Fines, suspensions in two “drug cocktail” cases in Endurance

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Fines and suspensions have been imposed against two riders, one who competed in the United Arab Emirates and the other in Saudi Arabia, after their Endurance mounts tested positive for several drugs.

The FEI Tribunal released its decisions in the two cases this week.

The first involved the horse Dr Burn, ridden by Kuwait-registered rider Abdullah A.A.E.A. Aldashti in a CEI1* endurance contest at Al Qaseem, in Saudi Arabia, on January 20 this year. The horse subsequently tested positive for 4-Methylaminophenazone, phenylbutazone, oxyphenbutazone and flunixin.

They are anti-inflammatory drugs with painkilling effects. All are classified as controlled medications.

The second case involved the horse Chiro D’ Andruere, ridden by UAE-registered rider Thani Mohd Ahmad Al Marri in a CEI1* 80km ride in Dubai on February 1 this year.

The horse subsequently tested positive for phenylbutazone, oxyphenbutazone, dexamethasone and diclofenac. Again, all have anti-inflammatory effects and are classed as controlled medications.

In the case of Dr Burn, Aldashti provided no explanation for how the drugs came to be in the horse’s system, despite several reminders from the FEI.

The FEI, in its submission, noted that there were four different controlled medications in Dr Burns’ sample. This, it said, was an aggravating circumstance that should be considered in the final sanction.

Tribunal member Armand Leone, sitting as a one-member panel, said the lack of explanation from Aldashti mean he could not evaluate the degree of fault on the rider’s part for the rule violation. There were, he said, no grounds to eliminate or reduce the otherwise applicable suspension.

Indeed, the cocktail of drugs found in the horse warranted a suspension that was longer than normal, he said.

Aldashti was suspended from competition for one year, and will be ineligible to compete until February 21 next year. He was fined 3500 Swiss francs and ordered to pay 1500 francs towards the cost of the judicial procedure.

Dubai case

In the case in Dubai, the rider Al Marri also provided no explanation to the tribunal when invited to do so.

The FEI again submitted that the presence of several different controlled medications in the horse’s sample was an aggravating factor.

Tribunal member Henrik Arle, sitting as a one-member panel, noted that no explanation had been forthcoming from Al Marri, which meant he could not evaluate the level of fault by the rider for the rule breach.

“In taking into consideration the cocktail of prohibited substances found in the horse’s sample, the tribunal finds that indeed aggravating circumstances are present in the case at hand,” he said.

This meant a longer than normal suspension was warranted, he said.

Al Marri was suspended from competition for one year, and will be ineligible to compete until February 22 next year. He was fined 3500 Swiss francs and ordered to contribute 1500 Swiss francs toward the cost of the judicial procedure.

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