Silvestre de Sousa has been banned for ten months by the Hong Kong Jockey Club after pleading guilty to a betting charge on Friday.
A three-time champion jockey in Britain, De Sousa, 42, pleaded guilty alongside Vagner Borges, a fellow Brazilian rider based in Hong Kong, who was banned for 12 months by HKJC stewards.
Both bans begin immediately, ruling De Sousa out until March 12, 2024 and Borges until May 12, 2024.
Both riders were found in breach of rule 59 (3), which says that “no jockey shall bet, or facilitate the making of a bet, or have any interest in a bet, on any race or any contingency relating to a race meeting”.
The Racing Post understands De Sousa is planning to appeal against the ban handed down to him, while HKJC chief steward Marc van Gestel said he was unable to provide any additional comment on the findings against the two riders as “it is subject to appeal”.
According to a media release from the HKJC, Borges bet on his mount, Young Brilliant, in a 1m1f handicap at Happy Valley on April 26 in contravention of the rules.
De Sousa “facilitated” Borges being able to bet on the horse, who finished seventh.
The HKJC statement said that “there was no evidence before the stewards that jockeys Borges and De Sousa had ridden their horses in the respective race with any intention other than to obtain the best possible placing for their mounts”.
In reaching the decision to ban both riders, HKJC stewards accepted the guilty pleas of both riders and each had an “unblemished record in relation to betting offences”.
However, the stewards added: “It is fundamental to the integrity of racing that jockeys are not permitted to bet or to have an interest in a bet.”
De Sousa relocated to ride in Hong Kong at the end of last year having struggled to re-establish himself following his release from his role as retained jockey for Aiyawatt Srivaddhanaprabha’s King Power Racing operation in November 2021.
Since moving to Hong Kong, De Sousa has ridden 45 winners and sits fifth in the jockeys’ championship. His mounts have earned HK$75,597,985 (£7.7m/€8.8m) in prize-money.
A spokesman for the BHA said a request to reciprocate the ban given to De Sousa would be issued by the HKJC, although the rider would be able to contest it in Britain if he wished to do so.
Silvestre de Sousa’s ten-month ban imposed by the Hong Kong Jockey Club marks the latest twist in a career spanning over 20 years.