The FEI Tribunal imposed a record fine and a longer than normal ban from competition after the rider failed to provide any explanation for the presence of the drug in two horses he competed. H&H outlines the case...
The rider of two horses who both tested positive for arsenic in competitions a week apart has been ordered to pay a record fine after he made no explanations for the presence of the drug.
Kekmadar, trained by Rashed Suhail Al Darbi, and Si Quilombo, trained by Ibrahim Joynal Abedin, both ridden by Oman’s Said Al Balushi, were tested at CEI* rides at Al Wathba, Abu Dhabi, on 8 December and 15 December 2018 respectively.
Both tested positive for arsenic, which is classed as a banned substance and so is not permitted for use in competition horses at any time.
The FEI Tribunal stated in its report on the case that arsenic is a stimulant used in the treatment of acute refractory leukaemia and to avoid convalescence, but that it understands it has been used to enhance racehorses’ performance.
Neither Al Balushi, the main person responsible (PR), nor the horses’ trainers submitted any information or explanation as to how the drug came to be present in the samples.
The Tribunal report notes that the positive findings confirm the banned substance had been used at least twice on horses ridden by Al Balushi.
It adds: “The Tribunal sees a clear pattern of the use of this substance, and finds that the multiple use qualifies for the application of aggravating circumstances, which justify the imposition of a period of ineligibility greater than the standard sanction, of two years.
“The Tribunal finds this violation to be very serious, and takes this into consideration for the imposition of the sanctions. The PR seemingly has not conducted any duty of care, as is required and expected from a rider.”
The Tribunal fined Al Balushi 10,000 Swiss francs (£8,254) and banned him from competition for three years, effective from 7 February 2019. He was also ordered to pay 2,000 francs (£1,650) in costs.
“Having decided that aggravating circumstances exist in the case at hand, the Tribunal has to decide in a next step on the appropriate sanctions,” the report states.
“In taking into account all the circumstances of the case, in particular the presence of the banned substance on multiple occasions and the PR’s failure to provide any explanations for the positive findings, the Tribunal finds a period of ineligibility of three years proportionate in the case at hand.
“In addition, the Tribunal decides to impose a high fine for this serious violation.”
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