The three-time champion jockey Oisin Murphy will not be allowed to compete during the 2022 season after being banned for 14 months by the BHA.
The Irishman admitted a number of charges in a disciplinary hearing held at BHA headquarters on Tuesday, which included two failed alcohol tests, a breach of Covid protocols and an attempt to mislead the authority over his whereabouts.
Murphy was alleged to have try to mislead BHA officials about his location on September 9-12 back in 2020. He had taken a holiday to Mykonos – which at the time was on the red list of restricted travel destinations, and then tried to claim he was in the approved Lake Como instead.
The result of the hearing was relayed by the BHA’s press office on their official Twitter feed. They wrote:
“Following today’s hearing of the independent Disciplinary Panel, Mr Murphy will be ineligible to apply for a licence for a period of 11 months, backdated to December 8 2021, and fined £31,111 for breaches of Rules (J) 24 and 24.6 and (J)19.”
The BHA also confirmed that the 26-year-old would now be banned until February 16, 2023 – ruling him out of a chance to become the rider since Pat Eddery to claim four consecutive champion jockey crowns.
In addition, for two breaches of Rule (K)55, Mr Murphy will be ineligible for a further 10 days and 90 days respectively, to be served consecutively. As a result, Mr Murphy will be ineligible until 16 February 2023.
Written reasons will follow in due course
— BHA Press Office (@BHAPressOffice) February 22, 2022
A spokesperson for the BHA revealed:
“Mr Murphy’s breaches of the rules were extremely serious, reckless and potentially incredibly damaging for the sport. They risked endangering his fellow jockeys and racing industry participants.
“In their summing up, the independent panel stated that Mr Murphy’s conduct was unworthy of a sportsman and previous champion, and he had let down his colleagues and the sport.
“We would, however, also acknowledge that Mr Murphy later made full, public admissions regarding these offences, and did not seek to contest the rule breaches at today’s hearing. He also gave full and frank admissions regarding his personal battles.”
In a separate legal case that was concluded in 2020, Murphy was banned for three months after testing positive for cocaine – although it was accepted that he had been contaminated by a former lover, rather than taking the drug himself.
But it was just another situation in which the Irishman flew too close to the sun, and that a subsequent incident at a Newmarket bar in 2021 was the catalyst for him seeking help with his alcohol dependency.
Sadly for him, the damage had already been done – to the extent that he admits to feeling ‘no joy’ on the day he lifted his third champion jockey trophy last year.
“I couldn’t undo the lies and deceit,” he told the BHA’s disciplinary panel.
“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. 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.
“The day I picked up the championship trophy there was no element of joy in it for me.”