Record-breaking jockey apologises over failed drug test

  • Trailblazing jockey Michelle Payne has taken “full responsibility” after testing positive for a banned substance.

    Racing Victoria held a stewards inquiry today (29 June) after a urine sample taken at Swan Hill race meeting on 11 June tested positive for the appetite suppressant phentermine. She was prescribed the drug, but said she did not check whether it breached anti-doping rules.

    Michelle admitted the breach and was suspended for four weeks from 23 June.

    A statement from Racing Victoria said stewards took into account her “guilty plea, good record and remorse” when considering their decision.

    “Ms Payne was also advised that she must provide a urine sample clear of any banned substances before being permitted to ride trackwork and in trials,” added the statement.

    Speaking to journalists after the hearing, Michelle gave her “sincere apologies”.

    “I would like to make it clear that I take full responsibility for what has happened today,” she said.

    “The onus is 100% with me as a rider to know what I am taking and the rules around it regardless of whether is has been prescribed to me or not.

    I regret not seeking all guidance and making certain that any treatment would lead to a breach of the rules and why we are here today.

    “I wasn’t thorough and that was completely my fault.

    “My sincere apologies to everyone that this has happened in the manner that it has.

    “I accept the stewards’ decision and appreciate that it is in keeping with other penalties for riders in the breach of this rule.

    “I am very much looking forward to finding a solution and working with my surgeon.

    “I look forward to working hard and being in great shape on my return to racing.”

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    Michelle shot to international fame when she became the first woman to win the Melbourne Cup in 2015.

    Last year she was hospitalised for weeks after a career-threatening fall in May 2016, in which she split her pancreas. She recovered and returned to race riding in September last year.

    Michelle made her Royal Ascot debut aboard Kapersky in the Group One Queen Anne Stakes last week (20 June), where she finished fifth. Her ban will be lifted in time for the Shergar Cup at the racecourse on 12 August.

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