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Godolphin horses test positive for anabolic steroids

Certify, shown working last summer, was antepost favorite for the One Thousand Guineas (Courtesy of Godolphin via Twitter)
Godolphin trainer Mahmood Al Zarooni is to attend a British Horseracing Authority (BHA) disciplinary inquiry after serious irregularities were found in samples taken from horses in his care at Moulton Paddocks, Newmarket.

As part of the "testing in training" sampling program conducted by the BHA, on April 9 samples were obtained from 45 horses trained by Al Zarooni. Monday afternoon the BHA received written advice from the Horseracing Forensic Laboratory that upon analysis 11 of these samples had present in them the prohibited substances ethylestranol and stanozolol.

"Ethylestranol and stanozolol are anabolic steroids and therefore prohibited substances under British Rules of Racing, at any time -- either in training or racing. Mahmood Al Zarooni has been advised of the analysts' findings and has been visited by an Investigating Officer," said Adam Brickell, Director of Integrity, Legal and Risk for the BHA.

"A Disciplinary Panel inquiry into the analysts' findings will take place at the first available opportunity, confirmed details of which will follow when available," Brickell added. "The horses which have produced positive tests will also not be permitted to race with immediate effect and for an extended period of time. As part of the ongoing process a decision will be made as to what period this suspension will be imposed for.

"The BHA understand the importance of this process being carried out as quickly as possible because of implications for betting markets."

Among the horses tested for a prohibited substance was Group 1-winning filly Certify. The BHA has advised that, as a result, she will not be allowed to take part in the One Thousand Guineas at Newmarket next month.

Certify tested positive for ethylestranol, along with Desert Blossom, Fair Hill, Ghostflower, Orkney Island, Sweet Rose and Valley of Queens.

Artigiano, Opinion Poll, Bathrat Amal and Restraint of Trade all tested positive for stanozolol.

Al Zarooni has admitted that he was responsible for the administration of the prohibited substances.

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

"This is a dark day for Godolphin. We are all shocked by what has happened," Godolphin racing manager Simon Crisford said. "His Highness Sheikh 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. That is already underway and we will take advice from the BHA in completing it."

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