Newmarket: Stable owner speaks after doping scandal

Racing on the Rowley Mile at Newmarket

Racing on the Rowley Mile at Newmarket - Credit: Archant

THE owner of a west Suffolk stables at the centre of one of the biggest doping probes in racing history has spoken publically for the first time since the scandal broke.

It is nearly a fortnight since the British Horseracing Authority (BHA) launched an investigation into the administering of banned anabolic steroids to 15 horses at Sheikh Mohammed’s Godolphin stables in Moulton Paddocks.

Trainer Mahmood Al Zarooni, who has admitted charges of breaching rules related to prohibited substances, duty to keep medication records, and conduct prejudicial to racing, has been handed an eight-year ban.

On Saturday the Sheikh was at Newmarket’s Rowley Mile to watch his Irish-trained horse, Dawn Approach, win the 2,000 Guineas.

After finally agreeing to speak to Channel 4 presenter Clare Balding, he said: “I’m very, very happy to come and see a good horse winning the Guineas.”

Asked if he had been tempted to stay away, he replied: “I always face certain challenges. To me, it’s normal.”

But when questioned if he was “happy” with the actions of the BHA he broke off the interview and said “That’s up to them.”

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The Sheikh has not spoken publically about Zarooni but advisers have made clear that he is beside himself with fury. Zarooni was one of two trainers privately employed by Godolphin in the Newmarket area. A statement published by the BHA on April 26 described him as acting alone in his application of anabolic steroids, instructing a junior member of stable staff to inject 15 of the Sheikh’s horses with the contents of unmarked syringes.

Zarooni was caught after unannounced BHA tests on 45 horses on April 9.

Eleven were found to be positive for steroids and Zarooni admitted giving steroids to four others.

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