Champion jockey Murphy to seek medical help, hands in licence

London (AFP) – Three-time British champion jockey Oisin Murphy has handed in his riding licence and will undergo rehabilitation "as it became obvious to me and to everyone else that I needed to seek serious help."


The 26-year-old Irishman -- seen as the natural successor to Italian superstar Frankie Dettori -- is facing several charges brought by the British Horseracing Authority (BHA) for breaching three rules regarding coronavirus protocols in September.

They include "misleading or attempting to mislead the BHA regarding his true location between 9 and 12 September."

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

All five charges will be addressed at the same disciplinary hearing -- which has been deferred after both parties agreed to do so when Murphy said he would be seeking "medical support."

Aside from his third successive British jockey's title Murphy had a superb season.

He rounded it off with his first ever win in the prestigious Breeder's Cup meeting guiding home Japanese outsider Marche Lorraine in the $2million Distaff race on November 7.

Murphy, though, admits that off the track he is battling demons.

"On returning from abroad last September in 2020 I failed to follow the Covid protocol set out by the BHA," said Murphy in a joint statement with the BHA.

"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 thanked both the BHA for postponing the hearing and others for sticking by him.

"There have been two racecourse incidents linked to alcohol during 2021," he said.

"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.

"I am grateful to the BHA for agreeing to postpone the disciplinary hearing until I have been able to take these steps.

"Whether I deserve it or not, many kind people have stood by me and I really appreciate their support.

"I'm deeply embarrassed and regret my actions."

It is not the first time Murphy has been in trouble with racing authorities.

In November 2020, he received a three-month ban from French governing body France Galop for testing positive for metabolites of cocaine at a meeting in Chantilly in July 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.

He admitted earlier this year he had considered retiring altogether when he was serving the ban.

His main retainer Qatar Racing said it was fully behind him with regard to his decision to seek help.

"Qatar Racing wholeheartedly supports Oisin's decision to temporarily relinquish his license whilst he tackles his health issues," they tweeted.