Oisin Murphy has said he saw cocaine being taken on the night before he tested positive for the drug in July. The champion jockey, whose three-month suspension from race-riding begins next week, continues to insist he has never taken the drug but told the BBC he still made “a massive error” in allowing himself to be exposed to environmental contamination.
“I became aware of a situation where cocaine was present in my environment and I saw it there and didn’t remove myself from that situation immediately,” Murphy is reported as saying in reference to the night of 18 July. He had been riding at Newbury that day and flew out to compete at Chantilly the next day, when a sample was taken that proved positive.
“I got up the next morning and went to France and thought nothing of it. But I should have thought much more of it and that was the block I have stumbled on.”
“When you sign for your jockey’s licence every year you have got to abide by the rules. That was my error, and I very much have no self-pity. I made a mistake and I’ve got to live with the consequences.”
Murphy’s line of defence at a hearing in France included reference to a sexual encounter with someone who, he later learned, was a user of cocaine. Asked about this by the BBC, he said: “The threshold in France is 50ng, so very much if you touch an area repeatedly two or three times over a period of hours then you will fail that drug test. It’s very hard to pinpoint exactly how it was transmitted but it was and that is obvious and clear.”
Murphy says he will undertake charity work during his suspension, part of his efforts to restore his reputation, at a time when he may otherwise have been taking part in major races overseas. “This is going to go down on my CV. Nobody is going to forget about this overnight. I’ve projected myself as a good ambassador for the sport, but clearly a good ambassador for the sport doesn’t fail a drug test, no matter how minimal that quantity is.
“I feel like the sentence fits the crime. I made a massive error and I’m missing out on plenty. But I need to put things right and I need to use my time over the next three months to do the right thing and take the right steps. This is a huge lesson.”