Category Archives: Uncategorized

Raided: Moorley Farm East, Newmarket #DopingInSport

On the back of Horse & Hound’s article published yesterday, I’ve spent most of the day trying to find out further details regarding this flight. However, I seem to have stumbled across something bigger.

While British trainers have been raiding prizes throughout the racing world in recent weeks, DEFRA sent a raiding party of their own to Moorley Farm East, Newmarket.

Moorley Farm East, Newmarket. 124 veterinary medicinal products were seized because they were not authorised in the UK and had not been imported into the UK in accordance with the Regulations. These medicines, in varying quantities, were to be used on horses and included injectables, anaesthetics, anti —inflammatories and antibiotics.


Moorley Farm East is listed on the Directory Of The Turf as part of the Darley Stud Management Company.


Newmarket takes centre stage, for all the wrong reasons, again. Let’s see how this one plays out.

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Posted by on September 9, 2013 in Uncategorized


BHA seeking shade from “Sungate”

Following Paul Bittar’s appreance on Channel 4 News last night on the back of Frankie Dettori’s return to the saddle, BHA issued a statement regarding the veterinary product Sungate:

In light of the interview on last night’s Channel 4 News with the British Horseracing Authority’s (BHA) Chief Executive Paul Bittar, in which he was specifically asked to comment on the veterinary product Sungate, the BHA has released the following statement and update.

Sungate is a product developed by an Italian company, produced and licensed for equine use in Italy. Its use in the UK is legal, but only when imported under the Special Import Certificate scheme administered by the Veterinary Medicines Directorate.

The product is intended to assist in the treatment and management of joint disease in horses. Sungate contains stanozolol, an anabolic steroid and consequently a prohibited substance under the Rules of Racing.

The BHA became aware of the use of the product on horses in training following a visit to Gerard Butler’s yard in February 2013 as part of its testing in training sampling programme. Subsequently it became apparent that a veterinary practice, which had legally imported Sungate into the UK, had recommended its initial administration to horses in the care of Gerard Butler.

The BHA has met with representatives of the veterinary practice in question. As a result of that meeting the BHA believes that Gerard Butler was not the only trainer to whom the administration of Sungate was recommended.

Veterinary surgeons are not bound by the Rules of Racing, but are subject to their own rules of professional conduct. Therefore in order to establish the extent of the use of the product, BHA Investigating Officers will be interviewing trainers who are known to use the same veterinary practice.

Under the Rules of Racing, licensed trainers are strictly liable for the administration of any prohibited substances administered to horses under their care and control.

Thankfully the idea of an amnesty which was mooted by the Racing Post due the scandal has been put to bed.

So what about “Sungate”? On the back of the BHA visit to Gerard Butler’s yard, The National Trainers Federation issued a statment to their members on the 7th March 2013 regarding “Sungate”. It read:

The BHA has asked us to let you know that a product called “Sungate” has been brought to their attention. This contains Stanozolol, a prohibited substance under the Rules of Racing and you should therefore avoid using it

The practice linked to Gerard Butler, and possibly embroiled in this scandal, is Rossdale and Partners, Newmarket, Suffolk. Peter Ramzan is a partner at Rossdale’s

“Peter H.L. Ramzan BVSc(Sydney), MRCVS Horses in training, dentistry”, and at the 2012 European Veterinary Conference in Amsterdam, he commented on the “Preliminary clinical impressions on the use of stanozolol as a novel intra-articular therapy for athletic horses: 60 cases”

Here are a couple of extacts:

Abstracts European Veterinary Conference Voorjaarsdagen 2012

Abstracts European Veterinary Conference Voorjaarsdagen 2012

Abstracts European Veterinary Conference Voorjaarsdagen 2012 (2)

Abstracts European Veterinary Conference Voorjaarsdagen 2012 (2)

Good luck finding that shaded area.

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Posted by on May 17, 2013 in Uncategorized


“end of the beginning” says Bittar. Well what about the beginning Paul?

Followers of this blog will realise I have had by doubts about the BHA Integrity Department in its previous form for some time.  We have had BHA Committee Members administering prohibited race day substances to horses under the impression they would pass a doping control test. We’ve seen panel hearing reports showing that Paul Scotney and Tim Morris didn’t think a base test was necessary which would have cleared a trainer of doping within weeks, but that trainer had to wait two years for the case to be resolved, and still then it wasn’t a satisfactory resolution.

Extracts from “Doping and Medical Control: AWOL within British Racing 2000-2009

 The RCVS even questions the validity of the BHA testing procedures;

“While it is evident from the BHA’s Guidelines that the sensitivity of the tests is in a process of continual development, the Committee is unable to speculate as to why tranexamic acid had not tested positive on horses to which Mr Main had administered it on previous occasions. However, it is satisfied that Mr Main believed at the time he administered the injection that Moonlit Path would not test positive for tranexamic acid.”

Further question marks over the effectiveness of doping control were raised in the recent allegation of milkshaking made against James Boyle. A baseline CO2 test would have enabled accurate conclusions to be drawn but that was deemed “unnecessary” by Paul Scotney, the former Director of Integrity Services, Compliance and Licensing, and Professor Tom Morris, then Director of Equine Science and Welfare.

Both Paul Scotney and Professor Tim Morris have left the British Horse Racing Authority in recent months, during a much needed reconfiguration of the BHA services and structure. Paul Bittar said “We are proud that British Racing is justifiably held in high regard on the subject, but we know there is no room for complacency.”

Extract from “Open Letter to BHA Director of Legal, Integrity and Risk

4)       Professor Morris said in his written statement that he believed that testing for tranexamic acid had been in place for some time. He also said that he was aware of only one other instance of a horse testing positive in March 2009, which was shortly after Moonlit Path’s positive test.

Obviously the tests upto to February 2009 were either too infrequent, or not upto standard.  Was there any noticeable change in testing procedures between 2003 and February 2009?

8)       The Committee carefully observed Mr Main when he was asked questions about the use of the term “pre-race check” and observed his obvious unease. Any disagreement Mr Main may have had with the BHA’s rules of racing did not justify him perpetuating a practice that he knew was designed to conceal from the BHA that tranexamic acid had been administered to a horse on a race day.

Extract from “Day 335 at the BHA House…

Paul Scotney will step aside from his full-time role with effect from 14th December 2012, but as part of a transition plan will remain a part of the BHA’s ability to protect the sport from corruption, providing advice on investigations and strategy.

BHA Chief Executive, Paul Bittar, said the decision for Paul Scotney to transition from his current full-time role was agreed mutually and arose during their discussions in reviewing the BHA Integrity operations, future needs and structure.

The British Horseracing Authority (BHA) announced today that Professor Tim Morris, Director of Equine Science and Welfare, is to leave the organisation. His departure forms part of the ongoing restructure of BHA services, led by Chief Executive Paul Bittar.

Paul Bittar, BHA Chief Executive, said:

“Reconfiguring the BHA services and structure is an evolutionary process and further work will be done with Tim in the coming weeks to imbed the new structure for Veterinary Operations combined with our important role in medication control.

Professor Tim Morris and Paul Scotney deemed further testing to establish a baseline TCO2 reading for the gelding as unnecessary. Their titles again; Director of Equine Science and Welfare and Director of Integrity Services, Compliance, and Licensing.

So how did the Mahmood Al Zarooni raids come about. Well Paul Bittar stated it was mix of random testing programme and intelligence.  The question journalists should be asking Bittar is during the period under Paul Scotney’s stewardship, how often was intelligence not acted upon or ignored? Six months after two former heads of departments leave the British Horseracing Authority, the biggest doping scandal to hit British racing is uncovered. That’s a worrying coincidence.

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Posted by on April 27, 2013 in Uncategorized


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The MAZ Files Blockbuster: Coming Soon

When reading the statement from Paul Bittar, and accompanying quotes following today’s hearing, it read like the script for a trailer of a Hollywood blockbuster:

The BHA will conduct the testing of the horses with the analytical work being carried out by HFL Sport Science. Godolphin have stated they will cooperate fully with this process. In addition, we will also provide advice to Godolphin of necessary changes to its procedures and controls where appropriate, and this will be supported by Godolphin’s own review.

Wow, a MAZ Files sequel directed by Godolphin seemingly out soon too judged by that quote. Bonus! Wonder if it’s as good as the Disciplinary Panel’s movie where it picks out all the bloopers.

Another titbit on offer too, possibly a star studded supporting cast?

Two more Godolphin employees have also been named by Zarooni as parties to the doping, according to Crisford.

We will be taken to exotic locations:

The steroids, meanwhile, and in considerable quantity, had been imported from Dubai, which is of itself illegal.

We will also be privy to out-takes and watch people distance themselves from the action…wide shot needed for this one:

“I didn’t tell him not to do it,” Crisford said, “because I didn’t think for one minute that he would be doing it.

Tears will be shed:

Crisford added that the unnamed vet’s assistant who injected the steroids into Zarooni’s horses was also one of the victims in the case

Villain, Mahmood Al Zarooni described as:

a reckless person who has shown no respect for racing

I can’t wait for this blockbuster:

The full details of this will be formally addressed in the Disciplinary Panel’s findings, to be published in due course and once they are available.

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Posted by on April 25, 2013 in Uncategorized


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Sheikh Mohammed: Biggest hypocrite in British Racing?

It’s late, I’m tired, I’m tweeting about doping…again, I’m bleeding followers, I need Lasix.

Lasix in UK is banned substance, in the US it is not. In one country I’ve broken the rules, in another I’m playing within them. If I had used Lasix in the US, and raced in the UK later date no bother. If I had used Lasix in the UK…big bother.

So what has this got to do with Sheikh Mohammed…everything.

Sheikh Mohammed released a “strongly worded” statement today regarding the Godolphin Doping Scandal:

“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. 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.”

Reminder of Mahmood Al Zarooni’s statement:

Al Zarooni said: “I deeply regret what has happened. I have made a catastrophic error. Because the horses involved were not racing at the time, I did not realise that what I was doing was in breach of the rules of racing.

Again, we go back to the terminology used by MAZ in his statement: “Because the horses involved were not racing at the time, I did not realise that what I was doing was in breach of the rules of racing.

So why the importance of that line. Well we’ve seen in the fallout articles online in Australia stating drugs that MAZ horses have tested positive for are legal in AUS when out of competition. As pointed out by Geoffrey Riddle here

“In Australia, the rules of racing are exactly the same as they are in the UAE”

In short, if Mahmood Al Zarooni had carried out his doping programme in Dubai, shipped them back into the UK, he would not have been in breach of any rules, Joe Public would be none the wiser and Sheikh Mohammed would not need to bring ethics to the table.

So, maybe before Sheikh Mohammed starts slagging off one of his appointed trainers, he should get his own house, well Emirates Racing Authority, in order first and then his appointed trainers would know where they stand.


Posted by on April 25, 2013 in Uncategorized


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“because the horses involved were not racing at the time…”

That’s a line from Mahmoud al-Zarooni’s statement on today following the news that 11 horses in his care have tested positive for anabolic steriods.

His comments in full below:

Al Zarooni said: “I deeply regret what has happened. I have made a catastrophic error. Because the horses involved were not racing at the time, I did not realise that what I was doing was in breach of the rules of racing. I can only apologise for the damage this will cause to Godolphin and to racing generally.”

Now elsewhere on the site is Mahmood Al-Zarooni bio

His big break came in 2008/2009 “when H.H. Sheikh Mohammed took him to assist Mubarak bin Shafya at Al Asifa Stables.

He sampled a taste of major triumph when Mubarak bin Shafya saddled a remarkable double at the 2009 Dubai World Cup meeting gaining success with the front-running Gladiatorus in the Group One US$5-million Dubai Duty Free and then with Eastern Anthem who secured a pulsating last-gasp triumph in the Group One US$5-million Dubai Sheema Classic.

Following those victories, H.H. Sheikh Mohammed asked Mahmood Al Zarooni to join the Godolphin team as one of Saeed bin Suroor’s assistants.

He gained valuable knowledge during his first season in Newmarket when the stable posted 148 winners in Britain, enjoyed Classic success thanks to Mastery’s Ladbrokes St Leger victory and captured a Breeders’ Cup race with Vale Of York.

After a further winter with Saeed bin Suroor in Dubai, he was ready to step up and become a Godolphin trainer ahead of the 2010 campaign in Europe and beyond, operating out of his home base at Godolphin Marmoom stables in Dubai, whilst spending his summer at Moulton Paddocks in Newmarket.”

As far as I am aware, this is the first winter where horses that have not raced at the Dubai Carnival stayed in Newmarket as per an email confirmation I received from Godolphin. Mahmood Al-Zarooni bleeds Godolphin, so for him to utter the line “because the horses involved were not racing at the time, I did not realise that what I was doing was in breach of the rules of racing.” leaves you wondering how the Godolphin operation works as a whole.

As for Al-Zarooni’s Big Race Wins:

Shadwell Fillies´ Mile (Group 1) 28Sep12 Certify £92,721
Ladbrokes St Leger Stakes (Group 1) 15Sep12 Encke £311,905
Dubai World Cup (Group 1) 31Mar12 Monterosso £3,870,968
Dubai Gold Cup (Group 3) 31Mar12 Opinion Poll £387,097
Al Maktoum Challenge R3 (Group 1) 10Mar12 Capponi £154,839
Shadwell Fillies´ Mile (Group 1) 23Sep11 Lyric Of Light £92,721
Darley Yorkshire Oaks (Group 1) 18Aug11 Blue Bunting £175,801
Darley Irish Oaks (Group 1) 17Jul11 Blue Bunting £212,500
Prince of Wales´s Stakes (Group 1) 15Jun11 Rewilding £227,080
Qipco 1000 Guineas (Group 1) 1May11 Blue Bunting £213,739
Dubai Sheema Classic (Group 1) 26Mar11 Rewilding £1,923,077
Premio Gran Criterium (Group 1) 9Oct10 Biondetti £119,469
Deutsches Derby (Group 1) 18Jul10 Buzzword £265,487
Godolphin Mile (Group 2) 27Mar10 Calming Influence £370,370

I don’t think I need to list other big race winners for the boys in blue, I think you get the picture.

“Wintered well in Dubai.” How many times have we heard that line? 503,000 results as per Google.


Posted by on April 22, 2013 in Uncategorized


17 days and counting – A response…of sorts

On the 14th February 2013, an open letter was emailed to the BHA FAO Adam Brickell, BHA Director of Integrity, Legal and Risk. Still we wait for a response from Adam Brickell, but I did get a reply from Robin Mounsey, Communications and Online Manager, when chasing them up for a response:

Hello Dan,I am unaware as to whether Adam intends to respond or not.

However, I would point out that your letter is over 1,200 words long and divided into ten incredibly detailed questions about a case of nearly four years ago and related to findings published two years ago. It also includes several sarcastic comments along the lines of “Ouch – That’s got to hurt?” If I was a member of public writing to a senior Director of an organisation I would probably not expect a response to such a letter.

That is just my view though.


So let me ask just the following:

Due to the actions of a BHA Committee Member, were the BHA complicit in the administeration of illegal race day substances during the period of 2003-2009? In turn evidence at a Disciplinary Hearing was suppressed to ensure the scale of systematic doping within the sport was never known until RCVS findings were published two years later in the hope that questions such as the ones in my original letter were never asked?

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Posted by on March 3, 2013 in Uncategorized