• Horse Racing

Butler admits steroid use on his horses

ESPN staff
April 29, 2013 « Live County Championship coverage | Chartbeat test »
Gerard Butler has informed the BHA about steroid use © PA Photos
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The drug scandal in horse racing has taken a fresh twist, with trainer Gerard Butler confirming he has told the BHA that some of his horses have been injected with steroids.

Horse racing is still attempting to come to terms with the fallout from the scandal which saw Godolphin trainer Mahmood Al Zarooni warned off for eight years for giving his horses banned steroids.

There has been much talk on whether it was an isolated incident or the tip of the iceberg and Butler has suggested it is the latter by claiming a host of horses have been treated for joint conditions with the drug Sungate - which contains banned steroids.

"I have been totally candid throughout, and it was I who told the BHA that I had treated four colts in December and January," Butler told the Independent.

"I'm not trying to defend myself, just to explain what happened. And I must emphasise I was advised in good faith by my vets. It was an unpardonable misjudgement, purely to cut corners in what is a very expensive treatment.

"I have been very uncomfortable over the past few days, hearing and reading about the Al Zarooni case. I feel people need to know about what has happened in my yard."

Butler feels in excess of 100 horses had been administered Sungate while in training, but suggested other trainers may have authorised its use unwittingly on the advice of vets.

He said: "I know I'm obliged to satisfy myself that each and every treatment is within the rules, and I failed to do so in this case.

"But I am certain that this medication has been misunderstood by many others. And I just hope that the BHA is being suitably rigorous in establishing whether that is indeed the case.

"It did not cross my mind that there could be any problem with this medication. And, judging from the fact that the BHA said nothing about it when they saw my medical book, it does not seem to have crossed their minds, either.

"Little Black Book ran on August 4, and won a couple of weeks later, so they would have known he was clearly in training at the time. In the medical book, I signed that I had authorised use of the drug, and my vet had countersigned for its administration.

"Sungate had for some time been widely used in their practice, with very beneficial results for joint injuries."

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