Mahmood Al Zarooni’s legal team consider challenge to eight-year ban

Mahmood Al Zarooni has instructed his solicitors to investigate the soundness of the eight-year ban imposed on him by the British Horseracing Authority.

The former Godolphin trainer was found guilty of administering anabolic steroids to 15 horses in his care at a BHA hearing three years ago and admitted to all breaches of the rules.

Al Zarooni’s latest move comes after trainer Jim Best’s guilty verdict relating to non-trier charges was quashed after it emerged the chairman of the disciplinary panel at his original hearing, solicitor Matthew Lohn, was engaged by the BHA on other matters, giving rise to claims of an appearance of bias in favour of the governing body.

The BHA said that while there was “no suggestion of any actual bias” in the case, the non-disclosure of Lohn’s other work “created an appearance of bias”, and a rehearing was announced.

Lohn also chaired Al Zarooni’s disciplinary panel hearing in April 2013.

The disgraced former trainer’s solicitor Harry Stewart-Moore, who also represents Best, confirmed to Press Association Sport that Al Zarooni had asked him to look into his case.

However, the BHA’s media manager Robin Mounsey revealed that Lohn started advising the ruling body on other matters from October 2013 and that Al Zarooni’s hearing took place six months earlier.

Mounsey said: “The first approach was made to Matthew Lohn in October 2013 to provide advice on issues unrelated to his work as a disciplinary panel member.

“While we have had no contact as yet from Mahmood Al Zarooni’s solicitors, the fact is that the case involving Al Zarooni was heard prior to this date.

“The BHA recently announced that it has written to a number of individuals who were party to one of seven disciplinary cases where there might be grounds to claim an appearance of bias (although no suggestion of actual bias) in the panel hearing those cases.

“These were cases in which Matthew Lohn sat as a member of the BHA’s disciplinary panel following his instruction by the BHA in October 2013.

“The BHA took this action having taken advice from leading counsel Ian Mill QC.”

Meanwhile Lumiere will drop back down to six furlongs following her dismal display in the Prix Rothschild at Deauville on Sunday.

Last season’s Cheveley Park Stakes heroine trailed home last of 16 runners on her return to action in the 1000 Guineas, but got her career back on track with a stunning victory in a Listed event at Newmarket’s July meeting.

Mark Johnston’s charge returned to the highest level in France at the weekend, but after racing prominently, she weakened quickly in the closing stages and finished ninth of 10 runners in the one-mile Group One.

Lumiere is now in the frame for a potential tilt at the Haydock Sprint Cup, for which she will have to be supplemented, on September 3.

The Middleham handler said: “It (Prix Rothschild) was desperately disappointing, but she pulled too hard and didn’t get home - it was as simple as that.

“She’ll come back to six furlongs and we’ll see what happens then.

“Some big mile races closed on Tuesday and it broke my heart not to put her in.

“There was a forfeit stage for the Matron Stakes and I left her in that, so she’s got one up her sleeve just in case things change and we decided to go back to a mile later.

“But, for the time being, we’ll stick to six furlongs.

“There’s a Listed race at Newmarket in the middle of the month, we could go to that.

“The main target will be the Haydock Park Sprint Cup.”


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