Another Burghley horse tests positive for Reserpine

Kevin McNab and Clifton Pinot. © Mike Bain
Kevin McNab and Clifton Pinot. © Mike Bain

The horse that finished 14th at the Burghley International Horse Trials tested positive for the same banned drug detected in a sample from the winning horse, it has been revealed.

Equestrian Australia said yesterday that it had told by the FEI that the A sample from the horse Clifton Pinot, ridden by Kevin McNab at Burghley, had returned a positive test for Reserpine.

Reserpine was also found in the A sample of Clifton Promise, the horse ridden to victory at Burghley by New Zealand’s Jonathan “Jock” Paget.

Resperine is classed as a tranquiliser, and is an alkaloid used for long-term sedation in horses. In humans, it has been used for the control of high blood pressure and for the relief of psychotic symptoms, although it is rarely used today because of the development of better drugs for these purposes.

The tests were part of routine testing conducted under the FEI’s Clean Sport programme.

Like Paget, McNab has been provisionally suspended from international and national competitions effective immediately, until further notice, pending the outcome of any FEI tribunal hearings and testing of the B Sample.

Clifton Pinot has been suspended provisionally for two months pending the outcome of any FEI hearings.

Equestrian Australia said it would provide guidance to McNab as he works through the options available to him through the FEI process.

Burghley newcomer Kevin McNab (AUS), who was fifth with Clifton Pinot at Luhmühlen this year.
Kevin McNab and Clifton Pinot at Burghley. © Mike Bain

Chief executive Grant Baldock says Equestrian Australia treats any breaches of doping and medication control seriously and has fully adopted and endorsed the FEI and the Australian Sports Anti-Doping Authority doping policies and procedures.

“As the matter is currently before the FEI, EA cannot make any further comments and any enquiries should be directed to the FEI.”

British Eventing and the British Equestrian Federation said in a statement: “We are very surprised to hear this.

“We do not feel that it is appropriate to comment any further since this is an on-going process that the FEI has to work through.

“British Eventing and the British Equestrian Federation fully support the FEI Clean Sport Policy and together go to great lengths to educate riders and their staff to ensure they are fully aware of the regulations and comply at all times with the domestic and international rules regarding prohibited substances.”

Burghley event director Elizabeth Inman confirmed that organisers of the event had been formally notified of the alleged breaches.

She said she fully supported the statement of British Eventing and the British Equestrian Federation.

Clifton Eventers, the sport-horse training and developing centre which owns the two horses, said it was deeply shocked by events.

It reiterated that “all the relevant parties state categorically that none of them have taken any actions with the intent of administering any prohibited substance”.

“We are working with both the respective National Federations on establishing the probable cause of these testing results.”

Paget first worked for Clifton Eventers in New Zealand in 2007, and McNab, with whom Paget started his eventing career with in Australia, is also a rider for Clifton Eventers.



2 thoughts on “Another Burghley horse tests positive for Reserpine

  • October 16, 2013 at 10:36 pm

    OK, so here’s the question: Who has got it in for Clifton Eventers?
    It cannot be just a co-incidence that both horses have the same prefix name. Who is out to tarnish the reputation of Clifton Eventers & de-value the success & potential sales of horses of Frances Stead? This stinks of devious ‘slight of hand’!

    • November 27, 2013 at 1:41 pm

      I totally agree with this! First off, why were both of these horses tested at the same event from the same farm? Its almost as if they were told to test these horses. And such a high profile event so they knew it would look really bad. This story is not over.


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