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British trainer banned for doping horses

December 4, 2013

LONDON (AP) — A British trainer was banned for five years on Wednesday for seven breaches of racing rules including administering anabolic steroids to horses in his care.

Gerard Butler was accused of “an appalling dereliction of his duty as a licensed trainer” by the British Horseracing Authority, which handed down the punishment at a hearing in London.

Butler, who is based in Newmarket, admitted to giving four horses a substance — Rexogin — that contained the anabolic steroid stanozolol, is designed for use by bodybuilders, and involves using a method that should be carried out by only qualified veterinary surgeons.

“Butler’s actions were an appalling breach of his duty to look after the interests of the horses in his care,” the BHA said in a statement, “and amounted to conduct that was seriously prejudicial to the integrity, proper conduct and good reputation of horse racing in Britain.”

Butler admitted in April to giving a treatment called Sungate to several horses after being given assurances from a vet. However, he had instead been using Rexogin, which contains stanozolol at a concentration that was 10 times that of Sungate. The page on the website where he purchased the treatment quoted that it contained a steroid that had been discovered in many doping cases, including that of Canadian sprinter Ben Johnson from the Seoul Olympics in 1988.

Butler bought five boxes of the drug out of his own money and did not claim them as a deductable yard expense to avoid his accountant finding out, according to the BHA.

He injected them without veterinary advice and breached another racing rule by failing to keep a record of the treatments he used on horses.

“This was a serious and repeated breach of the rules by an experienced trainer using different preparations of stanozolol which was absolutely prohibited from use in horses in his care,” the BHA said.

It is the second doping scandal to rock British racing this year, after Godolphin trainer Mahmood Al Zarooni was banned for eight months in April for administering steroids to 15 horses.

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