Oisin Murphy vows to prove innocence after testing positive for cocaine

Champion jockey Oisin Murphy has vowed to do “everything that I can” to prove his innocence after testing positive for metabolites of cocaine at a meeting in France earlier in the year.

Murphy was tested by France Galop at Chantilly on July 19, where he partnered The Lir Jet to finish second in the Group Two Prix Robert Papin.

The rider was informed in August of his positive result and subsequently organised a hair sample test, which returned a negative result, according to the Professional Jockeys Association.

A statement issued on his behalf by the PJA said: “On July 19, 2020 Oisin Murphy was selected for urine testing at Chantilly racecourse. On August 19 he was informed by France Galop that his ‘A’ sample had returned positive for metabolites of cocaine.

Oisin Murphy steered Kameko to glory in the 2000 Guineas earlier this season
Oisin Murphy steered Kameko to glory in the 2000 Guineas earlier this season (Nigel French/PA)

“On the same day, Oisin organised for an independent laboratory to undertake hair sampling to prove his innocence. The hair sample was taken on August 22, with the collection process filmed by the laboratory for authenticity.

“The laboratory analysed multiple 0.3cm segments of Oisin’s hair and on August 26 the results of the hair test returned completely negative for metabolites of cocaine, which was entirely expected as Oisin has never taken cocaine.

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“These results have been shared with France Galop and he awaits the results of France Galop’s analysis of his ‘B’ sample.”

Murphy maintains his innocence, adding: “I have never taken cocaine in my life and I will do everything that I can to prove that I have not taken cocaine.

“I want to thank those who are supporting me and in the meantime I want to keep riding winners and focus on my career.”

Murphy later admitted his relief the case was now public knowledge, although he would have preferred to have waited until the results of both tests were returned before commenting.

He told Racing TV: “I had to release a statement today as the story had got round, but it is a weight off my shoulders. I’d been riding to the best of my ability and had a great week last week, but something needed to be said today – and I’m pleased it’s out there.

“People will examine every ride now, and if I give one a bad ride, they’ll probably say it’s because of this, but I have a brilliant support team and I am innocent. I think those closest to me believe in my innocence, so I’ve been able to push it out of my head.

“I’ve got to trust in France Galop and try to carry on as normal. A lot of important things are going on in the world at the moment, and this is crucial in my career, but it’s out of my control.

“Of course (there was a sense of disbelief). I don’t come into contact with drugs, I didn’t ever expect to hear from France Galop, BHA or wherever else I ride around the world. I don’t even take pain killers – I take an inhaler, and that’s about it.

“I don’t know the next steps. I’ll have to hear back from France Galop, which could take a few weeks. In an ideal world the headlines wouldn’t have come out today – we could have waited until we had a clearer picture – but now we have to wait on the ‘B’ sample.”

Oisin Murphy celebrated Group One glory with Alcohol Free at Newmarket last weekend
Oisin Murphy celebrated Group One glory with Alcohol Free at Newmarket last weekend (Alan Crowhurst/PA)

Murphy, who is retained rider to Qatar Racing, enjoyed a landmark first Classic victory aboard Kameko in the 2000 Guineas back in June and last week partnered Alcohol Free to Group One glory in the Cheveley Park Stakes.

He is also leading the way in the Flat jockeys’ championship with 111 winners to his credit at the start of racing on Thursday, 13 ahead of William Buick in second place.

The British Horseracing Authority has been informed of the matter, and a spokesperson said: “We have been made aware that there is an ongoing anti-doping matter in France in relation to Oisin Murphy, which is currently the subject of further analytical investigation.

“We will continue to liaise with the Professional Jockeys Association and France Galop, and assess any new information as it becomes available.”

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