THE BHA are to begin an investigation after a top young jockey was forced to deny taking cocaine following the release of a damaging video.
The 'malicious' clip appeared to show Benoit de la Sayette, 18, racking up a line of the class-A drug after his biggest career win on Saturday.
But the promising teenager, who won Saturday's £100k Lincoln Handicap at Doncaster, has issued a strong denial and says he has never taken cocaine.
The BHA have refused to speculate on the source or content of the social media post, but confirmed they will launch a probe.
A spokesperson said: "The BHA is aware of a video on social media and will be looking into all aspects of the matter.
"We will not comment further on the matter or any speculation surrounding it at present.”
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The short clip shows De la Sayette’s face before flipping to reveal two other people in the room and lines of cocaine on a toilet cistern.
The caption on the video reads: “Racing[s] future star or Newmarket’s biggest junkie.
“Well done Benoit. Wins the Lincoln then gets on the Gear.”
In a statement on behalf of the teenager, the Professional Jockeys Association said the rider was the victim of a 'malicious' smear attempt.
The statement read: “A film has been tweeted from an account purporting to be Benoit De La Sayette’s.
“The film was apparently first circulated in the aftermath of Benoit’s victory aboard Haqeeqy in the Unibet Lincoln at Doncaster on Saturday 27 March.
“For the avoidance of doubt, this [Twitter] account is not Benoit’s nor is it under his control.
“This carefully edited film maliciously suggests that Benoit was taking cocaine after winning the aforementioned race.
“Benoit lives with his parents and was driven to and from Doncaster on Saturday by his father along with another jockey, and spent the evening at home with his parents.
“He was also riding at Doncaster on Sunday and once again driven there and back by his father.”
It continued: “The film is actually from October 2019 when he was 16, nine months prior to Benoit being licenced.
“He was at a party in Lambourn and filmed being in the presence of cocaine that others, not him, were taking. He did not and does not take cocaine.
“Whoever is responsible for the distribution of this film is clearly intent on trying to cause significant damage to a young man at the start of his career.
“The PJA is taking steps to try and have the account that posted the video removed.”
Benoit de la Sayette has been dubbed the next Frankie Dettori, and he has been mentored by the legendary Italian on the Newmarket gallops.
He has won 10 of his 36 career rides and is the first apprentice jockey employed by champion trainer John Gosden in over 30 years.
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