Doping scandal was "an isolated occurrence" – Newmarket councillor

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The town of Newmarket, the heart of the British horseracing community, views the recent Godolphin doping scandal as “an isolated occurrence” and a town councillor told Arabian Business the stables owner, Dubai ruler Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, had proven his commitment to the town by donating a large sum to plans to establish a horseracing heritage centre in the region.

“Newmarket has treated what has happened as being over,” Newmarket Town Councillor Warwick Hirst told Arabian Business.

“It was an isolated occurrence which has to be set against the huge contribution which Godolphin and Darley make to the town. Darley, on behalf of the Sheikh, gave many hundreds of thousands of pounds last month to the Home of Horse Racing Project in Newmarket, which has enabled it to go ahead and this is a very generous grant indeed. This illustrates the huge commitment of the Sheikh to the town.”

Last month it was confirmed Dubai ruler Sheikh Mohammed's Godolphin will face no further charges over horse doping at its Moulton Paddocks stable in England.

The British Horseracing Authority (BHA) said it has concluded its investigation into one of the most serious doping scandal in recent British racing history.

The BHA said there was no evidence of any other parties, beyond those identified at a hearing on April 25, being involved in the distribution of anabolic steroids, other than former trainer Mahmood Al Zarooni, who was suspended for eight years.

The ban was imposed on Al Zarooni after 22 horses, including last season's St Leger winner Encke, tested positive earlier this year.

The investigation also found a number of key failings both in terms of process and within the management structure at the yard which enabled Al Zarooni to carry out the offences without being detected, the BHA said on its official website.

Al Zarooni's assistant, Charlie Appleby, assumes control of Moulton Paddocks with immediate effect, it added.

“Sheikh Mohammed has been and remains a massive benefactor to this area,” John Berry, a fellow councillor at Newmarket Town Council, told Arabian Business earlier this summer.

“Directly and indirectly, I am sure about 1,000 jobs in the area would be dependent on his patronage. If he were to reduce his interests it would be very bad and if he were to terminate them it would be even worse.”

Berry said Sheikh Mohammed was a very popular figure in the area and still held the support of the local industry. “It goes far beyond the fact that he is the biggest employer… Leaving employment aside, he has been a wonderful benefactor to the town and there are so many local projects and charities and he has been a force for good for the town and this area,” he said.

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