The troubled champion jockey Oisin Murphy is to temporarily give up his jockey’s licence.
The Irishman, who is facing disciplinary action after multiple breaches of protocol, has also failed two breath tests in the last eight months, and has confirmed that he is taking a step away from horse racing while he ‘engages fully with medical support.’
A statement on the BHA website reveals that Murphy attempted to mislead the regulator about his true whereabouts between September 9-12, 2020 – potentially breaching strict rules, accessed a racecourse while in breach of restrictions and ‘acting in a manner prejudicial to the proper conduct and good reputation of horseracing.’
The three-time champion jockey has also twice failed a breathalyser test while on duty this year, and was forced to stand down at both Chester and Newmarket much to the dismay of the owners he was scheduled to ride for.
The news report confirmed that Murphy had relinquished his flat jockeys’ licence while he accesses medical treatment, and that a hearing into his alleged breaches would be suspended until a later date.
The BHA’s director of integrity and regulation, Tim Naylor, said:
“In regulating the sport, we must always strike the balance between the importance of upholding the rules, and being mindful of the wellbeing of those who we regulate. The welfare of our participants is an absolute priority.
“Having received detailed submissions from his representatives, which were supported by medical evidence, and being aware of the decision made by Mr Murphy to relinquish his jockeys licence, we agreed that the proposed disciplinary hearing may be postponed for a short period of time.”
A Mixed Bag
To describe Oisin Murphy’s 2021 as a year of ups and downs would be something of an understatement.
He won his third consecutive champion jockey’s crown after a thrilling battle with William Buick, a contest which went all the way to the last race of the campaign, and he secured a first Breeder’s Cup win in the United States.
But his issues with alcohol, those breaches and a positive cocaine test in France – that led to a year-long ban, cut to three months after it was held that he was ‘contaminated’ by a sexual partner – have revealed some of the Irishman’s demons, and he will now take some time to address those woes ahead of the new flat season in the spring.
“In breaking these rules, and attempting to mislead the BHA, I’ve let my governing body down, along with trainers, owners, staff, sponsors and family for which I wish to apologise. Murphy said.
“In addition to this there have been two racecourse incidents linked to alcohol during 2021. It became obvious to me and to everyone else that I needed to seek serious help. In recognition of this, I have relinquished my licence and will now focus on my rehabilitation.”
So far his connections have remained loyal, with Dubai Racing confirming in a tweet that they ‘wholeheartedly support’ their retained jockey.