((HT: Sky Sports/CNN Winning Post))
One of the trainers for a storied middle eastern stable is in deep trouble after the British Horse Racing Authority has published that Mahmood al Zarooni has been found to have given 11 horses in the 45-horse Godolphin stable anabolic steroids- namely ethylestranol and stanozolol.
One of the horses who returned a positive sample was American-born Certify who was unbeaten in four starts.
The BHA tweeted: "Full details of the charges being brought against Mahmood Al Zarooni and the date for the hearing will be published tomorrow morning."
The Sky Sports article references an interview with a trainer who sees this action as more normality than anomaly within the stable:
Speaking to BBC Radio 5 Live, Lincolnshire-based trainer James Given, who is also a qualified vet, said: "The number of horses that tested positive shows that it wasn't what one might term an error with a single horse.
"It is, without doubt, a performance-enhancing drug. It's not just active while the drug is in the body - and certainly many of these drugs will persist in the body for several months - but it's the effect on the muscle development beyond its natural capacity."
Shaji Mathew of Bloomberg says the ruler of Dubai, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al-Maktoum, is "appalled" over the charges:
“Sheikh Mohammed was absolutely appalled when he was told and this is completely unacceptable to him,” Godolphin racing manager Simon Crisford said a statement on the stable’s website. “This is a dark day for Godolphin. We are all shocked by what has happened.”
Sheikh Mohammed is the world's largest owner of race horses...
al Zarooni admits to committing a "catastrophic error" and claims not to have known he was breaking the rules at the time. All affected horses are being shelved and can not race until further notice...
Here's an interview Winning Post had with the top two trainers at Godolphin, Saeed bin Suroor and al Zarooni, back in 2012...
THURSDAY UPDATE: al Zarooni has been banned from the sport for eight years and Godolphjon horses are not allowed to particpate in horse races for six months.
Part of the Paul Bittar (BHA Chief Executive) release says:
“The relevant Rules in this case are explicit in that the use of anabolic steroids in horses in the care of a licensed trainer is prohibited and that strict liability for everything administered to horses while they are in training lies with the trainer. The BHA’s investigation has established that the substances in question were administered on the instruction of Mahmood Al Zarooni. The full details of this will be formally addressed in the Disciplinary Panel’s findings, to be published in due course and once they are available.
“We believe that the 8 year disqualification issued to Mahmood Al Zarooni by the Disciplinary Panel, together with the six month racing restriction placed on the horses in question by the BHA, will serve to reassure the public, and the sport’s participants, that use of performance-enhancing substances in British Racing will not be tolerated and that the sport has in place a robust and effective anti-doping and medication control programme.
Here is the press conference announcing the penalties...