British champion flat jockey Oisin Murphy banned until 2023

British champion flat-racing jockey Oisin Murphy has been banned for 14 months after admitting breaching coronavirus protocols, misleading the British Horseracing Authority (BHA) and prejudicial conduct, plus two alcohol breaches.

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The 26-year-old Irishman admitted all the charges at an independent judiciary panel hearing on Tuesday.

His suspension has been backdated to December 8 as Murphy handed in his riding licence to seek support when he was charged that same month.

It means Murphy cannot reapply for his licence until February 16, 2023.

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Among the charges brought by the BHA, UK horseracing’s governing body, were misleading or attempting to mislead officials regarding his true location between 9-12 September 2020 when he had gone on holiday to Mykonos.

The Greek island was on Britain’s Covid ‘red-list’ at the time but Murphy tried to say he had been at Lake Como in Italy instead.

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He was also found to have twice been over the permitted threshold of alcohol when breathalysed before race meetings at Chester (May 5) and Newmarket (October 8).

Announcing the verdict, the BHA said Murphy’s breaches of the rules were “extremely serious, reckless and potentially incredibly damaging for the sport,” as he had potentially compromised the safety of his fellow jockeys.

The BHA added the independent panel had concluded Murphy’s conduct “was unworthy of a sportsman”.

But they also acknowledged the talented jockey had made “full, public admissions regarding these offences” and did not contest the rule breaches at Tuesday’s hearing.

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The BHA said Murphy’s revelations about his physical and mental well-being were worthy of “respect” and they would offer him “any support he requests” in his rehabilitation.  

Murphy’s ban follows a superb season in which he claimed a third successive British title and his first win in the United States’ prestigious Breeders’ Cup meeting, riding Japanese outsider Marche Lorraine to victory in the $2 million Distaff race at the Del Mar track in California on November 7.

In December, Oisin Murphy acknowledged his multiple rule breaches by relinquishing his licence, apologising for his conduct and admitting that “it became obvious to me and to everyone else that I needed to seek serious help”.

He added: “I’m deeply embarrassed and regret my actions.”

Not the first time Oisin Murphy has been in trouble

This is not the first time Murphy has fallen foul of racing authorities. 

In November 2020, he received a three-month ban from the French governing body for testing positive for metabolites of cocaine at a meeting in Chantilly, northeast of Paris, in July of that year.

Murphy maintained he did not take the drug, which investigators accepted.

He testified he had sex with a woman on the eve of racing and later discovered she was an occasional cocaine user.

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By Garrin Lambley © Agence France-Presse

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