FRENCH racing was rocked this week by news that four members of one of the most successful families in the business are being questioned by police as part of an investigation into alleged horse-doping.
Three of the four are Group 1-winning trainers, and the other a Group 1-winning jockey.
Cedric Rossi, his brother Charley and their uncle Frederic, were reportedly detained on Tuesday as part of a larger group of 15 under investigation. A police spokesperson said: “Some have been arrested, others are helping us with our enquiries.”
The Rossi family stables are based in Calas, near Marseilles in the south of France.
Sealiway was trained by Cedric Rossi to win the Champion Stakes at Ascot this year. The horse was previously trained by Frederic Rossi, for whom he won the Prix Jean-Luc Lagardere and finished second in the French Derby, before joining his nephew mid-season.
Charley Rossi trained Tiger Tanaka to win the Group 1 Prix Marcel Boussac in 2020. The filly was ridden to victory by the trainer’s partner Jessica Marcialis, who is also reported to have been questioned this week.
Frederic was the most successful of the three in terms of winners this year with 94. He is in fifth place in the trainers’ table, having won over €2.5 million in prize money. Last year he won the Poule d’Essai des Pouliches with Dream And Do.
A statement from France Galop read: “France Galop is closely following the latest developments in the ongoing investigations. At this stage, France Galop is not making any comments.
“As part of its public service mission, France Galop is responsible for ensuring the regularity of racing and, in this context, it cooperates closely and on an ongoing basis with the Central Racing and Gaming Department of the French National Police.
“The fight against doping is an absolute priority for the racing industry, which devotes an annual budget of €10 million to it. The horse racing industry carries out nearly 30,000 anti-doping tests per year, many of them unannounced, in races, but also on horses in training, horses that come out of training and at stud farms.”
The arrests and searches by the national police branch that monitors gambling and racing were the result of a 10-month investigation using electronic and human surveillance.
In March, Andrea Marcialis, brother of Jessica, was banned by France Galop until 2025 for three counts of doping and two counts of running a shadow training operation.
He was reported to racecourse officials after being seen carrying a syringe from the car park at the Saint-Cloud, just west of Paris, in August last year. The racing authority ruled that there was evidence of doping there. He was also held responsible for administering injections to six horses irregularly.