Field Fisher and 4 New Square silk set for horse doping hearing

Field Fisher Waterhouse (FFW) and 4 New Square have taken headline roles in relation to allegations of racehorse doping by Godolphin trainer Mahmood Al Zarooni.

Matthew Lohn
Matthew Lohn

FFW senior partner and public and regulatory specialist Matthew Lohn is chairing the British Horseracing Authority (BHA) disciplinary panel in London this afternoon (25 April).

Others on the independent three-person panel are Edward Dorrell and show judge Hopper Cavendish.

Lohn also chaired the BHA’s panel hearing in 2011 that resulted in trainer Howard Johnson being banned for four years over claims pertaining to horse welfare.

The BHA is represented by 4 New Square’s Graeme McPherson QC, who was instructed directly by BHA director of integrity, legal and risk Adam Brickell, a former lawyer at DLA Piper.

Farrer & Co disputes partner Gavin Bacon is understood to have been instructed by Al Zarooni to carry out preparatory work but will not be representing the trainer at today’s hearing. Bacon confirmed he was not representing Al Zarooni before the panel but declined to comment further.

Graeme McPherson QC
Graeme McPherson QC

Al Zarooni has been charged with multiple breaches of rules relating to prohibited substances and a duty to keep medication records after samples were obtained from 45 horses trained by the Emirati at Moulton Paddocks Stables in Newmarket.

On Monday (22 April) the BHA has received written advice from the Horseracing Forensic Laboratory that 11 of these samples contained prohibited substances including ethylestranol and stanozolol. All 11 horses have been suspended.

The authority said the conclusion of the hearing and confirmation of a decision and penalty could take place this afternoon.

Last year DLA Piper media partner Nick Fitzpatrick led a team advising the BHA on five-year deal with Betfair that ensured the gambling group would pay 10.75 per cent of its revenues from UK customers to horse-racing organisers British Racing.