A five-year ban has been slapped on jockey Chad Little after an inquiry into the contravention of rules regarding banned substances.
The National Horseracing Authority said a urine sample taken from the jockey contained the substance methamphetamine.
“Mr Little presented himself to take part in a race at the Vaal on July 23 when it was evident that a sample may have contained a banned substance which, upon analysis, was found to be ‘Red Bull’ and not urine. He misled the stipendiary board by providing and presenting a substance as urine,” the authority said in a statement.
“In determining a suitable sentence, the inquiry board took into account the evidence, the mitigating circumstances and Mr Little’s disciplinary record.”
It added that Little has the right of appeal against the severity of the penalty imposed.
In a separate inquiry held in Port Elizabeth on September 27, trainer JH Strydom was fined R23,000 after a positive dope test on his horse Elusive Kat, which won a race at Fairview on June 21.
On the overseas racing front, top jockey Frankie Dettori tuned up for next weekend’s Prix de L’Arc de Triomphe in Paris by winning Saturday’s Cambridgeshire Handicap at Newmarket.
Next Sunday Dettori teams up with arguably the most popular racehorse on the planet — John Gosden’s superstar filly Enable. She is attempting to win the Arc for the third year running.
Dettori was in the saddle when Enable did her final piece of serious work on the Newmarket gallops last Wednesday. Teddy Grimthorpe, racing manager for the filly’s owner Khalid Abdullah, told reporters: “It was a good solid piece of work and just what everyone wanted to see. Frankie was happy with her.”
Nevertheless, there is growing confidence about the chance of the main French hope Sottsass. Enable’s trainer Gosden has stated that he considers the colt’s win in the Prix du Jockey Club as “the best performance by a three-year-old in 2019 and he will be getting weight from us”.
Bookies quote Enable as the 7-10 favourite for the last big race of the European season, but Sottsass has been popular in the market shortening from 10-1 to 7-1.
Interestingly, Enable might not be the most popular horse in Gosden's yard. It is his talented stayer Stradivarius who has put stable staff in the money.
Gosden revealed that an amount of £100,000 would be shared by his staff after Stradivarius captured the £1m Weatherby Stayers Million for the second time.
“He’s enjoyed another successful season and next year the target will be to win a third Ascot Gold Cup with him,” said Gosden.
A spokesperson for Weatherby’s said: “Behind every great horse is a great team and to see Stradivarius looking and maintaining his condition towards the end of a long season is a massive credit to all of them.”