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Britain’s champion jockey banned from racing for 14 months

oisin murphy

LONDON — British horse racing’s champion jockey was banned for 14 months because of a variety of offenses, including two positive tests for alcohol at racecourses.

Oisin Murphy faced an independent judiciary panel in relation to five charges - two relating to failed tests for alcohol and separate counts of misleading the British Horseracing Authority about his whereabouts, accessing a racecourse in breach of COVID-19 restrictions, and conduct prejudicial to the good reputation of the sport.

Murphy did not contest any of the charges and was given three 11-month suspensions - to run concurrently - along with two bans, totaling 100 days, for the positive alcohol tests.

The suspension period was backdated to December when Murphy decided to relinquish his license and seek “serious help.” He is ineligible to reapply for his license until Feb. 16, 2023.

He was also handed a fine of 31,111 pounds ($42,290).

The 26-year-old Irishman has been crowned flat-racing champion in Britain for the last three seasons.

The panel heard Murphy went on holiday to the Greek island of Mykonos, which was on the COVID red list at the time, for 10 days in September 2020. He later attempted to convince racing officials he had been to Lake Como in Italy.

Murphy subsequently failed two breath tests for alcohol at Chester in May and Newmarket in October. They were his second and third breaches within the allotted time period to trigger a lengthy ban.

In a lengthy statement to the BHA panel, Murphy said: “Now that I’m sober, I’m a different person and I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t have made those errors sober, but I can’t go back in time and I’m afraid they were grave issues.

“I dealt with success and failure the same,” he said. “Drink was the rock I perished on. People had told me this could happen, but I failed to avoid it and fell into the trap.”