Mike Smith demoted in jockeys' challenge after winner tests positive for cobalt
Mike Smith, who won the international jockeys' challenge at the inaugural two-day Saudi Cup meeting in Riyadh in February, has been demoted to third after one of his two winners tested positive for traces of cobalt, a prohibited substance.
The 54-year-old rider won the second of a four-leg competition aboard the Bedan Alsubaie-trained Sun Hat, with the mare disqualified after cobalt was detected above the IFHA international accepted threshold in her post-race urine sample.
Following the disqualification, Swiss rider Sibylle Vogt, who became only the second woman to ride a winner under rules in Saudi Arabia after Lisa Allpress had claimed the opening leg of the challenge, was promoted to first, with Mickaelle Michel moved into second from joint-third.
The standings were determined using a points-based system, with 15 points awarded for winning a race, down to three for fifth place.
Each of the four legs in the competition were worth $400,000, with an additional $30,000 bonus to the winner. It comes as a further blow for Smith, who was fined more than $200,000, 60 per cent of his share, for his ride aboard runner-up Midnight Bisou in the Saudi Cup.
Revised jockeys' challenge placings
1 Sibylle Vogt (32 points)
2 Mickaelle Michel (20)
3 Mike Smith (18)
4 Frankie Dettori and Lisa Allpress (15)
It also emerged on Monday all prize-money for the $20m race was to be withheld by the Jockey Club of Saudi Arabia (JCSA) due to criminal charges against the winning trainer Jason Servis for his alleged involvement in a doping scheme.
Smith was handed a nine-day ban for the ride aboard Midnight Bisou, having already picked up a two-day ban for failing to weigh in after a race on the previous day of the meeting, with both suspensions upheld following an appeal by the jockey.
His weighing room colleague Irad Ortiz was also handed a ten-day whip ban at the two-day meeting, which was similarly upheld.
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