Dual champion jockey Oisin Murphy has been handed a three-month ban for testing positive for cocaine after French racing authorities accepted his testimony that he had been contaminated after having sex with a woman he later learned was a drug user.
Murphy, 25, who also provided samples of his hair which tested negative for the drug, was facing a potential six-month ban under the sport’s strict liability rule.
But as he expressed his regret and apologised on Friday there must also have been a underlying feeling of massive relief.
Oisin Murphy has been banned from racing for three months after a positive cocaine test
Murphy’s suspension, which runs from December 11 to March 11 means he will be able to return before the major meetings next Spring, including the Dubai World Cup and ahead of the 2021 domestic Classic trials as he seeks to defend the title he retain earlier this month with 142 winners.
Murphy said: ‘I would like to thank France Galop and the panel of Commissioners for a fair hearing and for accepting the evidence I presented that I had not taken cocaine.
‘I respect the rules of France Galop, respect their decision and will not be appealing.
The champion jockey (right) has protested his innocence that he did not take the Class A drug
‘Despite my relief, I regretfully put myself in a situation whereby cocaine has been able to filter into my system through environmental contamination and must live with the consequences. As a professional sportsman I cannot put myself in a similar situation again.’
Murphy’s explanation of his positive test was similar to the 2009 explanation which enabled French tennis player, Richard Gasquet to overturn a provisional 12-month ban by claiming he had been contaminated when kissing a woman who had taken cocaine in a nightclub.
The France Galop report on the hearing stated that neither counsel nor Murphy would reveal any information of the person where the contamination originated and with whom the jockey had an intimate encounter the day before.
Robert Fournier Sarloveze, counsel for France Galop, asked if Murphy could reveal any details of the woman but the jockey’s counsel responded that Murphy had been contacted by the lawyer of the girl and was asked not to reveal her identity.
Frankie Dettori, pictured with the Gold Cup in June, was given a six-month ban back in 2012
It was revealed that Murphy stopped seeing the girl once he learnt that she was taking the drug.
Murphy tested positive when taking three rides at Chantilly on July 19.
He was told his A sample had tested positive to a metabolite of cocaine on August 19 by France Galop.
Paul Struthers, chief executive of the Professional Jockeys Association, added: ‘We are incredibly grateful to France Galop for accepting the evidence which was presented.
‘It is important Oisin was able to establish that he had not taken cocaine. It is important that jockeys take care to not place themselves in a situation where contamination could occur.’
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