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Event rider suspended after catch ride fails drug test

French event rider Maxime Livio has been suspended after a catch ride he was competing in Thailand tested positive for a banned substance on 30 November.

Maxime is already awaiting an FEI tribunal after his ride Qalao des Mers (pictured) tested positive for the sedative acepromazine at last summer’s Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games.

In November Bingo S (not pictured), who was being ridden by Maxime at a CSI1*-W competition in Pattaya, tested positive for testosterone.

“Under the equine anti-doping and controlled medication regulations, testosterone, detected in geldings above a specific threshold, is considered a banned substance,” an FEI spokesman told H&H.

A banned substance means that it has “no place in veterinary medicine and is prohibited for use at all times”.

In a statement Maxime claims he was invited to compete Bingo S in Thailand and that this was his first time jumping him.

“Bingo S is a horse that I sold to the Thai Equestrian Federation (TEF),” he said.

“He spent three days in my stables in transit, before going into quarantine in Germany.

“According to the rules of the FEI, the rider is responsible for the horse he rides, which therefore leads to my suspension.”

The TEF has sent a letter to the FEI supporting Maxime’s argument.

“Maxime had no relationship with the horse, neither during nor before jumping sessions. So he is totally foreign to the causes of this positive test,” the letter states.

The FEI confirmed to H&H that Maxime’s provisional suspension does not have a “deadline”.

“He has the right to request that the FEI tribunal lift this provisional suspension,” a spokesman added.

“In turn, the tribunal may grant his request or not. If the provisional suspension is not lifted, Maxime may remain suspended until the tribunal announce its final decision and even beyond depending on the length of the sanction imposed.”

Maxime was not suspended after his positive test at WEG because ACP is considered a “controlled medication” rather than doping. This is because it can be used in the treatment of horses but cannot be present in competition.

The case is yet to be heard by an FEI tribunal, but the verdict could result in the entire French team being disqualified. This would result in France losing its Olympic qualification.

Maxime added that he has “solid evidence” to defend himself against the WEG case.

“This [the Bingo S case] will serve me a lesson. I will not go up a horse at short notice,” he added. “ I will make sure to keep the horse at least one month at home.”

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