Gallagher ban after positive cocaine test

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The Independent Online

The troubled career of Dean Gallagher will again hit a low point this morning when the Jockey Club is expected to receive confirmation from their French counterparts that the jumps jockey has tested positive for cocaine.

The troubled career of Dean Gallagher will again hit a low point this morning when the Jockey Club is expected to receive confirmation from their French counterparts that the jumps jockey has tested positive for cocaine.

Gallagher, 31, has received a six-months riding ban from France Galop following a random drugs test this spring and the suspension will be recognised worldwide.

The ban will derail a career which was implicated in the long-running doping and race-fixing allegations which have plagued the sport in recent years. Gallagher was one of four people arrested in January of 1998, in the aftermath of which he had his riding licence suspended by the Jockey Club. His professional life was virtually in limbo for the next 14 months until he was cleared of any wrongdoing in March of last year.

Gallagher's private life became the focus five months later when he married, and the tribulations of his workplace became ever distant when he then made his best ever start to a National Hunt season. Among those who noticed was Paul Green, the high-profile owner best known for his association with the enigmatic chaser Carvill's Hill.

Green appointed Gallagher as contract jockey to his 15-strong string, which included the Champion Hurdle aspirant, Hors La Loi III, on whom he soon won the Kingwell Hurdle at Wincanton.

Another success with Teaatral in the Rendlesham Hurdle at Kempton added further lustre to Gallagher's star, and via Green's connections in France the jockey soon also found himself in demand on the Continent.

In March he signed a six-month contract to ride in France for the leading owners Ecurie Zingaro and champion jumps trainer Jean-Paul Gallorini. Hors La Loi III was runner-up in the Champion Hurdle and Gallagher ended the season with a personal best of 51 winners and a growing string of admirers abroad which included Daniel Wildenstein. But, all the time, a timebomb was ticking away.

The jockey has been aware for some time that he had failed a test submitted on a trip to Paris, but had to wait for the legal processes to run and deliver his punishment. Gallagher will not now be able to ride again until the New Year.

It was not a good weekend either for two other members of the jumps jockeys' weighing room. Tony McCoy, who has already compiled 38 victories this summer, will not be riding any more winners for three weeks at least following an accident at Southwell yesterday.

The champion jockey was competing in division two of the Phoenix Roofing And Flooring Contractors Maiden Chase on Baron Allfours when he fell but did not rise.

"He was concussed so they have taken him to the Queens Medical Centre at Nottingham as a precautionary measure," a spokeswoman for Southwell said. "He will be stood down for 21 days.''

Tony Dobbin, the Grand National-winning jockey, will be off for even longer following a further dislocation to his left shoulder at Market Rasen on Saturday, an injury he sustained while riding Adamatic in the Tote Summer Special Chase.

"I was coming past the stands and just beginning to tail off so I picked up the stick to give him one and the shoulder popped out," Dobbin said. "I was in a lot of pain and pulled up the horse straight away. Peter Niven had to help me off after the race.

"That's the third time it has happened but the first time without a fall, so it's essential I have the operation now to stop it happening again. There is never a good time to be out but it is quite quiet at the moment.

"I'm automatically off for a month with a dislocated shoulder, but it will be longer because of having the operation. I'll know more after I've spoken to Dr [Michael] Turner [the Jockey Club's chief medical officer].''

We should know more today about the composition for Saturday's King George VI & Queen Elizabeth Stakes field at Ascot following the five-day declaration stage. Rumours are beginning to flourish that Montjeu, the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe winner, will not now be travelling over for the race.

Coral have withdrawn the odds-on favourite from their ante-post market and now make Daliapour their 7-2 favourite for the race, with Fruits Of Love on 4-1. Both horses have been supported by clever money. Nevertheless, John Hammond, Montjeu's trainer, says he is not put off by the thought of good to firm ground at Ascot and his four-year-old remains an intended runner.