The FEI has asked the UAE to explain why “Marmoog” has been renamed following revelations of his involvement in the alleged endurance “ringer” case (news, 13 March) — and why he appears to have 2 microchip identity numbers.
On 16 March, Marmoog was renamed JSAS by the UAE federation via remote access of the FEI database. This automatically wiped references to Marmoog from the horse search facility and archived results.
Just days before, the FEI had reopened an investigation into a white-faced chestnut identified as Marmoog ridden at the 2012 World Championships at Euston Park by Sheikh Hamdan Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai.
Sheikh Hamdan had ridden the “real” Marmoog — a notably dissimilar chestnut — at Numana, Italy, in June 2012, under his birth name of Prince De La Sabliere. He was then entered for Euston, but renamed Marmoog after the closing date.
In a further twist, a new microchip identity number was logged for Marmoog on the official start list for last month’s President’s Cup in Abu Dhabi.
Pictures show a Marmoog identical to Sheikh Hamdan’s Numana ride.
An FEI spokesman told H&H it relies on its member national federations to enter all details directly on to the FEI database because of the sheer the volume of horses involved — over 270,000. The FEI does not randomly check information for accuracy.
“It is a process based on trust, which is the norm in international sport,” said an FEI spokesman. “The element never open to change is the FEI ID number, which remains a constant throughout the competitive career. This is the fail-safe that prevents any potential abuse of the system.”
The need for infallibility was underlined by Roly Owers, chief executive of World Horse Welfare.
“A robust system is fundamental, not just for the effective regulation of horse sport, but for the practical enforcement of any law or rule governing equines,” he said.
“This is a challenge to get right, but without it the whole house of cards will come crashing down, including opening the door to the spread of equine disease that could have catastrophic consequences.”
This news story was first published in Horse & Hound (27 March, 2014)