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Saturday, 17 November, 2018

Swift suspended until December 2018 after positive cocaine test

Dale Swift: ban backdated to March
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The rollercoaster career of jockey Dale Swift took another twist on Thursday when a BHA-appointed disciplinary panel suspended him until December 2018 after he tested positive for a metabolite of cocaine following a meeting at Southwell in March.

It is the second time in two years that Swift, who in April called time on his career when speaking candidly to the Racing Post about the weight problems that left him feeling miserable and depressed, has tested positive for a prohibited substance after he served a six-month suspension in 2015.

Swift's ban was backdated to March 29 when his licence was suspended and the full reasons for his punishment will be released at a later date.

A promising apprentice who won a valuable Glorious Goodwood handicap on Indian Days in 2010, Swift, who had his first rides in 2002, enjoyed the finest moment of his career when winning the Ebor on Moyenne Corniche in 2011. He also struck up a winning rapport with white-faced favourite Top Notch Tonto, who gave the jockey a huge thrill when chasing home Olympic Glory in the 2013 Queen Elizabeth II Stakes.

Dale Swift (far side) wins the 2011 Ebor at York on Moyenne Corniche

However, the Rotherham native's time in the saddle has not always been straightforward and he faced a constant battle with his weight, having a spell over jumps during the 2009-10 campaign.

Swift also had to cope with the death of his friend John Patrick Connors in a car crash just before Christmas in 2014, which preceded his first BHA ban.

The 32-year-old returned to action in April last year and rode a handful of winners, but admitted he had lost the buzz and had resorted to self-induced vomiting, known as flipping, in a bid to control his weight.

Speaking to the Racing Post in the spring, he said: "I'm not renewing my licence and I won't be coming back. I'm not happy. The lifestyle of being a jockey is making me depressed, miserable."

The disciplinary panel – chaired by Stuart Morrison and including Chloe Fairley and Jody Mogford – noted the difficulties Swift had "encountered in relation to his weight over a number of years, his decision not to continue his career as a professional jockey, the financial difficulties which have led him filing for bankruptcy in August 2017 and his regret at letting his family down".

Gibbons case deferred

The BHA also on Thursday announced its inquiry regarding fellow rider Graham Gibbons, who tested positive for cocaine last year, has been deferred until October 5 due to "unforeseen transportation issues".

Gibbons, who has not ridden since December, was charged with testing positive for a banned substance after his urine sample was found to contain benzoylecgonine, a metabolite of cocaine, and conduct prejudicial to the integrity, proper conduct and/or good reputation of horseracing over his actions in attempting to use another jockey's sample.    

He was reported to stewards at Kempton last year after he was alleged to have tried to substitute his sample with one from Callum Shepherd. Gibbons stood himself down indefinitely following the incident at Kempton and has not renewed his licence. Shepherd faces no charges.

The lifestyle of being a jockey is making me depressed, miserable
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