Mahmood al-Zarooni appeals against eight-year ban from training following Godolphin scandal

Al Zarooni was found guilty of administering anabolic steroids to 15 horses

If the British Horseracing Authority and Sheikh Mohammed had both hoped that the dust might finally begin to settle on the Godolphin steroids scandal, they were disappointed when its author unexpectedly contrived to stoke things up anew. Mahmood al-Zarooni was given an eight-year ban after conceding sole responsibility for 11 positive tests among 45 samples taken at his Newmarket yard last month, but has now lodged a protest against the severity of that penalty.

The candour of his admissions to an independent disciplinary panel had made an appeal seem an outlandish prospect, even after he sought advice on the possibility from Facebook friends. The disgraced trainer had described handing five unlabelled syringes from his car window to an assistant, together with a list of horses; and also how he had secreted the drugs among his luggage from Dubai. As such, regardless of any change to the outcome, the very fact that he now wishes to revisit the affair may be rather queasily received by regulators and former employers alike.

After all, his case was heard within 72 hours of the charges against him being made public, and he mysteriously waived his right to legal representation. Given his limited grasp of English, the absence of anyone competent to attempt some plea in mitigation seemed to leave the whole, hasty process open to a degree of unease.

The one exculpation offered by Zarooni himself was ignorance, use of steroids in training being permitted in certain other jurisdictions – not least Dubai itself – so long as they have cleared a horse’s system by raceday. Both the disciplinary panel and the Godolphin manager, Simon Crisford, refused to believe that he had been under any illusions about the status of the medication he appears to have introduced, in his own account, so surreptitiously. None the less the collective determination to disown Zarooni now appears to have invited fresh embarrassment, if only in the extension of the saga.

Seldom has the Chester May meeting, one of the most charming in the calendar, seemed such a welcome palliative. Though 12lb higher than when winning last year, Ile De Re returns to the Stan James Chester Cup only 4lb higher than when following up in the Northumberland Plate and represents a local yard seeking its third consecutive win. Countrywide Flame looks better weighted, being readily pardoned a lesser effort at Aintree after having just 23 days to absorb his superb third in the Champion Hurdle. He has a handy draw, a valid consideration even at this trip round these dizzy bends, but preference is for one berthed just inside.

Justification (2.45) has a top-class staying pedigree, by Montjeu out of the dam of Opera House and Kayf Tara, and has significantly been retained at Ballydoyle as a five-year-old gelding. He gave some indication why in a Leopardstown handicap last month, heavily backed for only his fifth career start and travelling well before seeing things out strongly. Better again is anticipated at this distance, and he looks lethally treated off 8st 8lb as a horse with entries for the Investec Coronation Cup and the Gold Cup at Ascot.

Charles Hills must have sound reasons for risking a low handicap mark for Premium (2.15) in the Weatherbys Bank Cheshire Oaks, while Smugglers Gold (1.45) and Last Sovereign (3.15) hold obvious interest in races that place an exorbitant premium on the draw. It will, as ever, be a white-knuckle ride for the jockeys – but they must still count themselves less vulnerable than their counterparts over jumps. A breakthrough season for Bryan Cooper ended with a literal break in a novice chase at Down Royal on Monday, of his left femur, and he will be sidelined until September.

Arts & Entertainment
Ricky Gervais at a screening of 'Muppets Most Wanted' in London last month
tvAs the second series of his divisive sitcom 'Derek' hits screens, the comedian on why he'll never bow to critics who habitually circle his work
Arts & Entertainment
Don (John Hamm) and Megan (Jessica Paré) Draper are going their separate ways in the final series of ‘Mad Men’
tvReview: The suits are still sharp, but Don Draper has lost his edge
News
news
Life & Style
Going down: Google's ambition to build an elevator into space isn't likely to be fulfilled any time soon
techTechnology giant’s scientists say there is no material strong enough for a cable from Earth into orbit
VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition iPad app?
News
David Cameron sings a hymn during the enthronement service of The Most Rev Justin Welby as Archbishop of Canterbury, at Canterbury Cathedral last year
news
Life & Style
From long to Jong: Guy Pewsey outside Mo Nabbach’s M&M Hair Academy in west London before the haircut
fashionThe Independent heads to an Ealing hairdressers to try out the North Korean dictator's trademark do
Sport
Vito Mannone fails to keep out Samir Nasri's late strike
sportMan City 2 Sunderland 2: Keeper flaps at Nasri's late leveller, but Black Cat striker's two goals in 10 minutes had already done damage
Extras
indybest10 best smartphones
News
peopleRyan Gosling says yes, science says no. Take the A-list facial hair challenge
Arts & Entertainment
tvCreator Vince Gilligan sheds light on alternate endings
News
Paul Weller, aka the Modfather, performing at last year’s Isle of Wight Festival in Newport
people
Life & Style
Michael Acton Smith founded Firebox straight out of university before creating Moshi Monsters
techHe started out selling silliness with online retailer Firebox, before launching virtual creatures who took the real world by storm
News
Ethical matters: pupils during a philosophy lesson
educationTaunton School's policy of putting philosophy at heart of its curriculum is one of secrets of its success
Arts & Entertainment
Play It Forward: the DC Record Fair in Washington, US
musicIndependent music shops can offer a tempting alternative to downloads on Record Store Day
Sport
video
Caption competition
Caption competition
Daily Quiz
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition iPad app?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Online Advertising Account Executive , St Pauls , London

£26K-30k + Bonus, Private Medical Insurance, Company Pension: Charter Selectio...

Advertising Account Executive - Online, Central London

£25K-28k + Bonus, Private Medical Insurance, Company Pension: Charter Selectio...

Senior Infrastructure Consultant

£50000 - £65000 Per Annum potentially flexible for the right candidate: Clearw...

Public Sector Audit - Bristol

£38000 per annum + Benefits: Pro-Recruitment Group: Do you have experience of ...

Day In a Page

Ricky Gervais: 'People are waiting for me to fail. If you think it's awful, then just don't watch it'

Ricky Gervais: 'People are waiting for me to fail'

As the second series of his divisive sitcom 'Derek' hits screens, the comedian tells James Rampton why he'll never bow to the critics who habitually circle his work
Mad Men series 7, TV review: The suits are still sharp, but Don Draper has lost his edge

Mad Men returns for a final fling

The suits are still sharp, but Don Draper has lost his edge
Google finds a lift into space will never get off the ground as there is no material strong enough for a cable from Earth into orbit

Google finds a lift into space will never get off the ground

Technology giant’s scientists say there is no material strong enough for a cable from Earth into orbit
Westminster is awash with tales of young men being sexually harassed - but it's far from being just a problem in politics

Is sexual harassment a fact of gay life?

Westminster is awash with tales of young men being sexually harassed - but it's far from being just a problem in politics
Moshi Monster creator Michael Acton Smith: The man behind a British success story

Moshi Monster creator Michael Acton Smith

Acton Smith launched a world of virtual creatures who took the real world by storm
Kim Jong-un's haircut: The Independent heads to Ealing to try out the dictator's do

Our journalist tries out Kim Jong-un's haircut

The North Korean embassy in London complained when M&M Hair Academy used Kim Jong-un's image in the window. Curious, Guy Pewsey heads to the hair salon and surrenders to the clippers
A History of the First World War in 100 moments: A forgotten naval victory in which even Nature played a part

A History of the First World War in 100 moments

A forgotten naval victory in which even Nature played a part
Vespa rides on with launch of Primavera: Iconic Italian scooter still revving up millions of sales

Vespa rides on with launch of the Primavera

The Vespa has been a style icon since the 1950s and the release this month of its latest model confirms it has lost little of its lustre
Record Store Day: Independent music shops can offer a tempting alternative to downloads

Record Store Day celebrates independent music shops

This Saturday sees a host of events around the country to champion the sellers of well-grooved wax
Taunton's policy of putting philosophy at heart of its curriculum is one of secrets of its success

Education: Secret of Taunton's success

Taunton School, in Somerset, is one of the country's leading independent schools, says Richard Garner
10 best smartphones

10 best smartphones

With a number of new smartphones on the market, we round up the best around, including some more established models
Mickey Arthur: Aussie tells ECB to stick with Ashley Giles

Mickey Arthur: Aussie tells ECB to stick with Ashley Giles

The former Australia coach on why England must keep to Plan A, about his shock at their collapse Down Under, why he sent players home from India and the agonies of losing his job
Homelessness: Why is the supported lodgings lifeline under threat?

Why is the supported lodgings lifeline under threat?

Zubairi Sentongo swapped poverty in Uganda for homelessness in Britain. But a YMCA scheme connected him with a couple offering warmth and shelter
A History of the First World War in 100 Moments: When the world’s biggest shed took over Regent’s Park

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments

When the world’s biggest shed took over Regent’s Park
The pain of IVF

The pain of IVF

As an Italian woman vows to keep the babies from someone else’s eggs, Julian Baggini ponders how the reality of childbirth is often messier than the natural ideal