Two Hungarian showjumpers had their horses doped by a rival rider who wanted to take their place on the team at the European Championships, according to the findings of an FEI tribunal.
In what the FEI branded a “truly exceptional case”, Timpex Bolcsesz, the ride of Gabor Szabo Jr, and Chacco Boy, the ride of Mariann Hugyecz, tested positive for banned sedative acepromazine (ACP) during a three-star World Cup qualifying show in Bratislava, Slovakia (4-6 August 2017).
Both riders had approached the president of the ground jury and requested that the horses be tested after noticing unusual symptoms and spotting needle marks. They also withdrew their rides from the following day’s grand prix. Witnesses reported having seen Lazlo Toth Jnr, leaving the box of Timpex Bolcsesz on 5 August.
The rider was also banned by his national federation, which additionally put in a request to the FEI to consider sanctions against him. In addition, they asked that Hugyecz and Gabor Jnr be “exempt from the consequences of the case”.
The FEI panel concluded that there was a “very plausible explanation” as to how the drugs entered the horses’ systems, given the evidence that the animals had been sabotaged.
As a result, they found that the “persons responsible” [Gabor Jnr and Hugyecz] were not to blame for the doping rule violations. While they did not face a ban or fine, their horses’ results from earlier in the show were stripped and the riders still faced legal costs.
Horse & Hound