Silvestre de Sousa, three-time champion in Britain, has been suspended by the Hong Kong Jockey Club (HKJC) for a period of ten months after pleading guilty to a betting charge. The suspension comes after de Sousa admitted to breaching rule 59 (3), which strictly prohibits jockeys from betting, facilitating bets, or having any interest in bets related to any race or race meeting.

The suspension takes effect immediately, and de Sousa will be unable to participate in any racing events until March 12, 2024. Along with de Sousa, his fellow Brazilian rider and colleague in Hong Kong, Vagner Borges, was also found guilty of breaching the same rule and has been suspended for a period of 12 months.

The HKJC investigation revealed that Borges had placed a bet on his mount, Young Brilliant, in a 1m1f handicap race at Happy Valley on April 26, which was in clear violation of the betting rules. De Sousa, on the other hand, had facilitated Borges in placing the bet.

The stewards, while accepting the guilty pleas of both riders and acknowledging their clean records in relation to betting offences, noted that maintaining the integrity of racing is paramount, and jockeys must not be allowed to bet or have any interest in bets.

De Sousa, who moved to Hong Kong at the end of last year after losing his role as a retained jockey for Aiyawatt Srivaddhanaprabha’s King Power Racing operation, has ridden 45 winners since then, earning HK$75,597,985 in prize money. However, with this suspension, he will be unable to participate in any racing events until March 12, 2024.

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