08 September 2011

Steroids ban for India's top three trainers

In India, three leading trainers “have been banned as the steroids scandal that has rocked Indian racing involving a Classic winner finally drew to a close in Mumbai” reported racingpost.com.
However the “controversy rages on after Sheraz Sunderji, Cooji Katrak and master trainer Pesi Shroff received what was seen in some quarters as lenient penalties for their transgressions”. The Sunderji-trained Indian 2000 Guineas winner Ocean And Beyond was disqualified “after testing positive for the anabolic steroid Boldenone (also known by trade names Equipoise & Ganabol) at the Mumbai winter meeting run by the Royal West India Turf Club”. Traces of the banned substance were also found in post-race tests on 2000 Guineas runner-up Star Future (Katrak) and Eloise (Shroff) who was 3rd in the Indian 1000 Guineas; both horses were also disqualified. The trainers at the centre of the affair were found guilty merely for their “vicarious liabilities” according to medication rules: Katrak was suspended for 120-days; Shroff was suspended for 30-days; and Sunderji (found guilty once before in his career) was suspended for 45-days. RWITC chairman Vivek Jain issued a statement “seemingly in anticipation over the relatively soft punishments in a scandal that has garnered widespread publicity in India”. He claimed: “We have adhered to the rule book & past precedents. There was no clear evidence to question the trainers' intent of administrating the banned substance, but there is a clause of ‘vicarious liability' under which the sentences have been handed out.” Boldenone (the substance at the centre of the scandal) is a banned steroid “that could be used to build up muscle and stand more rigorous training”. racingpost.com noted: “Not only were the 3 horses concerned among the best in India, they were trained by 3 of the nation's most successful trainers.”
According to Indiarace.com, the trainers “maintained that the feed procured from the RWITC had been contaminated with the drug in question”. However stewards countered “by saying the same feed was given to about 200 horses and the remainder had all tested clean”. Run under the auspices of the Royal Western India Turf Club, the Mumbai Classics are India's senior races - in effect the national Classics. Via breedingracing.com.

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