Picture: THINKSTOCK
Picture: THINKSTOCK

In one of the longest suspensions handed down by the National Horseracing Authority (NHA), Gauteng jockey Chad Little has been banned from riding for 425 days.

Following an inquiry at NHA headquarters in Johannesburg, a board disclosed that a urine sample taken from Little at the Vaal racecourse on January 5 showed the presence of the banned substances furosemide and canrenone. A week later — at the same racecourse — Little was tested again and methcathinone, as well as furosemide and canrenone, was detected by the NHA laboratory.

At an inquiry in March 2016, Little was found guilty of using a banned sentence and a 60-day suspended ban from riding was imposed. For the contravention of his two positive tests in January, the board gave Little a 365-day suspension. They also added his 60-day suspended sentence from March 2016, making the total ban 425 days.

Little has the right of appeal, but the board also stated that he would have to submit three urine samples that tested negative before being allowed to resume race riding.

Meanwhile, the racing action this week is at the Vaal and trainer Lucky Houdalakis could saddle a double on Tuesday’s eight-race card.

Houdalakis — in 12th place on the national trainers’ log — runs the Var filly Memphis Belle in the sixth race over the minimum trip of 1,000m.

The chief dangers to Houdalakis’ filly could be Pipkin, the mount of Weichong Marwing, with Cataluga also in with a shout despite having to carry top weight of 61 kg.

Probably a safer bet is Dalley, who should give rider Anthony Delpech another winner when the Ideal World filly takes on nine rivals in the final leg of the jackpot. Delpech was in the saddle when the four-year-old scored a three-lengths win over this course and distance in June and a repeat victory looks very much on the cards.

Another of Weichong Marwing’s rides, Rose Water, can earn another cheque by filling the runner-up berth. This inmate of Roy Magner’s stable has been placed in each of her past four starts.

Two well-bred juveniles, Vicomte and Fast Looks, make their debuts in the first race and both need close monitoring in the betting market.

Of those runners who have raced, Darkest Hour and Bennu make the most appeal. The first-named has turned in two good efforts since being equipped with blinkers.

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