Badminton, Burghley Winner Produces Positive Drug Test

Badminton, Burghley Winner Produces Positive Drug Test

Clifton Promise, here at the 2012 Rolex Kentucky Three-Day Event with rider Jock Paget, tested positive for reserpine following the 2013 Burghley Horse Trials.

Photo: Erica Larson, News Editor

Eventing champion Jonathan “Jock” Paget of New Zealand has been suspended after one of his mounts tested positive for a banned substance following this year's Burghley Horse Trials.

Paget, who won both the 2013 Mitsubishi Motors Badminton Horse Trials in May and the 2013 Land Rover Burghley Horse Trials in September riding 14-year-old gelding Clifton Promise, received news from his national federation Monday (Oct. 14) that he has been suspended until further notice. The national federation was also notified Monday by the Fédération Equestre Internationale (FEI) of the findings.

Traces of the tranquilizer drug reserpine were found in a blood sample from Clifton Promise, drawn Sept. 8 at the close of the Burghley Horse Trials. While this first sample, labeled the “A” sample, has been deemed positive, no definite sanctions will be given to the 29-year-old rider until his case has been considered by the FEI tribunal, an FEI representative said. As the “person responsible,” Paget has exercised his right to request an analysis of a “B” sample (a second blood sample taken at the same time as the "A" sample), the FEI representative told The Horse. Results of that analysis are expected “as soon as possible,” the FEI representative said. The FEI tribunal will hear the case after the "B" sample results are revealed.

If the "B" sample is positive, Paget faces a 2-year suspension from all international competitions, as well as a fine, the FEI representative said. The amount of the fine would be determined by the tribunal at the time of the hearing. Additionally, Clifton Pinot, a 13-year-old gelding ridden to 14th place at this year's Burghley Horse Trials by Australian Kevin McNab, also tested positive at the same event, for the same substance.

“EA (Equestrian Australia) will provide guidance to Kevin as he works through the options available to him through the FEI processes,” EA relayed in an online statement. “EA treats any breaches of doping and medication control seriously and has fully adopted and endorsed the FEI and ASADA (Australian Sports Anti-Doping Authority) anti-doping policies and procedures in this regard.”

Clifton Promise and Clifton Pinot have both been suspended for two months, pending the "B" sample test results and any subsequent hearings. Both horses are owned by France-based British entrepreneur Frances Stead, MA (Honors), of Clifton Eventers.

In human medicine, reserpine is used to treat both patients with high blood pressure and those with mental disorders. In horses, it can be used as a long-acting tranquilizer, often for horses on stall rest following injury.

In a statement on his Facebook page, Paget said he was unaware that the horse might have had the substance in his blood.

“To my wider team of supporters and friends, I wanted to let you that we were shocked to be advised that Clifton Promise has tested positive for a banned substance,” he stated. “We are awaiting the B sample and are focused on establishing the probable cause (to explain the positive sample).”

About the Author

Christa Lesté-Lasserre, MA

Christa Lesté-Lasserre is a freelance writer based in France. A native of Dallas, Texas, Lesté-Lasserre grew up riding Quarter Horses, Appaloosas, and Shetland Ponies. She holds a master’s degree in English, specializing in creative writing, from the University of Mississippi in Oxford and earned a bachelor's in journalism and creative writing with a minor in sciences from Baylor University in Waco, Texas. She currently keeps her two Trakehners at home near Paris. Follow Lesté-Lasserre on Twitter @christalestelas.

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