Hong Kong Stewards Drop Doleuze Case

The nightmare is over for jockey Olivier Doleuze, who emerged from a May 21 inquiry by Hong Kong Jockey Club stewards into a drug “irregularity” without a case to answer.

Doleuze was sensationally stood down on morning of May 18, less than four hours before the start of the big Singapore Airlines International Cup meeting at Kranji, after a urine sample provided by him that day had tested positive to an unspecified prohibited substance.

Yesterday that substance was revealed to be Benzylpiperazine, a drug commonly used in New Zealand as an appetite suppressant but with side effects of mild euphoria and sense of wellbeing.

The hearing at Happy Valley lasted under 90 minutes, during which time Doleuze was able to prove unequivocally that he had sought advice from the Jockey Club before taking the appetite suppressant Bliss Sensory Pills -- manufactured in New Zealand but sourced in Indonesia -- and only consumed the tablets after being advised it was safe to do so.

The hearing established that Benzylpiperazine was not listed as an ingredient of Bliss Sensory Pills by the manufacturer. It also established that the Jockey Club gave Doleuze clearance to take the product based solely on the literature and not on any laboratory tests.

Doleuze was ultimately not charged with any offense and expects to return to race riding May 28.

“I am very happy that I have been vindicated, and I must thank the Jockey Club for giving me a very fair hearing,” an upbeat Doleuze said later.

“It has been really tough, these last three days. One minute, I feel like king of Hong Kong after my win on Good Ba Ba in the Champions Mile and the next, my career and reputation is shattered again.

“The most important thing to me is to have cleared my name and to have done it quickly. It was very sad to read, particularly the papers in my own country [France], how people have been so quick to judge me, and to assume the drug was a recreational drug, to assume I was a repeat offender.”

Doleuze had been disqualified for six months by Jockey Club stewards in April, 2003, having tested positive to cocaine, but bravely clawed his way back from the brink of despair to gain a rare second chance in Hong Kong.

“I acknowledge what I did five years ago, I did not deny it, I admitted my guilt and took my medicine,” Doleuze continued. “I realized how lucky I was to be invited back to Hong Kong and I promised I would never, never let the people down who had so much faith in me.

“The assumptions people have made in recent days have been hurtful to me, hurtful to my family, had no basis and were totally unfair. It’s just too easy for some people to believe the worst about others.”

The inquiry heard evidence that the list of ingredients on the literature accompanying the bottles of Bliss Sensory Pills was thought to be safe for the jockey to consume, but the urine sample provided by Doleuze on May 18 was positive for Benzylpiperazine.

Subsequent tests by Jockey Club laboratory head Dr. Terence Wan See-ming have established that Doleuze’s bottles of Bliss Sensory Pills did indeed contain Belzylpiperazine.

According to Wikipedia, Benzylpiperazine is commonly referred to as BZP, but also under the trade names of A2, Frenzy or Nemesis. It has been used as a recreational drug with euphoric or stimulant properties and the effects are very similar to those produced by amphetamines. As of late 2005, the Misuse of Drugs Act (NZ) ensured it can no longer be classified or marketed as a dietary supplement in New Zealand.

Chief stipendiary steward Jamie Stier concluded that Doleuze had taken the appropriate care before consuming Bliss Sensory Pills, and had acted in good faith on the advice given to him by officers of the Jockey Club.

“Jockey Doleuze had followed the Club’s advice previously given to all jockeys in Hong Kong, to have the listed contents of any supplement they are considering consuming checked for the presence of prohibited substances,” Stier reported.

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