Belfast Telegraph

Wednesday 3 September 2014

Godolphin on right track, vows Sheikh

Sheikh Mohammed has vowed his Godolphin operation will go from "strength to strength" after ordering a decree banning the use of anabolic steroids in Dubai.

Sheikh Mohammed, the ruler of Dubai, has moved to prohibit the use of the performance-enhancing drugs following the British Horseracing Authority's decision to ban former Godolphin trainer Mahmood Al Zarooni for eight years after he admitted administering the substances to several horses in his care.

Anabolic steroids were allowed to be used on horses not in training in Dubai but from now on anyone found using, selling or buying performance-enhancing drugs in the United Arab Emirates for equine purposes will be breaking the new law.

"I have always believed in the integrity of horse racing and all other horse sports," said Sheikh Mohammed.

"I have, in light of the unfortunate recent event, directed that a decree be issued making, with immediate effect, the import, sale, purchase or use of anabolic steroids in horse sports a criminal offence under the UAE penal laws.

"Regrettably, one of my stables in Europe has recently fallen below the standards that I expect and will tolerate.

"As soon as the internal investigations are complete and the requisite pre-emptory rules are put in place, Godolphin will go from strength to strength and lead, once again, adherence to the highest standards in that gracious sport."

• Eddie Ahern will have the full support of the Professional Jockeys' Association as he launches his appeal against the 10-year ban handed out to him by the British Horseracing Authority.

Ahern's career was effectively ended after he was found guilty of conspiring to commit a corrupt or fraudulent practice along with former footballer Neil Clement at a disciplinary hearing on Wednesday.

However, while his appeal is ongoing, PJA chief executive Paul Struthers confirmed the organisation will continue to support the rider.

"The PJA agrees that corrupt conduct cannot be tolerated within a sport where integrity is absolutely vital," said Struthers.

"Given robust evidence, lengthy bans are the only option for those who have committed the most serious offences under the Rules of Racing. However, Eddie Ahern is adamant that he is not guilty of the corrupt charges found against him and plans to appeal.

"We are supportive of this position given the concerns over the judgement and written reasons of the Disciplinary Panel.

"It is the PJA's role to support its members prior to and leading up to any disciplinary proceedings, and to provide any subsequent advice and non-financial support that is required following the conclusion to those proceedings."

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