Sheikh Mohammed Locks Down Newmarket Stable
The head of Godolphin ordered one of his stables in Newmarket locked down and a full round of blood tests carried out on all his horses after one of his trainers was charged Wednesday, April 24 in a major doping scandal.
Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al Maktoum, who is also the ruler of Dubai, said he is "appalled and angered" that samples from 11 of his horses at the Moulton Paddocks stables were found to contain traces of anabolic steroids.
Trainer Mahmood Al Zarooni was charged with violating multiple rules related to banned substances, as well as failing to keep medication records and with conduct prejudicial to the sport. He will appear before a disciplinary panel of the British Horseracing Authority Thursday and could be stripped of his license.
The Godolphin operation has been scrutinized after routine checks by the BHA of 45 of Al Zarooni's horses on April 9. Seven tested positive for ethylestranol and four for stanozolol—the same steroid found in the urine of Canadian sprinter Ben Johnson in his positive test at the 1988 Olympics in Seoul.
Al Zarooni said Monday he deeply regretted making a "catastrophic error,"' saying the horses involved weren't racing at the time so he "did not realize that what I was doing was in breach of the rules of racing."
He has told investigating officers he administered four more horses with the prohibited substances, but they weren't tested when the BHA visited Moulton Paddocks.
"I have been involved in British horse racing for 30 years and have deep respect for its traditions and rules," Sheikh Mohammed said. "I built my country based on the same solid principles. There can be no excuse for any deliberate violation.
"Godolphin is fully cooperating with the British Horseracing Authority to get to the bottom of this matter and take any appropriate disciplinary action.'"
Sheikh Mohammed, who has owned a number of the world's greatest horses since establishing his operation in 1992, was banned from endurance racing for six months in 2009 after his horse, Tahhan, tested positive for doping at an event in Bahrain.
Al Zarooni was fined $3,000 in August of last year after urine samples taken from two of his horses were found to contain a banned substance.
Al Zarooni, a former stable groom, has trained some high-profile winners, notably Monterosso in the 2012 Dubai World Cup (UAE-I) since being employed by Godolphin in 2010. He also had surprise winners in two of Britain's classics: Blue Bunting in the One Thousand Guineas (Eng-I) in 2011 and Encke in the St. Leger (Eng-I) in 2012.
One of the horses that tested positive in the latest case is Certify, an unbeaten 3-year-old filly who would have been a leading contender for the One Thousand Guineas May 5 at Newmarket. Certify has been pulled from the race.
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