Sheikh Mohammed locks down Mahmood Al Zarooni stables

Head of Godolphin Sheikh Mohammed will "lock down" Mahmood Al Zarooni's stables after the trainer was charged with several doping offences.

No horse from the Moulton Paddocks stables that belongs to the famous racing operation will run until Sheikh Mohammed is happy that they are "completely clean".

Al Zarooni will appear before a British Horseracing Authority (BHA) disciplinary panel on Thursday after traces of anabolic steroids were found in 11 horses.

Sheikh Mohammed, who set up the thoroughbred racing stables in 1992, told www.godolphin.com:  "I was appalled and angered to learn that one of our stables in Newmarket has violated Godolphin's ethical standards and the rules of British racing.

"I have been involved in British horse racing for 30 years and have deep respect for its traditions and rules.

"There can be no excuse for any deliberate violation."

The monarch of Dubai, who is worth an estimated £10bn, added: "I built my country based on the same solid principles. Godolphin is fully co-operating with the British Horseracing Authority to get to the bottom of this matter and take any appropriate disciplinary action.

Analysis

What happens with all the horses innocently caught up in this drugs scandal has been unclear, almost forgotten at times, and this goes some way to clearing that up.

Sheikh Mohammed promised a thorough inquiry, and it sounds like that's certainly what is to take place before any inmate of Al Zarooni's Moulton Paddocks races again. The 11 which tested positive for anabolic steroids are barred for an unspecified time.

The tone of the statement is striking too; the Sheikh, the monarch of Dubai, is renowned for a cool, calm style, but his words here can be said to be brimming with emotion, with a steely edge.

"I have ordered the Godolphin management to undertake an immediate review of our internal procedures and controls to ensure to prevent any reoccurrence of this type of activity in any stables of mine.

"We will be locking down the Moulton Paddocks stables with immediate effect, and I have instructed that I want a full round of blood samples, and dope testing done on every single horse on that premises.

"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.

"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."

Al Zarooni could lose his licence at Thursday's hearing, which will be held at 14:30 BST at BHA headquarters in London.

The 37-year-old has officially been charged with rule breaches related to prohibited substances, duty to keep medication records, and conduct prejudicial to racing.

Samples were taken earlier this month from 45 horses trained by Al Zarooni at the Moulton Paddocks Stables in Newmarket, which are home to a string of more than 100 horses.

Subsequent analysis revealed 11 of the samples contained ethylestranol and stanozolol, which are prohibited substances.

Al Zarooni has trained a host of big-race winners, including 1000 Guineas victor Blue Bunting in 2011, since joining the Godolphin team in March 2010.

Last year, he won the St Leger at Doncaster with Encke and the richest race in the world, the Dubai World Cup, with Monterosso.

Al Zarooni said on Monday he had made a "catastrophic error" in using the banned substances, saying he did not realise he had broken the rules as the horses were not racing at that time.

Sheikh Mohammed appointed Al Zarooni, a former stable groom, three years ago. He is one of the group's two British-based trainers, the other being Saeed bin Suroor.