- Horse Racing
Butler hit with five-year doping ban
Racing trainer Gerard Butler has been handed a five-year ban after admitting charges of doping nine of his horses with a banned anabolic steroid.
Butler made the admissions to the seven charges relating to injecting horses at a British Horseracing Authority inquiry, though claimed that he was unaware he was breaching rules having received assurances from veterinary surgeons.
However the 47-year-old was told he had made "an appalling breach of his duty to look after the interests of the horses in his care".
The disciplinary panel were told that Butler administered Rexogin - which contains stanozolol and is designed for human use - to four of his horses, via an injection method which only vets are prohibited to use.
Having previously claimed to have injected his horses with the weaker steroid Sungate, a treatment for joint pain, Butler revealed he had actually injected Rexogin - 10 times more concentrated - into the fetlock and knee joints of horses Azrag, Zain Eagle, Zain Spirit, and Prince Alzain.
It was also revealed that Butler bought the Rexogin on the internet with his own money and did not mark the purchase down on the yard's accounts.
"Butler's behaviour in administering the injections was consistent with the underhand and covert manner in which he purchased the drug," the panel said in its ruling.
He also admitted to failing to keep a record of the treatment.
"Butler's evidence revealed an appalling dereliction of his duty as a licensed trainer," the panel added.
"By his own admission, Butler kept no clear financial records or any invoice from the purchase of the Rexogin, he did not have the horses properly assessed prior to their treatment and made no recording in his medication records having injected the horses.
"He used junior stable staff to help him who would not question his actions and deceived his senior stable staff and kept from them important information about the treatment given to the horses."
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