Pierre-Charles Boudot suspended for three months pending rape investigation
France Galop stewards suspended the licence of reigning champion jockey Pierre-Charles Boudot – along with that of fellow jockey Pierre Bazire – for three months late on Friday evening, in response to the criminal charges brought against the two men by a court in Senlis earlier in the week.
Boudot has been indicted on rape charges following accusations made by a work-rider after a party in Cagnes-sur-Mer in February, while Bazire is charged with failure to report a crime.
Both men are also listed by the court as being implicated in the case of a third, unidentified, individual who is charged with witness intimidation.
Boudot secured a first Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe success on Waldgeist in October 2019 before landing the French jockeys' title for a third time in 2020, a season in which he won 12 Group or Grade 1 races in France, Britain and the US.
After racing to 105 winners this year the 28-year-old seemed on course for a crack at breaking the record of 305 successes in a season set by Christophe Soumillon in 2017, and he is 50 clear of second-placed Maxime Guyon in the race to the Cravache d'Or.
Stewards brought in emergency 48-hour suspensions on Wednesday after the indictments were revealed but, after hearing from both jockeys on Friday, extended their bans to three months under article 216 of the Code des Courses, a clause which deals with protecting the image of racing.
Under the heading of precautionary measures, the stewards can suspend a licence "if a person is subject to lawsuits in a case likely to bring grave damage to the image of racing and to harm betting markets".
A press release issued by France Galop underlined that, while the stewards were acting under the principle that all concerned were innocent until proven guilty, the gravity of the allegations made it necessary to suspend both jockeys.
Changes in the legal situation of one or both could lead to either an early repeal or an extension of the bans.
Boudot's legal team strenuously deny the allegations, with lead counsel Florence Gaudilliere telling French media: "Pierre-Charles Boudot's determination is greater than ever. He categorically denies the charges."
Boudot's absence from the weighing room will leave a void. He has increasingly become the go-to jockey for foreign trainers looking for local knowledge at Longchamp or Chantilly – big-race winners in 2020 included Fancy Blue, Mogul and One Master – while his reputation as a rider for the big occasions has also grown with success at Royal Ascot and the Breeders' Cup.
A fortnight ago, Boudot won the first Group 1 of the French season when making all in the Prix Ganay aboard Mare Australis, who is now a leading contender for the 2021 Arc, while he had been pencilled in for the ride on St Mark's Basilica in Sunday's Poule d'Essai des Poulains. The Aidan O'Brien-trained colt will now be partnered by Ioritz Mendizabal.
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