Horse that tested positive for cocaine finally disqualified and Noseda fined

A final, ignominious footnote was added to the Classic-winning career of former trainer Jeremy Noseda on Tuesday when Walk In The Sun, a winner at Lingfield in February 2018, was disqualified for returning a post-race positive for cocaine and one of the performance-enhancing drug’s metabolites. Noseda, who announced his retirement from training “with immediate effect” in June 2019, was also fined £1,500.

Walk In The Sun was a red-hot 1-12 favourite for a novice stakes on 27 February and won by seven lengths. Rumours started to circulate in March 2018 that the colt had failed a post-race dope test and Walk In The Sun joined Martyn Meade before his next start in a Group Three at Royal Ascot in June 2018. The same month, it emerged that the banned substance in question was cocaine.

Tuesday’s hearing was conducted via Zoom and was not open to the media following an application by Noseda’s legal team for it to be held in private. Noseda, who was represented by solicitor Mark Edmondson, was present, and full written reasons for the disciplinary panel’s finding will be published in due course.

Walk In The Sun ran in the colours of the troubled Phoenix Thoroughbreds operation, which was recently suspended from running horses in Great Britain by the British Horseracing Authority “until further notice”. Noseda trained more than a dozen horses for Phoenix Thoroughbreds in 2017 and the early months of 2018, until a sudden split with the trainer which, as Noseda put it at the time, left him “shocked and surprised”.

Noseda’s big-race wins in a 21-year career included the 2006 St Leger with Sixties Icon and the Golden [now Diamond] Jubilee Stakes at Royal Ascot with Soldier’s Tale. He quit training in June 2019, a few months before Amer Abdulaziz, who founded Phoenix in 2017, was named in November 2019 as a key associate of a defendant in a major money-laundering trial in the United States. Abdulaziz has denied any wrongdoing.

Noseda was introduced to Abdulaziz by his ex-wife Kerri Radcliffe, a bloodstock agent who was responsible for the majority of Phoenix Throughbreds’ initial purchases, including Walk In The Sun.

Radcliffe paid a sale record $1.4m for the son of Street Sense at the Arqana Breeze-Up sale in France in May 2017, realising a huge profit for the Irish Mocklershill pinhooking operation in the process. Mocklershill had paid just $15,000 for Walk In The Sun at the Keeneland Yearling sale eight months earlier. In all, she spent more than $20m on behalf of Phoenix Thoroughbreds at bloodstock sales in 2017, but herself split with the operation in 2018, a few months after separating from Noseda.

The Guardian

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