Sheikh Mohammed: "I will not tolerate this type of behaviour"PICTURE: Edward Whitaker (racingpost.com/photos)
Sheikh Mohammed locks down Al Zarooni stable
SHEIKH MOHAMMED has announced he is to lock down the Newmarket stable occupied by Mahmood Al Zarooni with immediate effect in the wake of revelations at least 15 of the horses based at the yard were administered anabolic steroids.
He has also demanded a full round of blood samples and dope testing is done on every single horse in the yard - which includes last year's St Leger winner Encke - in a bid to try and restore public faith in the Godolphin operation.
In a statement released on the Godolphin website, just hours after it was announced Mahmood Al Zarooni would face a BHA disciplinary hearing in London on Thursday to determine the exact length of his ban from the sport, Sheikh Mohammed issued the following statement:
"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. I have been involved in British horse racing for 30 years and have deep respect for its traditions and rules.
Certify: one of 11 horses to test positive for anabolic steroidsPICTURE: Getty Images
"I built my country based on the same solid principles. There can be no excuse for any deliberate violation. Godolphin is fully cooperating 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."
With the yard locked down until further notice a number of prominent Godolphin runners will be out of action indefinitely. They include Encke, Steeler, Now Spun, Masterstroke and Music Chart.
Al Zarooni, who admitted making "a catastrophic error", will be represented by Gavin Bacon in his hearing which is due to start at 2.30pm on Thursday.
Having also admitted to BHA investigators that he administered steroids to four other horses - Comitas, Sashiko, Vacationer (all ethylestranol) and Tearless (stanozolol) - he will face four additional charges "for breaches of the rules related to medication records and conduct prejudicial to horseracing related to these horses".
The multiple charges of breaching the rules of racing have punishments ranging from fines to a ten-year disqualification.
Former trainer Howard Johnson received a one-year ban in 2011 for administering anabolic steroids to horses in training, an action that the BHA disciplinary panel concluded "seriously prejudiced the integrity and good reputation of horseracing in Great Britain".