CRACK Irish jockey Davy Russell, who has not had a drink for 15 years, failed a breath test at Listowel yesterday – over mouthwash.
The Youghal, Co Cork, jockey, who principally rides for Michael O’Leary’s Gigginstown House Stud, was randomly tested and recorded a level twice the allowed amount, registering 75 micrograms of ethanol per 100 millimetres of breath. The limit is 35.
He was tested by Al Guy, on behalf of the Turf Club, and, rather bizarrely, was found to be 40 points over the 35 limit at 75.
“I failed the test,” said Russell. “I took a drink once about 15 years ago, but I do not drink now. I have no interest in drink and it holds no attraction for me.”
As matters stood at that stage, the likelihood was that Russell would not have been allowed to ride.
Some 30 minutes later, however, he took the test again and this time passed.
If he had been tested half an hour prior to his first ride, and failed, then there would have been no second chance.
Russell was staying at Ballybunion and used mouthwash before leaving for the races. There is alcohol in mouthwash and that seems the only possible explanation.
The rider, however, was less than happy. “You’d have to question the whole system,” he said. “So, if I’d been a bit later to the track, I wouldn’t have been allowed to ride because, if you fail within half an hour of your ride, you can’t ride.”
Breath tests were introduced in Ireland in 2007 and two jockeys have previously failed, Paul Carbery and Michael Darcy.
It got worse for Russell later in the day. He took a crashing fall from Mister Two Fifty in the beginners chase and was removed to Tralee General Hospital.
He was later released from hospital but may have broken a bone below the knee.
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