Jockey Alex Lai Hoi-wing has been suspended from riding in races for a month after testing positive to banned substance methylephedrine. Chief steward Kim Kelly said yesterday the stipes has reached their decision after taking into consideration that Lai's methylephedrine level 'was consistent with the use of medications prescribed to him by his doctor for a viral complaint'. The drug is commonly found in cough medicines as well as many forms of diet pills. However, Kelly added that the panel 'also took into consideration that jockey Lai had failed to make any appropriate inquiry as to whether the prescribed medication contained any prohibited substances as provided for by the Rules of Racing'. Lai immediately lodged notice of his intention to appeal against the severity of the suspension. This is the first season the Hong Kong Jockey Club has included methylephedrine on its list of banned substances, following the stance of other racing jurisdictions and the World Anti Doping Agency (Wada). Lai's random urine test at Sha Tin on October 4 showed a level of the drug above the Jockey Club's threshold of 10 micrograms per millilitre. Evidence was taken yesterday from both Lai and the Jockey Club's racing chemist, David Leung Kwan-kon, before the jockey was found guilty of having breached Rule 60(1) in supplying a sample that contained methylephedrine exceeding the allowable threshold. His licence to race was suspended until November 12 - a penalty back-dated to last Monday when the positive-test result first became known, and Lai was stood down from riding. At that time he was stood down, Lai waived his right to have the reserve portion of the sample tested by an independent laboratory. As Lai has been suspended, not disqualified, he is banned only from race riding and will be permitted to ride trackwork and barrier trials. The jockey will be required to provide a clear sample before he resumes riding.