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Mike Smith demoted in jockeys' challenge after winner tests positive for cobalt

Mike Smith: demoted to third after Sun Hat's disqualification
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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

Sibylle Vogt (32 points) 
Mickaelle Michel (20)
Mike Smith (18)
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. 


Read this next:

Saudi Cup winner Jason Servis among 27 facing doping-related charges in US

Maximum Security digs deep to take the inaugural Saudi Cup in Riyadh


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Each of the four legs in the competition were worth $400,000, with an additional $30,000 bonus given to the winner

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