- Horse Racing
I was naive to cut corners - Butler
Gerard Butler has described his five-year ban from training horses as a "devastating and humiliating experience", and has blamed the situation on his own naivety.
Butler was handed the suspension following a British Horseracing Authority inquiry on Wednesday, where he admitted seven charges of doping nine of his horses with a banned anabolic steroid.
The panel heard that Butler administered Rexogin - which contains stanozolol and is designed for human use - to four of his horses, via an injection method which only vets are prohibited to use. The 47-year-old claimed that he was unaware he was breaching rules having received assurances from veterinary surgeons.
In its ruling, the disciplinary panel stated Butler had revealed an "appalling dereliction of his duty as a licensed trainer", but the Irishman - who has been training racehorses for 15 years - stated the situation had derived from an "error of judgement" on his part.
"While this has been a devastating and humiliating experience for me, I am above all aware of its impact on others: not just my family, staff and owners but also the sport I have always loved," Butler said in a statement on Thursday.
"I have no intention of hiding from my responsibility for an error of judgement that has undone many years of honest endeavour. My sense that I had betrayed the standards I have always sought to maintain can be judged from the fact that I myself brought a number of breaches to the attention of the BHA.
"I hope it has also become evident how widespread were the misunderstandings, among the training and veterinary communities in Newmarket, over the use of Sungate.
"With that in mind, I must emphasise that no harm resulted to any of the horses involved - and, above all, that I would never have knowingly risked any such harm. It was wrong for me to cut corners but I did so principally through naivety.
"I am grateful for the many messages I have received that recognise this, and also how distressed I am to have let myself and others down. I have made a big mistake, and am paying a big price. The consequences for my wife and three sons will be a daily reproach, harder to bear than any judgements passed by others.
"All I can do is try to pick up the pieces. I will do so with a painfully renewed sense that the principles I neglected, in one disastrous lapse, will be those that serve me best in trying to rebuild my life."
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