Belfast Telegraph

Tuesday 16 September 2014

Al Zarooni may appeal ban

LONDON, ENGLAND - APRIL 25: Horse trainer Mahmood Al Zarooni arrives to face a British Horseracing Authority disciplinary panel in High Holborn on April 25, 2013 in London, England. Mr Al Zarooni is charged with doping offences by the BHA after traces of anabolic steroids were found in 11 horses at the Godophin stables of Sheik Mohammed at Moulton Paddocks in Newmarket. (Photo by Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)

Suspended trainer Mahmood Al Zarooni claims he has been “advised to appeal” against the eight-year suspension he received for administering anabolic steroids to 15 horses in his care.

 

The former Godolphin handler, 37, was officially charged with rule breaches related to prohibited substances, duty to keep medication records, and conduct prejudicial to racing.

The trainer admitted to all of the breaches of the rules and apologised for his actions at last Thursday's hearing at the British Horseracing Authority.

Although he waived the right of legal representation during the hearing, Al Zarooni wrote on his Facebook page yesterday: “I have been advised to appeal the case, what are your opinions?”

Al Zarooni was, according to the BHA, guilty of a “widespread systematic misuse of illegal substances”.

The BHA also confirmed the trainer, who was at the helm of Moulton Paddocks in Newmarket, had personally brought the drugs into the United Kingdom on a flight from Dubai, where horses in training can be given anabolic steroids and can race 28 days later.

His assertion he did not know that such administration was not permitted in the UK was considered “simply not truthful” by the BHA, who yesterday published its reasons for suspending Al Zarooni for eight years.

“The (disciplinary) panel takes a very dim view of the sheer volume of horses who were subjected to these unlawful medication regimes,” said a statement.

“This was a widespread systematic misuse of illegal substances which are absolutely prohibited under the rules.

“Nearly a quarter of the 45 horses tested at the stables had positive samples.

“These were horses in training, some of which were entered into races in April and May.

“The panel considered there was no excuse for Al Zarooni to be in any doubt as to the illegality of administering anabolic steroids.

“The BHA has publicised this issue.

“Al Zarooni's assertion at the hearing that he did not know that such administration was not permitted in the UK was simply not truthful.”

The case, widely regarded to be the most serious doping scandal in recent British racing history, led to Godolphin principal Sheikh Mohammed, who was “appalled and angered” by Al Zarooni's actions, locking down Moulton Paddocks.

The BHA said Al Zarooni had the resources at Moulton Paddocks to seek credible advice from the stable's vets, and that his “attempt at cheating” was only uncovered following a BHA-led ‘testing in training' visit to his yard on April 9.

“He asserted that he was only trying to do the best for his horses who were unwell,” said the BHA.

“He did not have a credible explanation as to why he had not discussed the matter with the stable's veterinary surgeons or entered a record of the administration of the drugs in the stable's medication books.

“The panel concluded that Al Zarooni sought to confer an unfair advantage on his horses by the underhand administration of illegal medication. His attempt at cheating was uncovered by the regulatory inspection.”

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