Tag Archives: Doping In Sport

“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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