Ger Fox 'over the moon' at being free to return as cocaine suspension is lifted
Irish Grand National-winning jockey Ger Fox, who was banned for two years after he admitted taking cocaine, had his suspension lifted on Monday and will be free to resume his promising career next month.
He said: "I’m over the moon. I just kept my head down, worked hard and took one day at a time. It’s funny, I have more of a hunger for it now than ever before. The saying is true – you never know what you’ve got until it’s gone."
When he was sentenced last November, Fox, who rode Rogue Angel to victory at Fairyhouse in 2016, was told he would be required to submit to random testing with his suspension reviewed after five and a half months.
At his review hearing on Friday the referrals committee was told Fox had been working as an assistant to trainer Gavin Cromwell during his suspension and had complied with all requests for random tests, which were negative.
Fox said he deeply regretted his actions, had learned from the experience and was eager to return to race-riding. He also said he would accept any conditions that the committee felt were necessary.
The committee decided to lift the suspension from May 30 and allowed him to return on condition he submits to any in- or out-of-competition testing required by the IHRB for the remaining 18 months of the suspension period.
He was warned any further breaches of the anti-doping rules within 18 months from May 30 may result in the rest of the suspension being reactivated, in addition to further sanctions.
Fox said: ‘’I’m hoping to have my first ride back at Kilbeggan (June 3). Gavin [Cromwell] has been incredible to me, so loyal. He told me he would try to give me as many rides as he can now I'm back, so it’s just a case of getting my weight under control. I weigh 11-8 now, but I should have no bother getting that down to 11-0 very soon. I can’t wait to be back.’’
At a separate appeal Declan McDonogh had a five-day ban, imposed for his riding of the Dermot Weld-trainer Knowing You at Gowran Park this month, reduced to three days (May 25, 29 and 30).
The appeals body said the original sentence was "unfair and unduly onerous" because it included Irish Guineas weekend when the jockey had rides. It confirmed he had breached the rules in not being seen to make "a genuine attempt to obtain from the horse timely, real and substantial efforts to achieve the best possible place".
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