Richard Davenport has been sanctioned by the British Equestrian Federation (BEF) after testing positive for banned substances at Sheffield in 2004.
Davenport was found to have the appetite suppressant, Phentermine, which is an FEI banned substance, in his system. The show jumper initially had a four month ban imposed, but a subsequent appeal has been successful, reducing the length of the ban to two months.
Helen Huggett, BEF Executive Officer, explains: “We are still awaiting written reasons from the Sports Dispute Resolution Panel, who agreed to a reduction in the length of Davenport’s suspension.
“Although new evidence was presented, we don’t yet know why the rider’s appeal was successful, since there is absolutely no question but that he took the substance deliberately,” added Huggett.
Davenport has already sat out two weeks of the suspension, but with a further six weeks to go, the 24-year-old will be forced to miss Calgary, for which he would almost certainly have been selected. He should however, just squeeze back in time for Horse of the Year Show, from 6-10 October.
“It’s a crying shame really, that such a talented youngster may have jeopardised his career simply by not checking the list of banned substances, and tallying that with what he is consuming”, commented Jackie Knightley of the BSJA.
“It just highlights the point that the technological sophistication of the banned substances tests these days means that official bodies can recognise the presence of one teaspoonful of alcohol in a reservoir. What that means is that every rider has to concentrate, all the time, whatever they are doing, on what is in their diet,” she added.
Davenport, at only 24, is in the heyday of his career. He is currently ranked ninth in Britain, and is set to be one of the stars of the future. However, this mistake could, theoretically, prove disastrous for his career in the long term, although there is great hope that the mistake – which has been described by some as “simply taking a diet pill”– could be considered in just such a light, and the rider’s copybook cleared once he has paid the penalty.