Sean Levey made a winning return to the saddle aboard Tom Ward’s Double Cherry at Haydock on Friday.
Levey was stood down at Sandown last week following a random saliva swab that tested positive for a prohibited substance. The jockey immediately requested a urine sample which subsequently came back negative, but this was the earliest opportunity he was able to return from the sidelines.
Having missed out on the opportunity to scoop the £20,000 first prize on offer to the Racing League’s leading jockey, the rider has been critical of the testing process saying in a statement earlier in the week that he is “aggrieved” and there are “lessons to be learned”.
And the rider echoed those sentiments when speaking to Racing TV following Double Cherry’s success in the Haldane Fisher Handicap.
He said: “We flagged them up (saliva swap testing) when it first came out, but the powers that be were happy enough to carry on with them even though I’m not the first one to return a false positive.
“And I think in that time, whoever it may be, lost the same amount of days as me. So I’m surprised measures weren’t taken back then to make sure it didn’t happen, but now it’s happened again, I’m sure they will.”
Double Cherry would have been an unlucky loser in what was a messy contest due to interreference caused by the second Sea King. After a stewards’ inquiry Sea King was demoted from second to fourth.
Earlier on the card, Tom Clover’s Rogue Spirit recorded his third win of the season when making light work of the Old Bootleians Nursery Handicap.
The 7-4 favourite stormed two and a half lengths clear of the runner-up, and Clover is looking forward to the future for the consistent two-year-old, who could run in Pattern company before the end of the season.
“He is a really, really fun race horse and we only gave 11,000 guineas for him. It’s nice to get his third win of the year,” said Clover.
“He probably didn’t quite stay over a really hard run six (furlongs) at York the last day. I think six will be OK for him, but he looks more than happy at five.
“He’s won off 88 here and we thought he would win off that mark. We will have to see what the handicapper does before deciding where we go next really.”
He continued: “I wouldn’t mind having a crack at a stakes race in France, there is a Listed race in October that is sort of in the back of our minds. But we also felt he is a really fun horse for the all-weather over the winter as well.
“There is plenty of those valuable five-furlong and six-furlong sprints you can run in in the summer, so I hope he will be a horse for the years to come for the Rogues Gallery. He’s not overly big, but he has a real love for the game and loves his racing.
“He’s a horse we can really enjoy and run in some nice races on big days, I hope.”
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