De La Sayette Informed of Cocaine Positive By PJA, Suspended By BHA

Benoit de la Sayette | Scoop Dyga

Benoit de la Sayett has returned a positive test for cocaine, the Professional Jockeys Association announced on Tuesday morning. The British Horseracing Authority has subsequently suspended De La Sayette until the end of the disciplinary process.

The 18-year-old apprentice jockey to John and Thady Gosden was shown in a video on social media in late March allegedly in the presence of the drug at a party after winning the Unibet Lincoln H. at Doncaster aboard Haqeeqy (Ire) (Lope de Vega {Ire}) on Mar. 27. At that time, the PJA defended the young rider and denying the allegation that he “did not and does not take cocaine.”

After the video surfaced, the BHA tested De La Sayett for cocaine metabolites on Mar. 31. His urine sample was negative, but his hair sample was positive for metabolites of the drug. De La Sayette was notified of the positive hair sample by the BHA on Apr. 17, the PJA said. The Frenchman has now admitted to taking the drug and to not being as forthcoming to those advising him, but maintains that the video was from October 2019 and that he did not take the drug then or after winning the Lincoln.

De La Sayette opted not to ride at Brighton where he had mounts on Saturday and has not accepted any more rides in the interim. He is fully co-operating with the BHA's disciplinary process.

De la Sayette said in a statement issued by the PJA, “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.”

PJA Chief Executive Paul Struthers added, “Benoit is a very young man who only turned 18 in December 2020. He has made mistakes but the PJA will continue to support him throughout the process.”

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