x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 21 July 2017

Former Goldolphin trainer Mahmoud Al Zarooni appeals severity of eight-year ban

The British Horseracing Authority handed Mahmoud Al Zarooni an eight-year disqualification on April 25 after 11 horses in the Emirati's care tested positive for steroids, writes Geoffrey Riddle.

Mahmoud Al Zarooni waited until the 11th hour to appeal the severity of his eight-year disqualification by the British Horseracing Authority. Luke MacGregor / Reuters
Mahmoud Al Zarooni waited until the 11th hour to appeal the severity of his eight-year disqualification by the British Horseracing Authority. Luke MacGregor / Reuters

LONDON// Whether it was an exercise in brinkmanship or not, Mahmoud Al Zarooni waited until the 11th hour to appeal the severity of his eight-year disqualification by the British Horseracing Authority.

Al Zarooni had until Monday to appeal the ban meted out on April 25, but since it was a bank holiday in England, he was given an extension until 5pm Tuesday, the first day the BHA headquarters was open after the weekend.

Speculation arose as to whether the disgraced Emirati trainer, formerly employed by Godolphin, would fight his ban. An hour before the deadline, the BHA confirmed the appeal.

Gavin Bacon, a commercial litigation lawyer, had been appointed for Al Zarooni's hearing, but the former trainer appeared at the BHA's offices only with Simon Crisford, Godolphin's racing manager.

Al Zarooni is taking no chances this time, however, and will be represented by William Clegg QC, of Russell-Cooke solicitors of London. Crucially, Clegg's expertise is as a counsel in matters that span jurisdictions, and he has previous form in collaborative cases involving solicitors based in Dubai.

No hearing date has been set.

Al Zarooni's move comes after he last week asked his Facebook followers whether he should appeal the ban of his license.

Al Zarooni was banned after 11 horses in his care tested positive for anabolic steroids.

He later admitted to the BHA that four more horses located at his Moulton Paddocks base had also received steroids, which are prohibited in England.

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