Leading owners retain complete faith in charged trainer Guy Cherel's innocence
Guy Cherel retains the full support of his major owners as he prepares to fight charges brought against him following an investigation led by the French police's racing and gaming division, which press reports have linked to alleged doping offences.
Cherel was arrested on Monday and taken to the Nanterre headquarters of the SCCJ (Service Central des Courses et Jeux), and appeared before a judge in Versailles the following day.
"My clients and I are all absolutely certain Guy is innocent and we maintain all our confidence in him," said David Powell, who manages the interests of several major names among the ranks of jumps owners in France.
Cherel is fourth in the trainers' table and has made a name for himself in selling on promising young jumping stock to race in Britain and Ireland, with Twinlight, Irish Saint, Calipto and Activial among his recent successful exports.
Although no details of the charges brought have been released, the case continues to play out in public, with Le Parisien newspaper citing anonymous police sources and Cherel's legal team mounting a strong defence in the racing press.
Those around Cherel continue to maintain that no illicit substance has been recovered by the SCCJ from either his training yard in Maisons-Laffitte or his stud at Gavray in Normandy, and that none of the new batch of tests conducted on Cherel's horses have returned a positive result.
Cherel's lawyer, Maitresse Florence Gaudilliere, described the investigation as displaying "a gross ignorance about racing", adding that police pursuit of old cases already treated by France Galop represents nothing less than an attack on the independence of the racing authorities.
Cherel paid a series of fines between 2011 and 2016 in the wake of positive tests for legitimate medication, for which he claimed to have observed the appropriate withdrawal period.
The SCCJ has made its own headlines in recent years, both for the arrest of several high-profile handball players accused of match fixing, and for an internal scandal linked to a Parisian casino called the Cercle Wagram which led to the removal of several officers.
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