Champion Jockey Oisin Murphy clouted with 14-month ban for alcohol and Covid breaches

An independent judiciary panel has slapped reigning Champion Flat jockey Oisin Murphy with a 14-month ban after finding the 26-year-old guilty of several breaches.

Oisin Murphy has been told he can't reapply for his riding licence for a total of 14 months after admitting to breaking Covid rules, misleading the British Horseracing Authority and prejudicial conduct, plus two alcohol breaches.

The Irishman was the subject of an independent judiciary panel on Tuesday for breaching Covid protocols in September 2020. There were also two failed alcohol tests in May and October of 2021 alongside a single charge of "acting in a manner which is prejudicial to the proper integrity, conduct and good reputation of the sport".

The 26-year-old, who did not contest any of the charges, was handed a trio of 11-month suspensions for the two Covid breaches and conduct prejudicial to the reputation of the sport, all to run concurrently, along with a hefty £31,111 fine.

He was also punished with 10 days for an alcohol positive for his test at Chester on May 5 and a supplementary 90 days for another positive test recorded at Newmarket on October 8.

A return to race riding will not come till February 16, 2023.

The panel, was handled by His Honour James O'Mahony who sat alongside Rachel Spearing and Anthony Connell who heard the BHA's case first, put forward by Charlotte Davison.

Davison described a timeline of events when Murphy went on holiday on September 9, 2020 to September 19. Murphy had visited to the Greek island of Mykonos, which was on the Covid red-list at the time, but he had attempted to convince officials he had been at Lake Como in Italy.

Davison spelled out that the three-times champion jockey was given several chances to tell the truth about the Mykonos trip but continued to mislead, including in video interviews and in online blogs.

When explaining the terms of the punishment, O'Mahony said: "He's a young man, a brilliant jockey and a superb horseman and we're not here to criticise you for the sake of it, but to explain our reasons and apply the rules.

"But however affected by fiction that you may have been, we conclude you thought you were above the rules and the law. And however high you are, you are not above them. They apply to all.

"All you had to do was self-isolate as countless others had to do, but you embarked on a deception that was planned, carefully calculated and detailed and it was prolonged for a significant period of time.

"You had time to think 'what am I doing?' but you only put your hands up when you had your back against the wall.

"The lie began on September 17, 2020 to May 25, 2021 and then you reinforced the lie by giving elaborate details to the media making reference to the "Italian bulge".

"In the period between September 13-26 you took 74 rides with significant winnings (11 winners) and we conclude that the breach of the second offence was aggravated by the advantage you gained in the jockeys' championship"

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