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onlooker
29 Nov 20 13:19
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Date Joined: 18 Feb 03
| Topic/replies: 36,907 | Blogger: onlooker's blog
PJA chief: there is a cocaine problem among jockeys and more testing is needed

PJA chief Paul Struthers has called for more to be done to prevent cocaine use among jockeys

By Lee Mottershead
UPDATED 10:18AM, NOV 29 2020
 
The Professional Jockeys Association has acknowledged there is a problem with cocaine use among riders and called on the BHA to increase the sport's drug-testing programme and toughen the penalties handed out to those who give positive tests.

In a significant strengthening of the PJA's position on cocaine, chief executive Paul Struthers told the Racing Post it was now foolish to pretend the use of prohibited substances by jockeys is simply reflective of wider society.

Struthers was speaking at the end of a week in which jockey Nathan Evans was banned for six months after becoming the latest member of his profession to test positive for metabolites of cocaine, while in Ireland Luke McGuinness recently became the country's first jockey to test positive on two separate occasions. His licence was suspended until December 2021 at the earliest.

Struthers stressed his latest comments were in no way connected to Oisin Murphy this week receiving a three-month ban from France Galop following a positive urine test.

Britain's dual champion jockey would have been ruled out of action for double that length of time but stewards were influenced by hair test evidence and Murphy's testimony  that he was contaminated following a sexual encounter with an individual he later discovered to be a user.

Struthers said: "Cocaine is clearly an issue in society and I think it's quite obvious that, in pockets, our members are reflecting that wider issue.

"However, I think it would be naive of us not to accept there is an issue surrounding cocaine use among jockeys, whether that's recreationally or, as we've experienced once or twice, bigger personal problems with the drug. I would be completely disingenuous if I said there isn't a problem. This is something that needs addressing."

Outlining how he would like to see the situation tackled, Struthers said: "We need to have significantly more testing – and I really do mean significantly more. At the moment, the chances of someone being caught are slim, yet we are still getting cocaine positives with alarming regularity.

"We have been calling for far more testing for over three years. We have tried to work with the BHA on that, but it has been taking longer than ideal. There have clearly been some mitigating factors, including the coronavirus and possibly getting out of existing contracts and training their own staff. However, I frankly think it's a budget issue.

"This is one reason why I'm upset by the BHA's win-at-all-cost mentality when it comes to appeals. They are using expensive external barristers to win run-of-the-mill appeals. I am informed that the testing budget has been close to halved, yet they are finding money to pay for barristers to win appeals. That upsets me because, in my opinion, it shows priorities that are completely wrong."

Calling on Britain to more closely mirror the punishment levels used in Ireland, Struthers added: "I haven't changed my position in terms of not judging the individual – you can judge the behaviour without judging the individual – but I have almost certainly come around to the view that we need to look at the penalties.

"A six-month penalty is significant, and is damaging both financially and reputationally, but one thing we're looking at is doubling the penalty to a year. However, as in Ireland, if you take certain steps you could bring the penalty down to six months. Those steps might be submitting to hair testing or engaging in support if it was felt to be needed."

The BHA denied that the testing budget had been almost halved, but echoed the riders' association's wider worries.

BHA head of media Robin Mounsey said: "We share the concerns of the PJA regarding recent increases in cocaine positives. We're aware that a range of sports, including racing, are seeing such increases, as is wider society in general. Substance use can have a terrible impact on health and mental wellbeing and presents a significant safety risk. We are working hard to prevent it becoming a major issue in our sport."

Mounsey added: "Regulating the issue through testing and penalties is one route that can be taken to deter substance use. To this end we are working collaboratively with the PJA to evolve our jockey testing programme and develop a more flexible approach. We would also consider closely any proposal from the PJA regarding our penalty structure.

"However, this is about so much more than pure regulation. To address an issue we must understand the extent of it, what might be causing it, and how we can better educate and protect our participants and rehabilitate those who do become involved. The BHA is already working with the PJA to take a wider look at the issue.

"We prioritise the wellbeing and development of our people and racing must be a safe, fulfilling and sustainable place to work. We want to encourage a culture of openness and give people confidence to come forward and speak up about all issues around health and wellbeing. We will seek to support anyone who faces problems or has found themselves in difficulty and understand what has caused it. This will remain a focus in 2021."
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Report geoff m November 29, 2020 2:24 PM GMT
Struthers stressed his latest comments were in no way connected to Oisin Murphy this week receiving a three-month ban from France Galop following a positive urine test.

Not the best of timing from Struthers
Report truehoncho November 29, 2020 2:27 PM GMT
Oisin slept with a smack head, he did nothing wrong.
Report 1st time poster November 29, 2020 2:36 PM GMT
murphy,s defence before the invention of a mystery lady srex story was that coke wasnt in his world, chairmen of pja chief says he,s  lying
Report cacique November 29, 2020 2:38 PM GMT
Amazing it's always the French that catch them, but the Brits can,t.

Fallon's, dettori, murphy, rob Havlin
Report truehoncho November 29, 2020 2:39 PM GMT
Maybe their all shgged a french smack head!!
Report lead on November 29, 2020 2:40 PM GMT
Surprised to read of Murphy having sex with a woman
Report punts November 29, 2020 2:42 PM GMT
Coke is too obvious there are other substances that can supress appetite as well and i doubt the testers even know about them
Report punts November 29, 2020 2:43 PM GMT
It's like Lance Armstrong they will always be 1 step ahead...
Report geoff m November 29, 2020 2:44 PM GMT
lead on29 Nov 20 15:40Joined: 21 Dec 07 | Topic/replies: 4,113 | Blogger: lead on's blog
Surprised to read of Murphy having sex with a woman



Who said it was a woman??
Report cacique November 29, 2020 2:45 PM GMT

Nov 29, 2020 -- 8:39AM, truehoncho wrote:


Maybe their all shgged a french smack head!!


Report EastLower Gooner November 29, 2020 2:46 PM GMT
Cocaine fuelled orgy...actually rate him more now.
Report 23nights November 29, 2020 2:47 PM GMT
if i remember correctly an intervention by ian balding helped dettori out when he was found in possession of cocaine in central london,that was years ago i think.
Report truehoncho November 29, 2020 2:47 PM GMT
I think it did more damage to Murphy's credibility to make up that story. There is a chance he will get caught again (he is still young) and then what will he say?? He would have been better of saying sorry and taking the 6 months. If he ever gets caught again they will hammer him.
Report Eric.Cartman November 29, 2020 2:49 PM GMT
'An eighth a day keeps diabetes at bay' should be available on the NHS.

Murphy been rimming Maradona before his untimely death ???
Report 23nights November 29, 2020 2:50 PM GMT

Nov 29, 2020 -- 8:47AM, 23nights wrote:


if i remember correctly an intervention by ian balding helped dettori out when he was found in possession of cocaine in central london,that was years ago i think.


blimey that was 1993 and he got away with a police caution...

Report truehoncho November 29, 2020 2:52 PM GMT
'An eighth a day keeps diabetes at bay' should be available on the NHS.

Murphy been rimming Maradona before his untimely death ???
---Laugh  He did a blog from his car after he got beat in the Derby and I thought he was on something then. He then did a topless blog to accept his champion jockey trophy!!! I think he could be sprinkling it on his cornflakes every morning.
Report impossible123 November 29, 2020 2:52 PM GMT
I think the defence of Murphy will come back to haunt him in the future as his credibility and responsibility will be opened to question. His choice of sexual partner eg a "known" coke user or a one-night stand during the pandemic cannot be view with any positivity eg good judgement of character. Or it was a "convenient" defence with a precedent set. I firmly believe if Murphy was innocent he'd have appealed against his ban any something a reasonable and upright person would have done.

Any smack head in the jockey rank?
Report dambuster November 29, 2020 3:42 PM GMT
Why don't they just stick to smoking to curb there appetite, i know its not good, but its not illegal
Report punts November 29, 2020 3:52 PM GMT
because binging on a substance works better
Report chavman November 29, 2020 4:00 PM GMT
they should try my wifes cooking....that would put them right off food
Report 1st time poster November 29, 2020 4:15 PM GMT
as the gag on not the 9 0 clocke news said maradonna,s ashes were worth about 8,5 million
Report 1st time poster December 3, 2020 11:48 AM GMT
what a lying koont the murphy is on bbc news saying he knew cocaine was in his enviroment
in his 1st interview on atr his excuse was he knew he was innocent because cocaine just wasnt in his world
proves the sex story was just a covenient lie/story
Report EastLower Gooner December 3, 2020 12:01 PM GMT
Basically he went all Bill Clinton on her.

Lol Oisen...
Report punts December 3, 2020 12:03 PM GMT
I wonder if he did a cheeky line ? Who knows. i think a ban is harsh
Report carrot1960 December 3, 2020 12:06 PM GMT
"Cocaine by association ! , i wonder how many punters have been done for drink driving after the partners were p1ssed the night before
Report EastLower Gooner December 3, 2020 4:04 PM GMT
...if you touch and area repeatedly over a period of several hours...

I feel we need details on this imo

Kudos to Tom for settling down with a nice girl like Holly imo can’t go wrong there imo.
Report Autocue December 3, 2020 4:14 PM GMT
Coke and a poke. We've all done it. Can't stand liars though.
Report SontaranStratagem December 3, 2020 6:28 PM GMT
He's young ffs, if he's at a party and cocaine is going round he's bound to have a line or 2, peer pressure and fitting in plays a part in that. I just find the excuses pathetic, just admit it ffs and be done with it.

Attractive women up for it and party drugs... a young guy with cash isn't going to say no
Report Charlton2005 December 3, 2020 6:34 PM GMT
napoleans
Report dave1357 December 3, 2020 6:36 PM GMT
^small man syndrome?
Report Charlton2005 December 3, 2020 6:39 PM GMT
yes
Report swiftynifty September 9, 2021 12:14 PM BST
Drug testers should be out in force tonight at Chelmsford (6.00)
Report lead on September 9, 2021 12:30 PM BST
Good to see onlooker back.
Report ballyregan September 9, 2021 12:42 PM BST
he watches with an unblinking eye
Report Ramruma September 9, 2021 1:12 PM BST
An unblinking eye and a time machine, judging by the date on his post.
Report Daryl Revok September 9, 2021 1:21 PM BST
impossible123 29 Nov 20 13:52 

His choice of sexual partner eg a "known" coke user or a one-night stand during the pandemic cannot be view with any positivity eg good judgement of character

LaughCryLaughCryLaugh

What an enthralling life you must have led
Report wroughtironronn September 9, 2021 4:10 PM BST
Graham Gibbons got caught swapping samples and was handed a 2 year ban
Report impossible123 September 10, 2021 8:04 AM BST
Defra ought to test the fish in the River Thames in London. The white stuff flushed down the toilet is reflected in their gymnastic exuberance off water.
Report ALIEN SEX FIEND September 10, 2021 9:14 AM BST
Its no bigee doing coke. I do a few lines every shift, not sure what the problem is. That said it makes me sneeze now and again.
Also if you do not wipe the wipe the table down quickly, it leave a stain. Cherry coke is the worst for leaving a stain.
Not sure what this white substance people are talking about.
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