Steve Guerdat pleads food contamination in positive drugs tests

  • Steve Guerdat has had a preliminary hearing with the FEI following the news that two of his horses tested positive for banned substances.

    The Swiss rider, and 2012 Olympic showjumping champion, spoke to the FEI via a telephone conference yesterday (Thursday 23 July).

    During the hearing, Steve Guerdat, plead that food contamination had caused the positive test and asked for the provisional suspension to be lifted.

    The FEI Tribunal will now evaluate the plea and decide on their verdict.

    The two horses — 2012 Olympic gold medal winner Nino Des Buissonnets and grey mare Nasa — have been provisionally suspended for two months.

    Samples were taken at the CSIO5* at La Baule in France on 17 May from Nino des Buissonnets, on the day the 14-year-old gelding won the grand prix.

    The tests returned positive for codeine and oripavine — banned substances — and morphine, a controlled substance.

    At the same show but a day earlier (16 May), samples were taken from Steve’s other ride, Nasa, after the 14-year-old finished third in the La Baule Derby.

    These tests were positive for codeine and morphine. The horse’s sample also showed traces of oripavine, but not at a sufficiently high level for the testing laboratory to declare a positive for the substance.

    “The presence in all these samples of oripavine, which is not found in any veterinary products, suggests that this could be contamination, but obviously we still have to follow standard procedure,” said FEI secretary general Sabrina Zeender.

    Steve and Nino De Buissonnets have been shortlisted for the Swiss team for the European Showjumping Championships next month (19-23 August) at Aachen, so if the suspension is upheld will miss the competition.

    Steve said he is hoping for a “quick and clear response” by the FEI so that he can compete at the championships.

    “The entire team are surprised and deeply saddened by this news. Especially as Steve’s top priority in all his daily work as a horse rider is and has always been only the welfare and health of his horses,” read a statement on his website.

    “The Olympic champion from London is known and respected far beyond the equestrian community for his horsemanship and very prudent and careful handling of all his horses.”

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