Police Raid Rossi Stables In Marseille

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Charley Rossi and Jessica Marcialis | Scoop Dyga 

The stables of Group 1-winning trainers Frederic, Cedric and Charley Rossi were subjected to police raids in Marseille on Tuesday morning, according to a report by Le Parisien newspaper. Charley Rossi and his wife, the jockey Jessica Marcialis, are reported to have been arrested at the Calas training centre. It is believed that Frederic and Cedric Rossi were also taken away by police.

The four are reportedly among a larger group of around 15 people from the Marseille and Paris regions, including at least one vet, to have been detained by police as part of an ongoing investigation into equine doping and race fixing.

French racing and bloodstock daily Jour de Galop (JDG) has reported that a judicial investigation has been opened and quotes the deputy prosecutor at the Aix-en-Provence prosecutor's office, Olivier Poulet, as saying that a 10-month investigation led to Tuesday's arrests and police search of the training centre.

“The two offences are organised cheating (for rigged horse races) and the administration of doping substances to horses participating in races,” Poulet told the JDG. “For this type of offence, police custody can last four days. The presentation before the judge of those in police custody is scheduled for next Thursday. At this point, we cannot divulge their identity.”

JDG also reports that a number of horses and their documentation have been seized by police from all three stables. The Charley Rossi-trained Droit De Parole (Ire) (Toronado {Ire}) was withdrawn from Tuesday's Quinté at Chantilly.

The Rossi family has long been at the forefront of racing in the south of France. Frederic's father Henri Rossi was a leading jockey before becoming a trainer. Frederic and his elder brother Jacques both followed in his footsteps. Jacques, who is no longer training, is president of the Societe Hippique de Marseille, which oversees racing at the two local courses of Borely and Pont-de-Vivaux as well as the Calas training centre, which is home to 27 trainers. Jacques is the father of Cedric and Charley Rossi.

The family has gained wider prominence in world racing in recent years. In 2020, Frederic Rossi, who also has a satellite stable in Chantilly, trained his first Classic winner, the G1 Poule d'Essai des Pouliches victrix Dream And Do (Fr) (Siyouni {Fr}), as well as G1 Prix Jean-Luc Lagardere winner Sealiway (Fr) (Galiway {GB}). The Arc meeting of 2020 proved a highly successful one for the family, as Charley Rossi landed the G1 Prix Marcel Boussac with Tiger Tanaka (Ire) (Clodovil {Ire}), handing Jessica Marcialis a memorable first Group 1 win in the saddle. Third in that same race was Rougir (Fr) (Territories {Ire}), trained by his brother, who would go on to star on the same weekend this year when winning the G1 Prix de l'Opera. Italian-born Marcialis is the sister of former Chantilly trainer Andrea Marcialis, who in March was banned from racing until 2025 having been found guilty of a number of charges including medication violations and running a training operation under the name of another trainer.

On Saturday, Rougir topped the Arqana Breeding Stock Sale in Deauville when sold to White Birch Farm and Coolmore's MV Magnier at a record-breaking €3 million. Shortly before that, the 2-year-old Purplepay (Fr) (Zarak {Fr}), also trained by Cedric Rossi, fetched €2 million and will race on in America for Lael Stable.

Dream And Do has not raced since her Classic success but was sold privately last year to Katsumi Yoshida of Japan's Northern Farm. Tiger Tanaka went through the ring at last week's Tattersalls December Mares' Sale, selling for 450,000gns.

Sealiway was switched from the stable of Frederic to Cedric Rossi this summer and went on to run fifth in the G1 Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe before winning the G1 QIPCO Champion S. He remains in training and may be aimed at the Saudi Cup in February.

French racing's governing body France Galop released a statement on Tuesday afternoon which read, “France Galop is following very closely the development of the ongoing investigations made public today and has no comments to make at this stage.

“France Galop has the responsibility of ensuring the regularity of races. In this context, it cooperates closely and regularly with the racing centres and the sports division of the National Police.

“The fight against doping is an absolute priority for the racing industry, which devotes an annual budget of €10 million euros to [this cause]. Thus, the equine sector carries out nearly 30,000 anti-doping tests per year, at the races, for horses in and out of training, and in the breeding sector.”

Frederic Rossi is currently lying in fifth in the French trainers' table for 2021 with 94 winners, and Cedric Rossi is in tenth place.

None of the horses in question are known to have tested positive for any banned substance.

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