Sean Levey drug test drama: Jockeys call for saliva sample review after false positive | Racing news

Jockeys have rallied around fellow weigh-in Sean Levey and backed his call for a “full investigation” into the use of saliva samples for drugs testing after a false positive led to a week-long ban from riding.

Levey was dropped off at Sandown last Wednesday after randomly testing positive for amphetamines.

After initially not giving reasons for the absence, the BHA revealed the following day that Levey would miss the Racing League final at Newcastle – and the £20,000 bonus for the race’s top jockey. for medical reasons”.

He spent a total of seven days on the sidelines before being cleared to return on Wednesday this week after a negative urine test, which Levey said he had to request himself.

Speaking to Sky Sports Racing, Levey said: “I was not given the opportunity to prove myself innocent.

“It’s caused me a lot of stress and tarnished my name because of the speculation and the financial aspect because I’ve lost seven days of riding.”

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Levey told Sky Sports Racing he will be out of riding for more than a week after testing “false positive” for amphetamines.

The BHA has declined to comment on the current drug testing system, issuing a brief statement about Levey’s situation.

“The BHA can confirm that Sean Levey is fit to drive and will not comment further at this time as the matter is confidential,” the statement read.

Mitchell: I thought it was very unfair

Levey Flat racing partner Tom Eaves told Sky Sports Racing on Thursday how he has lost all faith in saliva tests.

Asked how much confidence he has in the current drug testing system, Eaves said: “No. I don’t think anybody does.

“It obviously doesn’t work, so I don’t think anyone would be comfortable taking them. I’d go back to just urine tests.

“When I first read about it and saw it was Sean Levey, I thought, ‘No way!'” He’s a very dedicated and fit lad.

“I don’t want anyone to go through what Sean has gone through over the last week. It’s in the paper and you’re going to be labeled with it if you’ve done nothing wrong.”

Fellow rider Jack Mitchell, who won last year’s Racing League Jockey of the Year award, added: “I thought it was very unfair what happened to Sean with the immediate retirement.

“This is not the first time saliva tests have given a false positive, so it definitely needs to be looked at.

“Sean is a massive character on the scale, a top person and a top rider. People who know him don’t tarnish his reputation, but things like this don’t help.

“I don’t know why it was made so public right away.”

Asked if he had lost faith in the salivary system, Mitchell said: “I think so. It’s a good, quick way to do it – if it works.”

Levey revealed that he is now considering legal action, adding that he hopes “we learn from this and things like this don’t happen to jockeys in the future”.

Levey is booked for three rides at Haydock on Friday.

Chapman: The Levey ban is not governing a sport

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Sky Sports Racing’s Matt Chapman believes the BHA made a mistake when Levey withdrew from the ride, causing him to miss the Racing League final after subsequent tests cleared the jockey of any wrongdoing.

Sky Sports Racing’s Matt Chapman was Levey’s London and South team manager during the Racing League.

He thinks the BHA needs to rethink its processes for handing out suspensions in similar cases.

Chapman said: “The authorities definitely need to take another look at this because we can’t have people being banned for no reason – especially when there’s a lot of money involved. I’m absolutely disgusted by this.

“In that case, you have to ask whether Levey should have been put down immediately, because later it shows he shouldn’t have been.

“It’s clearly wrong and someone somewhere needs to change their mind. You can’t just ban people and then a few days later say everything’s fine. That’s not how you run a sport.”