LONDON: Qatar Racing’s number one jockey, Oisin Murphy, has vowed to fight to clear his name after testing positive for cocaine.
The Irishman denied using the drug and said he was awaiting a “B” sample result following a test in France taken in July.
The Professional Jockeys Association (PJA) said in a statement on Thursday that Murphy had been selected for urine testing at Chantilly racecourse on July 19.
On Aug. 19 he was informed by France Galop, the governing body of the sport in the country, that his “A” sample had returned positive for metabolites of cocaine.
Murphy said subsequent hair tests, which he organized, had found no trace of the substance and those results would be shared with France Galop.
“I have never taken cocaine in my life and I will do everything that I can to prove that I have not taken cocaine,” Murphy said. “I want to thank those who are supporting me and in the meantime I want to keep riding winners and focus on my career.”
The 25-year-old, who has been top jockey for the QIPCO-backed Qatar Racing since 2016, is on course to retain his Champion Jockey status — the title given to the rider with the most wins throughout a season in British flat racing.
He currently leads the 2020 standings, having ridden 111 winners, and is 13 wins clear of the second-placed jockey William Buick.
Qatar Racing was founded in 2012 and marked the formal involvement in racehorse ownership of Sheikh Fahad’s brothers, including QIPCO chief executive Sheikh Hamad bin Abdullah Al-Thani.