An angry Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum has ordered a lockdown of the Newmarket stables operated by Mahmood Al Zarooni while drug tests are undertaken on all horses in the trainer’s care.
The sheikh’s Godolphin racing operation was rocked this week by news that 11 horses under Al Zarooni had tested positive to banned anabolic steroids.
Al Zarooni said: “I deeply regret what has happened. I have made a catastrophic error. Because the horses involved were not racing at the time, I did not realise that what I was doing was in breach of the rules of racing. I can only apologise for the damage this will cause to Godolphin and to racing generally.”
Sheikh Mohammed, the ruler of Dubai and the husband of FEI president Princess Haya, has voiced his anger over the positive drug tests, which will result in Al Zarooni appearing before a British Horseracing Authority disciplinary hearing.
“I was appalled and angered to learn that one of our stables in Newmarket has violated Godolphin’s ethical standards and the rules of British racing,” the sheikh said.
“I have been involved in British horse racing for 30 years and have deep respect for its traditions and rules.
“I built my country based on the same solid principles. There can be no excuse for any deliberate violation.
“Godolphin is fully co-operating with the British Horseracing Authority to get to the bottom of this matter and take any appropriate disciplinary action.
“I have ordered the Godolphin management to undertake an immediate review of our internal procedures and controls to ensure to prevent any reoccurrence of this type of activity in any stables of mine.
“We will be locking down the Moulton Paddocks stables with immediate effect, and I have instructed that I want a full round of blood samples, and dope testing done on every single horse on that premises.
“I can assure the racing public that no horse will run from that yard this season until I have been absolutely assured by my team that the entire yard is completely clean.
“I have worked hard to ensure that Godolphin deserves its reputation for integrity and sportsmanship, and I have reiterated to all Godolphin employees that I will not tolerate this type of behaviour.”