Mubarak bin-Shafya, who was banned in 2011 from endurance racing for two years after several of his horses tested positive for Stanozolol, continues to work at Dubai stables owned by the Godolphin boss Sheikh Mohammed.
Shafya was stripped of the FEI Open endurance title and fined for doping in 2008 and he has successfully trained racehorses for Sheikh Mohammed, including Gladiatorus and Eastern Anthem, winners on Dubai World Cup night in 2009.
The banned trainer is training thoroughbreds from the Al Aasfa Stables near Dubai City. Though there is still no suggestion that the ruler of Dubai is involved in any wrongdoing, the link with Bin Shafya, who is a former colleague of disgraced Godolphin trainer Mahmood al-Zarooni, is casting suspicions on the endurance horse operation. If that was not all, a private jet owned by Dubai government and carrying unlicensed veterinary drugs was recently seized at the Stansted airport. An inquiry into it has already been initiated by Princess Haya, the junior wife of the sheikh and president of the International Federation for Equestrian Sports. She will also conduct a detailed investigation into a separate raid by the Veterinary Medicines Directorate at Moorley Farm in Newmarket, where a number of similar products were found.
Princess Haya has called on all individuals at various organizations within the hierarchy of endurance and racing structure of Sheikh Mohammed to ensure that there is no breach of regulations. Princess Haya remarked she wants all managers to accept the responsibilities that their position bestows on them and to ensure that all efforts are made to protect the good name of the Maktoum family at all times.
Keith Chandler, the president of the British Equine Veterinary Association, said some of the products seized at Stansted were potentially dangerous to horses and should be kept under lock and key in a safe, while the Veterinary Medicines Directorate stated that the medicines were not authorized in the UK and had not been imported in accordance with the regulations. Chandler added some of these medicines are not only toxic if they are misused but they are potentially dangerous to the horses and they really are medicines that should not be on the premises of any horse owner, no matter how experienced. He went on to add that they definitely should not, under absolutely no circumstances whatsoever, be found on an owner's premises. There are powerful sedatives and anesthetics on the list, there are powerful painkillers and one of the products is toxic and dangerous to humans as well and they are clearly being used to treat and medicate horses.
Since 2005, more than 20 endurance horses trained in Dubai at stables owned variously by the Sheikh and other senior members of the Maktoum family have been involved in doping cases and 16 of the horses tested positive in competition to natural or manufactured steroids. Sheikh Mohammed's brother, Sheikh Hamdan bin Rashid, owns the SAS endurance stables in Dubai whose trainer Ali Mohammed Al Muhairi, is serving four years, the longest ban of the sport, for his second offense.