Former Oxfordshire trainer Gerard Butler has been banned from racing for five years after nine horses in his care tested positive for a banned anabolic steroid.

The 47-year-old, who trained at Churn Stables, Blewbury, near Didcot, for nine years up to May 2008, admitted at a British Horseracing Inquiry to seven charges relating to injecting horses.

Butler, who is now based at Newmarket, claimed vets assured him the substance did not breach rules.

However, the BHA said his actions were “an appalling breach of his duty to look after the interests of the horses in his care”.

The BHA’s disciplinary panel heard that Butler administered a prohibited substance called Rexogin to four of the horses using a method of injection only qualified veterinary surgeons are allowed to use.

Rexogin contains stanozolol and is designed for use in humans.

Butler had previously claimed he had used a weaker steroid called Sungate, which is a treatment for joint pain.