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Havlin to go to French courts after France Galop rejects appeal

Robert Havlin: failed in his final appeal against France Galop suspension
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Robert Havlin is to take his case to the French courts after France Galop rejected his appeal against a six-month ban for failing a dope test.

The Professional Jockeys Association said Havlin had been the victim of "a miscarriage of justice" and will ask the BHA not to apply the penalty in Britain after learning his sentence was being upheld following a third hearing in Paris.

PJA chief executive Paul Struthers said: "We believe Rab Havlin is a victim of a miscarriage of justice and he has our full support in continuing his legal challenges to overturn the suspension imposed by France Galop, a decision we do not accept to be supported by the facts.

"His French solicitor will tomorrow commence to challenge the decision in the French courts, and the PJA will lodge an application with the British Horseracing Authority requesting that they do not reciprocate the suspension. This application, made under rule (A)69 of the rules of racing, will be on the grounds that we believe France Galop has failed to comply with the laws of natural justice."

He added: "Rab has never tested positive for prohibitive substances or failed any such test in his 27-year riding career, and will continue to fight to clear his name. He has the ongoing support of John Gosden and John’s wife Rachel Hood and is very grateful to them for this support."

In an 11-page dossier summarising this second stage of appeal, further details of Havlin’s argument to have the decision overturned emerged.

The jockey told the hearing on March 6 he believed there were problems with the collection of his sample at Saint-Cloud on October 30 last year and he may have been accidentally contaminated. He also contested the independence of previous hearings and the severity of his punishment.

Describing his day-to-day routine as "monastic", Havlin told the appellant stewards he had no idea how the banned substances got into his system but that, in passing through a train station and, in particular, a fast food restaurant on his way to France, accidental contamination would have been "extremely easy".

He did not contest the presence of three banned substances contained in medication he was taking for an injury, and argued he believed he had observed the appropriate delay before riding.

But he continued to dispute positive results for two other drugs, one of which is named in the report as morphine. The three-person panel rejected the appeal and Havlin is banned until October 4.

A spokesman for the BHA said: "The BHA has been informed of the decision by France Galop and asked to reciprocate the penalty under the international agreement.

"The usual process will apply, which is that, having been asked to reciprocate, any penalty will be reciprocated automatically, however the individual involved has the right to lodge an application for the penalty not to be reciprocated. Such an application would be considered by the disciplinary panel."

He has the ongoing support of John Gosden and John’s wife Rachel Hood and is very grateful to them for this support

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