No further sanctions for Godolphin's Moulton Paddocks stable after doping revelations
Godolphin's Moulton Paddocks stable in Newmarket will face no further charges after the British Horseracing Authority concluded its investigation into one of the most serious doping scandal in recent British racing history.
The BHA said there was no evidence of any other parties, beyond those identified at a hearing on April 25, being involved in the distribution of anabolic steroids, other than former trainer Mahmood Al Zarooni.
Al Zarooni was subsequently suspended for eight years after 22 horses, including last season's St Leger winner Encke, tested positive for banned substances earlier in the year.
The investigation nonetheless found a number of key failings both in terms of process and within the management structure at the yard which enabled Al Zarooni to carry out the offences without being detected.
Al Zarooni's assistant, Charlie Appleby, assumes control of Moulton Paddocks with immediate effect.
The BHA said it was happy Appleby had no knowledge of Al Zarooni's wrongdoings and that he has already begun implementing some procedural changes alongside fellow Godolphin trainer Saeed bin Suroor.
Adam Brickell, director of integrity, legal and risk for the BHA, said: "After an extensive and thorough investigation we have found no new evidence which contradicts that which was presented to the disciplinary panel.
"The evidence gathered from this investigation has confirmed that Mahmood Al Zarooni acted autonomously and was the person solely responsible for the events that took place at Moulton Paddocks.
"However, we have identified significant failings in the processes in place and management structure at the yard which allowed these events to unfold without senior management becoming aware. These findings have been shared with Godolphin.
"We are satisfied that Charlie Appleby had no awareness of the actions of Al Zarooni. This was made clear to the licensing committee, which has confirmed that Appleby is suitable to hold a trainer's licence.
"We are aware that Appleby has already begun the process of implementing changes to the management structure and procedures at the yard and we will encourage him, as the licensed trainer, to continue to implement such changes, including addressing all of the points set out in our report.
"Conversely, Al Zarooni's refusal to cooperate further with the investigation will be drawn to the attention of the licensing committee should he ever seek to return to British racing following his eight-year disqualification."
Paul Bittar, chief executive of the BHA, said: "The investigation process has been a complex and challenging one. However, I am satisfied that the conclusions reached are an accurate reflection of events.
"Fortunately cases such as this - both in terms of scale and profile - are incredibly rare, however there are areas where we can learn from the issues raised.
"One such area is in respect of the work now being carried out with the (IFHA International Federation of Horseracing Authorities) to improve levels of harmonisation between racing jurisdictions on the use of anabolic steroids, where encouraging progress is being made. This case may well prove to be a catalyst for significant policy change in some countries.
"While we believe the sport's independent regulation has stood up throughout this process, the BHA is committed to continue to fight against those who attempt to cheat the sport.
"As such, this case has also led to a review into our anti-doping programme to ascertain whether the appropriate level of resource is being deployed and whether it is being deployed in the most effective way.
"The BHA's anti-doping budget has, due to the broader economics of the sport, undergone a significant reduction in recent years and this case highlights the need to ensure we remain at the forefront of world racing in terms of our programme and resources."
Appleby, 38, has been with Godolphin for 15 years and said: "I am very fortunate and I cannot thank Sheikh Mohammed enough for giving me this opportunity."
"My main way of repaying Godolphin will be by producing winners and good horses.
"The team will be doing their best to build on all the success Godolphin has achieved and go forward."
Appleby's new role also includes being in charge of Marmoom Stables in Dubai, as well as being the new Moulton Paddocks licence holder.
"We already have a great team in place at Moulton Paddocks," he told www.godolphin.com.
"Hopefully, we will be able to find Group One horses. There are some nice two-year-olds who have broken their maidens but now have to step up.
"I have been brought up with horses and I only know one thing - to get up in the morning, go to work and see horses all day. Racing is what I live and breathe.
"Taking on this role as one of the faces of Godolphin, I am very lucky in knowing Godolphin inside out.
"I am not afraid of the extra responsibility and have great support from everybody within Godolphin."
Simon Crisford, Godolphin racing manager, said: "Charlie has been with Godolphin for nearly 15 years and worked his way up to the top.
"He has always been a tremendous asset to Godolphin and we are looking forward to him making a huge success of his training career."