Champion jockey Murphy banned after testing positive for cocaine

London (AFP) –


Two-time British champion jockey Oisin Murphy has been handed a three-month ban by French racing authorities after testing positive for cocaine.

The 25-year-old Irishman denied all wrongdoing but will not appeal the ban imposed by France Galop.

Murphy is number one jockey for Qatar Racing, for whom he rode his first classic winner last season -- Kameko in the English 2000 Guineas.

He will be banned from December 11 to March 11 inclusive, which will permit him to return before the main part of the English flat season gets under way.

Murphy tested positive at a meeting at Chantilly in July. He provided evidence from subsequent hair tests that found no trace of the substance.

The Professional Jockeys Association, in a statement, said the commissioners had accepted Murphy's explanation that he did not take cocaine and that the positive sample arose as a result of unintentional, environmental contamination.

"Whilst I am obviously disappointed that I will still have to serve a three-month suspension, I am pleased the commissioners accepted the evidence presented and am hugely relieved to have been cleared of taking cocaine," Murphy said in the PJA statement.

He added: "The next three months will give me much time to reflect on my actions, but I will learn from this experience and come back better and even more determined than before."