Equestrian Sports New Zealand has just issued the following statement, reproduced in full below.
As stated previously, Clifton Eventers will not be making any separate statement other than to emphasise 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.
ESNZ Statement - Postive B Sample from Clifton Promise
27/11/2013 8:19:15 a.m.
Equestrian Sports New Zealand (ESNZ) has received notification from the International Equestrian Federation (FEI) that the B blood sample taken from Clifton Promise at the Burghley International Horse Trials has tested positive for the banned substance Reserpine. Clifton Promise, owned by Frances Stead, was ridden to victory at the event by 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.
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."
ESNZ was notified of the positive test from the A sample on 14th October, and since then both the rider and horse have been provisionally suspended from FEI and national competitions. In keeping with ESNZ's own Clean Sport policy and its full support of the FEI's Clean Sport programme, Paget has been stood down from any official ESNZ activity while the legal process is underway.
Jim Ellis, ESNZ Chief Executive, says Paget is understanding and fully supportive of ESNZ's position as the FEI judicial process takes its course.
"ESNZ is confident that he will provide a full and persuasive explanation to the FEI."
For over 15 years Clifton Eventers has worked to build the reputation of the Clifton name, in the process supporting over a dozen young up-and-coming riders with quality horses and selling over 120 eventers with the Clifton prefix to riders around the world, including Olympic gold medallist David O'Connor.
Clifton horses have represented New Zealand on the world stage since 2001 – including Clifton Promise at the 2010 World Equestrian Games at Kentucky where he finished seventh out of 80 starters and again at the 2012 Olympic Games in London where he was part of New Zealand's Bronze medal winning team.
Indeed, Clifton Promise was the third-ranked eventing horse in the world in 2012, amassing 296 FEI points from just three FEI competitions.
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27 October, 2013
Last week we started the first of what we thought would be a series of weekly updates on the matter of the positive 'A' sample findings for Clifton Promise and Clifton Pinot from the Land Rover Burghley Horse Trials, and the indefinite suspension of their respective riders, Jock Paget and Kevin McNab.
Given the likelihood that these findings will lead to an FEI Tribunal hearing where they intend to prove their innocence, both riders have now engaged lawyers experienced in FEI cases.
The lawyers have advised, given the preparation for such cases is a long complex process, we should cease making such informative updates to the public. This is contrary to our own normal policy of open and frank communication on all topics, but we do fully accept we have no prior experience at all of such FEI cases. Therefore, we will no longer be posting weekly updates from Clifton Eventers. We apologise for any disappointment, but I am sure everyone can understand that this is a very trying time when we all want to follow the advice of those who have been in this situation before.
20 October, 2013
Subsequent to the indefinite suspension of Jock Paget and Kevin McNab following the positive 'A' sample results of their two Clifton horses tested at the Land Rover Burghley Horse Trials, we plan to bring you weekly updates on how we are all working to clear their names. This is the first of those updates.
Just to recap, less than a week ago we received notification from the FEI of a positive 'A' sample result for the banned substance Reserpine, a sedative, for both Clifton Promise and Clifton Pinot, who were competing at the Land Rover Burghley Horse Trials.
15 October, 2013
Late yesterday afternoon Clifton Eventers was advised that two of its horses that had recently competed at the Land Rover Burghley Horse Trials in September had both been tested positive for the substance Reserpine, which is on the FEI banned substance list.
This followed notification from the International Equestrian Federation (FEI) to Equestrian Sports New Zealand (ESNZ) and Equestrian Australia. One horse was Clifton Promise, the horse ridden by New Zealander Jonathan (Jock) Paget to victory, the other was Clifton Pinot, who finished 14th with Australian Kevin McNab.
Monday 6 May 2013 — 2013 Title Winner: Mitsubishi Motors Badminton International Horse Trials CCI4*: Jonathan 'Jock' Paget on Frances Stead's 16.3hh Bay NZTB Gelding Clifton Promise 2013. Credit: Libby Law - Copyright: Libby Law Photography - NZL