Newmarket: Disgraced trainer Mahmood Al Zarooni asks Facebook friends whether to appeal eight-year ban after steroid scandal

Godolphin trainer Mahmood Al Zarooni says he has been advised to appeal his eight-year ban, asking h

Godolphin trainer Mahmood Al Zarooni says he has been advised to appeal his eight-year ban, asking his Facebook friends for their advice. - Credit: PA

SUSPENDED Newmarket trainer Mahmood Al Zarooni has asked his Facebook friends whether to appeal the eight-year ban he received for administering anabolic steroids to 15 horses in his care after claiming he has been “advised to appeal” the suspension.

The former Godolphin handler, 37, was officially charged with rule breaches related to prohibited substances, duty to keep medication records, and conduct prejudicial to racing.

The trainer admitted to all of the breaches of the rules and apologised for his actions at last Thursday’s hearing at the British Horseracing Authority.

Although he also waived the right of legal representation during the hearing, Al Zarooni wrote on his personal Facebook page on Tuesday: “I have been advised to appeal the case, what are your opinions?”

Al Zarooni was, according to the BHA, guilty of a “widespread systematic misuse of illegal substances”.

The BHA also confirmed the trainer, who was at the helm of Moulton Paddocks in Newmarket, had personally brought the drugs into the United Kingdom on a flight from Dubai, where horses in training can be given anabolic steroids and can race 28 days later.

His assertion he did not know that such administration was not permitted in the United Kingdom was considered “simply not truthful” by the BHA, who on Tuesday afternoon published its reasons for suspending Al Zarooni for eight years.

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“The (disciplinary) panel takes a very dim view of the sheer volume of horses who were subjected to these unlawful medication regimes,” said a statement.

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

“Nearly a quarter of the 45 horses tested at the stables had positive samples.

“These were horses in training, some of which were entered into races in April and May.

“The panel considered there was no excuse for Al Zarooni to be in any doubt as to the illegality of administering anabolic steroids.

“The BHA has publicised this issue and following the case of Howard Johnson in 2011 (who was suspended one year for using steroids on two horses), the matter was given further prominence.

“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 case, widely regarded to be the most serious doping scandal in recent British racing history, led to Godolphin principal Sheikh Mohammed, who was “appalled and angered” by Al Zarooni’s actions, locking down Moulton Paddocks.

The BHA said Al Zarooni had the resources at Moulton Paddocks to seek credible advice from the stable’s vets, and that his “attempt at cheating” was only uncovered following a BHA-led ‘testing in training’ visit to his yard on April 9.

“He asserted that he was only trying to do the best for his horses who were unwell,” said the BHA.

“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.

“He had access to expert veterinary advice from a number of sources but he deliberately ignored this resource and chose to covertly administer to horses in training anabolic steroids which he had brought back into the UK in his luggage from Dubai.

“There was no reason for Al Zarooni’s failure to inform the veterinary surgeons of this treatment intervention unless, as in this case, the substance that was being administered was prohibited.

“The panel is firmly of the view that this was not an accidental or inadvertent misunderstanding of the rules - this was a deliberate flouting of the governance framework of British racing by one of the most high-profile Flat trainers working in the racing industry.”