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Five-year suspensions will be the starting point in future for riders returning positive tests for cocaine Ireland’s racing authorities have raised the stakes in their attempt to stamp out the use of recreational drugs by jockeys, handing out bans of five and four years on Thursday to two riders who returned positive tests for cocaine last year and making it clear that in future, a five-year ban will be the starting point for similar offences. Conor Murphy, an amateur rider, received the five-year ban on Thursday following a hearing in front of the Irish Horseracing Regulatory Board’s Referrals Committee, while Damien Melia, a 7lb claiming apprentice, was banned for four years. A third, as yet unnamed jockey who also tested positive for cocaine in 2018 is understood to be awaiting a hearing but can now expect a five-year suspension if found in breach of the rules. Related: Fresh claims throw doubt over Ladbrokes’ ‘cancelled’ bet settlements Continue reading...