• Quote: ‘Murphy told disciplinary hearing the positive was due to environmental contamination, via sexual contact with a user of the Class A drug’

By Andrew Atkinson

Flat champion jockey Oisin Murphy has been given a three-month suspension following his positive test for cocaine after riding in France in July.

The suspension comes after Murphy, 25, told a disciplinary hearing that the positive was due to ‘environmental contamination’ – via sexual contact with a user of the Class A drug.

Murphy’s ban will commence on December 11, through to March 11 – giving the green light to ride at the start of the UK 2021 Flat campaign in May.

Amid Killarney, County Kerry born Murphy testing positive in October, he strongly denied having taken the Class A drug.

Murphy provided France Galop, the sport’s regulator in France, with the results of a private test on samples of his hair.

He also told the hearing he had sex – the night before his ride on The Lir Jet at Chantilly on July 19 – with a partner who he subsequently discovered had used cocaine.

A statement released via the Professional Jockeys’ Association, Murphy thanked France Galop and its disciplinary panel for accepting the evidence presented, that he had not taken cocaine.

“This evidence included my hair sample results, the results of which I am making public today, and an expert witness statement from an eminent toxicology and anti-doping expert.

“Whilst I am obviously disappointed that I will still have to serve a three-month suspension, I am pleased the Commissioners, accepted the evidence presented and am hugely relieved to have been cleared of taking cocaine.

“I respect the rules of France Galop, respect their decision and will not be appealing. Despite my relief, I regretfully put myself in a situation whereby cocaine has been able to filter into my system through environmental contamination and must live with the consequences.

“As a professional sportsman I cannot put myself in a similar situation again. Even though I have been exonerated from taking cocaine,” said Murphy.

The Irish star jockey apologised to Sheikh Fahad al Thani, who retains Murphy as principal jockey for Qatar Racing; QR’s racing manager David Redvers and trainer Andrew Balding and also thanked them for their support.

On the three month ban and having time on his hands to reflect the situation, Murphy said: “The next three months will give me much time to reflect on my actions.

“But I will learn from this experience – and come back better – and even more determined than before.”