Horse Racing

Marco Ghiani banned for six months after testing positive for cocaine

Marco Ghiani |

Former apprentice champion and one of the most promising racers in the UK, Marco Ghiani has had his license suspended for six months after testing positive for a cocaine metabolite.

Ghiani was tested at Newcastle on 25 August and subsequently suspended temporarily while disciplinary proceedings are arranged.

He admitted to taking cocaine two days before the positive test result and, through his legal representative, Rory MacNeice, did not contest the UK Equestrian Authority’s results.

The panel of Philip Curl, Alison Royston and Dr Lyn Griffiths has agreed to withdraw Ghiani’s license for a period of six months, postponed to September 5 to allow the period he has been suspended. Ghiani will not be allowed to ride until March 5.

Rory Mac Neice, representing Ghiani, said: “Mr Ghiani is deeply ashamed of the matter and accepts that it was a serious misjudgment on his part. He’s been thinking a lot since how he got to that position.

“Mr Ghiani succumbed to the temptation at a time when he felt professionally vulnerable. He puts a lot of pressure on himself to be successful for those who hire him to ride and he claims he has had some difficulty being objective when he feels his performance has made his horses he’s not running to their full potential. .

“He has a personality tendency to move on from near-instant successes, while letting perceived failures stay with him for a considerable amount of time. One consequence of the positivity is that it has made him aware of the enormous amount of support available to him, particularly from the Professional Jockeys Association, with advice and help on these matters – which he previously felt he could not ask for.

“Caught so quickly, and that is indicative of the success of the anti-doping regimen that the BHA has put in place, means he has been and continues to be able to address those underlying pressures. We thank the BHA for its sensitive and thoughtful approach to this matter.”

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