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Fight goes on for Havlin after French tribunal blow

Robert Havlin: submitting application to BHA on Tuesday
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Robert Havlin has vowed to fight “to his last penny” after failing in his application for an emergency injunction against the six-month ban imposed by France Galop stewards following a failed drugs test at Saint-Cloud last October.

Havlin, who has always maintained his innocence, had requested the ban be suspended pending further investigation on grounds of the grave impact it has had on both his earnings and his reputation.

The tribunal’s rejection would appear to exhaust the rider's options in France and he must now rely on the BHA not reciprocating the ban, a move which would be extremely unusual in a case involving two of racing’s top-tier countries.

Reacting to the latest setback, Havlin said on Monday: “I’m disappointed but not shocked. But I’ve got the bit between my teeth and I’m determined to prove them wrong.

“Now I’m talking to my lawyers to mount something with the BHA. It’s going to cost a lot of money but I’m not going to lie back and take it. I’ll fight this with every last penny I’ve got.

“I wouldn’t like to put a figure on it, but it’s already cost me a hell of a lot, which is especially hard as I’m not earning at the moment. But everyone is behind me, my wife and kids are behind me, and I’ll fight on. The facts are there. It’s just so unfair.”

Six-figure loss

Havlin’s representatives repeated claims made in the series of failed appeals to the France Galop disciplinary process, namely that there had been errors made in the taking of the sample and that, given his previously blemish-free record, the length of the ban was excessive.

In addition, his legal team argued that Havlin was facing an estimated six-figure loss to his earnings and that he had two young children and a wife to support.

Havlin’s team also argued that the absence of any metabolites of cocaine in a subsequent hair sample, which the jockey himself commissioned, was proof that the drug had not been actively consumed.

Costs claim rejected

France Galop’s lawyers contested the charge that the punishment was too severe, pointing out that the six-month disciplinary ban was standard in such cases and that the medical suspension which preceded it was effective only in France.

The tribunal rejected Havlin’s request for an emergency suspension, as well as a financial claim against France Galop for costs.

Havlin, who has not been able to ride since January as a result of the saga, is suspended by the French authorities until October 4. John Gosden, who has employed the jockey for 17 years, has described events as a “gross miscarriage of justice”.


Havlin timeline

Oct 30, 2016 Finished 7th in Criterium de Saint-Cloud on Cunco, 2nd in Prix Perth on Crazy Horse

Jan 24, 2017 Informed by France Galop he has tested positive for four substances including cocaine and morphine, and that he is under medical suspension pending a disciplinary hearing

Feb 21 Banned for 6 months by France Galop

Mar 9 Fails to have ban overturned on appeal

Apr 3 Final appeal to France Galop superior commission fails, ban now runs until October 4

May 29 Civil Tribunal in Cergy rejects Havlin’s appeal to have the ban suspended under emergency measures in France’s administrative code of justice

I’m not going to lie back and take it. I’ll fight on. The facts are there. It’s just so unfair.
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