Skip to main content

Trainer handed eight-year ban for doping horses appeals sentence

updated 1:58 PM EDT, Tue May 7, 2013
  • Horse racing trainer Mahmood Al Zarooni appeals eight-year ban from sport
  • Al Zarooni admitted administering anabolic steroids to 15 top thoroughbreds
  • Horses in question also suspended from running for six months
  • Al Zarooni's appeal date is yet to be confirmed by British Horseracing Authority

(CNN) -- A horse racing trainer who became engulfed in a doping scandal and was banned from the sport for eight years has appealed his sentence, the British Horseracing Authority (BHA) has confirmed.

Mahmood Al Zarooni, who worked at the world famous Godolphin stables in the English town of Newmarket, was banned from horse racing after admitting injecting his thoroughbreds with steroids.

The 37-year-old admitted a "catastrophic error" in administering prohibited anabolic steroids -- ethylestranol and stanozolol -- to 15 leading thoroughbreds.

All 15 horses, including the former 1,000 Guineas favorite Certify, were banned from racing for six months by the BHA.

Read: Eight-year ban for trainer who doped horses

The case rocked the sport and led to Godolphin principal Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum -- the ruler of Dubai -- shutting down the stables, saying he was "appalled and angered" by the doping revelations.

Racehorse trainer banned for 8 years
Godolphin trainers in Dubai
Dubai World Cup wrap

A statement on the BHA's official website read: "Mahmood Al Zarooni has lodged an appeal against the severity of his eight-year suspension from training.

"Al Zarooni, 37, was found guilty of administering anabolic steroids to 15 horses in his care at a BHA hearing on April 25.

"The former Godolphin handler, who was based at Moulton Paddocks in Newmarket, was officially charged with rule breaches related to prohibited substances, duty to keep medication records, and conduct prejudicial to racing.

"He will now contest the length of the eight-year ban, with the date for the appeal hearing to be confirmed in due course."

Al Zarooni waived his right to legal representation and accepted all the charges at a hearing in London at the end of April.

It led to Sheikh Mohammed locking down the paddocks and issuing a statement.

In it he said: "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."

The 63-year-old Sheikh attended Newmarket racecourse on Saturday to see Godolphin colt Dawn Approach win the English 2000 Guineas.

According to AFP, Godolphin said Al Zarooni's appeal was nothing to do with them and was simply a matter between him and the BHA.

"He is no longer a Godolphin employee and the appeal is a matter between himself and the BHA. Godolphin has no involvement with this appeal," AFP quoted a Godolphin spokesperson as saying.

Soon after Al Zarooni's punishment was confirmed a second trainer in Newmarket revealed he was facing an inquiry on similar offenses.

The BHA confirmed Gerard Butler was being investigated after some of his horses tested positive for banned substances at his yard in February.

Butler told a British newspaper he was facing a ban after injecting his horses with a product used to treat joints but said he was so sure of its validity he entered it into his official medical records which were then sent to the BHA.

He called the incident "an unpardonable misjudgment" but said it hadn't crossed his mind there could be a problem with the medication.

Part of complete coverage on
updated 12:37 PM EDT, Wed May 7, 2014
Photography can really pack a punch. Catch up with all the best shots from around the world with our weekly sports gallery.
updated 8:00 AM EDT, Wed May 7, 2014
Of course not. But former Fulham owner Mohamed Al Fayed seems to think the removal of Michael Jackson's statue was a very "bad" idea.
updated 12:36 PM EDT, Wed May 7, 2014
Second-tier French side Clermont Foot appoint Helena Costa -- the country's first ever professional female coach of a male team.
updated 11:13 AM EDT, Mon April 28, 2014
San Francisco 49ers owner and co-chairman John York speaks to CNN about Michael Sam and the upcoming NFL Draft.
updated 1:33 PM EDT, Fri April 25, 2014
The All Blacks and their fans are focused on one thing, says Dan Carter: becoming the first rugby nation to win back-to-back World Cups.
updated 9:08 AM EDT, Fri April 4, 2014
The 2002 bomb attacks in Bali had many victims -- including a touring rugby team from Hong Kong.
Photographer Danny Lyon spent three days with Muhammad Ali in 1972 and shares his best photos and memories of the champ.
updated 7:54 AM EST, Tue February 25, 2014
With a growing audience boosted by the drama of ice hockey on show in Sochi at the Winter Olympics, can the sport capitalize on its popularity?
updated 6:25 AM EST, Mon January 20, 2014
Her paintings may sell for thousands of dollars, but she is best known for a modeling shot 50 years ago that helped launch a business empire.
updated 12:01 PM EST, Thu January 9, 2014
When the eye of the storm closes in most people head home -- but for these surfers it's a different story.
updated 9:45 AM EST, Mon January 6, 2014
Gareth Evans is a school teacher in South Africa. In 1983, he attended a "rebel tour" cricket match against the West Indies.
updated 10:07 AM EST, Tue December 17, 2013
In the wake of protests in his native Ukraine, heavyweight champion Vitali Klitschko has turned his back on boxing to focus on his political ambitions.
updated 5:20 AM EDT, Fri August 9, 2013
Former pole vaulter Sergei Bubka is running to be president of the International Olympic Committee.
The Olympics must use its global reach and immense popularity to help save a generation, says sporting icon Sergei Bubka.
updated 12:32 PM EDT, Wed August 7, 2013
CNN's Fred Pleitgen exposes a history of German government-funded doping throughout the Cold War.
updated 12:28 PM EDT, Tue April 9, 2013
A competitor crosses the erg Znaigui during the second stage of the 26rd edition of the 'Marathon des Sables', on April 4, 2011, some 300 Kilometers, South of Ouarzazate in Morocco. The marathon is considered one of the hardest in the world, with 900 participants having to walk 250 kms (150 miles) for seven days in the Moroccan Sahara.
A six-day run that covers more than 220 km through the scorching heat of the Sahara desert has been billed as the "World's toughest race."
updated 7:49 AM EDT, Wed April 10, 2013
He plays the only sport approved by the Taliban, a game he learned as a war refugee in Pakistan.