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Jockey to appeal against six-month ban for positive drugs test

Rob Havlin: "I'm kind of 50-50"
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Jockey Robert Havlin has vowed to fight a six-month ban handed down by France Galop after he failed a drugs test when riding at Saint-Cloud in October.

Havlin, 43, tested positive for five prohibited substances in his biological sample, including morphine, when riding at the Paris track for boss John Gosden on October 30.

However, the rider stridently denied on Tuesday he had ever taken drugs and 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 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.”

He added: “I am confident the facts will speak for themselves and the appeal will be successful. I am grateful for the unwavering support of John Gosden and his team.”

Florence Gaudilliere, Havlin’s French solicitor, said the positive tests were the result of cross-contamination and that Havlin was upset having co-operated with France Galop throughout the process.

She said: “We asked for the samples to be tested by a laboratory as we do not agree with the results from France Galop. The tests show there’s no drug use and instead the problem is contamination. You can be contaminated in lots of ways.

“Robert is a very straight man and wants to fight as he knows he has not done anything wrong. He’s very upset.”

Havlin enjoyed his best-ever year in 2016 with 81 successes, 55 of them for Gosden including the Group 2 Hungerford Stakes on Richard Pankhurst. He also rode Frankel’s first winner as a stallion when Cunco scored at Newbury in May. He had managed four wins from 31 rides in Britain this year.

France Galop have asked for Havlin’s ban to be reciprocated by the BHA, and in a statement added: "Given the positive result 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. It is appropriate to impose a penalty with this weight of sanction in respect to this being a first offence.”

I am the victim of an outrageous miscarriage of justice and defamation of my character

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