Kiwi eventer Jock Paget has been cleared by the FEI Tribunal of any wrongdoing in relation to his horse Clifton Promise failing an anti-doping test last year.
Key to the case was that Paget prove how the banned substance reserpine came to be in the horse, and demonstrate no fault or negligence.
Paget, who maintained his innocence throughout, faced the Tribunal in London to present his evidence after which his provisional suspension was lifted pending the release of the final ruling.
That ruling today confirmed the positive finding came as a result of supplement contamination during manufacture for which Paget could not be blamed.
The Tribunal highlighted that Clifton Promise had been tested clean on four previous occasions dating back to 2010 when using the same supplement.
Equestrian Sports New Zealand president Chris Hodson QC welcomed the ruling.
"It is very important to the reputation of equestrian and New Zealand sport that no athlete should be knowingly involved in any act of doping," he said.
"That Jock Paget has proved his innocence, which requires a very high standard which has only been achieved in one previous case, is intensely satisfying, and fully justifies the support which ESNZ has given him throughout."
Paget, as expected, was hugely relieved by today's good news.
"I feel as though I had my career stripped from me and now someone has said 'hang on, you can have it back'. It is complete relief," he said.
"I didn't know if I would be cleared, despite knowing I had done nothing wrong. I knew it wouldn't be as easy as turning around and saying 'I didn't do it'. I was fortunate that we were able to find the source of the contamination, trace it and prove it, and - most importantly - that I wasn't responsible nor could have known."
Clifton Promise returned a positive test for the banned substance reserpine after winning the Land Rover Burghley International Horse Trials in September. The subsequent B sample confirmed the positive analysis. As a result, Paget was disqualified from Burghley, a decision which will remain as there was no challenge to the presence of the banned substance.
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