A contrite Gerard Butler has spoken of needing a "painfully renewed sense" of the principles he neglected after issuing a statement in the wake of his five-year disqualification from racing for five years.
The British Horseracing Authority on Wednesday accused Butler of an "appalling" dereliction of his duties at the end of a disciplinary panel hearing, announcing the Group One-winning trainer admitted to all seven charges against him relating to samples of an anabolic steroid found in horses in his care.
Nine of his horses produced positive samples, five cases of which were identified as the joint treatment Sungate, which contains the banned anabolic steroid stanozolol.
However, considered even more serious was Butler's admission of administering another substance, Rexogin, to four horses himself.
Rexogin is designed for use in humans, often for bodybuilding, and contains 10 times as much stanozolol as Sungate.
Butler said in a statement issued through solicitor Richard Brooks of Withy King: "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. I have no intention of hiding from my responsibility for an error of judgement that has undone many years of honest endeavour.
"I wish only to offer one or two observations, then, with no intention of diluting the contrition I feel.
"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."
Nicky Henderson was forced to rule Sprinter Sacre out of the BetVictor Tingle Creek Chase at Sandown on Saturday.
The star of the National Hunt scene returned a dirty tracheal wash earlier in the week and his results are still not 100%, leaving the champion trainer to take the agonising decision not to declare his stable star for his intended seasonal reappearance.
Instead, while Henderson mentioned the possibility of the Desert Orchid Chase at Kempton over Christmas, the Clarence House Chase, formerly known as the Victor Chandler, at Ascot on January 18 is now his most likely port of call.
"We've taken the decision not to run. We've re-tested him and just got the results back," said the Seven Barrows handler.
"Having spoken to all the vets possible and his owner Caroline Mould, we've decided not to go. His figures have improved quite dramatically since Monday but there was just one figure that was causing us concern.
"I had a figure in my mind that I wanted to see and it just wasn't quite there.
"We can't take any chances with him and having told everyone earlier in the week that he had a problem and if we ran him and god forbid something happened, then everyone would ask what we are doing running him.
"I suppose there's the Desert Orchid Chase at Kempton but we'll probably wait for the Victor Chandler Chase now.
"Now we can get him on some medication and it is the sort of thing that will clear up in no time but obviously we couldn't give him anything earlier in the week.
"It's very disappointing for everybody but Captain Conan will take his place and he's a horse on the upgrade."
Nine horses were declared, including Captain Conan, who took the Henry VIII Novices' Chase on this card 12 months ago for his third Grade One course success.
Apart from Sprinter Sacre, the only other withdrawal was Hinterland, leaving his trainer Paul Nicholls to be represented by Kauto Stone, who was runner-up to Sizing Europe in this race in 2011.
Sire De Grugy showed his liking for the track when winning the Celebration Chase in April and his trainer Gary More is hoping a return to Esher will spark the seven-year-old into an improved performance following his defeat by Kid Cassidy in the Shloer Chase at Cheltenham.
The Mick Channon-trained Somersby will attempt to supplement his victory in the Haldon Gold Cup at Exeter.
Completing the line-up are His Excellency, Mad Moose, Oiseau de Nuit, Tataniano and Viva Colonia.
Sprinter Sacre would have been a long odds-on chance for the Grade One showpiece and in his absence Sire de Grugy has been installed the 7-4 favourite.
BetVictor spokesman Charlie McCann said: "Whilst the absence of the champion chaser is a blow to all the race looks wide open without Sprinter Sacre and we make Gary Moore's Sire Du Grugy 7-4 favourite from Captain Conan at 5-2 and Somersby 11-4."
Paul Nicholls is keeping his fingers crossed conditions at Sandown do not deteriorate ahead of Saint Roque's bid for a fifth consecutive victory in Friday's Neptune Investment Management Novices' Hurdle.
The seven-year-old has risen 30lb in the ratings with victories at Fontwell, Worcester, Newton Abbot and Cheltenham and now steps up to Grade Two level for a race better known as the Winter Novices' Hurdle.
Nicholls said: "He's obviously on a good run and is improving all the time.
"He needs good ground. I haven't run him since he won at Cheltenham in October because he is at his best when racing fresh.
"He has won four races now, so is not that easy to place. He is very well and I am looking forward to running him again.
"I just hope they don't get any rain overnight. I don't think they will, but good to soft ground is as soft as he'd want it."
Saint Roque features in a six-runner field, with Nicholls' great rival Nicky Henderson saddling last month's runaway Ascot scorer Beat That.
Jonjo O'Neill's Oscar Fortune is on a hat-trick following victories at Huntingdon and Carlisle, while the Charlie Longsdon-trained Killala Quay has also won twice over timber, but was well held at Cheltenham last time.
Likely outsiders Back In June and House Party complete the sextet.
Trainer Kim Bailey is keen to see how Charlie Hall hero Harry Topper fares on a sounder surface as he faces just two opponents at Sandown on Friday.
The six-year-old struck three times as a novice last season, but failed to complete on his final two outings of the campaign at Kelso and Punchestown.
He made a triumphant return in Wetherby's feature event in early November, however, igniting dreams of a potential Cheltenham Gold Cup bid.
Harry Topper faces the Paul Nicholls-trained Rolling Aces and Gary Moore's Vino Griego in the Future Stars Chase over an extended three miles, and Bailey said: "He's all ready to go and it will be an interesting race as it will be the fastest ground he's run on I would think.
"It will be an interesting tactical battle as well with only the three runners.
"Every race is a learning curve and this will be new ground, a new track and big fences for our horse, so we'll see what happens. We're taking it one race at a time. Let's get this out of the way before we look any further ahead."
Rolling Aces is officially rated 3lb above Harry Topper, having raised his game when making a winning return to action in the Powers Irish Whiskey Chase at Down Royal early last month.
Nicholls said: "He won well at Down Royal and is stepping back up to three miles. I think the trip should be fine. He was second in the Racing Plus Chase last season.
"He goes there in good form, he goes well fresh and obviously with Harry Topper in there, it's going to be an interesting race.
"We did have him in the King George, but we took him out of that. We'll see how he gets on and then make a plan for the spring."
Vino Griego has failed to complete the course on his last two starts at Cheltenham and Moore admits it will be a tough ask to beat his two rivals.
He said: "If he can get round that would be a start! Anything other than that would be a bonus, I think.
"He's facing two tough horses, but hopefully it will be a nice confidence booster for our horse. He's run in big fields the last twice and has been a bit unlucky to come down on both occasions. He's made stupid mistakes.
"He's done plenty of schooling since his last run, so hopefully we've put things right and we'll see how he gets on."
Ante-post favourite On His Own is among 24 horses declared for the Betfred Becher Chase at Aintree on Saturday.
The Willie Mullins-trained nine-year-old has been among the leading contenders for the last two renewals of the Grand National over the famous Aintree fences and although he has fallen on both occasions, many punters expect him to make it third time lucky over the shorter trip he encounters this weekend.
Ireland's champion trainer also saddles Vesper Bell, with Henry de Bromhead's cross-country specialist Sizing Australia a third challenger from across the Irish Sea.
Cheltenham Festival and Royal Ascot winner Junior heads the weights for trainer David Pipe, who is also represented by Swing Bill and Bostons Angel.
The latter was a three-times Grade One winner for trainer Jessica Harrington, but makes his debut for new connections this weekend.
The McCain family are of course synonymous with Aintree and trainer Donald has a major contender in Across The Bay, who navigated the fences when 14th in the Grand National in April.
Other contenders include Paul Nicholls' Join Together, the Alan King-trained Walkon, Tom George's veteran Big Fella Thanks, Nicky Henderson's Roberto Goldback and David Bridgwater's Wyck Hill.
Timmy Murphy has been suspended for nine days following his altercation with fellow jockey Dominic Elsworth at Newbury last week.
Murphy left the track with a dislocated shoulder on Friday and it was later discovered he had been involved in a scuffle in the weighing room.
Grand National winner Murphy had to give up the ride on Our Father in Saturday's Hennessy Gold Cup and both jockeys were asked to attend an inquiry at Wincanton on Thursday.
Stewards interviewed Murphy, Elsworth, Professional Jockeys' Association chief executive Paul Struthers and valet Chris Maude and found that Murphy was the instigator and main protagonist in the altercation.
The stewards also found Murphy had suffered a dislocation of his shoulder as a result of having to be restrained by Maude.
Murphy will miss the key action over the Christmas period, having been suspended December 19-22 and 26-30.
Stipendiary steward Paul Barton said: "On the Friday evening we knew Timmy Murphy had to go to hospital but we didn't know why, although overnight it clearly became obvious something had happened.
"We opened an inquiry into the alleged incident, and spoke to Paul Struthers, Chris Maude the valet and Dominic Elsworth to get their version of events. Timmy Murphy wasn't there and the earliest we could hold the inquiry was today.
"Timmy Murphy has confirmed there were two incidents in the changing room, both of which were instigated by him. He admitted instigating them, and apologised to Dominic Elsworth.
"The second incident happened probably not long after the first one, and Timmy Murphy's shoulder was injured when he was restrained by the valet.
"In the rules, the penalties can range from one to 21 days, with an entry point of four. There were two incidents, and it has been aggregated up. It could have been far higher but he is mitigated slightly as he did admit it, and apologised as soon as he could."
Sky Lantern, whose flame flickered when she 'went quiet' on arrival in Hong Kong, showed that she is now acclimatising to her new surroundings ahead of the Longines Hong Kong Mile with a pleasing visit to the training track on Thursday morning.
The 1,000 Guineas and Coronation Stakes winner looked perky in her breeze of one circuit of the Sha Tin course, with assistant trainer Richard Hannon Jnr and big race partner Richard Hughes spectating.
Hannon reported that tracheal washes and blood tests taken on the grey have come back 100%, and that the Ben Keswick-owned filly would remain in training as a four-year-old.
Keswick's family own Jardine Matheson, one of the most famous reading companies in the old colony, which was part of the reason for Sky Lantern heading East for her last hurrah of the 2013 campaign.
Hannon said: "She was a bit quiet when she arrived but we've done all the bloods and trachea washes. They are fine and she's in fantastic form.
"The owner living here was part of the reason we targeted this race and we are looking forward to taking on Moonlight Cloud. They are two very good fillies, but it's not a two-horse race.
"We've locked horns with Freddie Head before, in the recent past when Paco Boy and Canford Cliffs were competing against Goldikova. Once again we shall relish the challenge.
"She's had a nice break since the Sun Chariot but our filly will like the track and enjoy the ground."
Sky Lantern will be Richard Hannon senior's last big race runner before he hands over the licence at Herridge and Everleigh Stables to his son.
Hannon Jnr added: "Her assets are that she can sit back but she has plenty of speed, but let's leave it to Hughsie to do what he likes as he's pretty good!"
Moonlight Cloud was also out on the training track supervised by Head and the George Strawbridge-owned filly engaged in a routine breeze over six furlongs.
Head said: "It's all good, she is fine and we are looking forward to Sunday's race. I don't know much about a couple of the others, especially the American horse (King Kreesa), and we know Sky Lantern is very good, but I'm delighted with my filly."
Red Cadeaux, the horse who from an International perspective has seen it all, was out on the all-weather track at Sha Tin and looking cool and collected ahead of Sunday's Longines Hong Kong Vase.
The Ronnie Arculi-owned gelding keeps bouncing back to silence those that dare write him off, latterly when runner-up to Fiorente in the Melbourne Cup at Flemington.
With career earnings of just under �4 million, he is a testament to the training skills of Ed Dunlop and his travelling head lad Robin Trevor-Jones. The latter indicated that Red Cadeaux is set to continue his pursuit of the top International middle-distance prizes through 2014, and said: "He'll have options all over the world in the next 12 months, it's a case of carrying on until he tells us he's had enough."
He went on: "I think he was beaten by a well-handicapped rival in Fiorente, while his Melbourne race against Dunaden could have gone one way or the other, unfortunately it went their way.
"The people behind him are looking to the future. One thing that is noticeable is that he takes a bit longer to get over his races, but you can't argue that he's showing as much ability as ever and enjoying every moment.
"Mr Arculi is looking for the next Red Cadeaux and bought his half-brother for 280,000 guineas at Tattersalls."
Robert Cowell was left cursing his luck after his Nunthorpe winner Jwala draw the widest stall of all in the Longines Hong Kong Sprint.
The four-year-old filly, who subsequently finished fourth in the Prix de l'Abbaye after her crowning glory at York, will have to defy stall 14.
Cowell tweeted: "We've come half way round the world and draw gate 14 of 14!"
Eddie Lynam's two runners are next door to each other with Sole Power in nine and Slade Power in 10.
There was better news for the rest of the Europeans with The Fugue faring well in stall three for the Vase.
In the same race Dandino drew five, Mount Athos six, Red Cadeaux 11, Dunaden 12 and Galileo Rock 13.
In the Cup Side Glance is in two, Grandeur drew seven with Cirrus Des Aigles in 10.
Moonlight Cloud is in stall six for the Mile with Sky Lantern in eight and Gordon Lord Byron in four.
Gordon Lord Byron's trainer Tom Hogan said: "He's a much stronger horse than he was last year and the fast pace will suit us, giving us the opportunity to attack late.
"He loves the fast ground and we are very happy. Last year, within two hours of the race he had a high temperature."
Owner Stephen Arnold has been disqualified for three months after admitting to breaching the rules in relation to laying 10 of his horses, the British Horseracing Authority has said.
Arnold, whose horses run under the moniker of Rakebackmypoker.com, was called before a disciplinary panel of the BHA charged with 10 counts of laying his horses to lose, involving races between June 2012 and March this year.
The panel considered whether Arnold acted in breach of Rule (E) 92.2 in that he placed lay bets and/or instructed another person to do so on his behalf and/or received the whole or part of the proceeds of such an act at a time when he was the owner of the horses in question.
A tweet from the BHA read: "Registered owner Stephen Arnold has been disqualified for three months after admitting to breaches of Rule (E) 92.2 on 10 counts.
"The disqualification begins as of tomorrow. The disciplinary panel's reasons will follow in due course."
Speaking to At The Races last month, Arnold insisted he had not been aiming to profit from horses getting beat, saying: "If I go by their idea of laying then I'm guilty, obviously.
"But at no stage was I aiming to profit from any horse getting beat, all I was trying to do was prevent horses crashing for �4 or �5 on a morning on Betfair until we could get a reasonable bet on a horse with bookmakers."
Arnold, who has recently moved 21 of his horses to the Southwell yard of Ann Stokell, later wrote on his Twitter page: "Huge thanks for all the support I have been shown in very difficult times disappointing to get a ban, but at least I can lease the horses to stay in the yard with Ann Stokell and no staff will lose their jobs so I am happy about that as that was a big worry for me."