x Abu Dhabi, UAE Friday 21 July 2017

Mahmoud Al Zarooni asks Facebook friends whether he should appeal ban

British Horseracing Authority says the former Godolphin trainer guilty of 'deliberate flouting' of doping laws.

Trainer Mahmoud Al Zarooni was banned for eight years for doping racehorses. Luke MacGregor / Reuters
Trainer Mahmoud Al Zarooni was banned for eight years for doping racehorses. Luke MacGregor / Reuters

LONDON // In a sensational twist to the Mahmoud Al Zarooni doping saga late last night the former Godolphin trainer appeared to question whether to appeal the eight-year ban handed out to him by the British Horseracing Authority (BHA) last week.

At around 9pm UAE time, Al Zarooni wrote on his personal Facebook page: “Hello everybody. I have been advised to appeal the case, what are your opinions?”

Last week Al Zarooni was disqualified for overseeing the administration of anabolic steroids to 15 horses in his care.

He initially was to be represented by Gavin Bacon, a litigation lawyer who had previously worked in Abu Dhabi, but on Thursday he arrived at the hearing only with Simon Crisford, Godolphin’s racing manager, for company.

It is unclear where Al Zarooni obtained the legal advice that drove him to write the post, which had attracted 132 comments, and 92 likes, at the time of writing.

Al Zarooni’s move came on a day when the BHA revealed the full extent of his actions in what amounted to an eight-page document.

The BHA laid bare how the former Godolphin trainer brought the anabolic steroids from Dubai to England in his luggage just a two weeks before the Dubai World Cup last month.

The 37-year-old Emirati hid a bottle of Stanasol in his luggage and having arrived in Newmarket he proceeded to fill five unmarked syringes with 4ml of the drug, which contains stanozolol, the steroid.

He then drove to Moulton Paddocks, the Godolphin stables which subsequently has been shut down, and passed the syringes out of his car window to Sharif Mahboob, an unsuspecting veterinary assistant who, on instructions given to him by Al Zarooni on a piece of paper, administered five horses with the drug.

The ten other horses at the centre of the doping scandal were given Nitrotain, a paste that contains ethylstranol, also an anabolic steroid.

Al Zarooni instructed two, as yet unnamed, foremen to mix the paste in with the horses’ feed.

To complete the cloak-and-dagger nature of his operation, Al Zarooni did not write down the administration of those drugs in to each horse’s medication book, which strictly contravenes the rules of racing in Britain, also.

In a series of interviews with the BHA, Al Zarooni maintained that he did not know that anabolic steroids were against regulations in Britain, stating more than once that their use was permissible in Dubai.

The argument made little impact with the BHA last week, and they fully reinforced their position.

“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 BHA report said.

“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 and he had no justifiable excuse for his behaviour.

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

The report also highlighted that HFL Sport Science, the laboratory responsible for the testing, revealed their findings within a week of samples being sent to them.

With the BHA testing team already in place in Moulton Paddocks to test the 155 remaining horses that were formerly under Al Zarooni’s care there, we should have further findings by the start of next week.

sports@thenational.ae

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