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 Poll, Artigiano, 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.