Reigning champion jockey Oisin Murphy has vowed to clear his name after testing positive for cocaine in Chantilly back in July.
The Irishman denies ever taking the drug, and now faces a nervous wait as a B sample is analysed by the France Galop laboratory.
While he has been allowed to keep riding while the investigation is ongoing, if Murphy’s B sample also comes back positive, he faces a possible six month ban from racing.
However, the 25-year-old is vehement about his innocence, and even arranged for his own private hair sample test in order to clear his name. That came back negative with no evidence of the drug having been taken.
Posting a statement on his Twitter feed, Murphy said:
“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.”
A Chequered History
Riding winners has come pretty easily to Oisin Murphy over the years.
He was just 18 when he turned professional, and in that debut campaign he won the Ayr Gold Cup and completed a four-timer in what was a stellar day for the teenager.
It was in 2016 when his big break came: Murphy was selected by Qatar Racing to become their number one affiliated jockey, and the good times immediately flowed – he’s won ten different Group races for the consortium aboard ten different horses.
His link-up with Roaring Lion has proven most fruitful, together they have won three biggies including the Queen Elizabeth II Stakes, Juddmonte International Stakes and the Coral-Eclipse. Murphy is also a two-time winner of the Haydock Sprint Cup.
Arguably his finest hour came in 2019 when he was crowned champion jockey after his most prolific campaign to date, and in 2020 he hasn’t taken his foot off the gas either – landing the 2,000 Guineas aboard Kameko for Andrew Balding. At the time of writing, he was also 13 winners ahead of William Buick in the defence of his Flat Jockeys Championship crown.
It’s not always been plain sailing for the talented Irishman however. He has spoken of a handful of fist fights he has gotten into in the weighing room with other jockeys, admitting at times he was a bit too ‘cheeky’ in his early years in the saddle.
And in June 2019, he tested positive for alcohol and was forced to miss a day’s racing at Salisbury as a result.
“It was my fault,” he says of the episode.
“If you’re dehydrated the day before and you consume alcohol, don’t go to bed on time, don’t hydrate the next day and don’t eat anything, you’re in trouble.”
He’s courted controversy over the years, but racing is poorer without the likes of Oisin Murphy and the hope is that his B test comes back negative and he can get back to doing what he does best: riding winners.