Suspensions and fines have been issued in three FEI Tribunal decisions in the last month, in cases centered on a World Cup showjumping qualifier, an endurance race, and a para-equestrian driving event.
The World Cup showjumping case arose from the CSI2* event in Cairo, Egypt, held late in September last year.
The horse Dash, ridden by Egypt-registered Mustafa Saed, tested positive for phenylbutazone, oxyphenbutazone and dexamethasone.
Phenylbutazone and its metabolic byproduct oxyphenbutazone are non-steroidal anti-inflammatory painkillers. Dexamethasone is a corticosteroid with anti-inflammatory effects.
All three are classified as Controlled Medication Substances under the FEI anti-doping rules.
Saeed told the tribunal that he did not know that his groom had given his horse a prohibited medicine.
“I didn’t buy or bring this medicine with me at this event.
“My groom has admitted that he did this violation and I brought him to the Egyptian Equestrian Federation headquarters to write a statement in which he acknowledged that he did this scandalous work which led to my suspension nationally and internationally from the FEI.”
He asked for a reduced penalty “as I have a good reputation here and I have never did such a thing in my life”.
Saeed provided a statement from his groom confirming that he (the groom) gave the horse medication. The groom stated that he did not know it was prohibited to use such medicine since he had “small experience in that field”.
FEI Tribunal member Harveen Thauli, sitting as a one-member panel, suspended Saeed for six months, less the time served under a provisional suspension. She fined him 3000 Swiss francs and ordered him to contribute 1000 Swiss francs towards the costs of the tribunal procedure.
A Bahrain-registered rider came before the tribunal after his horse, Poly De Coat Frity, tested positive for harpagoside following a 120km endurance contest in Valeggio sul Mincio, in Italy, late last September.
The rider, Fahad Helal Mohamed Al Khatri, took part in the CH-M-YJ-E 120km race, with the drug later detected in his mount’s blood and urine.
Harpagoside is an anti-inflammatory drug with painkilling effects. It is classified as a Controlled Medication Substance under the FEI’s anti-doping rules.
Al Khatri submitted a statement from a vet saying that the horse was the property of the Royal Endurance Team of Bahrain.
It was likely, the vet said, that the horse was given Artiflex, a product that contains harpagophytum, instead of New Artiflex, a different product from the same firm which did not contain Harpagophytum.
This, in her opinion, would explain why the horse tested positive for the drug on the day of the race.
FEI Tribunal member Armand Leone, sitting as a one-member panel, said it was the rider’s duty to ensure that no prohibited substances were present in the horse’s system during an event without a valid veterinary form.
Al Khatri had not provided any information or evidence on whether any procedures were in place or what due diligence was exercised to fulfil this duty, Leone said.
“Therefore, no elimination or reduction of the otherwise applicable period of ineligibility is warranted.”
Al Khatri was suspended for six months, less time already served under a provisional suspension. He was fined 3000 Swiss francs and ordered to contribute 1000 francs towards the cost of the proceedings.
Small fine, suspension
A driver received a modest fine and a suspension over a drugs breach that occurred in a para-equestrian driving competition.
Hungarian-registered Pál Gazder drove the horse Worino in the CPEAI1*2 event in Izsak, Hungary in late September, early October last year.
A blood sample taken from Worino tested positive for the anti-inflammatory painkiller phenylbutazone and its metabolite oxyphenbutazone, which has similar effects. It also tested positive for the anti-inflammatory corticosteroid dexamethasone.
In his explanation, Gazder said he did not give any dope or medicine to the horse, nor did he have any knowledge of anyone else doing so.
“The horse is not my property, I just trained with him. He was offered to me only for this competition. I do not know the medical treatment and the past of the horse.
“I was very thankful that the horse was offered to me because I could not prepare and enter for the competition from my own resources.”
He sought that no penalty be imposed. He said he could not pay because he was poorly off, with his only income coming from a disability pension. “Without help I even could not enter for the competition.”
He said it would not have been in his interests to dope the horse as it was known long before the competition that he would be the only competitor in his category.
FEI Tribunal member Cesar Torrente, sitting as a one-member panel, imposed a six-month suspension, which, less time served under a provisional suspension, meant Gazder’s period of eligibility ended on May 12.
He imposed a fine of 200 Swiss francs, which can be paid in instalments. No costs for the tribunal procedure were imposed on Gazder.