The horse at the centre of a blood controversy during the world young riders’ endurance championships in September, called 8 Minute, has now tested positive to three banned steroids.
The 18-year-old rider of 8 Minute, UAE team member Khalifa Ali Khalfan Al Jahouri, faces a FEI Tribunal hearing to explain how stanozolol and two other steroids that have not previously featured in an FEI doping case in UAE endurance – Nandrolone and 5A Estrane-3B,17A-DIOL – came to be in his horse.
This is the first time there has been a doping case involving banned substances at a FEI under-21s championship. It represents a major setback for the FEI’s education programme for endurance in the Middle East.
A second horse has also failed a dope test at the same medal event in Valeggio sul Muncio, Italy. Bahrain team member Poly de Coat Frity, ridden by Fahad Helal Mohamed Al Khatri, tested positive to the controlled anti-inflammatory Harpagoside.
Al Jahouri had already caused controversy as the first through the finish line in the 120km race.
Pictures showed what appeared to be blood tickling down the front of both of 8 Minute’s front hooves from the coronet band. After a social media storm, the original post of these images disappeared and was replaced with an identical shot but the hooves now clean. At the time the FEI said the ground jury was emphatic no blood was present at the final veterinary check, where the horse was in any event eliminated for lameness. The same link above also directs you to video of 8 Minute’s final vetting, in which the 11-year-old is discernibly lame.
Argentine-bred 8 Minute is owned by Abu Dhabi’s premier Al Wathba stables and started with the same ride rider in a 80km contest last week in the UAE, just two days before the positive test was reported to the FEI’s legal department. Both are now suspended. Last year the same partnership was disqualified from the UAE’s toughest race, the 160km Presidents Cup, for “not conforming to many rules.”
Of 39 doping cases from various FEI disciplines awaiting a Tribunal hearing, 22 involve endurance and of those, with 15 are horses from FEI group 7 (Middle East).