Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al-Maktoum, the ruler of Dubai and husband of president of the International Equestrian Federation (FEI) Princess Haya of Jordan, has finally broken his silence on the Godolphin doping scandal.
Sheikh Mohammed remarked that "the truth" would emerge from an inquiry that was recently launched by the British Horseracing Authority (BHA). He also remarked former trainer, Mahmood al-Zarooni, would never work with his horses again. Zarooni was banned for eight years by BHA after he was found guilty of administering anabolic steroids at Sheikh Mohammed's stables in Newmarket last year. The trainer, who won the Dubai World Cup for Godolphin in 2012 with Monterosso, and the St Leger and 1,000 Guineas, admitted to administering prohibited substances to horses at the Moulton Paddocks stable. After his confession, Sheikh Mohammed closed the stable and ordered internal investigations.
Sheikh Mohammed, during an interview, suggested that he is in direct contact with Zarooni though he insisted that the disgraced trainer will never be re-employed by Godolphin. Sheikh also added that Zarooni doped them not for racing but for treatment for the long term and they would not come to see the races.
However, the BHA remarked that it is satisfied that Mahmood al-Zarooni, the disgraced former trainer at Godolphin's Moulton Paddocks yard in Newmarket, doped his horses with steroids in an attempt to cheat by improving their racing performance and not for veterinary reasons. Sheikh Mohammed is entitled to his opinion, said Robin Mounsey, the BHA's spokesman. Mounsey added that it is indeed true that some of the horses who were administered with steroids were recovering from long-term injuries but the veterinary information made available to us does not show that all of the horses in question were suffering from significant injuries.
Last July, BHA remarked that the doping scandal was a result of the disgraced trainer acting alone without knowledge of his senior staff. Sheikh Mohammed's wife and International Equestrian Federation President Princess Haya appointed former London police chief Lord Stevens to oversee an internal inquiry into the sheikh's global equine interests. A former commissioner of the Metropolitan police, Lord Stevens, is presently investigating the organization and veterinary practices in the Sheikh's global equine operations. This was after Lord Stevens was asked to conduct the inquiry after further revelations about possible use of anabolic steroids and other banned drugs in Sheikh Mohammed's extensive string of endurance horses. During his interview, Sheikh Mohammed said that Lord Stevens will find out the whole story and we will all know what happened. He added we put an investigator, Lord Stevens, to really go through everything and meet everybody and he thinks he is independent and doing a good job. Sheikh Mohammed added he has not finished yet but he hopes good luck for him and the truth will come out because of independent Lord Stevens.
In May last year, Sheikh Mohammed said the import, sale, and purchase of anabolic androgenic steroids and administering them to horses would become criminal offences in the UAE.