An endurance rider, who was last week banned from competing for 10 months and fined CHF3,000 (£1,745) after his horse tested positive for testosterone, has alluded to suspicious behind-the-scenes activity in endurance racing in the United Arab Emirates (UAE).

Danjera Kadhir, ridden by Rashed Mohd Al Seyegh, was sampled by the International Equestrian Federation (FEI) at the CEI JY* 119km in Abu Dhabi on 7 February.

Levels of testosterone found in the horse constituted a doping offence. Following the positive result, the horse’s groom at the See Al Salam Stable in Dubai was dismissed, and left the country at the end of March.

In his defence, 19-year-old Al Seyegh said that he had, as an amateur rider, relied on the “reputation, skill and care of the trainer and the stable itself that his horse was competing free of prohibited substances”.

He said he considered it “highly likely” the groom administered the testosterone, stating this view was shared by the horse’s trainer, Ali Muhammed Al Muhairi.

He also referred to “other people in the industry who also compete among themselves as to the performance of horses for whom they care, such as foremen and grooms”.

But the FEI disciplinary panel said lack of knowledge of the horse’s regime was no defence.

Danjera Kadhir’s case is one of nine involving endurance horses from the UAE to have been investigated this year.

Others include horses ridden by the ruler of Dubai, Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, and his son Sheikh Hamdan (news, 13 August).

This article was first published in Horse & Hound (17 September, ’09)