Racehorse trainer Howard Johnson faces a lengthy ban and fine after one of his horses was found to have been run after having its leg “de-nerved”.

The Co Durham-based trainer has been charged for running a horse that had undergone a palmer neurectomy and will appear at a British Horseracing Authority (BHA) hearing next month — provisionally scheduled for 10 February.

And in a separate investigation he has also been charged with administering anabolic steroids to three of his horses.

He faces fines of up to £3,000 and if he is found guilty of “wilful neglect” could be banned for up to 10 years.

During a claiming chase at Musselburgh on 7 February 2010 Striking Article, owned by Graham and Andrea Wylie, was pulled up with an injured tendon and subsequently put down.

A post mortem found the horse had undergone a neurectomy. This procedure severs the nervous connection in the lower leg and is banned in the sport on welfare grounds as it affects the horse’s ability to feel pain.

It is understood the horse underwent the operation in April 2008 and had run eight times since.

Mr Johnson has been charged under a rule regarding the “duties and skills” of a trainer. He could be banned for up to a year if he is found guilty of “neglect and poor husbandry”, but faces up to a 10-year ban if found guilty of “wilful neglect”.

He could also be banned for up to three years or receive a fine for adminstering an illegal substance (steroids) to Whisky Magic, Mintake Pass and Montoya’s Son — all also owned by the Wylies.