BHA statement regarding the licence of Oisin Murphy

07 Feb 2023 BHA Features

Following a hearing of the independent Disciplinary Panel on 22 February 2022, jockey Oisin Murphy was found in breach of the following Rules of Racing:

  • 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;
  • Rule (J)24 by failing to comply with the BHA’s COVID-19 Requirements, by:
    • deliberately misleading BHA Officials by providing incorrect information to access multiple racecourses between 13 and 26 September 2020 and
    • 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
  • Rule (J)19 by acting in a manner which is prejudicial to the proper integrity, conduct or good reputation of the sport, by:
    • 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
    • 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.
  • 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;
  • 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.

As a result, the Panel ruled that he would be ineligible to ride in racing until 16 February 2023. With this date approaching, the British Horseracing Authority (BHA) wishes to set out some detail regarding Mr Murphy’s return to race riding and to explain the importance of the licensing process in ensuring British racing is clean, safe and fair.

When assessing any application for a licence, the BHA must be satisfied that in approving the application the reputation of, and public confidence in, the sport in this country is not jeopardised. It is therefore incumbent upon any applicant to demonstrate why they consider themselves to be a suitable individual and that they have the moral integrity, honesty and good character to uphold the sport’s values.

In preparation for a return to race riding Mr Murphy has spent a number of months engaging with the BHA. We are grateful for Mr Murphy’s timely and courteous approach to the relicensing process.

As part of Mr Murphy’s application, BHA’s Chief Medical Advisor Dr Jerry Hill has made an assessment in relation to the Medical Standards for Fitness to Ride. Mr Murphy provided samples for testing and also met at length with the BHA’s Integrity Team to discuss matters arising from his Rule breaches and his return to race riding.

The application has been reviewed carefully and the BHA has determined that Mr Murphy is a suitable individual to hold a licence, with relevant conditions attached. The licence will be granted from Thursday 16 February 2023.

While the full conditions will not be made public, they include the need for Mr Murphy to remain sober and avoid the use of any illicit substances or social drugs. To monitor this, Mr Murphy will be subject to an enhanced testing regime both on the racecourse, and through the providing of hair samples for analysis at random times of the BHA’s choosing.

Mr Murphy must also engage in regular contact, through his own medical professionals, with  Dr Jerry Hill to ensure his ongoing fitness to ride. These conditions will be reviewed after 12 months, as well as being subject to alteration or amendment should the BHA consider this necessary during the course of his licence.

If any of the conditions are not met, the BHA reserves the right to seek the suspension or the withdrawal of Mr Murphy’s licence as applicable.

The BHA is grateful for Mr Murphy’s professional approach during what has been an extensive process and wishes him well both on his return to racing and  with regards to his personal wellbeing.

Notes to editors:

1. The Disciplinary Panel’s written reasons following the conclusion of Mr Murphy’s hearing can be read here.