BHA statement regarding today’s disciplinary hearing involving Oisin Murphy

Following the conclusion of today’s hearing involving jockey Oisin Murphy in front of an independent Disciplinary Panel, the British Horseracing Authority (BHA) issued the below statement.

At the hearing, having admitted all charges against him, Oisin Murphy was found in breach of the following rules:

1. Rule (J)24.6 on two occasions (17 September 2020 and 12 February 2021) by misleading or attempting to mislead the BHA or one of its employees regarding the destination of his travel in order to circumvent Coronavirus (‘Covid’) restrictions;

2. Rule (J)24 by failing to comply with the BHA’s COVID-19 Requirements, by:

i. deliberately misleading BHA Officials by providing incorrect information to access multiple racecourses between 13 and 26 September 2020 and
ii. entering racecourses whilst in breach of Government requirements relating to self-isolation between 13 and 26 September 2020 failing to comply with Government requirements and Racecourse Terms of Condition and Entry contrary to Rule (J)24.4;

3. Rule (J)19 by acting in a manner which is prejudicial to the proper integrity, conduct or good reputation of the sport, by:

i. on or around 16 September 2020 accessing the licensed training premises of Andrew Balding and engaging in work duties for him, despite being legally required to self-isolate; and
ii. between 11 and 18 September 2020 providing a false version of events during media commitments regarding his true location between 9 and 12 September 2020.

4. Rule (K)55 (Alcohol) due to the presence of alcohol above the threshold level of 54 milligrams of alcohol per 100 millilitres of urine in a sample collected from Mr. MURPHY at Chester racecourse on 5 May 2021.
5. Rule (K)55 (Alcohol) due to the presence of alcohol above the threshold level of 17 milligrams of alcohol per 100 millilitres of breath in a sample collected from Mr. MURPHY at Newmarket Racecourse on 8 October 2021.

The penalties imposed are as follows:

Items 1-3: A combined 11 month period of ineligibility to apply for a licence to be served concurrently, and backdated to 8 December when Mr Murphy handed in his jockey’s licence together with a fine of £31,111.

Items 4-5: 10 further days ineligibility for the offence on 5 May plus a further 90 days ineligibility for the offence on 8 October, to be served consecutively.

The overall result of these penalties is that Mr Murphy will be ineligible to apply for a jockey’s licence until 16 February 2023.

BHA statement

“We would like to thank the independent Disciplinary Panel for their careful consideration of the various complex and unique matters which were covered at this hearing.

“Mr Murphy’s breaches of the Rules were extremely serious, reckless and potentially incredibly damaging for the sport. They risked endangering his fellow jockeys and racing industry participants.

“The BHA is proud of the way the industry adapted to the challenges caused by the COVID-19 pandemic and how racing was able to restart quickly and successfully behind closed doors. Mr Murphy’s actions put this at risk. They also occurred at a time when so many people were making great sacrifices to follow the rules and protocols set out by the British Governments and the racing industry.

“Mr Murphy also acted with pre-meditation to deceive the racing industry and public regarding his whereabouts, as well as BHA investigators.

“In their summing up, the independent Panel stated that Mr Murphy’s conduct was unworthy of a sportsman and previous champion, and he had let down his colleagues and the sport.

“We would, however, also acknowledge that Mr Murphy later made full, public admissions regarding these offences, and did not seek to contest the rule breaches at today’s hearing. He also gave full and frank admissions regarding his personal battles.

“All of these matters were considered by the independent Panel in their decisions regarding a penalty for Mr Murphy.

“While it is important that this penalty is served and Mr Murphy’s offences are seen to be acted upon, we would also call on everyone in the sport to respect the admissions that he has made about his physical and mental wellbeing and his need for rehabilitation. The BHA will offer any support that Mr Murphy requests in this ongoing process.

“As with many elite sportspeople, the pressures on jockeys can be significant. We would urge anyone in the racing industry who has suffered from any of the issues outlined by Mr Murphy in the hearing, or who knows of anyone who is struggling, to contact the various support structures that are in place in British racing. These include Racing Welfare, representative bodies such as the PJA, NTF and NARS, the sport’s anonymous RaceWISE reporting line, or the BHA.”