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Godolphin admits "catastrophic error" in doping

The entrance of Godolphin stables is seen in Newmarket, eastern England April 23, 2013. REUTERS/Stefan Wermuth
The entrance of Godolphin stables is seen in Newmarket, eastern England April 23, 2013. REUTERS/Stefan Wermuth

LONDON (Reuters) - A Godolphin trainer has admitted to a "catastrophic error" in using banned steroids to dope race horses from Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum's illustrious racing stable.

Eleven horses tested positive for steroids, including stanozolol - the steroid used by disgraced Olympic sprinter Ben Johnson at the Seoul Olympics.

The trainer, Mahmood Al Zarooni, is to attend a British Horseracing Authority (BHA) disciplinary inquiry after the positive tests from horses in his care at Newmarket, southern England.

"I deeply regret what has happened. I have made a catastrophic error," Al Zarooni said on Godolphin's website (www.godolphin.com).

"Because the horses involved were not racing at the time, I did not realize that what I was doing was in breach of the rules of racing. I can only apologize for the damage this will cause to Godolphin and to racing generally."

Godolphin racing manager Simon Crisford said the discovery marked a "dark day" for Godolphin.

"His Highness Sheikh Mohammed was absolutely appalled when he was told and this is completely unacceptable to him. We will await the outcome of the BHA inquiry before taking any further internal action.

"Sheikh Mohammed has instructed me to begin an urgent review of all of our procedures and controls. That is already underway and we will take advice from the BHA in completing it."

(Reporting by Ossian Shine; Editing by Clare Fallon)

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