Second British Racehorse Trainer Admits to Steroid Use

Britain's anabolic steroid scandal continued to spread April 29 when Newmarket, England, trainer Gerard Butler admitted to using steroids on his own horses, according to a report by British newspaper The Independent.

Butler has said he didn't think the medication was a problem because he included the injections, given for injured joints, in his medical records that had been reviewed by the British Horseracing Authority (BHA).

"It did not cross my mind that there could be any problem with this medication," Butler also told The Independent. "And, judging from the fact that the BHA said nothing about it when they saw my medical book, it does not seem to have crossed their minds, either."

The medication given is known as Sungate and contains the anabolic steroid stanozolol. While Butler admits he made "a terrible mistake," he also said the he was assured by his veterinarians that the medication was widely prescribed in Newmarket and has been given to more than 100 horses stabled there.

Butler said he treated a gelding named Little Black Book in June. The Irish-bred son of Shamardal, owned by A.D. Spence, ran on Aug. 4 and then won a one-mile handicap a couple of weeks later at Kempton.

"So they would have known he was clearly in training at the time," Butler told The Independent. "In the medical book, I signed that I had authorized use of the drug, and my vet had countersigned for its administration. Sungate had for some time been widely used in their practice, with very beneficial results for joint injuries."

The BHA did notify Butler of a positive test result after it conducted an unannounced sampling taken at his stable on Feb. 20. He said he immediately told the BHA of four other fillies that received the same treatment.

"I am not trying to defend myself, just to explain what happened," Butler told the newspaper. "And I must emphasize that I was advised in good faith by my vets."

The paper also reported that last month the BHA placed a notice in the newsletter of the National Trainers' Federation, advising that Sungate contained the prohibited substance, stanozolol.

Originally published on

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The Blood-Horse is the leading weekly publication devoted to international Thoroughbred racing and breeding. Since 1916, the staff of The Blood-Horse has served the Thoroughbred community with the highest standards of journalistic excellence to provide comprehensive and timely editorial coverage and analysis.

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