05/20/2013 1:47PM

Encke among seven Al Zarooni-trained horses banned for steroid use


Encke, the winner of the Group 1 English St. Leger Stakes last September, was among seven horses formerly trained by Mahmood Al Zarooni who have been banned from racing for six months after testing positive for steroids in recent out-of-competition testing, the British Horseracing Authority announced Monday.

The latest announcement brings to 22 the number of horses trained by Al Zarooni for Sheikh Mohammed’s Godolphin Racing who were administered the banned steroids ethylestranol or stanozolol. All of the horses tested positive after samples were taken at the Moulton Paddocks stable in Newmarket, England, and not after racing.

In a statement, the BHA said Encke and other horses trained by Al Zarooni were tested last month after the trainer was suspended for eight years due to 11 horses in his care testing positive for steroids. Al Zarooni later told officials that four other horses were given the same medication.

Al Zarooni has appealed the suspension. A hearing in the appeal is expected in late June. The BHA said it will delay action on Monday’s announced positives until the hearing in the first case is conducted.

Recent testing also occurred at Godolphin trainer Saeed Bin Suroor’s stable. No horses from that stable tested positive for steroids, the BHA said.

In April, Sheikh Mohammed announced that the Moulton Paddocks stable was “locked down” until the BHA completed testing. Bin Suroor took over the training of that stable Monday on a temporary basis. On its website, Godolphin racing manager Simon Crisford said Monday he was “very disappointed” that seven additional horses tested positive.

“These results highlight why Sheikh Mohammed took the decision to lock down the stables at Moulton Paddocks until every Godolphin horse in training at Newmarket had been tested,” he said in the statement.

Last month, the BHA announced that the 15 Al Zarooni horses initially found to be administered steroids were banned until early October.

Encke is part of a group that will be banned until Oct. 29 for testing positive for stanozolol. The other six horses are Energizer, Genius Beast, Improvisation, Stamford, Steeler, and Zip Top. The ban essentially eliminates those horses from racing during the current British flat-racing season on turf, which ends Nov. 9.

Many of the horses were stakes winners or stakes-placed, some for other stables before they were acquired by Godolphin. Energizer won the Group 3 Tercentenary Stakes at Royal Ascot last June, Genius Beast won the Group 3 bet365 Classic Trial at Sandown Park in 2011, Improvisation won a maiden race at Newmarket last month, Steeler won the Group 2 Royal Lodge Stakes last September, Zip Top was second in the Group 1 Racing Post Trophy at Doncaster in 2011, and Stamford is a maiden after two starts.

Encke was given routine drug tests twice last summer, including after his win in the St. Leger, and did not test positive, the BHA said.