Investigators who spent nearly a year on a horse passport fraud enquiry failed to interview the horse’s best-known former rider, it is alleged.

The FEI’s equestrian community integrity unit (ECIU) looked into claims that the registered Bavarian warmblood, Wily Earl (pictured), and the younger Belgian warmblood Golden Coin 4, were the same horse after complaints in January 2012.

That November an ECIU investigator told an interested party he had approached “many” people, but witnesses wished to remain anonymous.

But H&H has learned that Dressage At Hickstead supremo Dane Rawlins, who competed Wily Earl for two years, was not interviewed by the ECIU.

“The first I have heard of this is your call,” Dane told H&H. “I would have been happy to help — but was never asked.”

H&H sent Dane pictures of Golden Coin 4 with his current rider, Yuko Kitai of Japan.

Dane said: “Looks good. That’s him — or his twin.”

Mrs Kitai this week identified pics of Wily Earl as her Goldy.

Earlier this month the FEI revealed the collapse of the Marmoog horse-swap enquiry on a legal technicality.

But it also said “loopholes” had been exposed, and that a major review into FEI horse ID processes had been launched.

A chestnut called Wyatt Earp 25, a Bavarian by Weltrang L and born on 1 March 1995, was originally purchased for Dane by a sponsor. They legitimately renamed him Wily Earl and competed him internationally for two years. Dane part-exchanged him via Dutch and German dealers at the end of 2008. There is no FEI record of Wyatt Earp 25/Wily Earl competing ever again.

On 5 January 2009, FEI records show a change of ownership of a Belgian-bred 11-year-old called Golden Coin 4 to Japan, involving one of the same dealerships that handled Wily Earl. Unusually, his birthdate is 1 January 1998, and there is no pedigree or previous competition record.

The Belgian warmblood studbook also has no record of Golden Coin 4. Nine months later, Golden Coin 4 appeared in grand prix classes in Tokyo with Mrs Kitai. They participated in the Japanese championships earlier this month, of which a report on references his unusual history.

The FEI declined to answer whether Dane had been approached by the ECIU. An FEI spokesman said: “This was reported to the ECIU in 2012. It was fully investigated at the time, and no action was taken.”

Ref: Horse & Hound; 18 December 2014