Horse Sport Ireland last night rubbished speculation that the show jumping horse MHS Going Global is ineligible to represent Ireland in the Olympics.
Greg Broderick and the 10-year-old Irish-bred gelding were the surprise Olympic selection last week by Ireland show jumping manager Robert Splaine.
However, a rumour has been circulating that there is an issue in terms of its ownership which, under International Equestrian Federation (FEI) rules for the Olympics, must be "of the same nationality as the athlete".
According to the FEI website, MHS Going Global is owned by Caledonia Stables since 2012, with the Canadian-based entity referenced as being Irish.
Horse Sport Ireland has until Monday at 4pm to submit Broderick and MHS Going Global as the nominated Olympic combination and its spokesperson Elaine Hatton last night said:
"He is Irish-owned since 2012 on the FEI database. There is no issue there at all.
"HSI has no doubt that he will be accepted by the FEI as the nominated horse on Monday."
In a follow up today, Ms Hatton said: "HSI's selection criteria for the Olympic Games included a clause on eligibility and provides for an appeal to Just Sport Ireland. No appeals were submitted before or subsequent to the appeal deadline.
"If any party has evidence that any horses selected for the Olympic Games in dressage, eventing or show jumpjng are ineligible to compete, they are welcome to submit it to Horse Sport Ireland.
"However, as it stands, we are satisfied that all horses nominated in all three disciplines are eligible to compete."
Broderick was reported today as saying he is a co-owner of the animal, but all press releases issued by HSI have referred only to Caledonia Stables as the owner.
An International Equestrian Federation spokesperson told the Irish Examiner on Friday: "Horses entered for the equestrian events at the Olympic Games must have been registered with FEI as property of owners of the same nationality as the athlete, by 15 January 2016... It is the responsibility of the individual National Federation (HSI) to ensure the eligibility of all horse and rider combinations nominated to compete at the Olympic Games, including the ownership requirements, prior to submitting nominated entries to the FEI by 20 June. The FEI will only review nominated entries once they have been submitted."
This means that HSI have to demonstrate that Caledonia Stables qualifies as being Irish, or, that Broderick is the co-owner of the horse since prior to January 15 this year.
The 31-year-old was the surprise choice of manager Splaine after re-emerging from a long break from top-tier competition to produce stunning double clear rounds two weeks ago in both the Swiss nations cup in St Gallen and the subsequent grand prix. Broderick and MHS Going Global were unique in achieving the feat.
It was a massive statement ahead of the Olympic selection, as the rider from Ballypatrick Stables near Thurles, Co Tipperary, had been out of action following surgery on a groin injury and had not competed at the top level since the Furusiyya Series Nations Cup final in Barcelona, Spain, last September.
Three other show jumpers were in the running for the sole place on offer to Ireland, Denis Lynch, Cian O'Connor, and Bertram Allen. While Allen had won the place for Ireland, like a number of other sports, it was up to the manager to decide, based on strict criteria, who should travel to Rio de Janeiro.
Splaine cited the Swiss performances as the deciding factor for selecting Broderick and MHS Going Global, saying: "They are a combination at the very top of their form."
In another development, after naming Lynch, O'Connor, and Allen as reserves for the Olympics, it seems likely that, under FEI rules, HSI can only put two names forward as reserves.
Ms Hatton said: "The decision has not yet been made."
Meanwhile, a syndicate led by Czech woman Emma De Moussac on Friday night paid 30,000 pounds sterling for a three-quarter parts brother of MHS Going Global. Broderick had consigned the colt to auction at Bolesworth Show in England, with all the proceeds going to The Jack & Jill Foundation and Our Lady's Children's Hospital in Crumlin, Dublin.
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