Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid locks down UK stable at the heart of the steroid scandal and orders tests on every horse, as the trainer prepares for a British Horseracing Authority hearing.
Sheikh Mohammed demands clean Godolphin stable as Mahmoud Al Zarooni faces hearing
LONDON // The founder of Godolphin Racing on Wednesday shut down Mahmoud Al Zarooni’s Moulton Paddocks Stables and ordered a blood test on every horse in the Newmarket yard.
Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, Vice President of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, has forbidden any of Al Zarooni’s horses, numbering around 250, from racing until he is convinced they are free of prohibited substances.
Horses such as Steeler, who figured prominently in the minds of many for the English Derby, and Encke, last season’s English St Leger winner, will not be seen on a racecourse for the foreseeable future.
“I want a full round of blood samples, and dope testing done on every single horse on that premises,” Sheikh Mohammed said in a statement on the Godolphin website.
“I can assure the racing public that no horse will run from that yard this season until I have been absolutely assured by my team that the entire yard is completely clean.”
On Monday, the British Horseracing Authority (BHA) revealed that 11 horses under the care of Al Zarooni, the Godolphin trainer, had tested positive for anabolic steroids, the use of which are banned in Britain.
Yesterday, the BHA indicated Al Zarooni had revealed that four more horses in his charge also had been given banned substances, and within a few hours Sheikh Mohammed issued a 220-word statement outlining his course of action.
“I was appalled and angered to learn that one of our stables in Newmarket has violated Godolphin’s ethical standards and the rules of British racing,” he said, in part. “I have been involved in British horse racing for 30 years and have deep respect for its traditions and rules. I built [Dubai] based on the same solid principles. There can be no excuse for any deliberate violation.
“I have worked hard to ensure that Godolphin deserves its reputation for integrity and sportsmanship, and I have reiterated to all Godolphin employees that I will not tolerate this type of behaviour.”
Al Zarooni disclosed that the unraced juvenile quartet of Comitas, Sashiko, Vacationer and Tearless had been given one of two anabolic steroids. Comitas, Sashiko, Vacationer were administered ethylestranol, like seven of the original 11, while Tearless received stanozolol, like Opinion Poll, the 2012 Dubai Gold Cup winner, and three others.
None of the four were tested when the BHA went to visit Al Zarooni on April 9, when 45 horses in the stable were tested as part of the BHA’s “testing in training” programme.
The BHA made public Wednesday the full list of charges directed at Al Zarooni, who will be required to attend his hearing on Thursday.
The Emirati, who saddled the 2012 Dubai World Cup winner Monterosso, will not be charged for the four additional horses because no samples exist, but he must face charges of doping the original 11, all of whom remained in England during the Dubai World Cup Carnival.
Al Zarooni will also be charged with conduct prejudicial to the sport and for a failure to keep adequate medical records.
If found guilty of being responsible for horses receiving prohibited substances, Al Zarooni faces a ban at least equal to the year given in 2011 to Howard Johnson, a trainer who gave anabolic steroids to three horses.
The maximum punishment Al Zarooni might receive would be 10 years.
Al Zarooni has already admitted his culpability and stated, on the Godolphin website, that he had made a “catastrophic error” and “deeply regretted” what had happened.
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