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Britain’s champion jockey relinquishes riding licence

December 16, 2021 GMT

LONDON (AP) — British horse racing’s champion jockey relinquished his riding licence with immediate effect on Thursday to focus on “rehabilitation” after two positive tests for alcohol at racecourses this year.

Oisin Murphy said he will engage “fully with medical support” following an investigation by the British Horseracing Authority after it was made aware of a possible breach of coronavirus protocols by the jockey while traveling last year.

The BHA said it subsequently issued three charges, while a hearing in front of an independent disciplinary panel was arranged to take place on Dec. 10.

However, Murphy has decided to relinquish his licence and the BHA has agreed to postpone the hearing to a later date.

The Irishman, who has been crowned flat-racing champion in Britain for the last three seasons, returned two positive tests for alcohol in May and in October. These matters will also be heard at the same time as the alleged breach of coronavirus protocols.

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“It became obvious to me and to everyone else that I needed to seek serious help,” Murphy said.

“In recognition of this, I have relinquished my licence and will now focus on my rehabilitation.”

Murphy said in attempting to “mislead” the BHA by failing to follow COVID-19 protocols, “I’ve let my governing body down, along with trainers, owners, staff, sponsors and family for which I wish to apologize.”

Murphy, who rides for Sheikh Fahad’s Qatar Racing operation, said this year he thought about quitting racing altogether while serving a ban for drug use. He was banned for three months in November last year after a racecourse test taken at Chantilly in July found traces of cocaine in his system.

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