MARCUS Tullius Cicero was a statesman, lawyer, scholar and philosopher, who tried to uphold noble principles during the political crises that led to the establishment of the Roman Empire. He lived and died in the century before the birth of Christ.

Cicero was a man of honour, and a wise man. One of his best-known sayings is that “nothing is more noble, nothing more venerable, than loyalty”, while he also said that “loyalty is what we seek in friendship”.

Both of these quotes came to mind this week in the aftermath of the decision to ban and fine Oisin Murphy.

The champion jockey has admitted to having problems, is addressing them professionally, and has the support, love and care of many as he does so. He is not the first young sportsperson to face such challenges, and he sadly will not be the last.

The pressures on successful young men and women is immense, and more so these days than in the past.

Importantly, this is a very personal issue too, and one that Oisin must be given to space and privacy to deal with.

I am sure I speak for all when I send Oisin best wishes as he navigates the coming months. Racing needs him back stronger and better than ever in 2023, displaying the huge talent he has on a world stage.

Oh, and hats off to those closest to Oisin for their expressions of loyalty. It says a lot about them, and Oisin.

Tune in

Tomorrow night, Sunday, I have the honour to be back on stage as the Irish Thoroughbred Breeders’ Association gets the opportunity to celebrate the best of our industry, with the presentation of the 2021 awards for excellence.

What a joy it will be to have a full house again, rejoicing in many great victories from the year in racing. It will also be a chance to pay tribute to many people who have contributed to, and helped to shape, our great industry for generations now. I am fortunate to know who they are, and I can assure you that the evening will be a joy to watch.

The good news is that you can enjoy the event live. The awards ceremony will be streaming from 10pm and can be viewed on the Association’s website, I know that there are plans in the USA and Australia, among many places, to have people gather to watch the show, and what an evening it will be. I certainly hope you can join me.