Six-month ban for Car­son over drug use

Grand­son of cham­pion jockey took co­caine BHA look­ing into ways it can ‘sup­port’ rid­ers

The Daily Telegraph - Sport - - Racing - By Mar­cus Army­tage

Wil­liam Car­son, grand­son of the five-time cham­pion Flat jockey Wil­lie Car­son, was banned from rid­ing by a dis­ci­plinary panel for six months yes­ter­day for test­ing pos­i­tive for co­caine.

How­ever, be­cause his li­cence was sus­pended by the Bri­tish Horserac­ing Au­thor­ity on an in­terim ba­sis on April 4 while its in­ves­ti­ga­tion took place, his ban was back­dated and he will be al­lowed to reap­ply for his li­cence on Oct 4.

Car­son, 30, for whom over 450 ca­reer win­ners in­clude Regal Pa­rade in the 2008 Ayr Gold Cup, had not ridden a win­ner this year when he re­turned a pos­i­tive test at Ling­field on March 27. Car­son ad­mit­ted tak­ing “eight or nine lines” of co­caine in a pub on a Mon­day night, just two days be­fore rid­ing in races at Ling­field and Kemp­ton.

The jockey, who has suf­fered from de­pres­sion since 2015, spent some time away from rac­ing last win­ter and again this sum­mer, but for the past two months has been rid­ing out for David Elsworth and is think­ing about a come­back.

His so­lic­i­tor, Rory Mac­ne­ice, said: “Wil­liam has been treated by his GP for de­pres­sion since May 2015 and bat­tled it pri­vately. He ac­cepts the find­ings and the pun­ish­ment. He tele­phoned Paul Struthers [chief ex­ec­u­tive of the Pro­fes­sional Jock­eys As­so­ci­a­tion] on the day of the test say­ing he would fail.”

At the end of the hear­ing, Jenny Pit­man, the for­mer trainer and a mem­ber of the three-per­son panel, spoke to the jockey about drug use. “She spoke sen­si­tively to Wil­liam about drugs,” added Mac­ne­ice.

Car­son is the sec­ond jockey to have tested pos­i­tive for co­caine this year, while three oth­ers have re­turned from bans in the past 12 months. “We’re aware that a range of sports are see­ing an in­crease in pos­i­tives for co­caine, as is wider so­ci­ety,” said a BHA spokesper­son. “We are work­ing with rid­ers through the PJA to un­der­stand why this is hap­pen­ing.” It was re­ported last night that jock­eys might soon face manda­tory hair test­ing for traces of drugs.

At New­mar­ket yes­ter­day, Ai­dan O’brien’s two-year-old Wi­chita ran out a seven-length win­ner of the Tat­ter­salls Stakes over seven fur­longs, while pop­u­lar stayer With­hold also re­turned to win­ning ways in the Jockey Club Rose Bowl.

To­day, Roger Var­ian could be the trainer to fol­low. He runs three fil­lies, headed by Daahyeh, win­ner of the Al­bany Stakes at Royal As­cot.

Al­though no pushover, it looks a good chance for her to get an­other win un­der her belt. Var­ian will also be glad to get the un­beaten UAE Jewel back on track af­ter an ab­sence of 146 days in the Joel Stakes.

Trou­bled times: Wil­liam Car­son has been treated for de­pres­sion since May 2015

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