Disgraced trainer abandons appeal against steroids ban

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Mahmood Al Zarooni
Mahmood Al Zarooni

Disgraced trainer Mahmood Al Zarooni has decided against appealing his eight-year ban for giving anabolic steroids to 15 horses he trained under the Godolphin racing empire in Britain owned by Dubai’s ruler Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum.

Al Zarooni received the ban after a British Horseracing Authority Disciplinary Panel hearing in which he admitted to the offending, which he described as a catastrophic error.

Al Zarooni represented himself at the hearing, which resulted after random testing carried out by the authority found the steroids ethylestranol and stanozolol in 11 racehorses. Al Zarooni admitted at the hearing that he had administered steroids to four further horses that were not part of the testing program.

Al Zarooni surprisingly announced his decision to appeal the length of the ban and engaged barrister William Clegg, QC, to represent him.

However, testing conducted by the authority since then found another seven horses that Al Zarooni had doped, bringing the total to 22.

The authority received an email from Al Zarooni’s lawyer’s office last week stating that the appeal was being abandoned.

The authority has yet to decide whether it will take further action against Al Zarooni over the seven additional positive tests.

Al Zarooni had explained to the disciplinary panel that steroid use was permitted in horses in Dubai when not racing and had wrongly assumed out-of-racing use was acceptable in Britain..

The panel, comprising Matthew Lohn, Hopper Cavendish and Edward Dorrell, rejected the explanation.

“The panel considered there was no excuse for Al Zarooni to be in any doubt as to the illegality of administering anabolic steroids. The British Horseracing Authority has publicised this issue and, following the case of Howard Johnson in 2011, the matter was given further prominence,” it said.

“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.”

Sheikh Mohammed voiced his anger over Al Zarooni’s breaches and has since criminalised any use of anabolic steroids in Dubai’s racehorses.

 

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