Jockeys in Ireland will face a five-year ban if they test positive for cocaine, the Horseracing Regulatory Board has revealed, Sky Sports report.
The original ban was two years, however, that doubled recently and the IHRB is to take a stronger stance on the use of drugs by making it a five-year ban.
The IHRB found five positive results in 2018, which was the highest number of positive results since tests started.
Apprentice jockey Damien Melia and amateur rider Conor Murphy were handed long bans after their tests made it 13 positive cocaine results for jockeys in the last four years.
Murphy was handed the maximum five-year riding ban, while apprentice Melia was given a four-year ban after testing positive in October.
Talking to the media, chief executive of the IHRB, Denis Egan, gave a strong statement regarding the changes over a drug use ban.
The increase in the number of positive tests is very worrying, but racing is probably no different than what is happening elsewhere in society.
Since 2016 we have had 12 positives for cocaine and five of these came in 2018 from 254 tests, so the problem is getting worse.
Any rider caught in future can expect a lengthy ban and in many cases such a ban could potentially end a rider’s career so they need to be very careful.
Unless there are “exceptional personal circumstances”, a minimum period of 18 months on the sidelines can be expected for jockeys for drug use.