Godolphin trainer Mahmood al Zarooni is to face a disciplinary hearing this afternoon (Thursday 25 April) in one of the biggest doping scandals to hit racing in Britain.
Eleven racehorses tested positive for anabolic steroids during the British Horseracing Authority’s (BHA) “testing in training” programme on his Moulton Paddocks yard in Newmarket on 9 April.
Al Zarooni faces multiple charges which could lead to him being banned from racing.
Godolphin owner Sheikh Mohammed yesterday said he was “appalled and angered” to learn that one of his stables in Newmarket had “violated Godolphin’s ethical standards and the rules of British racing”.
“I have been involved in British horse racing for 30 years and have deep respect for its traditions and rules. I built my country based on the same solid principles. There can be no excuse for any deliberate violation,” he said in a statement.
“I have ordered the Godolphin management to undertake an immediate review of our internal procedures and controls to ensure to prevent any reoccurrence of this type of activity in any stables of mine.”
The statement goes on to say that Moulton Paddocks stables will be “locked down” with immediate effect and that “every single horse on that premises” will be dope tested.
“No horse will run from that yard this season until I have been absolutely assured by my team that the entire yard is completely clean. I have worked hard to ensure that Godolphin deserves its reputation for integrity and sportsmanship, and I have reiterated to all Godolphin employees that I will not tolerate this type of behaviour.”
Forty-five horses were tested and 11 samples were found with traces of anabolic steroids ethylestranol and stanozolol, including unbeaten filly Certify, who was a leading contender for next month’s 1000 Guineas.
Al Zarooni has admitted that he was responsible for the administration of the banned substances and said it was a “catastrophic error”. He has since admitted that four more horses had been given steroids — but they weren’t tested by the BHA. He will face charges for breaches of the rules “related to medication records and conduct prejudicial to horseracing” for these.
“I deeply regret what has happened,” said al Zarooni. “Because the horses involved were not racing at the time, I did not realise that what I was doing was in breach of the rules of racing. I can only apologise for the damage this will cause toGodolphin and to racing generally.”