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HRN Original Blog:
Across the Pond

Eleven Godolphin runners barred from racing‏

Opinion Poll 615 X 400
A dark day for Godolphin, a dark day for Sheikh Mohammed, an awkward situation for British horse racing to comprehend; Mahmood Al Zarooni is to attend a disciplinary hearing at the British Horse Racing authority after being being accused of significant levels of anabolic steroids were found in eleven routine tests of his horses.

As part of routine random tests of horses in training, a series of 45 horses were examined at Mahmood Al Zarooni's Moulton Paddocks Stables. Of the 45 tested, 11 tested positive for the prohibited substances of ethylestranol and stanozolol, most commonly known as anabolic steroids. 

Among the horses testing positive was the undefeated star Godolphin filly, Certify, who will now be barred from running in races for the foreseeable future until a decision has been made by the British Racing Authority to how long Certify, and her ten stable mates, must be suspended from racing for.

Certify, whom tested positive for the banned substance of ethylestranol, was among seven to test positive for this substance. The full list made up of Desert Blossom, Fair Hill, Ghostflower, Orkney Island, Sweet Rose and Valley of Queens.

The other four of Al Zarooni's positively tested horses, who showed to contain stanozolol, are headed by the 2012 Ascot Gold Cup-second, Opinion PollArtigiano, Restraint of Trade and Bathrat Amal.

As part of a statement from Godolphin released on Monday evening, Simon Crisford was available to comment on the disturbing news; "This is a dark day for Godolphin. We are all shocked by what has happened" said Crisford, "His Highness Shiekh Mohammed was absolutely appalled when he was told and this is completely unacceptable to him. We will await the outcome of the BHA inquiry before taking any further internal action.".

"Sheikh Mohammed has instructed me to begin an urgent review of all of our procedures and controls. This is already underway and we will take advice from the BHA in completing it".

Al Zarooni, who had been a revelation since introduced to the training world by Sheikh Mohammed and whom had won a British Classic just seven months ago with Enke in the St Leger, was regretful for his actions also releasing a statement on the Godolphin website.

"I deeply regret what has happened - I have made a catastrophic error" said Al Zarooni, "As the horses involved were not racing at the time, I did not realise that what I was doing was in the breach of the rules of racing. I can only apologise for the damage this will cause to Godolphin and to racing generally.".

The loss of Certify from the competitive English 1,000 Guineas, and the damage this may do to Godolphin is a sore blow for British horse racing as the flat racing season begins to hit top gear for it's 2013 renewal. The potential loss, if found guilty, of an exceptionally open, honest and talented trainer in Al Zarooni, is also a huge blow to both British and Arabian racing. 

 

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Older Comments about Eleven Godolphin runners barred from racing‏...

gary stevens is so bad he should of stayed retired he is BAD
gary stevens is so bad he should of stayed retired he is BAD
The Valhol/Billy Patin incident occurred in 1999. Patin was eventually fined and suspended for five years, until 2004. When did he go to prison for this offense? http://www.bloodhorse.com/horse-racing/articles/35499/quarter-horse-jockey-being-probed-for-possible-battery-possession
CFC. Good story and quite accurate here, but given the Sheikh's sponsorship of British and world racing, the BHA had to mete out a punishment quickly to the trainers a/k/a fall guys and let the Sheikh save face. Sadly, happens all the time. IMO the Sheikh's anger reminds me of the Line from Shakespeare: Me thinks he doth protest too much.
Valhol.
When you mention the Sheikh's anger, it reminds me of the story when the jockey dropped the "buzzer" after winning the Arkansas Derby. Don't remember the name of the horse(he did run in the Ky Derby while litigation was pending), but the jockey was Billy Patin. He went to prison, but the trainer and owner were exempt. They never knew. Right. $750K race, and they had no idea?
A penalty of 8 years suspension for Al Zarooni and 6 months suspension for the horses was handed down today.
Here's a thought, how about suspending the horses and permanently barring the trainer who gave them the drugs.
London Times has an interesting story in its latest edition that emphasizes the Sheikh's anger at his trainer and speaks about possibly putting his horses with other trainers, but also a concern in the industry that he might downsize his stable extensively that according to the story would" send shock waves through the entire racing industry." I am sure the BHA will enforce their rules to the letter, but there is clearly concern about the possible outcomes.
Was just reading some info over at the Royal Ascot site and they aren't playing with the doping, not one bit. The BHA will have pre-elective and elective testing done, resident horses as well as overseas horses may at anytime be tested during training, pre-race and post-racing.. A waiver will be signed by trainers and a form listing all past history medications will be manditory...let's see what the outcome is.
Patrick Biancone anyone?. Cuaght in Hong Kong drugging his horses and they booted his arse out. He goes to America and gets caught with Cobra Venom and his vet gets 5 years, and Biancone got a whopping 1 year which was shortened to 6 months....
American influenced I bet! lol The Sheikh has a history for using substance abuse previously. Why is he acting so shocked and disappointed.
By having such a streamlined legal procedure, the British racing authority can hand out severe penalties which are quickly enforced as compared to decisions here in the US. The same difference would probably still be here even if there was one board in the US handing out decisions instead of state boards that decide infractions now.
One has to wonder if connections at Ballydoyle/Coolmore are secretly smirking....
Article that summarizes the thoughts of most regarding Al Zarooni quite well - http://www.guardian.co.uk/sport/blog/2013/apr/23/godolphin-positive-steroids-sheik-mohammed
CFC. You raise valid points, but with the amount of sponsorship money for races by them, I think has more to with the level of points for the race. The Illinois Derby's problem is that Illinois racing without slots money is dig eat dog business which may change with expanded gambling, but Arlington wants to drive Hawthorne out of business and since Twin Spires is parent company of both CD and Arlington, I think this is why the Illinois Derby was slighted for political reasons.
With Churchill Downs giving so much emphasis to the UAE Derby, re: the Ky Derby point system, and that it seemed like some reward to Godolphin, because of their desire to win the Derby, I wonder if this might jeopardize the UAE Derby in the point system because of this revelation. Which would further add to the Illinois Derby exclusion. Why award the UAE Derby, which has not existed that long, and now seems to have a tainted background, and penalize the Illinois Derby, which has been in existence so much longer?
BIG surprise....these meds are routinely used to get skinny females to eat
I wonder if this will affect the next Dubai meet? One thing for sure it's going to be very strict upon testing horses.
Wherever there is money involved their will always be cheaters.Like Buckpasser said their are way too many outs through court appeals to get these multi-violators out of racing in a timely manner. Until the process is changed these cheaters will be allowed to remain training in the US with the usual slap on the wrist and they keep going about their buisness like nothing happened. This is totally unfair to all the guys who follow the rules and do it the right way.

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Meet Dan Munn

Dan Munn is the Chief International Correspondent for Horse Racing Nation, covering the premier races from Europe as well as introducing and updating our readers on the very best of African, Asian and Australasian thoroughbred competition.

Based in England, Dan became a regular contributor to Horse Racing Nation in 2012 and continues to bring us the most up to date news from Europe with some exclusive interviews and answers to the questions we all want to ask along the way.