David Morgan

Chief Journalist


De Sousa and Borges handed lengthy bans

The Brazilian champion jockeys have been disqualified from riding for their involvement in placing a bet on a horse Borges rode at Happy Valley last month.

Hong Kong Jockey Club stewards have handed Silvestre de Sousa a 10-month ban and Vagner Borges a 12-month disqualification after the jockeys pleaded guilty to a charge of betting or facilitating a bet.

A Jockey Club-issued press release stated that the two Brazilian riders had breached the Club’s Rule 59 (3): De Sousa’s disqualification will end on March 12, 2024 and Borges will be able to resume riding two months later, on May 12.

Borges was guilty of ‘having an interest in a bet’ on his own mount, the Dennis Yip-trained Young Brilliant, in an 1800m Class 3 handicap at Happy Valley on April 26. The horse was an $18.0 chance and finished seventh.

De Sousa, a three-time champion jockey in Britain and currently fifth in the Hong Kong premiership with 45 wins for the season, pleaded guilty to the charge that he ‘did facilitate Jockey Borges having an interest in a bet’ on Young Brilliant, a horse owned by the HKJC Racing Club Ltd.

The stewards took into consideration both jockeys’ guilty pleas and their hitherto ‘unblemished’ records regarding betting offences. 

Borges, 30, is a four-time champion in Brazil and arrived in Hong Kong in the spring of 2020. He has since compiled a modest tally of 57 wins at a win strike rate of around five percent. This season he had put together seven wins at a winning rate of 2.83 percent.


Silvestre De Sousa. (Photo by Lo Chun Kit)

Vagner Borges. (Photo by Lo Chun Kit)

The Brazilian was handed a nine-meeting suspension in May 2021 when he pleaded guilty to a charge under Rule 99 (2) and (6), after the stewards judged he had not taken all measures open to him to give his mount Daily Charm the best chance of winning at Sha Tin on April 17 that year.

The stewards this time emphasised that they had no evidence to suggest either Borges or De Sousa ‘had ridden their horses in the respective race with any intention other than to obtain the best possible placing for their mounts.’

De Sousa, 42, has enjoyed big-time successes in Hong Kong, most notably in the G1 Hong Kong Cup of 2018 and the same year’s International Jockeys Championship at Happy Valley. After several years of undertaking short-term winter contracts in the city, this season was the first that he had committed to ride in full. 




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