x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 19 January 2018

Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid orders horse racing investigation

Lord John Stevens is asked to head up internal inquiry that could last into next year, reports Geoffrey Riddle.

Former Commissioner of London’s Metropolitan Police Lord John Stevens will lead the investigation. Sang Tan / AP Photo
Former Commissioner of London’s Metropolitan Police Lord John Stevens will lead the investigation. Sang Tan / AP Photo

Meydan Racecourse and the international Godolphin operation are one of the many aspects of Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid’s racing interests to be investigated with the blessing of the Vice President of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai.

Lord John Stevens, the former head of the British Metropolitan Police, has been asked by Sheikh Mohammed to head up the investigation which could last well into 2014.

Princess Haya, Sheikh Mohammed’s wife, met Lord Stevens on Tuesday and the 70-year-old British peer will assemble a team of experts in order to ascertain whether the internal processes of these organisations are robust.

“I have been asked by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed to oversee an internal inquiry that will examine organisational structures, internal communication and veterinary practices at all of the major components of Sheikh Mohammed’s equestrian properties and operations, including Darley, Godolphin, Meydan and Janah, the equine flight company,” said Lord Stevens in a statement.

The inquiry has been set up in reaction to two raids by the Veterinary Medicines Directorate (VMD) in Britain.

The VMD seized unlicensed veterinary products from a private jet at Stansted airport in May, and then were involved last month in a raid on Moorley Farm East, an arm of Sheikh Mohammed’s Darley Stud operation in Newmarket where some of his endurance horses are housed.

“We will look into events surrounding the seizures at Stansted and Moorley Farm, including the chain of custody for the medications in question and their intended purpose,” Stevens added. “We will also look beyond those specific events for a wide-ranging assessment of veterinary procedures and practices to determine whether they are in support of horse welfare and in keeping with all applicable laws and regulations.

“Following my meeting with Princess Haya on Tuesday, I have begun assembling a team of experts for this task. At this early stage, it is difficult to predict when we will complete this project, but our work will undoubtedly extend into the new year.

“Sheikh Mohammed is adamant that any evidence of violations of law or regulation in any jurisdiction should be shared with the appropriate authorities. Our primary focus is on preventing any future systemic failures. We will identify best practices and develop protocols and procedures to streamline and improve management and operations.”

Elsewhere, Frankie Dettori will miss out on his 26th consecutive ride in the Prix de L’Arc De Triomphe on Sunday after breaking his ankle in a fall at Nottingham Racecourse. He will be replaced on Treve, due to be supplemented today, by Thierry Jarnet.