7 horses test positive for steroids, say British horseracing officials

7 more horses test positive for steroids, including the 2012 St Leger winner Encke. Mahmood Al Zarooni was banned from horse racing after 11 horses in his stable tested positive for steroids.

By , Reuters

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    Dubai ruller Sheik Mohammed bin Rashid al-Maktoum expressed his displeasure over the doping of his horses by trainer Mahmood Al Zarooni.
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British horse racing authorities have found that seven more horses in the stable of trainer Mahmood Al Zarooni have tested positive for steroids.

Last month, Zarooni was given an eight-year ban from British horse racing after 11 of the horses under his training had been doped with anabolic steroids.

Among the horses testing positive in the latest group were the 2012 St Leger winner Encke. The seven horses, which are all based at Moulton Paddocks in Newcastle, England, are Encke, Energizer, Genius Beast, Improvisation, Stamford, Steeler and Zip Top.

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Zarooni is currently appealing his ban.

Last month, when Zarooni's doping practices became public, Dubai's ruler Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al-Maktoum said, "There can be no excuse for any deliberate violation." Sheikh Mohammed, who is also Prime Minister of the United Arab Emirates, made the comments in a statement sent to Reuters.

"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," said Sheikh Mohammed, adding he was appalled and angered about the case.

Last month, 11 Godolphin horses based at Newmarket in southern England tested positive for steroids, including stanozolol - the substance used by disgraced Olympic sprinter Ben Johnson at the 1988 Seoul Olympics.

Al Zarooni has said that he regretted what he described as "a catastrophic error".

Test samples were taken from the 391 horses at Godolphin's Moulton Paddocks Stables in the past month.

"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,"  Sheikh Mohammed said..

One of the horses to test positive was Certify. Unbeaten in four career outings, Certify was one of seven horses to test positive for ethylestranol. Gold Cup runner-up Opinion Poll was one of four to test positive for stanozolol.

"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," Sheikh Mohammed said.

Godolphin is the Dubai ruler's private horseracing stable and was named, according to the website, in honor of the Godolphin Arabian, who came from the desert to become one of the three founding stallions of the modern thoroughbred.Founded in 1992, the Godolphin stable has won more than 2,000 races worldwide with winners in 14 countries.

Sheikh Mohammed's brainchild was born out of his frustration at constantly finding his British trainers reluctant to abandon the fight for classic glory at home to travel abroad.

His passion for horses helped transform Dubai into a world power in flat racing; its annual World Cup in March is the world's richest race with a $10 million purse. Godolphin's 2012 racing season was its most successful on record, earning $25.9 million in prize money, its website shows.

(Reporting by Mirna Sleiman and Martin Dokoupil in Dubai and Martyn Herman in London. Editing by Patrick Johnston and Justin Palmer)

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