Mahmood al-Zarooni accepts fate and drops his appeal
Disgraced Godolphin trainer decides to abandon plea against length of eight-year ban
Those who had been hoping that an appeal might substantiate a variety of colourful conspiracy theories can now test them only against Mahmood al-Zarooni's decision not to contest his suspension after all. As ever, however reluctantly, they should probably accept that the most pedestrian explanation for the latest twist in the tale – the British Horseracing Authority announced that Zarooni's solicitors had withdrawn his appeal – must also be counted the most likely.
It had seemed optimistic to the point of eccentricity for the disgraced Godolphin trainer, who was given an eight-year ban last month, to imagine that he had left himself much room for manoeuvre in his brazen admissions about the administration of anabolic steroids to 15 horses in his care. Those uncomfortable with the breathless haste of proceedings against him had admittedly been relieved that Zarooni, after waiving representation at the initial hearing, might at least have his case reprised by someone with a better grasp of legal niceties – not to mention the English language. But he only ever indicated an intention to protest against the severity of his penalty, and any case he might have made has since been drastically weakened by the only new detail to have emerged about the scandal.
In lavishly incriminating himself to BHA officials, Zarooni had volunteered the names of four other horses to have received steroids – in addition to the 11 who produced positive samples after random testing of 45 animals at his yard in Newmarket. But then the rest of the Moulton Paddocks string was tested and produced seven new positives, including the St Leger winner, Encke.
The BHA deferred any further action, on that account, pending the appeal already lodged by Zarooni. So those who hoped that unanswered questions might yet be addressed at a second hearing must now rely upon the BHA asking them in its own right. For while the extra seven cases might seem to compound Zarooni's guilt only as a matter of degree, it would certainly be worth establishing whether or not they sustain his submission – convenient as it was, both to his former employers and the regulators themselves – that he had acted alone. According to his own, lurid testimony about the 15 admitted cases, he passed unmarked syringes to junior assistants from his car window during a pre-season visit to the yard. Zarooni spent most of his winter in Dubai and, while his own testimony has been rendered unreliable by the new positives, some public account should be sought for seven extra cases among horses supervised for so many months by anonymous lieutenants.
While investigations continue into the medication regime at Moulton Paddocks, the stable can at least resume business next week. Saeed bin Suroor, supplanted by his former assistant as Godolphin's No 1 trainer over the past three years, has been licensed to take over after his own nearby yard produced 100 per cent clean results in tests undertaken by the BHA "for the sake of completeness". With the exception of the 22 horses tainted by Zarooni, who all remain suspended until the last week of the turf season, Bin Suroor is able to send out runners from Moulton Paddocks from next Tuesday.
Latest in Sport
Sami Khedira to Arsenal: Midfield omitted from Real Madrid squad for Spanish Super Cup
David Gold furious after Carlton Cole parody account mocks up a picture of West Ham chairman as a suspect in the Madeleine McCann case
Paul Scholes: Manchester United need five experienced players who can turn round a desperate situation
Angel Di Maria latest: Manchester United target is Real Madrid's 'best player', says Diego Simeone
Luis Nani exit: The curious case of the Manchester United winger
- 2 ALS ice bucket challenge co-founder Corey Griffin drowns, aged 27
- 4 Nicki Minaj 'Anaconda': Singer finally releases predictable video
- 5 James Foley 'beheading': Met police warn public watching murder video could be criminal offence
Scottish independence: English people overwhelmingly want Scotland to stay in the UK
Isis threat: Cameron wants an alliance with Iran
Richard Dawkins on babies with Down Syndrome: 'Abort it and try again – it would be immoral to bring it into the world'
Crisis? What crisis? A visiting US doctor gives the NHS a rave review
Michael Brown shooting: Chaos erupts on the streets of Ferguson after autopsy shows teenager was shot six times – twice in the head
Scottish Independence Referendum: Salmond described as 'arrogant, ambitious and dishonest' by Scottish women
£15 - £17 per hour: Ashdown Group: Marketing & PR Assistant - Kentish Town are...
£250 - £300 per day: Orgtel: Senior Network Integration/Test Engineer Berkshir...
£30000 - £37000 per annum + attractive benefits: Ashdown Group: .NET Developer...
£20000 - £25000 per annum + OTE £40,000: SThree: SThree Group have been well e...