Godolphin racing manager Simon Crisford, in an interview with Channel 4 Racing one day after Mahmood Al Zarooni was suspended eight years by the British Horseracing Authority for giving horses banned anabolic steroids, said it will take a long time for the operation to recover from what he called the “reckless” actions of one of Sheikh Mohammed's private trainers.
“We've arrived at this situation because one of our trainers has been absolutely reckless in his actions and he's tarnished the Godolphin brand so badly that it's going to take a long time to recover,” Crisford said.
Although both Godolphin and the BHA are continuing investigations into activities at Moulton Paddocks in Newmarket, Crisford said so far he believes Zarooni acted alone, ordering veterinary assistants to administer stanozolol and foremen to give ethylestranol to 15 horses. “These people were very much the victims of the circumstances,” he said. “They were carrying out the orders from their trainer.”
Crisford said it was “absolutely amazing” that Zarooni claims not to have known the drugs were banned in British racing. “On the other hand,” Crisford said, “he knew the BHA were coming to do selective testing. He was aware they were coming. So why on earth would he administer 15 anabolic steroids in full knowledge that the BHA were coming to do selective testing?”
Crisford told Channel 4 Racing said Zarooni would not work for Godolphin again in any capacity and that he had no sympathy for the trainer. He also said he did not feel responsible for what happened because his job is “to look out for the best interests of the owner, and I simply cannot be aware of every little – not little on this occasion – but every single bit of medication that every horse in Godolphin is getting from their trainers. Just the same as I couldn't with Andre Fabre or Kiaran McLaughlin or Jim Bolger for that matter.”
When pressed that he was, after all, the person who recommended the hiring of Zarooni, Crisford said, “It is deeply regrettable and it shows a remarkable lack of judgment on my part…I've been told to clean the mess up and that's what I'm going to do.”
Crisford said he believes the use of banned steroids was an isolated case. “Everyone knows what the rules are in England,” he said. “I don't think it's a systematic problem.”
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