Benoit De La Sayette made a successful return from suspension in the opening race at Wolverhampton on Saturday on Rubbeldiekatz.
The 7lb apprentice 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, prompting the British Horseracing Authority to take urine and hair samples from De La Sayette on March 31.
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.
Having said earlier this week he felt he had “learned from the experience”, the rider made his comeback aboard the George Scott-trained Rubbeldiekatz in the Watch Racing Free Online At Coral Handicap.
There was not much to choose between the 14-1 shot and 9-4 favourite Storm Asset crossing the line, but the judge confirmed De La Sayette’s mount the winner by a short head.
“She’s such a trier. I spoke to Mr Scott before the race and he told me she’s got a big heart and tries to the end and she showed that today,” the jockey told Sky Sports Racing.
“It was tough close home and I didn’t know I’d won but I’m delighted to win on my first start back.
“I just want to prove to everyone who I am. I made a big mistake but I’m looking to the future. I’ve been at Clarehaven (Gosden yard) every morning since my apprenticeship started and I’ve learned so much.”