Mahmood Al Zarooni: disgraced trainer has lodged an appeal against banPICTURE: Edward Whitaker (racingpost.com/photos)
Al Zarooni appeals eight-year drug ban
MAHMOOD AL ZAROONI on Tuesday lodged an appeal with the BHA against the length of his eight-year ban for administering anabolic steroids to horses under his care.
The former Godolphin trainer received the ban at a disciplinary hearing at the BHA's London headquarters last month, having admitted using anabolic steroids on 15 horses in what was described as the biggest doping scandal in British racing history.
However, Al Zarooni revealed last week he had been advised to launch an appeal against the ban and sought advice on Facebook about whether to proceed.
A statement released by the BHA on Tuesday afternoon said: "The British Horseracing Authority can confirm that an appeal has today been lodged by Mahmood Al Zarooni.
"The disciplinary panel of the BHA held an inquiry on April 25, 2013 into the blood samples taken on April 9, 2013 from various horses at the training yard of Mahmood Al Zarooni to establish whether or not he was in breach of the Rules of Racing.
"The appeal is against the severity of the penalty of eight years disqualification imposed on Mr Al Zarooni by the disciplinary panel at the hearing."
A date has yet to be set for the appeal hearing, at which it is understood Al Zarooni will be represented by William Clegg QC.
Al Zarooni, who did not have legal representation at the original disciplinary hearing, admitted administering anabolic steroids to 15 horses including one-time ante-post 1,000 Guineas favourite Certify, at Godolphin's Moulton Paddocks Stables in Newmarket.
However, the trainer claimed he had made a "catastrophic error" as he had not been aware anabolic steroids were banned at all times in British racing. In other jurisdictions anabolic steroids are allowed under certain circumstances, such as in Dubai where racehorses are not allowed to race for 28 days after use.
In their findings, the disciplinary panel wrote they believed there to be "no excuse for Al Zarooni to be in any doubt as to the illegality of administering anabolic steroids" and that his claim of ignorance was "simply not truthful".
The panel noted that he had neither discussed the steroid regime with the stable's vet nor recorded injections in the stable's medication logbook.
The panel wrote that considering the gravity of the offence and the damage done to British racing's reputation the suspension should fall at the upper end of the permitted range of six months to ten years.
Godolphin owner Sheikh Mohammed, the ruler of Dubai, and racing manager Simon Crisford also heavily criticised Al Zarooni.
“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,” Sheikh Mohammed said in a statement released on April 24.
Simon Crisford, speaking at a press conference following the panel hearing, described Al Zarooni as "a reckless person who has shown no respect for racing".
However, Sheikh Mohammed declined to comment further when asked about the issue by Channel 4 Racing's Clare Balding following the 2,000 Guineas victory of Dawn Approach on Saturday.
Asked if he was "happy" with the way the BHA conducted their investigation, the Sheikh ended the interview with the response of: "That's up to them."