Jock Paget: ‘Thank You to Those Who Believed in My Innocence’

Jock Paget and Clifton Promise at Badminton. Photo by Jenni Autry. Jock Paget and Clifton Promise at Badminton. Photo by Jenni Autry.

Jock Paget has just posted a statement on the Paget Eventing Facebook page addressing the FEI ruling concerning Clifton Promise’s positive test for the banned substance, Reserpine.

Both Jock and Kevin McNab were exonerated from the charges by the FEI on Aug 7. Both riders had returned to competition already after their competition ban was lifted, and Jock will be representing New Zealand at WEG next week.

From Jock:

For the last 10 months I have not been able to speak about my personal situation because of the on-going legal process associated with the contamination of Clifton Promise during Burghley 2013. I’d like to take the opportunity now to firstly thank all of those who have supported me, up close and from afar from the very start.

The thing which has humbled me most is the people that have supported and believed in my innocence even though I have been unable to provide you with any facts or information; it’s been completely overwhelming.

For many months I’ve had to deal with inaccurate information being circulated and it’s a relief that I am now able to discuss the facts with people who want to know the truth which is supported by the FEI ruling. If you love the sport as I do, I only ask that you judge the entire unfortunate situation on the facts, as the truth will clarify all the issues perceived and prevent the sport we all love from falling into disrepute.

For those who haven’t read the FEI tribunal ruling, Promise tested positive for reserpine in an anti-doping test at Burghley because of a contamination arising from one of the ingredients in a supplement, LesstressE, that I was using for him.

There are some things I would like to clarify:

  • The level of reserpine found in Promise at Burghley was 0.00000000007mg, equivalent to 3.5 drops of water in an Olympic size swimming pool. The FEI rules have a zero tolerance so the test is positive no matter how small the quantity that has been found.
  • It has been said that the only way reserpine can enter a horse is through an intramuscular Rakelin injection; this is not true. Reserpine comes from a plant called indian snakeroot and we were able to scientifically prove that one of the ingredients used in LesstressE was contaminated with indian snakeroot. The Horse and Hound incorrectly draw your attention to Rakelin. Rakelin is chemically produced reserpine in its pure form and has no relevance in this case.
  • Reserpine has been on the prohibited substance list since 2004 and is always included in the screening of an FEI anti-doping test
  • Clifton Promise has been tested negative whilst using LesstressE four times previously, including at Badminton 2013 when Promise and I won. The Badminton blood sample was tested for reserpine at this event, the results from this test are available on the FEI website and are negative.
  • The Horse and Hound incorrectly stated that the FEI are covering all the legal costs. This is also not true. Clearing my name has come at a huge expense and I couldn’t have done it without my support team.

I would like to apologise to the riders who have been named in the final ruling. I never wished for anybody to be publically involved in this case. I’d like to also thank those riders who came forward and helped me by submitting their supply of LesstressE for testing, this played a major role in the case and I’m grateful for that!

It has been carelessly stated that our sport needs cleaning up. I really disagree with this statement. This was a contamination not a doping. My experience from the top level of our sport has been that there is a lot of camaraderie amongst the riders and a desire to compete fairly and with a level playing field. It is a unique sport in the way that fellow competitors, from a wide range of countries, work together with a high level of trust. In my experience, eventers are hardworking, highly motivated individuals with the welfare of their horses their first priority.

I’m so relieved that it has been proven that this is a contamination which I believe maintains eventing’s reputation as a clean sport. Some have made comments to the contrary but I believe the facts show them to be misguided.

I’m hugely grateful for the support from my owners, sponsors, fellow riders, family, friends and my federation. If it wasn’t for their support, I wouldn’t have been able to find out how Promise came into contact with Reserpine.

I’m grateful for the things I have learnt throughout this process but obviously glad to close this chapter on a positive note. Promise is on top form and we’re very much looking forward to representing New Zealand at the world championships.


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