CHAMPION jockey Oisin Murphy has QUIT the saddle to seek rehab in the face of a number of BHA charges.
The troubled 26-year-old has been accused of lying about his whereabouts by the BHA and faces two separate alcohol-related charges.
When suspended in mid-September 2020, Murphy travelled to Lake Como but was back riding at Bath the following week.
Last week the British Horseracing Authority postponed a hearing that followed a lengthy investigation into this trip while the rider continues to seek help.
The Irishman has said he will temporarily relinquish his licence to “engage fully with medical support.”
Murphy has not been seen on a racecourse since 11 November, but has been riding in showjumping competitions this month.
In October this year, Murphy’s third jockeys championship was tarnished after SE revealed he was involved in a booze-fuelled bust-up with a bloodstock agent in a Newmarket pub.
He allegedly headbutted and hit Alex Elliott with a plastic glass and was then stopped from riding the next day by stewards after he tested over the drink-ride limit.
At the time Murphy said a fourth shot at the jockeys championship was unlikely as the pressure had got on top of him and admitted he “needed to do better.”
Murphy has been charged for this incident, as well as a previously unknown episode at Chester in May where he was also stood down for being over the limit.
Murphy said in a statement: “On returning from abroad last September in 2020 I failed to follow the Covid protocol set out by the BHA.
“In breaking these rules, and attempting to mislead the BHA, I’ve let my governing body down, along with trainers, owners, staff, sponsors and family for which I wish to apologise.
“In addition to this there have been two racecourse incidents linked to alcohol during 2021. It became obvious to me and to everyone else that I needed to seek serious help.
“In recognition of this I have relinquished my licence and will now focus on my rehabilitation.
“I am grateful to the BHA for agreeing to postpone the disciplinary hearing until I have been able to take these steps.
“Whether I deserve it or not, many kind people have stood by me and I really appreciate their support . I’m deeply embarrassed and regret my actions.”
Tha BHA hope to carry out the hearing early next year and have said they will support Murphy in the meantime.
Murphy faces three separate charges in relation to his trip abroad and a potential breach of COVID protocols and two other alleged charges in relation to alcohol. They will all be heard at the same time.
His main employers Qatar Racing have said again that they will stick by their main.
They said in a statement: “Qatar Racing wholeheartedly supports Oisin’s decision to temporarily relinquish his license whilst he tackles his health issues.
“It is important that he is given the space and time to gain the required treatment and we look forward to seeing him back in the saddle as soon as possible. We will make no further statement until after his BHA hearing.”
Tim Naylor, head of Integrity and Regulation at the BHA, said: “In regulating the sport we must always strike the balance between the importance of upholding the rules, and being mindful of the wellbeing of those who we regulate. The welfare of our participants is an absolute priority.
“Having received detailed submissions from his representatives, which were supported by medical evidence, and being aware of the decision made by Mr Murphy to relinquish his licence, we agreed that the proposed disciplinary hearing may be postponed for a short period of time.
“The charges will be considered in front of an independent Disciplinary Panel we anticipate in the early part of 2022. We will support his medical team in the meantime.”
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