a painkiller last year and that therefore he would have known that he was odds-on to receive a spot-check at some point. The BHA investigation will continue with the testing of all horses at Moulton Paddocks, but Berry can see no point to that and said it won’t add to anyone’s knowledge of who’s had what, all it’ll do is tell us who’s got what in their system now. Berry also reports that the testers of the British Horseracing Authority (BHA) descend unannounced on “a handful” of stables each year, which he believes is enough of a deterrent for most people but he also feels such measures have a limited impact as larger stables use pre-training yards and so if [drugs] were in any horse’s system, the ones who would have them in their system wouldn’t be present at the time anyway.

He went on to add that even though anabolic steroids can pass through a horse’s system in a short time, the benefit derived from them may last for much longer and a horse may spend months in a pre-training yard, getting daily doses of steroids, and the British Horseracing Authority would be unable to prove it as such yards are unlicensed and their testers have no right to enter them since horses are only required to be in a licensed yard for a fortnight before racing. Berry also said that anabolic steroids cannot be relied upon to improve a horse’s ability as they would a human athlete and added that if you could get a horse so that he was that much bulkier than the others, he’d probably break down and if you could get his blood so much richer than the others, he’d start bleeding. He also said there are optimum levels for everything and if it’s been routine to use this in Zarooni’s stable, his results suggest they’re more of a hindrance than a help.

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