Jockey Oisin Murphy Gets Three-Month Ban In France: Sex Partner May Have Caused Cocaine Positive

Oisin Murphy gives Blond Me a hug after her E. P. Taylor victory in 2017 (Woodbine Twitter Photo)

Two-time reigning British champion jockey Oisin Murphy has been banned three months by France Galop after testing positive for cocaine while riding at Chantilly in July. In issuing the suspension, the French racing authority has accepted an explanation from the 25-year-old rider that the positive test was the result of “environmental contamination” that came from sexual contact on the eve of the French race with a woman who had used cocaine.

The ban, which runs from Dec. 11 through March 11, is three months shorter than other jockeys have received for similar offenses without the environmental contamination defense.

The full France Galop decision and reasoning (in French) can be found here. Murphy provided an independent hair sample drug test that did not detect cocaine. It can be found here.

A portion of the France Galop decision translated by Google into English states that “… the most likely scenario would be to have had a partner using a substance prohibited which may lead, during intimate moments, to exchanges of bodily fluids or surface contamination and that the consequence of these situations is a molecular transfer, likely to cause an abnormal analytical result in the competitor  … adding that the day before the race, Oisin Murphy had sex with a young girl and has since learned that she uses cocaine occasionally.”

Murphy released a lengthy statement and response through the Professional Jockeys Association, the entirety of which can be read below:

“Oisin Murphy, the 2019 and 2020 Champion Flat Jockey, was today informed that the Commissioners of France Galop have found him in breach of their rules as a result of a positive sample provided by him at Chantilly on the 19th July 2020 and have suspended him from riding for three months.

“In the decision, the Commissioners have accepted Oisin’s explanation that he did not take cocaine and that the positive sample arose as a result of unintentional, environmental contamination. However, he must serve a three-month suspension as the Rules relating to prohibited substances operate on a strict liability basis and he failed to avoid putting himself into a situation where environmental contamination could occur.

“Commenting on the decision, Oisin 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. This evidence included my hair sample results – the results of which I am making public today – and an expert witness statement from an eminent toxicology and anti-doping expert.

“’Whilst I am obviously disappointed that I will still have to serve a three-month suspension, I am pleased the Commissioners accepted the evidence presented and am hugely relieved to have been cleared of taking cocaine.

“’I respect the rules of France Galop, respect their decision and will not be appealing. 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.

“’Even though I have been exonerated from taking cocaine, I would like to take this opportunity to apologise to Sheikh Fahad al Thani, David Redvers and Andrew Balding and thank them for their support. I also want to thank my legal team, particularly Florence Gaudilliere, who represented me in France but also Rory Mac Neice, the Professional Jockeys Association, Johnno Spence and others who have advised and supported me throughout.

“’Finally, I would also like to apologise to the whole Qatar Racing team, to the owners and trainers I ride for, my supporters, my weighing room colleagues and to my commercial partners as well as Racing to School.

“The next three months will give me much time to reflect on my actions but I will learn from this experience and come back better and even more determined than before.’”

“Andrew Balding commented:

“’Oisin Murphy arrived at Kingsclere in 2012 and is very much part of the Park House family. I have been very proud to watch him thrive in the saddle but also as an ambassador for the sport. Oisin is a kind, trustworthy and dedicated part of the team. I never doubted he was innocent but I know this will really hurt him and I will make sure we do everything to help him return as a stronger and better person.’”

Published at Fri, 27 Nov 2020 20:48:09 +0000

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