Havlin lodges final appeal against six-month drugs ban
Jockey Robert Havlin has launched a final challenge against a six-month ban imposed on him by France Galop following a positive drugs test last autumn.
Havlin, 43, failed in his first attempt to have the ban overturned this week and maintains a positive test at Saint-Cloud on October 30 was the result of contamination. The new appeal will be heard on March 22.
In a strongly worded statement released on Friday, Paul Struthers, chief executive of the Professional Jockeys Association, said: "To say Robert is disappointed by the outcome is an understatement. He fiercely maintains his innocence and will continue to fight to prove this.
"In the event that appeal fails we will definitely be lodging an application with the BHA on Robert's behalf for the penalty not to be reciprocated."
Havlin, a key member of the John Gosden team in Newmarket, enjoyed his most successful season in 2016, which included a first Royal Ascot winner on Ardad in the Windsor Castle Stakes.
He appeared before an appeal panel on Tuesday, when he presented evidence of his settled family life, one his legal representative claimed was completely at odds with the nature of the charges.
He also produced medical evidence at the hearing that his counsel said contradicted the findings of the original sample from October 30.
Notably, the report of the appeal hearing refers to his legal team's rejection of the presence of morphine, as well as a sworn testimony given to a French court by a toxicology expert that Havlin could not have "actively consumed" cocaine during the period in question.
Havlin has not ridden since being informed in mid-January of a medical suspension by France Galop doctors - the normal precursor to a hearing for a failed test - but this final stage of appeal frees him to resume should he choose to.
A ban of six months is the standard length for a first offence and France Galop indicated on Thursday that they expect the BHA to reciprocate the suspension, which had been due to run until September 21 before the application for a final appeal was lodged.