PJA slams ‘malicious’ video of Benoit de la Sayette

A video posted online which shows rising star Benoit de la Sayette in the presence of cocaine has been described as “malicious” by the Professional Jockeys Association.

The short clip appeared on an account “purporting” to belong to the rider, who won the Lincoln on board John and Thady Gosden’s Haqeeqy on Saturday – his first ever ride on turf.

While a statement from the PJA confirmed it was De la Sayette in the video, it was allegedly recorded in 2019 when he was just 16, and he strenuously denied ever taking drugs.

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.

“For the avoidance of doubt, this 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.

“The film is actually from October 2019, when he was 16, nine months prior to Benoit being licensed. 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.”

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