Havlin appeals ban and 'fiercely maintains innocence'

Ardad (Rab Havlin)

Ardad and Robert Havlin win the Winsdor Castle Stakes last year

 PICTURE:Edward Whitaker (racingpost.com/photos) 

 By Peter Scargill 9:26AM 10 MAR 2017 

JOCKEY Robert Havlin “fiercely maintains his innocence” and has lodged a further appeal against a six-month ban imposed on him by France Galop following a positive drugs test last autumn.

Havlin, 43, failed in an appeal to have the ban overturned this week and maintains the positive test at Saint-Cloud on October 30 was the result of contamination.

In a strongly-worded statement released on Friday, Paul Struthers, chief executive of the Professional Jockeys Association, said: “To say [Robert] is disappointed by the outcome is an understatement.  He fiercely maintains his innocence and will continue to fight to prove this.

“There is one further stage of appeal with France Galop which will be lodged today. In the event that appeal fails we will definitely be lodging an application with the BHA on [Robert’s] behalf for the penalty not to be reciprocated.”

Appeal unsuccessful

Havlin, a key member of the John Gosden team in Newmarket, enjoyed his most successful season in 2016, which included a first Royal Ascot winner on Ardad in the Windsor Castle Stakes.

He appeared before an appeal panel on Tuesday where he presented evidence of his settled family life, one his legal representative claimed was completely at odds with the nature of the charges.

He also produced medical evidence at the hearing that his counsel said contradicted the findings of the original sample from October 30.

Notably, the report of the appeal hearing refers to his legal team’s rejection of the presence of morphine, as well as a sworn testimony given to a French court by a toxicology expert that Havlin could not have “actively consumed” cocaine during the period in question.

The ban takes immediate effect and is the standard length for a first offence. France Galop will expect the BHA to reciprocate the suspension, which runs until September 21, as is standard practice.

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