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Benoit de la Sayette tests positive for cocaine after previous denial

Benoit de la Sayette – John Gosden's apprentice jockey – has been notified that he has returned a positive drugs test for cocaine.

After the 18-year-old had piloted Gosden's Haqeeqy to victory in the Lincoln Handicap at Doncaster late last month, a video emerged on social media that appeared to show De La Sayette at a party in the presence of the Class A drug.

He issued a statement via Professional Jockeys' Association, in which he stated that the video was two years old and that he 'did not and does not take cocaine'.

However, a subsequent hair test ordered by the British Horseracing Authority showed traces of metabolites of cocaine, and De La Sayette has now been suspended pending a hearing.

A PJA statement released today read: "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 jockey himself added: "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."

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