Al Zarooni profile
We look at the profile of disgraced trainer Mahmood Al Zarooni following his eight-year ban.
Last Updated: 26/04/13 9:27am
It is difficult to think of a trainer who made more of an impact in the first three years of their career than Mahmood Al Zarooni, who today lost his licence for a period of eight years following the revelation a number of his horses tested positive for the presence of anabolic steroids.
Appointed by Sheikh Mohammed personally before the Dubai Carnival of 2010 having previously assisted Saeed Bin Suroor, his new job saw him in effect set up in direct competition to his former ally.
The sheer number of horses owned by Sheikh Mohammed meant Bin Suroor could not devote enough time to each horse, with around about 300 in training, and the Sheikh decided the huge string should be split.
On being handed the role Al Zarooni was quoted as saying: "Becoming a Godolphin trainer is a great honour. I am very thankful to everyone, especially H.H. Sheikh Mohammed, who has given me so much support.
"He has always been very helpful and is responsible for providing me with this fantastic opportunity."
Al Zarooni's first runner was a winner when Calming Influence claimed the Group Two Godolphin Mile at Meydan and it had largely been a success story ever since.
Al Zarooni's statistics are quite remarkable, and from 386 individual runners, 149 of them won which means an impressive 39 per cent of all the horses he ran in a three-year period were successful.
He won 12 Group Ones, with Blue Bunting's thrilling win in the Irish Oaks his 100th winner as a Godolphin trainer.
Initially Al Zarooni gained his experience in endurance races in the desert, but in the 1990s he picked up a job with former Newmarket trainer Rod Simpson, who at the time was training some Arabian-bred horses.
A season and a half was spent with Simpson and he progressed to assistant trainer, but in 1999 he moved to join Ali Rashid Al Raihe where for the first time he worked with thoroughbreds.
Two years later they moved to Metropolitan Stables in Dubai at the invitation of Sheikh Mohammed and in 2003 they moved again, to Grandstand Stables.
While with Al Raihe, Al Zarooni developed a reputation for working with unruly horses and he also spent time at the Dubai Carnival watching other top-class trainers, picking up tips along the way.
Ahead of the 2008/09 season, Sheikh Mohammed took him to assist Mubarak bin Shafya, helping to prepare Gladiatorus to win the Dubai Duty Free and Eastern Anthem who won the Sheema Classic.
After that, Sheikh Mohammed asked him to join Godolphin to act as one of Bin Suroor's assistants. By 2010 he was ready to go it alone.
He was off the mark when Lion County, his third runner in Britain, won at Pontefract on April 28 and his first European Classic came when Frozen Power landed the German Guineas in May.
His first Group One win also came in Germany when Buzzword claimed the Derby in July that year. Later that season, Biondetti won the Gran Criterium in Milan and became his first runner at the Breeders' Cup.
The following year saw Rewilding win the Sheema Classic and lower the colours of So You Think at Royal Ascot in a thrilling Prince of Wales's Stakes, with Blue Bunting excelling in winning the 1000 Guineas at Newmarket and the Irish Oaks at the Curragh.
However, without doubt the highlight of his career was at the 2012 Dubai Carnival when Monterosso and Capponi provided him with a one-two in the world's richest race, the Dubai World Cup.
It was only in September that Encke foiled the Triple Crown-seeking Camelot in the St Leger, and with Certify winter favourite for the 1000 Guineas after an unbeaten juvenile campaign, it is hard to fathom quite where it all went wrong for the unassuming Al Zarooni.