Ger Fox gets green light to resume his riding career

Irish Grand National-winning Jockey served over five months of a ban for a positive cocaine test

Ger Fox  celebrates winning the Irish Grand National on Rouge Angel in 2016. Photograph: DonallFarmer/Inpho

Ger Fox celebrates winning the Irish Grand National on Rouge Angel in 2016. Photograph: DonallFarmer/Inpho

 

The Irish Grand National-winning jockey Ger Fox is free to resume race-riding next week after serving five-and-a-half months of his ban for a positive cocaine test.

Fox was handed a two-year suspension last November after being one of three riders to test positive for cocaine at Galway last October.

It was agreed a review of that suspension would be carried out in May and on Monday Fox got the green light to resume his riding career.

At a Referrals Committee hearing on Monday evidence was heard from Fox and the Irish Horseracing Regulatory Board medical officer, Dr Adrian McGoldrick.

The committee also noted a letter from Fox’s employer, Gavin Cromwell, for whom he has worked as assistant trainer during his suspension.

Cromwell gave Fox his full support while Dr McGoldrick said the rider had fully complied with all requests for random tests and all samples had tested negative for prohibited substances.

In evidence Fox said he deeply regretted his actions and that he had learned from the experience. He also agreed to any conditions the committee felt were necessary.

The committee lifted his suspension from Wednesday week (May 30th) on condition Fox submit to out of competition testing in the remaining 18 month period of his original suspension. Any breach of the anti-doping rules may see the 18 month sanction reactivated.

Fox rode the 2016 Irish Grand National winner Rogue Angel for Michael O’Leary’s Gigginstown Stud.

Jockeys Roger Quinlan and Danny Benson were also handed two-year suspensions for positive cocaine tests at the same Galway meeting in October.

Quinlan had 21 months of his ban suspended and Benson’s penalty could be reviewed after six months.

In November the Referrals Committee stressed that future penalties for positive cocaine tests will have a starting point of four years and that returning to action after six months will only be possible in “very exceptional circumstances”.

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