Former champion jockey Kieren Fallon was embroiled in fresh controversy last night when it emerged that he had failed a drugs test just 24 hours after his race-fixing trial collapsed at the Old Bailey.
Fallon, 42, tested positive for a banned substance believed to be cocaine after riding Myboycharlie in the Group One Prix Morny at Deauville in August, his lawyers confirmed yesterday.
The six-times champion rider faces an anxious wait for the results of a second test. It would be his second offence and would bring an 18-month ban.
The racing pundit John McCririck described the news as "devastating" for Fallon after he was exonerated in the race-fixing trial. The jockey's solicitor, Christopher Stewart-Moore, said: "I can confirm the story is true, but it is a matter we are dealing with together with France Galop, the French racing authority, and it is something we are not able to comment on."
He declined to confirm reports that the B sample had also proved positive for a banned substance.
Sources close to the jockey confirmed that the drug for which he had tested positive was cocaine. However, they questioned the accuracy of the test, saying Fallon had tested positive for pure cocaine, which they said was unusual as cocaine normally shows up as a metabolite of the drug when it is broken down by the body.
Fallon previously had a six-month suspension imposed by France Galop for testing positive for a metabolite of a prohibited substance in June 2006.
In 1994, he was fined for trying to pull another jockey off his horse after a race at Beverley. He was also banned from racing for six months.
In 1998, he was accused of "cheating" in a race. Fallon sued and won 70,000 in damages.
Off the track, he was implicated in a scandal after his trainer Henry Cecil's wife Natalie admitted having an affair with a married man. Fallon, who was married at the time, denied the allegations, but lost his job in 1999 as Mr Cecil's stable jockey.
The trainer Sam Wallin announced in 2004 that Fallon was the father of her son, which he has denied.
Fallon featured in a BBC Panorama documentary about corruption in racing in which he denied allegations about holding back horses. He later won a High Court apology from former Jockey Club security chief Roger Buffham for remarks he made on the programme in 2002.
Two years later, the jockey was banned for three weeks after stewards at Lingfield race course ruled that he had failed to ride the race favourite, Ballinger Ridge, properly.
A newspaper later reported that Fallon told undercover reporters that he would lose hours before the race and accurately predicted which horse would win.
The British Horseracing Authority (BHA) had been expected to decide this week if it would take disciplinary action against Fallon for breaches of regulations over the use of unregistered mobile phones used to pass on racing tips, which emerged during the trial.
Paul Struthers, for the BHA, said: "It's difficult for us to comment on it as it has occurred under the jurisdiction of another country."