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World’s Biggest Race Horse Owner in Illegal Drug Veterinary Scandal 09/10/13

One of the world’s richest men and the Prime Minister of the United Arab Emirates is under investigation this week after illegal equine drugs were seized from an incoming flight from Dubai.

The products, labeled as ‘horse tack’, were seized by the UK border agency from a private Dubai Government jet that landed at Stanstead Airport earlier this year and contained over 200 doses of 15 different medicines.

The famous Royal Blue colours of Godolphin
© Racehorse Photos

Sheikh Mohammad, owner of the infamous Godolphin racing stables and head of state in Dubai has claimed that he was unaware of the drugs that were seized on the flight, however, this isn’t the first occasion Mohammad has been questioned in regards to equine drug use.

Just weeks before this seizure, a raid was carried out at Morley Farm in Newmarket, Suffolk, just 30 miles from Stanstead Airport. The stables at Morley Farm are owned by Godolphin and 124 illegal veterinary substances were seized by DEFRA (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs) during the raid there in August.

This comes after Mahmood al-Zarooni, the Godolphin trainer based in Newmarket, was disqualified from training for eight years after admitting administering anabolic steroids to 15 horses at his hearing in April. Another seven animals were later found to have been administered performance banned enhancing drugs.

Back in 2006, Sheikh Mohammed had a lawsuit filed against him in Kentucky, USA, which claims he encouraged the abduction of young boys for use as jockeys in camel races in the Middle East.

Mohammad has now asked his junior wife, Princess Haya who is the president for the International Federation for Equestrian Sports to investigate the seizure, overseeing this investigation will be Lord Stevens. Stevens, who is the former Met Police Commissioner issued a statement last week saying, ‘I have been asked by His Highness Sheikh Mohammad to oversee an internal inquiry that will examine organasational structures, internal communication and veterinary practices at all of the major components of Sheikh Mohammed’s equestrian properties and operations.’

This comes after a spokesperson for Sheikh Mohammad stated that,
‘Nobody seems to know in the organisation who is buying what or where.’ It’s now thought that internal auditing will be carried out to ensure regulations are met.

Although it’s been confirmed that the equine drugs seized at Stanstead were not anabolic steroids it’s been stated that there were products aboard the flight that were used to enhance endurance in horse racing including Tildren, a drug commonly used by veterinarians to promote the growth and generation of bone issue. Ordinarily however Tildren would be prescribed once or twice a year for a normal adult horse while over 100 doses of injectable powder were discovered.

Several factors in the seizure seem to weigh strongly against Mohammad. Firstly, labelling the packages incorrectly as “horse tack” could be an honest mistake but can be perceived as a deliberate attempt to deceive authorities. Secondly, Mohammad is famous for his support of endurance racing which can see horses race for up to 100 miles and joint damage, arthritis and eventual lameness are a serious concern which would explain the amount of Tildren. Finally, this is not the first time Mohammad has come under question and in fact has a developed a pattern of trying to gain an unfair advantage over the competition. The fact that Mohammad’s wife will be the one investigating him must also beg the question of a conflict of interest in this case.

Mohammad is a dominant figure in both horse racing and horse breeding. As well as owning Godolphin stables, he owns Darley Stud, the biggest horse breeding operation in the world. Arabian bred horses such as the Byerley Turk, Darley Arabian and the Godolphin Arabian are recognised today as the oldest and purest breed of horse. Thoroughbred breeds of these particular horses were imported to Britain in the early 1700’s.

If horse racing and betting is your thing watch out for the Dubai Future Champions day coming up at Newmarket Racecourses this Saturday. If your bet doesn’t come in, don’t worry, the EuroMillions this weekend has an estimated jackpot of £27,000,000!

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