New Zealand eventer Jonathan Paget is relieved to be finally able to put the past 10 months behind him, after being cleared of any wrongdoing in relation to his horse Clifton Promise last year failing an equine anti-doping test.
“I feel as though I had my career stripped from me and now someone has said ‘hang on, you can have it back’. It is complete relief,” Paget said.
“I didn’t know if I would be cleared, despite knowing I had done nothing wrong. I knew it wouldn’t be as easy as turning around and saying ‘I didn’t do it’. I was fortunate that we were able to find the source of the contamination, trace it and prove it, and – most importantly – that I wasn’t responsible nor could have known.”
Paget said the support he had received from sponsors, owners, his team-mates, staff, family, friends, Equestrian Sports New Zealand and his legal team at Burges Salmon had been invaluable.
Equestrian Sports New Zealand president Chris Hodson, QC, also welcomed the ruling.
“It is very important to the reputation of equestrian and New Zealand sport that no athlete should be knowingly involved in any act of doping.
“That Jock Paget has proved his innocence, which requires a very high standard which has only been achieved in one previous case, is intensely satisfying, and fully justifies the support which ESNZ has given him throughout.”
Hodson also reaffirmed ESNZ’s ongoing and active support of FEI Clean Sport and World Anti-Doping Agency programmes.