Three jockeys suspended for testing positive for cocaine
Ger Fox, Roger Quinlan and Danny Benson suspended by Turf Club Referrals Committee
Ger Fox celebrates winning the Boylesports Irish Grand National on Rogue Angel at Fairyhouse in 2016. Photograph: Morgan Treacy/Inpho
Three jockeys, including the Irish Grand National winner Ger Fox, were suspended for positive cocaine tests at hearings on Thursday night.
Fox, the leading point to point jockey rider Roger Quinlan, and Danny Benson were all technically handed two-year bans by a Turf Club Referrals Committee hearing. However all could be back in action within months.
Fox, winner of the 2016 Irish National on Rogue Angel, has had 18½ months of his two-year ban suspended provided he submits to random testing and continues to have the support of his employer, trainer, Gavin Cromwell.
Quinlan, who rode Faugheen on his sole point to point start, has had 21 months of his two-year ban suspended and could be back riding on March 1st provided he continues to co-operate with the Turf Club medical team.
Benson’s ban will be reviewed in six months provided he positively engages with a treatment programme.
All three tested positive for cocaine at a meeting in Galway in October and a statement from the Referrals Committee said: “We can’t have another night like tonight where three jockeys tested on the same day were positive.
“This is unacceptable for racing. To date we have tried to impose punishment with an encouragement to undertake rehab. This has worked in individual cases but it is clear the deterrent effect of the penalties imposed to date is not enough.
“We are asking Denis Egan, in his capacity as chief executive of the Turf Club, to write to all the representative bodies to say in future the starting point for penalties will be four years plus whatever follows. There will be no coming back in six months except in very exceptional circumstances. What is currently happening cannot continue.”
They added that help is available for any rider and encouraged them to contact the Turf Club medical officer, Dr Adrian McGoldrick, in confidence.