Oisin Murphy’s three-month suspension as a result of testing positive for metabolites of cocaine brings a temporary halt to a career which has seen him rise to the top of his profession over the last few seasons.
Murphy – who vigorously contested the findings of France Galop following a test at Chantilly on July 19 – was recently confirmed as champion jockey in Britain for the second time with 142 winners, topping the table on June 8 and never being headed.
His maiden title in 2019 was the icing on the cake for a career that has seen the Cork-born rider collect Group One victories around the world on a regular basis.
Further lustre was added to his CV this year with a first Classic triumph, courtesy of the Andrew Balding-trained Kameko in the 2000 Guineas at Newmarket. The victory came in the colours of Qatar Racing, for whom he was appointed number one jockey in 2016.
Murphy, 25, began riding in the UK in 2013 and quickly made an impact, crowned champion apprentice in 2014 – yet another beneficiary of the Balding academy which has also produced the likes of William Buick, appropriately his closest pursuer in this year’s title race.
His first Group One triumph came aboard Aclaim for Martyn Meade in the Prix de la Foret in 2017, and there have been many more since – including a famous success in the Japan Cup aboard Suave Richard in 2019, a win Murphy described as a “dream come true”.
He recorded three top-level triumphs in Britain in 2020, including Dream Of Dreams for Sir Michael Stoute in the Sprint Cup at Haydock.
He also rode his 1,000th domestic winner at the end of October on the Michael Dods-trained Perfect Sign, in the Qatar colours.
He told Sky Sports Racing afterwards: “I ride for great people, and it’s really nice to get my 1,000th in these colours.
“When you start out as an apprentice, you hope to just get one winner – hopefully I can ride 1,000 more in the future.
“I ride good horses all over the world – I’m very privileged and I have to remember that.”
Murphy is one of a new breed of jockeys who communicate well with the public, be it in television interviews or on social media, and that will stand him in good stead when the time comes for his return in March.