Newmarket: Godolphin trainer Mahmood Al Zarooni handed eight-year ban in horse racing doping scandal

Classic-winning Godolphin trainer Mahmood Al Zarooni has been handed an eight-year ban.

Classic-winning Godolphin trainer Mahmood Al Zarooni has been handed an eight-year ban. - Credit: PA

MAHMOOD Al Zarooni has been disqualified for eight years by the disciplinary panel of the British Horseracing Authority (BHA) after admitting administering anabolic steroids to horses in his care.

The Godolphin trainer said he had made a “catastrophic error” in using the banned drugs on a number of runners in his yard, including former Qipco 1000 Guineas favourite Certify.

Al Zarooni was called before the BHA at a hastily-arranged hearing on Thursday afternoon after 11 horses returned positive samples for ethylestranol and stanozolol following a random testing at his Newmarket yard earlier this month.

Further admissions were made by Al Zarooni to the BHA this week surrounding four other horses that had not been tested.

The case, widely regarded to be the most serious doping scandal in recent British racing history, has already caused Godolphin principal Sheikh Mohammed to lock down Al Zarooni’s stables, saying he was “appalled and angered” by events.

Al Zarooni, 37, was officially charged with rule breaches related to prohibited substances, duty to keep medication records and conduct prejudicial to racing.

Earlier in the day, the 15 horses were banned from running for six months from April 9.

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According to the official BHA Twitter account, a statement given on behalf of Mahmood Al Zarooni at the press briefing following today’s disciplinary panel hearing said: “I can only apologise and repeat what I said in my statement earlier in the week, I have made a catastrophic error.

“I accept that it was my responsibility to be aware of the rules regarding the use of prohibited substances in Britain.

“I would like to apologise to Sheikh Mohammed, as well as to all those involved with Godolphin and the public who follow British Racing.”