Trainer who doped leading horses banned for eight years

Racehorse trainer banned for 8 years
Racehorse trainer banned for 8 years


    Racehorse trainer banned for 8 years


Racehorse trainer banned for 8 years 02:14

Story highlights

  • Leading horse racing trainer Mahmood Al Zarooni receives eight-year ban
  • Al Zarooni had admitted to administering anabolic steroids to 15 top thoroughbreds
  • Horses in question also suspended from running for six months
  • Punishments handed down by British Horseracing Authority in London

The trainer at the center of a doping scandal that stunned the world of horse racing was banned for eight years Thursday by the governing body of the sport of Britain.

Mahmood Al Zarooni, who worked at the world famous Godolphin operation in Newmarket, was handed the punishment by a disciplinary panel of the British Horseracing Authority (BHA), sitting in London.

The 37-year-old admitted a "catastrophic error" in administering prohibited anabolic steroids -- ethylestranol and stanozolol -- to 15 leading thoroughbreds.

Eleven of the horses tested positive when a doping control team from the BHA visited Godolphin's Moulton Paddocks Stables on April 9. Al Zarooni volunteered information about the other four.

All 15 horses, including the former 1,000 Guineas favorite Certify, were banned from racing for six months earlier Thursday by the BHA.

Dubai World Cup wrap
Dubai World Cup wrap


    Dubai World Cup wrap


Dubai World Cup wrap 02:57
Godolphin trainers in Dubai
Godolphin trainers in Dubai


    Godolphin trainers in Dubai


Godolphin trainers in Dubai 02:56

Zero tolerance

"We believe that the eight-year disqualification issued to Mahmood Al Zarooni, together with the six-month racing restriction placed on the horses in question by the BHA, will serve to reassure the public, and the sport's participants, that use of performance-enhancing substances in British racing will not be tolerated," said BHA chief executive Paul Bittar.

Godolphin, one of the world's most successful stables, is owned by Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, the ruler of Dubai.

Read: Godolphin trainer charged over failed doping tests

He issued a statement Wednesday admitting he was "appalled and angered" by the revelations of doping in his racing empire and had ordered the lockdown of his British operation.

"I can assure the racing public that no horse will run from that yard this season until I have been absolutely assured by my team that the entire yard is completely clean," he said.

Prompt action

Bittar acknowledged this prompt action: "The next objective for BHA is to take the necessary steps to ensure that overall confidence in the integrity of the sport is not at risk.

"We welcome the proactive response of Godolphin and Sheikh Mohammed in announcing their intention to review the procedures of this stable and the need to ensure that all horses formerly trained by Mahmood Al Zarooni are tested and cleared before they race again."

Doping scandal rocks UK horse racing
Doping scandal rocks UK horse racing


    Doping scandal rocks UK horse racing


Doping scandal rocks UK horse racing 01:04

Al Zarooni, who has trained a string of big race winners since joining Godolphin in March 2010, was charged with rule breaches related to prohibited substances, duty to keep medication records, and conduct prejudicial to racing.

After the hearing, he gave his reaction in a statement: "First and foremost, I would like to apologize to his Highness, Sheikh Mohammed, as well as all those involved in Godolphin and the public.

Trainer apology

"I accept it was my responsibility to be aware of the rules regarding prohibited substances in Britain. I can only apologize. I have made a catastrophic error."

Simon Crisford, Godolphin's racing manager, who accompanied Al Zarooni to the hearing, expressed his thoughts to gathered reporters.

"Mr Al Zarooni acted with awful recklessness and caused tremendous damage, not only to Godolphin and British racing," he said.

"I think it will take a very long time for Godolphin to regain the trust of the British public. We're shocked and completely outraged by the actions he has taken."

Bittar said the case had highlighted "inconsistencies" about what substances are permitted to be used in the training of horses in different parts of the world.

The use of anabolic horses is permitted for out-of-competition use in Australian racing, such as helping to overcome injuries.

"While around the world, horseracing bodies quite rightly adopt a zero tolerance policy to the presence of anabolic steroids when carrying out post-race testing, the approach is not so consistent for horses in training.

"In an age of increasing international travel and competition we will put the subject on the agenda for discussion with our international colleagues," Bittar added.

      Sports spotlight

    • AG2R pair Peraud and Romain Bardet (right) thrilled the French fans with their performances on the 2014 Tour de France.

      When will French win Le Tour?

      Whisper it quietly, but after years of foreign domination the prospect of a French winner of the Tour de France is more than just a mere pipe dream.
    • Steve Way leads the in the Commonwealth Games marathon with the favorites massing behind him.

      From 20-a-day man to 26.2 miles

      Seven years ago Steve Way was a 20 per day smoker and weighed a hefty 104 kg, but he led the marathon at the 2014 Commonwealth Games.
    • The queen of the selfies

      After just one day of competition, a new sport has emerged at the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow: snapping selfies with the Queen.
    • Joanna Rowsell is flanked by Australian duo Annette Edmonson and Amy Cure (right) after the medal presentation for the women's individual pursuit.

      Rowsell stands proud again

      Inspirational cyclist Joanna Rowsell added another gold to her growing collection in the individual pursuit at the Commonwealth Games.
    • GLASGOW, SCOTLAND - JULY 23: John Barrowman performs during the Opening Ceremony for the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games at Celtic Park on July 23, 2014 in Glasgow, Scotland. (Photo by Ian Walton/Getty Images)

      Gay kiss steals Glasgow show

      At the opening ceremony of the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, an actor upstaged the Queen by kissing a male dancer.
    • Daniel Carter of the All Blacks in action during the Third Test Match between the New Zealand All Blacks and France at Yarrow Stadium on June 22, 2013 in New Plymouth, New Zealand. (Photo by Anthony Au-Yeung/Getty Images

      Can the All Blacks make history?

      The All Blacks and their fans are focused on one thing, says Dan Carter: becoming the first rugby nation to win back-to-back World Cups.

      Three days with 'The Greatest'

      Photographer Danny Lyon spent three days with Muhammad Ali in 1972 and shares his best photos and memories of the champ.
    • SOCHI, RUSSIA - FEBRUARY 23:  Sidney Crosby #87 of Canada celebrates after scoring his team's second goal in the second period during the Men's Ice Hockey Gold Medal match against Sweden on Day 16 of the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics at Bolshoy Ice Dome on February 23, 2014 in Sochi, Russia.  (Photo by Martin Rose/Getty Images)

      Can ice hockey go global?

      With a growing audience boosted by the drama of ice hockey on show in Sochi at the Winter Olympics, can the sport capitalize on its popularity?
    • The first cover star of Sports Illustrated's swimsuit issue, Babette March

      Swimsuit legacy: First cover model

      Her paintings may sell for thousands of dollars, but she is best known for a modeling shot 50 years ago that helped launch a business empire.