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Benoit de la Sayette poised for weekend return to action

Benoit de la Sayette is looking forward to returning to action shortly, following his suspension for testing positive for cocaine.

The 7lb claimer was given a six-month ban in September, backdated to April, having looked one of the weighing room’s brightest young stars when partnering Haqeeqy to victory for John and Thady Gosden in the Lincoln at Doncaster 12 months ago.

However, a video was subsequently circulated on social media claiming to show De la Sayette at a party in the presence of cocaine following his Doncaster victory, prompting the British Horseracing Authority to take urine and hair samples from De la Sayette on March 31.

Benoit de la Sayette in action aboard Haqeeqy
Benoit de la Sayette in action aboard Haqeeqy (Alan Crowhurst/PA)

The urine sample returned negative on the same day the test was administered, but the hair sample had returned positive for metabolites of cocaine, with an interim suspension placed on the rider on April 17, with De la Sayette admitting he had previously used the drug, although insisting the video was from October 2019.

The BHA said at De la Sayette’s disciplinary panel hearing there was “no suggestion or evidence” that he ever rode in a race under the influence of cocaine.

“I’m very sorry for what happened but feel I’ve learned from the experience,” he said in a statement issued on his behalf.

“I’m especially grateful for all the support given to me by my family and also my employers John and Thady Gosden, as well as the wider Clarehaven team.

“I’d also like to thank PJA (Professional Jockeys Association) for all of their invaluable help. My agent Paul Clarke is another who has given me much appreciated support, as has Tony Rushmer from RushmerPR.

“I now want to repay all the faith shown in me by performing well, focusing on the job I’ve always longed to do.”

It is anticipated De la Sayette will be back in the saddle at Wolverhampton on Saturday evening.

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