The British Horseracing Authority (BHA) today explained the reasoning behind its verdict to ban Mahmood Al Zarooni for eight years, stating the former Godolphin trainer to be guilty of a widespread systematic misuse of illegal substances. The conditioner received the authority’s sanction last Thursday after admitting to administering anabolic steroids to 15 horses in his care. The BHA confirmed he had personally brought the drugs into the United Kingdom on a flight from Dubai, where horses in training can be given anabolic steroids and race 28 days later. British racing’s administrator released a statement Tuesday which read, “The disciplinary panel takes a very dim view of the sheer volume of horses who were subjected to these unlawful medication regimes. This was a widespread systematic misuse of illegal substances which are absolutely prohibited under the rules. 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. The panel considered there was no excuse for Al Zarooni to be in any doubt as to the illegality of administering anabolic steroids. The BHA has publicised this issue and following the case of [former trainer] Howard Johnson in 2011, the matter was given further prominence. Al Zarooni’s assertion that he did not know such administration was not permitted in the UK was simply not truthful. He asserted that he was only trying to do the best for his horses who were unwell. 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 Al Zarooni sought to confer an unfair advantage by the underhand administration of illegal medication. He had access to expert veterinary advice from a number of sources, but he deliberately ignored this resource and chose to covertly administer to horses in training anabolic steroids he had brought into the UK in his luggage from Dubai. The panel is firmly of the view that this was not an accidental or inadvertent misunderstanding of the rules--this was a deliberate flouting of the governance framework of British racing by one of the most high-profile Flat trainers working in the racing industry.”
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