World Cup champion fails dope test

World Cup dressage champion Ulla Salzgeber may be stripped of the title she won in Gothenburg, Sweden earlier this year, after her gelding Rusty exceeded the permitted FEI levels of testosterone in a blood test.

If secondary confirmation samples prove positive then the World Cup title will pass to American rider Debbie McDonald and her ride Brentina, who were runners-up, and judicial proceedings will have to be held.

Ulla has released a statement saying: “I declared myself publicly against doping and medication abuse, and now this happens.

“I knew very well that in case of a victory in Gothenburg, Rusty would have to undergo a medication control. Therefore, it would have been mad to manipulate something.

“And even if Rusty wouldn’t havebeen okay, I would have had the possibility to compete with Wall Street, with whom I was qualified for the final as well. The only thing which I can do now is to do everything possible to clear up the incident soon.”

It is believed that the positive test may be the result of Rusty’s vet, Dr. Hans Stihl treating him with a testosterone-propionate for a skin disease earlier in March.

The German Federation told American website Equisearch: “It is being examined at present whether the reduced degradation of testosterone is due to another disease which was not detected so far.

“The substance testosterone is an endogenous hormone, which in case of certain diseases can appear in increased quantities. Ulla Salzgeber hopes to gainfurther discoveries from a medication control taken from Rusty during the Aachen CHIO.”

Ulla and the German Federation are keen to get the situation cleared up as soon as possible as German athletes undergoing doping investigations are not allowed to compete in championship competitions and the Europeans are looming ever closer.

A second blood sample from Rusty will have to be tested before the positive result is confirmed. If the second test is positive, Ulla will have 10 days to produce an explanation for the FEI legal department, which will then be passed to the FEI judicial commission.

An FEI spokesperson told HHO: “We are at the very beginning of a legal procedure. The German Federation have until the 11th of July toask for sample B.”

  • Don’t miss next week’s issue of Horse & Hound (10 July) for an in-depth news report on this latest shock to hit the dressage world
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