Second Positive Test For Paget’s Horse

The B blood sample taken from Clifton Promise, ridden by Jock Paget of New Zealand at the Burghley International Horse Trials, has tested positive for the banned substance Reserpine (a long-term sedative that is extracted from the root of Rauwolfia serpentina or Rauwolfia vomitoria plants), according to a confirmation by the International Equestrian Federation.

Paget has remarked that it is disappointing to learn that the B sample has tested positive, but added it was expected as the blood in the B sample was taken at the same time as the A sample. In a statement, the New Zealander said he will continue to work closely with my team to provide a full explanation to the International Equestrian Federation.

At the Land Rover Burghley Horse Trials in September, the horse of Jonathan “Jock” Paget and another horse (Clifton Pinot, 14th at Burghley) ridden by his mentor, Kevin McNab, tested positive for the banned sedative Reserpine. The two horses are both from the team owned by Frances Stead and were housed in adjacent boxes in Burghley’s temporary stables. On October 14, the Equestrian Sports New Zealand (ESNZ) was notified of the positive test from the A sample and Paget and his horse since then have been provisionally suspended from FEI and national competitions. Clifton Promise is the first New Zealand horse to fail a dope test in any FEI sport.

Paget, the New Zealand equestrian, won a bronze medal in Team eventing at the 2012 Summer Olympics and became only the second rider after fellow New Zealander Mark Todd to win the Badminton Horse Trials on debut. Paget became a professional eventer in Australia before moving to the United Kingdom and is now based at Dunsfold.

The New Zealander is now expected to submit written documentation to the federation for explaining the presence of the banned substance in the horse’s bloodstream. Equestrian Sports New Zealand chief executive Jim Ellis remarked that Jock Paget must now provide a plausible and satisfactory explanation to the FEI over the coming months as to why that banned system was in Clifton Promise’s blood.

Meanwhile, Paget is very much confident of offering a comprehensive explanation that will be considered at a hearing. Paget may have lot of time to build his case as the hearing is expected to happen as late as February and March but he may be stripped of his Burghley title no matter what the outcome. Ellis also remarked that the rule violation makes that automatic and clearly the FEI tribunal will consider a period of suspension and, taking into account the evidence and facts of the matter that Jock will put to them, and said he really can’t pre-empt what that will be. This would mean that fellow New Zealander Andrew Nicholson who finished second in the prestigious event in September could now be promoted as the winner of the Burghley title.

Paget’s case is the second biggest scandal of the year after the systematic doping case of racehorses that are owned by Sheikh Mohammed and trained at New­market by Mahmood Al Zarooni.

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