Jock Paget gets the chance to plead his case

FRED WOODCOCK
Last updated 05:00 31/05/2014

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Leading New Zealand three-day eventer Jock Paget gets his day in front of the world equestrian federation's tribunal on Tuesday in a joint hearing with one of his early mentors, Australian Kevin McNab.

Paget and McNab, whose horses were found with banned sedative reserpine in their systems after drugs testing at last September's four-star Burghley Horse Trials, finally get to have their say at a full in-person hearing before the FEI Tribunal in London on Tuesday night.

Both riders have been banned since news of a positive test surfaced last September, given riders are considered responsible for their horses under equestrian rules.

Paget has maintained that all available evidence shows neither he nor anyone else knew of the presence of the banned substance in his champion horse Clifton Promise, before the sample was taken.

In January he submitted a dossier of evidence explaining and supporting his claim of "no fault and no negligence" and he will now get the chance to argue his case in person, in a joint hearing with fellow Clifton Eventers stable rider McNab, whose horse Clifton Pinot was in the same stable as Promise at Burghley.

The FEI Tribunal agreed to hear the two cases together, at the request of Paget and McNab, as they are virtually identical.

It is expected the hearing will take one, perhaps two, days and a ruling could be handed down within four to six weeks.

Paget has already been stripped of his Burghley title, which happened at a partial hearing last month. After the B-sample returned a positive test, the Burghley title was always going to pass to the runner-up on the day, compatriot Andrew Nicholson.

Paget has been banned from the sport for about eight months and his best possible outcome is that the tribunal imposes no further ban, and he is free to return to the sport after the final decision is handed down.

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