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Eleven racehorses trained by Godolphin’s Mahmood al Zarooni have tested positive for anabolic steroids in one of the biggest doping scandals to hit racing in Britain.

Samples were taken from 45 horses trained by al Zarooni at Moulton Paddocks Stables in Newmarket, run by Godolphin — Sheikh Mohammed’s British-based racing operation.

Al Zarooni has admitted that he was responsible for the administration of the banned substances and said it was a “catastrophic error”.

The samples were taken during a “testing in training” programme run by the British Horseracing Authority (BHA), on Tuesday 9 April.

Yesterday (Monday 22 April) it was announced that 11 samples were found with traces of anabolic steroids ethylestranol and stanozolol.

None of the 11 horses, which include the unbeaten filly Certify, will be able to run until further notice. This will mean Certify will miss next month’s 1000 Guineas at Newmarket.

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 to Godolphin and to racing generally.”

Certify, Desert Blossom, Fair Hill, Ghostflower, Orkney Island, Sweet Rose and Valley Of Queens all tested positive for ethylestranol, while samples from Opinion Poll, Artigiano, Bathrat Amal, Restraint Of Trade were found with traces of stanozolol.

“Ethylestranol and stanozolol are anabolic steroids and therefore prohibited substances under British Rules of Racing, at any time — either in training or racing,” said Adam Brickell, director of integrity, legal and risk for the BHA.  “The horses which have produced positive tests will also not be permitted to race with immediate effect and for an extended period of time.”

Mahmood al Zarooni — who trained 2011 1000 Guineas winner Blue Bunting and 2012 St Leger winner Encke — will attend a British Horseracing Authority (BHA) disciplinary inquiry.

Godolphin racing manager Simon Crisford said: “This is a dark day for Godolphin. We are all shocked by what has happened.

“His Highness Sheikh Mohammed was absolutely appalled when he was told and this is completely unacceptable to him. We will await the outcome of the BHA inquiry before taking any further internal action.

“Sheikh Mohammed has instructed me to begin an urgent review of all of our procedures and controls. That is already underway and we will take advice from the BHA in completing it.”