Godolphin trainer Mahmood Al Zarooni untruthful, claims BHA

Mahmood Al Zarooni

Banned Godolphin trainer Mahmood Al Zarooni was "not being truthful" when he said he did not know he was breaking rules on banned substances, according to the British Horseracing Authority.

The BHA has published its reasons for banning Al Zarooni for eight years over doping offences.

Eleven horses trained by Al Zarooni tested positive for anabolic steroids. He admitted doping another four.

"He had no justifiable excuse for his behaviour," said the report.

Tests found traces of banned anabolic steroids in 11 of Al Zarooni's 45 horses.

The 37-year-old admitted at a hearing last Thursday to doping four other horses at Godolphin's Moulton Paddock stables in Newmarket.

Godolphin is one of the world's leading racing operations, led by the ruler of Dubai, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum.

The BHA bans any use of anabolic steroids but the substances are permitted out of competition in countries including Dubai and Australia - a fact Al Zarooni used in his defence.

But the report 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.

"He did not have a credible explanation as to why he had not discussed the matter with the stable's veterinary surgeons or entered a record of the administration of the drugs in the stable's medication books.

"The panel concluded that Al Zarooni sought to confer an unfair advantage on his horses by the underhand administration of illegal medication."

Al Zarooni is a former stable groom who became one of Godolphin's two UK-based trainers in March 2010, operating out of the Moulton Paddocks stables in Newmarket.

He won his first British Classic in 2011 when Blue Bunting landed the 1,000 Guineas under Frankie Dettori at Newmarket. The filly went on to claim the Irish Oaks.

The report added: "The panel takes a very dim view of the sheer volume of horses who were subjected to these unlawful medication regimes.

"Nearly a quarter of the 45 horses tested at the stables had positive samples. These were horses in training, some of which were entered into races in April and May.

"This was a widespread systematic misuse of illegal substances. The panel consider that Al Zarooni's actions have damaged the reputation of British racing."

BHA veterinary advisor Dr Lynn Hillyer added that such drugs are usually undetectable a month after administration but the benefits can last longer.

At the hearing, Al Zarooni admitted that he brought the anabolic steroid to the UK in his luggage when returning from Dubai.

He added that he made up five unmarked syringes of the drug and passed them out of a car window at the Newmarket yard to an unqualified veterinary assistant to administer on five horses.

Those horses were suffering musculoskeletal problems and under veterinary care, and Al Zarooni said he thought the drug would help improve the horses' condition.

"There was no excuse for Al Zarooni to be in any doubt as to the illegality of administering anabolic steroids," added the report.

"The BHA has publicised this issue and following the case of Howard Johnson [who was banned] in 2011 the matter was given further prominence."