Sean Levey has issued a statement explaining the background to his one-week suspension from riding. The jockey is set to return to the saddle at Haydock on Friday, having last week been stood down by the British Horseracing Authority on medical grounds. The BHA declined to release any details other than to state: "Sean Levey is able to ride and will be making no further comment at this time as the matter remains confidential.”
On Wednesday afternoon, Levey's agent put out a statement which said the rider had been stood down by the BHA after a random saliva sample tested positive for amphetamine.
"Sean was confident he hadn’t consumed anything that could have led to that result and immediately requested a urine sample which was taken within 24 hours," the statement said. It is understood the urine test returned negative and Levey was cleared to resume riding.
However the temporary ban was damaging to Levey as it almost certainly cost him the £20,000 first prize in the Racing League competition. Levey had been leading the jockeys’ standings in the six-week team event after riding five winners and accumulating 228 points, but was ultimately caught by Saffie Osborne, whose remarkable Newcastle treble last Thursday evening earned her 243 points and landed her the £20,000 bonus for being crowned leading rider.
"As a result of the positive saliva test, Sean has lost out on the Racing League final and a number of other rides for something that could have been resolved a lot sooner," his statement said. "Sean will be looking for a full investigation as to why this happened and more importantly that it should never happen again."
The jockey himself was quoted: "Although I am happy to be back riding later this week, it's hard not to feel aggrieved at what has happened to me the last few days. Some might say I've been unlucky with the false positive happening just before the Racing League final, but I sincerely hope that there are lessons to be learned from this and that similar things don't happen to jockeys in the future.
"I appreciate the support I’ve received from trainers, fellow jockeys and my sponsor SBK throughout the past week. I look forward to getting back in the saddle this weekend."
Levey enjoyed Group 1 success aboard Aristia in the Prix Jean Romanet at Deauville last month and has booted home 58 winners in Britain this year.