The UAE government has declared horse doping is now a criminal offence according to Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al-Maktoum.
Earlier this year, Sheikh Rashid expressed anger that 18 horses owned by him, had tested positive for anabolic steroids. The horses which failed the performance-enhancing drug tests were under the care of Godolphin’s Newmarket Stables. However, it remains unclear how the new UAE law would regulate the affairs of Godolphin Stables, which are located in the UK.
Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al-Maktoum; “I have always believed in the integrity of horse racing and all other horse sports. I have, in light of the unfortunate recent event, directed that a decree be issued making, with immediate effect, the import, sale, purchase or use of anabolic steroids in horse sports a criminal offence under the UAE penal laws.” — United Arab Emirates Prime Minister, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al-Maktoum
After 11 horses tested positive in April, trainer Mahmood al-Zarooni was banned for eight years by the British Horseracing Authority (BHA). Last week, another 7 horses from the same stable tested positive for the anabolic steroid stanozolol in further tests. The Moulton Paddocks Stables were temporarily closed and testing of all horses under the care of Zarooni was ordered.
The trainer has since apologized for making a “catastrophic mistake” and is appealing an eight-year ban against him, announced by the British Horseracing Authority.
Under existing laws, there are no rules governing the use of performance-enhancing drugs in horse racing around the world. However, the use of anabolic steroids are allowed out of competition in the UAE and Australia.
The tainted stable, Godolphin, has won 204 Group One races in different countries after Sheikh Mohammed established training operations there in 1992 and also in Dubai. Sheikh Rashid, for his part, expects Godolphin Stables to recapture the loss in prestige caused by the horse doping scandal, and will work to ensure compliance with the highest sporting standards after completion of the necessary internal investigations and the introduction of prerequisite regulations.