Champion jockey Murphy gets three-month ban after positive cocaine test

FILE PHOTO: Horse Racing - Royal Ascot - Ascot Racecourse, Ascot, Britain - June 16, 2020 Oisin Murphy riding West End Girl in the starting stalls during Day One of Royal Ascot, as racing resumes behind closed doors after the outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) Julian Finney/Pool via Reuters

(Reuters) - Dual champion jockey Oisin Murphy has been handed a three-month suspension by France Galop following a positive test for cocaine after the French governing body took into account his defence that he had not knowingly come into contact with the drug.

Irishman Murphy, 25, denied any wrongdoing and said the positive result was due to "environmental contamination" after he had sex the night before the July 19 test at Chantilly with a woman who he later discovered occasionally used cocaine.

The commissioners of France Galop, the country's governing body for flat racing who adjudicated on the case, took Murphy's explanation into account in making their decision.

"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 a statement.

Murphy, who was British Champion Jockey in 2019 and 2020, will serve his suspension from Dec. 11 to March 11.

The BBC reported that the British Horseracing Authority has said it will reciprocate the ban, which ends before the Flat Turf season begins in Britain on March 27.

(Reporting by Philip O'Connor; Editing by Ken Ferris)

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