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Two leading showing producers have been banned from competition and lost their spot in the Cuddy final at the Horse of the Year Show (HOYS) after a failed dope test.

At a meeting of the National Pony Society (NPS) disciplinary panel on 14 September, Steve Pitt and Vicky Smith were suspended from competing in any NPS classes or shows until 31 December 2018.

The suspension concerns Inspector Montalbano (pictured), who won the Ottergayle supreme in hand show hack and riding horse final at the NPS summer championships in Malvern (1-3 August).

A sample from Inspector Montalbano, who was randomly selected for testing at the championships, showed the presence of sedative acepromazine. The horse, who subsequently qualified for the Cuddy at Bucks County Show on 31 August, has been disqualified from his NPS placings and lost his HOYS place.

Mr Pitt and Ms Smith also have to pay the dope-testing fee of £1,016.40.

A second sample, from Rowfantina Royal Occasion — also taken at random at the summer championships — tested positive for the anti-histamine cetirizine.

The pony, who had won the HOYS Colne mountain & moorland lead rein qualifier, has lost his placing and HOYS ticket, and is suspended from all NPS shows until 31 December 2017. His owner and breeder Mandy Burchell-Small has been suspended from “all or any rights and privileges of membership of the NPS” for the same period.

Mrs Burchell-Small, who also has to pay the £1,016.40 test fee, told H&H: “While we were away, the pony was stung in the field the day before [NPS] and an anti-histamine was administered for his welfare.

“This pony wasn’t even supposed to be going to NPS but we took him as a last-minute stand-in, without knowing he had been given this medication.”



Neither Ms Smith nor Mr Pitt was available for comment.

A third random dope test taken at the championships, from Griashall Jamie, returned a negative result.

For a full report from HOYS, don’t miss next week’s H&H (12 October).