Drugs in sport: Olympic horse's urine sample stolen

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Part of the B-sample of a show jumping horse that won Ireland's only gold medal at the Athens Olympics has been stolen, the International Equestrian Federation said yesterday.

The A-sample of the horse, Waterford Crystal, tested positive for a sedative. A second positive result could ultimately cost rider Cian O'Connor his individual show jumping medal.

The urine sample, stolen on 21 October in Cambridgeshire, was en route from Paris to the Horseracing Forensic Laboratory in Newmarket, FEI officials said. They declined immediately to give further details or say if the theft would halt the anti-doping investigation of the horse.

"An almighty mess of it has been made," Irish federation president Avril Doyle said. "At whose door we can lay the blame is a bit early to say."

Swiss and British police have opened an investigation, the FEI said, adding that it also has launched an internal inquiry.

Pat Hickey, the Irish Olympic Council president, said: "We're astonished ... We're hearing a bizarre sequence of events,"