Equestrian Sports New Zealand received notification from the Fédération Equestre Internationale on Nov. 27 that the B blood sample taken from Clifton Promise at the Land Rover Burghley International Horse Trials CCI**** (Great Britain) has also tested positive for the banned substance reserpine. Clifton Promise, owned by Frances Stead, was ridden to victory at the event by New Zealand’s Jock Paget in early September.
Paget is now required to submit written documentation to the FEI explaining the presence of the banned substance in Clifton Promise’s bloodstream.
“He is confident of providing the FEI with a comprehensive explanation which will be considered at a hearing of the FEI Tribunal,” stated the ESNZ release. “Paget says that while the B sample result is disappointing, it was expected given the blood in the B sample was taken at the same time as the A sample.”
“I will continue to work closely with my team to provide a full explanation to the FEI,” Paget said in the ESNZ statement.
ESNZ was notified of the positive test from the A sample on Oct. 14, and since then both the rider and horse have been provisionally suspended from FEI and national competitions. Paget has been stood down from any official ESNZ activity while the legal process is underway.
“ESNZ is confident that he will provide a full and persuasive explanation to the FEI,” said Jim Ellis, ESNZ chief executive.
The facebook page Clifton Eventers also posted today: “As stated previously, Clifton Eventers will not be making any separate statement other than to emphasize once again that all the relevant parties state categorically that none of them have taken any actions with the intent of administering any prohibited substance. We would also reiterate that Clifton Eventers are firm supporters of all policies that prevent the use of any substances that enhance the performance of any horse. We all want a clean sport and a level playing field for competition. It is the only fair way for the best combination to become the winners on the day.”
No information about Clifton Pinot’s B sample result has yet been released.
Paget and Clifton Promise, a 15-year-old New Zealand Thoroughbred gelding (Engagement—Darn Style, Cautious Style), also won the Mitsubishi Motors Badminton CCI**** (England) this year.