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Gibbons strongly criticised as appeal against two-year cocaine ban fails

Graham Gibbons: failed in his appeal against a two-year ban
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Jockey Graham Gibbons has had his appeal against a two-year ban dismissed by the appeals board, which blasted the rider for his attempted deception and reckless decision making.

Gibbons, 36, was handed the ban by the disciplinary panel last month for conduct prejudicial to the integrity, proper conduct and/or good reputation of horseracing after he attempted to swap his urine, provided for a routine drugs test, with that of another rider.

Callum Shepherd was coerced by Gibbons into swapping samples at Kempton on December 7 last year, before the apprentice confessed later in the evening to the swap.

When tested, Gibbons’ sample produced the maximum possible reading for benzoylecgonine, a metabolite of cocaine, which the rider was revealed to have taken a substantial amount of the night before Kempton.

On Monday, Gibbons was heavily criticised by the appeals board for his subterfuge, and for riding in a race with levels of cocaine in his system.

In a statement, the appeals board said: “The attempted deception was designed to frustrate the procedure established to protect horses and riders from injury by ensuring jockeys do not ride with banned substances in their systems. That is an objective of very great importance.  

“Moreover he used his influence as a senior jockey to involve a young apprentice in his attempted deception, getting him to provide a sample which he had given him for the purpose.”

It added: “Confident he had frustrated the sampling requirement, [Gibbons] rode in a race with a level of cocaine in his system that was the maximum that could be registered by the analysis. Those features together, in our view, undoubtedly justify the two-years prohibition imposed by the disciplinary panel for the clear reasons they gave.”

Gibbons, who cannot reapply for a licence until June 8, 2019, having also been banned for six months for failing the drugs test, was unavailable for comment when contacted by the Racing Post on Monday.

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He rode in a race with a level of cocaine in his system that was the maximum that could be registered by the analysis
E.W. Terms