Newmarket-based trainer Gerard Butler will soon be charged by the British Horseracing Authority over his use of the drug Sungate, which contains the banned anabolic steroid stanozolol.
The trainer admitted to being subject to a BHA investigation concerning the joint treatment, which was developed by an Italian company and contains stanozolol. The BHA said that while it is legal to use the drug in Britain when it is imported under license, the active ingredient is a prohibited substance in racing.
Butler, who has trained group I winner Compton Admiral and in the U.S. has saddled successful horses like grade III winner Pachattack, said in an April newspaper interview that several horses in his stable were treated with Sungate for joint injuries after he received assurances from a veterinary practice that it was allowed. Confident the treatment was legal, Butler entered the Sungate administrations into his official medical records.
The BHA expects to bring charges against Butler while further investigating the use of Sungate.
"The BHA can confirm it is likely that charges will be brought against Gerard Butler within the next few days," the BHA said in a release. "Further to our update on May 17, the wider investigation into the use of Sungate in other yards continues.
"The BHA is currently gathering all relevant information in order to establish the extent of the use of the product, which has included interviews with several trainers. This information will determine how we will proceed with this investigation."
The Sungate investigation follows on the heels of the Godolphin Racing anabolic steroid scandal that saw former Godolphin trainer Mahmood Al Zarooni receive an eight-year suspension.
In an April statement, Butler estimated that Sungate had been administered to more than 100 horses by many England-based trainers.