Top French rider found guilty of merits charge Gerald Mosse was a shattered man last night after being banned for nine meetings on a merits charge arising from the Sha Tin meeting on Sunday. Mosse, 41, was charged with failing to take all reasonable and permissible measures to win or obtain the best possible placing on the well-fancied Willing Storm. Mosse (pictured) pleaded not guilty and conducted a spirited defence, but the stipendiary stewards found against him. The French riding ace was grilled about his ride at the course on Sunday, after which stewards adjourned the matter until yesterday. Mosse will be allowed to fulfil his commitments for the last three meetings of the season but will miss the first nine meetings of the new term, which starts on Monday, September 15. Mosse has already suggested the 2008-09 season will be his last before he takes up training. Mosse was upset at the finding last night but said he had not decided about an appeal. He declined to make any other comment. Mosse had the John Moore-trained Willing Storm (HK$40 second favourite) in a good position during the Medical & Health Handicap, and a clear run was presented when the horse in front of him, Guan Dao, shifted off the fence approaching the home turn. But the Frenchman appeared committed to the idea of keeping Willing Storm covered up longer and hopefully getting a split wider out. Stewards said in their report that 'at all relevant times, clear and uninterrupted running was available to the inside of Guan Dao'. The breaks that Mosse appeared to be probing for failed to materialize, and he eventually switched back to the inside some 150 metres from home. Willing Storm finished the race off strongly to be third, beaten a half length and a head. Stewards told Moore and owner Adrian Li Kwok-heung that their evidence had been accepted. Mosse has had a season of sharply fluctuating fortunes. He partnered Sacred Kingdom to a scintillating win in the Cathay Pacific Hong Kong Sprint (1,200m), a performance that saw the gelding recognised as the world's number one sprinter. But that association fell apart after Sacred Kingdom looked unlucky to lose the Group One Queen's Silver Jubilee Cup, behind Good Ba Ba. Mosse is in sixth place on the jockeys' premiership, with 38 winners and, with Sacred Kingdom leading the way, his mounts have won over HK$48 million. Nine meetings is the minimum number of meetings stewards have dished out under this rule over the past three years, and is the same as the penalty received by Australian jockey Chris Munce for his ride on First Knight in January 2006. Rather more controversially, South African jockey Robbie Fradd received 11 meetings in May that year (reduced to six on appeal), while apprentice Franky Tsui Kwan-wai got 12 in January 2007, and South African Anthony Delpech 11 meetings (later reduced to nine) last October.