By Andy Sambidge
British Horseracing Authority officials set to follow up on eight-year ban for trainer Al Zarooni
British Horseracing Authority officials are set to start work on Monday on a rigorous testing of horses at former Godolphin trainer Mahmood Al Zarooni's yard in Newmarket.
Al Zarooni was banned for eight years following a BHA hearing on Thursday after admitting administering anabolic steroids to 15 horses under his care at stables.
Eleven horses tested positive for banned substances following random checks on April 9, with Al Zarooni admitting to giving the drugs to a further four horses. All of them are now subject to a six-month ban from running.
Godolphin founder Sheikh Mohammed ordered the lockdown of the Moulton Paddocks facilities last week until full testing of every horse is undertaken.
BHA chief executive Paul Bittar said in a statement that the authority and Godolphin are also tackling the issue of who will oversee the training of horses at the yard. A licensed trainer is required to be in charge.
"There are two assistant trainers, but neither of them are fully licensed. It's likely that (Godolphin's other trainer Saeed) Bin Suroor will have oversight for a lot of the horses, or Godolphin may choose to decide that Moulton Paddocks will not be used at all during the course of the summer," he said in a comments published on the official BHA website.
"We are giving them every opportunity to ensure that decision over the next five to 10 days."
"Godolphin and Sheikh Mohammed have given us a commitment that they will cooperate fully with all of our requirements in terms of investigations.
"We will be testing them from Monday, in which we will cover every horse in the stable that we have not yet tested. We will also be doing a review of their procedures in that stable and then providing them with a report of what needs to be done to get it up to speed."
Separately, Bittar said the BHA was keen to take the necessary steps to ensure that overall confidence in the integrity of the sport is not at risk.
"We welcome the proactive response of Godolphin and Sheikh Mohammed in announcing their intention to review the procedures of this stable and the need to ensure that all horses formerly trained by Mahmood Al Zarooni are tested and cleared before they race again.
“Naturally, the BHA will itself consider the wider issues raised by this matter and we will seek to ascertain and collate all other relevant information including where necessary interviewing other employees or contractors of Godolphin.”