Equestrian Sports New Zealand (ESNZ) has issued a press statement this morning after the New Zealand governing body was notified of a developing situation in Great Britain following last month's Burghley International Horse Trials:
"Equestrian Sports New Zealand has received notification from the International Equestrian Federation (FEI) of a prohibited substance in a blood sample taken from Clifton Promise, the horse ridden by Jonathan (Jock) Paget to victory at the Burghley International Horse Trials, in the UK, on 8th September, after the completion of the competition.
"Clifton Promise, owned by Frances Stead, was routinely tested as part of the FEI's strict Equine Clean Sport programme and produced a positive A sample finding for the substance Reserpine.
"In accordance with the FEI's regulations, as the ?Person Responsible' for the horse, Paget is provisionally suspended from any national or international competition with immediate effect, pending the testing of the B sample and any subsequent hearings.
"Clifton Promise is provisionally suspended for two months pending the B sample and any subsequent hearings.
"Surrey-based Paget was understandably shocked at the finding. He and all relevant parties state categorically that none of them have taken any actions with the intent of administering any prohibited substance.
"ESNZ and Paget are establishing a likely cause of the positive test and will provide submissions to the FEI Tribunal as required."
The FEI issued an update case status report today and lists the long-acting sedative reserpine as the banned substance. The FEI document shows Promise suspended until December 13, 2013, but does not show an end date for the suspension of Paget.
A second Clifton horse, Clifton Pinot, also tested positive at Burghley. Clifton Pinot was ridden by Australia's Kevin McNab. Equestrian Australia confirmed that McNab and Pinot have also been suspended.
Paget and Promise also won the 2013 Mitsubishi Motors Badminton Horse Trials in May. Paget has now won 2/3 of the $US350,000 Rolex Grand Slam of Eventing and must now win the 2014 Rolex Kentucky Three-Day Event.