Oisin Murphy denies taking cocaine after failed drugs test in France

Irish rider faces a six-month ban if found guilty after positive test at Chantilly in July

Oisin Murphy, the champion jockey, insisted on Thursday that he has "never taken cocaine in my life" after it emerged that he faces a six-month ban from the saddle for returning a positive test for the Class A drug while riding in France on July 19th.

A statement issued via the Professional Jockeys’ Association on Thursday afternoon said that Murphy was informed of the positive result on August 19th, and subsequently organised hair sampling at an independent laboratory three days later. The process of collecting a hair sample was “filmed by the laboratory for authenticity” and analysed “multiple 0.3cm segments” of the rider’s hair and returned “completely negative for metabolites of cocaine”.

The statement added that the results of the hair-sample test “have been shared with France Galop [which runs French racing] and he awaits the results of France Galop’s analysis of his ‘B’ sample”.

Murphy, 25, was crowned champion jockey for the first time last season and is certain to retain the title when the current race ends in 16 days’ time on Champions Day at Ascot.


“I have never taken cocaine in my life and I will do everything that I can to prove that I have not taken cocaine,” Murphy said. “I want to thank those who are supporting me and in the meantime I want to keep riding winners and focus on my career. I will have no further comment to make and wish to respect the processes of France Galop.”

Kieren Fallon and Frankie Dettori have both served long suspensions from the saddle in the past after testing positive for cocaine. Fallon was first suspended for six months in 2006 and then for 18 months in 2008, while Dettori was out of the saddle for six months from December 2012.

Murphy can expect a six-month suspension if the result of the test on his “B” sample confirms the initial positive finding. While the majority of the ban would be served during the winter months, it would be a huge blow to Murphy’s public image and also prevent him riding in Japan, where he has built a huge following in recent seasons. - Guardian