Gerard Butler: Trainer faces BHA Sungate inquiry in November

Trainer Gerard Butler will face an inquiry from 18 to 20 November after nine horses tested positive for a banned anabolic steroid in February.

Butler, 47, has admitted injecting horses with the Sungate product for injured joints, but said vets assured him the substance did not breach rules.

He faces seven charges brought by the British Horseracing Authority including conduct prejudicial to the sport.

Nine other trainers who used Sungate will not face any charges.

Steroids in racing timeline

  • 20 February 2013: British Horseracing Authority tests several horses at Gerard Butler's yard in Newmarket
  • 9 April : Tests are carried out at the Moulton Paddocks stable where Mahmood Al Zarooni is based
  • 21 April: BHA and Godolphin issue statements saying Al Zarooni admits using banned anabolic steroids on 11 racehorses
  • 25 April: Al Zarooni is banned for eight years
  • 29 April : Butler case comes to light
  • 7 June: Butler charged
  • 18-20 November: Butler disciplinary hearing

The BHA concluded those trainers, which it did not name, used the product on veterinary advice and should not be punished in the absence of positive tests.

Other charges faced by Butler include injecting the horses himself despite not being a qualified or registered veterinary surgeon, and failing to keep a record of treatments. He could face a penalty from a fine to a 10-year ban if found guilty.

The Irishman, whose big wins include the 1999 Eclipse Stakes at Sandown with Compton Admiral, said his medical records were approved by the BHA.

After a visit by inspectors in February, nine horses trained by him tested positive for the prohibited steroid stanozolol, contained in the Sungate treatment.

A wider investigation, separate to another inquiry which saw Godolphin trainer Mahmood Al Zarooni given an eight-year ban for doping horses, began after Butler suggested more than 100 horses in Newmarket  were treated with Sungate.

Investigators met with 38 trainers who were known to use the same veterinary practice, which legally imported Sungate under licence into the UK and recommended its use, despite anabolic steroids being banned in British racing.

The BHA says 43 horses from nine trainers were identified  as having been treated with the product by vets since early 2010.