Robert Havlin 'deeply upset and shocked' at six-month France Galop riding ban

Tue 21 Feb 2017

Robert Havlin will launch an appeal after being suspended for six months by France Galop after testing positive for a prohibited substance.

The ruling body said the Newmarket-based jockey had returned a positive sample when riding at Saint-Cloud on October 30 and that it would "request the reciprocation" of the imposed sanction by the British Horseracing Authority.

Havlin said he was "deeply upset and shocked" by the suspension and that he fully expects to clear his name following what he described as an "outrageous miscarriage of justice".

A statement from France Galop read: "The stewards of France Galop have been advised by the Medical Commission that jockey Robert Havlin's biological sample, carried out on Saint-Cloud racecourse on October 30, 2016, revealed the presence of two prohibited substances classified as narcotics including morphine and three prohibited substances classified as psychotropic.

"Given the positive result to a narcotic and its metabolites present in the biological sample of the jockey, this is a serious breach of the rules of racing of France Galop, whose objective is to preserve the health and safety of all riders participating in a race, including their own."

France Galop said it noted this was Havlin's first offence, but he will be banned for six months due to "temporary unfitness" as of January 26.

The statement added: "The stewards of France Galop decide to request the reciprocation of this sanction to the horseracing authority having granted him his jockey licence, namely the BHA."

In a statement issued to Press Association Sport by his French solicitor Florence Gaudilliere, Havlin said: "I am the victim of an outrageous miscarriage of justice and defamation of my character. I have never tested positive for any prohibited substance in my 26-year riding career.

"I am appealing this verdict and suspension on a number of grounds and the counter analysis proves my innocence.

"It goes without saying that I am deeply upset and shocked.

"Having co-operated with France Galop throughout this disappointing process, my lawyer has advised me not to issue any further statements.

"I am confident that the facts will speak for themselves and my appeal will be successful.

"Finally, I am grateful for the unwavering support of John Gosden and his team."

For the BHA, media manager Robin Mounsey said: "The BHA has been informed of the decision by France Galop to suspend Mr Havlin from riding in races for six months.

"Under the international agreement and the rules, this penalty will be reciprocated when it comes into effect.

"The BHA awaits further information or formal confirmation as to whether Mr Havlin will be lodging an appeal."

Should Havlin - who enjoyed his best season numerically in 2016 with 81 winners in Britain and has ridden four winners to date in 2017 - exhaust the appeal process in France without success, he would have the right to lodge an application to the BHA for the penalty not to be reciprocated.

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