Al Zarooni to contest eight-year ban

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THE British Horseracing Authority said last night that Mahmood Al Zarooni has lodged an appeal against the severity of an eight-year suspension from training.

Al Zarooni, 37, was found guilty of administering anabolic steroids to 15 horses in his care at a BHA hearing on 25 April.

The former Godolphin handler was officially charged with rule breaches related to prohibited substances, duty to keep medication records and conduct prejudicial to racing. The BHA said in a statement he will now contest the length of that eight-year ban, with the date for the appeal hearing confirmed in due course.

The Dubai-born handler, who trained at Moulton Paddocks in Newmarket, has admitted to all of the breaches of the rules.

He also apologised for his actions at the hearing, at which he waived the right of legal representation.

Al Zarooni was, according to the BHA’s official findings, guilty of a “widespread systematic misuse of illegal substances”. The case, widely regarded to be the most serious doping scandal in recent British racing history, led to Godolphin principal Sheikh Mohammed, who was “appalled and angered” by Al Zarooni’s actions, locking down Moulton Paddocks.

The BHA said all of the horses which were under the care of Al Zarooni have now been tested, with the results to be confirmed in due course.

Meanwhile, Kelso hosts its penultimate card of the spring today, and Keith Reveley has his eye on some prize money with Night In Milan spear-heading his trio of Saltburn raiders at the borders venue.

The recent all-the-way course and distance winner is among the 11 runners for the Bedmax Handicap Chase (for the Haddington Jubilee Cup). Reveley, who has son James booked for his three representatives, said: “Night In Milan loves Kelso. He will like the ground and he also won a nice chase round Kelso this time last year.”

The first in action for the Cleveland trainer is three-time hurdle winner Robbie, who makes his debut over fences in the opening Aver Chartered Accountants Novices’ Chase.

Reveley added: “He’s a smashing horse and loves fast ground. It’s his first chase but he’s schooled well at home and I just hope for a safe round and that he gets a nice experience. We’re up against a decent horse in Jack The Gent.”

I Got Power is one of five newcomers in the bumper, which is sponsored by Douglas Pryde, co-owner of Grand National hero Auroras Encore.