Superstar 7lb claimer Benoit De La Sayette has tested positive for metabolites of cocaine, landing the Lincoln winning rider in hot water at a very early stage of his career.
In a statement issued by the Professional Jockeys Association, the claiming rider returned metabolites of cocaine in a hair sample taken by the BHA following the release of a social media clip that showed him in a situation where drugs were on show and being taken.
(Credit Racing Post) The statement said: "Last month a film circulated claiming to show Benoit de la Sayette at a party in the presence of cocaine following victory aboard Haqeeqy in the Unibet Lincoln at Doncaster on Saturday, March 27. The PJA issued a statement on Benoit's behalf denying the allegation and confirming that he "did not and does not take cocaine".
"Subsequently, the British Horseracing Authority (BHA) arranged to take urine and hair samples from Benoit on Wednesday, March 31. The urine sample returned negative on the same day the test was administered but on Friday evening Benoit was informed by the BHA that the hair sample had returned positive for metabolites of cocaine.
"Benoit has now admitted that he has previously taken cocaine and that he had initially not been as forthcoming as he ought to have been to those close to him and advising him. He maintains that the circulated video was from October 2019, that he did not take cocaine on that occasion and did not do so after winning the Lincoln.
"Benoit was due to ride at Brighton on Saturday and stood himself down from the ride, and agreed not accept any further rides. He has subsequently been informed by the BHA that he is now suspended from riding pending the conclusion of the disciplinary process, which he will fully co-operate with."
The youngster has hit the ground running in his full first season as an apprentice to John Gosden, with De la Sayette landing 12 winners from 49 rides so far and topping his profile off with a win in the Lincoln on his turf debut.
He had been a leading rider in pony races in France and Britain before joining John Gosden last year, with the master trainer taking on the 18 year old as his first yard apprentice for the first time in 29 years.
(Credit Racing Post) De la Sayette said: "I cannot apologise enough for my actions, both in respect of taking cocaine and of misleading those around me. Earlier this year I moved back home to live with my parents in order to take myself away from an environment where it was present. There are no excuses and I am sorry for letting down my family, the team at Clarehaven Stables, Mr Gosden and my colleagues in the weighing room."
John Gosden replied to this message and added: "Benoit is a teenager and I will be supporting him appropriately during this time."