BHA Bans Butler For Five Years

Gerald ButlerThe British Horseracing Authority has banned Gerald Butler, the Newmarket trainer, after the Irishman admitted to all seven charges against him relating to samples of an anabolic steroid found in horses in his care.

Butler was accused by the BHA of an appalling dereliction of his duties and nine of his horses produced positive samples, five cases of which were identified as the joint treatment Sungate, which contains the banned anabolic steroid, Stanozolol. Butler's case was worsened by his own admission that he administered another substance, Rexogin, to four horses himself. This substance is designed for use in human bodybuilding and contains 10 times as much Stanozolol as Sungate.

Adam Brickell, director of integrity, legal and risk for the BHA, remarked the position of BHA, which was upheld by the disciplinary panel, was that the most serious charges related to Gerard Butler's gross failure to look after the best interests of four horses in his care, which amounted to conduct that was seriously prejudicial to the integrity, proper conduct and good reputation of the sport. He added that the gravity of the breaches of the rules of racing escalated when, in the course of cross-examination during the disciplinary panel hearing, Gerard Butler finally provided evidence as to where he had purchased the drug in question from, and admitted that the product he had administered himself to four horses was not the equine veterinary product Sungate, but instead an unlicensed Stanozolol-based product called Rexogin, manufactured for use in humans.

Brickell went on to add that gravity of the breaches of the rules of racing escalated when, in the course of cross-examination during the disciplinary panel hearing, Gerard Butler finally provided evidence as to where he had purchased the drug in question from, and admitted that the product he had administered himself to four horses was not the equine veterinary product Sungate, but instead an unlicensed Stanozolol-based product called Rexogin, manufactured for use in humans. He also remarked that the BHA panel accepted that Butler had administered this product by intra-articular injection using a method restricted by law to qualified veterinary surgeons. It was also remarked by Brickell that the panel also pointed to the fact that Butler took no veterinary advice before carrying out these procedures, did not have the horses properly assessed prior to their treatment, made no recording in his medication records of having injected the horses and that he subsequently allowed the horses to be treated by veterinary surgeons without informing them of the prior administrations.

Brickell went on to say that the charges also related to five other positive samples taken from horses which were administered Sungate on the advice of and by a veterinary surgeon and it however remains of concern to BHA that a practicing vet regularly treating racehorses, and therefore presumably familiar with the rules, should have recommended and administered such a product to a horse in a trainer's care or control. Butler also admitted to failing to keep a record of treatments and his ban begins on December 5, 2013 and he will be suspended until December 4, 2018 inclusive.

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