Shock positive dope test shatters Lynch's dream

PUBLISHED : Friday, 22 August, 2008, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 22 August, 2008, 12:00am

Equine muscle relaxant was Irishman's downfall

An orange gooey muscle relaxant is the source of the capsaicin that was found in the positive doping test of Latinus, the horse ridden by Denis Lynch of Ireland.

Irish team veterinarian Marcus Swail said Lynch regularly applied Equi-Block, which contains capsaicin, to the lower back of Latinus as a part of his warm-up routine.

'It was part of his routine during the bigger wins he's had this year,' said Swail, adding the horse had tested negative numerous times this season. 'It's a considerable surprise he has tested positive. Denis was so certain it wasn't a problem he didn't think to draw it to my attention.'

Lynch and Horse Sport Ireland (HIS) were informed yesterday at 2.15pm that Latinus had tested positive for a banned substance. In his preliminary hearing with the International Equestrian Federation, Lynch explained the origin of the substance, but he remained suspended for last night's individual showjumping final.

'I'm shattered,' Lynch said. On the round Equi-Block container (which HSI compared to as an equine version of Deep Heat for humans), the sentence 'contains capsaicin, will not test positive' is highlighted in yellow with 'capsaicin' written in capital letters.

Lynch believed he should have been allowed to compete last night. 'I don't think I've done anything wrong,' said Lynch. 'If someone wants to make something out of it, off they go. I've got nothing to hide.'

Asked if he was aware of capsaicin's ability to enhance performance when applied to the legs of the horses by making the horse hypersensitive and also provide pain relief, Lynch said: 'Absolutely not'.

HIS chief executive officer Damian McDonald acknowledged the doping problem in showjumping, alluding to the positive test of rider Cian O'Connor four years ago in Athens, which cost O'Connor his individual gold medal. Because of that incident, McDonald said Latinus was tested on his arrival in Hong Kong, although capsaicin was not among the medications screened.

'We were absolutely keen to take every possible precaution,' McDonald said. 'We did everything we could to try to avoid this catastrophe happening at this point in the Games.'

Swail believed the penalty imposed on Lynch was harsh.

'His preparation for here was not any different to his preparation for the Super League shows,' Swail said. 'Given that there was no difference in his preparation, it seems to be an extremely severe penalty that he's not allowed to jump, given that he was tested on numerous occasions and there were no difficulties.'

Swail said part of the problem was vagueness on the federation's list of equine prohibitive substances, calling the list a bit of a 'misnomer' as it did not include a precise list of what is allowed and what is disallowed.

'The reality is that on too many occasions, we only find out what is allowed and what is not allowed by people testing positive,' Swail said.


1 Eric Lamaz (Hickstead) (Canada) 0.0 points

2 Rolf-Goran Bengtsson (Ninja) (Sweden) 4.0

(3-9 positions jump-off)

3 Beezie Madden (Authentic) (US) 0.0 points

4 Meredith Michaels-Beerbaum (Shutterfly) (Germany) 0.0

5 Rodrigo Pessoa (Rufus) (Brazil) 0.0

6 McLain Ward (Sapphire) (US) 4.0

7 Ludger Beerbaum (All Inclusive) (Germany) 4.0

8 Marc Houtzager (Opium) (Netherlands) 8.0

9 Angelique Hoorn (O'Brien) (Netherlands) 8.0.