Jockey Suspended After Testing 1,000 Times Over Cocaine Limit

by : Niamh Shackleton on : 26 Mar 2021 08:41
Jockey Suspended After Testing 1,000 Times Over Cocaine LimitPA Images

A jockey has been suspended following a test showing that he was 1,000 times over the cocaine limit.

Adrian McCarthy was found to have consumed the drug a handful of times just days before races at Chelmsford in 2020.


The 42-year-old has since said that lockdown had made him depressed which led to him taking the drugs ‘four or five times’ while drinking at a pub with friends just a couple of days before the race.

PA Images

The test taken in October 2020 when McCarthy tested positive for metabolites of cocaine. McCarthy was found to have 150,300 nanograms per millilitre of benzoylecgonine, a metabolite of cocaine in the sample given for the test, despite the limit for riding being 150 nanograms per millilitre.

McCarthy lost his riding license for six months as a result, BBC News reports, and has been suspended since October.


The rider has since expressed regret over the incident and said he was in a ‘really bad place’ over the course of 2020 and, at one point, even tried to take his own life.

As per Racing Post, McCarthy said during a disciplinary panel hearing yesterday, March 25:

Last year and the year before I was really depressed. I’m on tablets now and am having counselling – I’ve had counselling in the past – and I also tried taking my own life. I didn’t care about myself, about anything, about being here. I was using drugs – cocaine – and drinking to try to make things better but they only make things worse.

PA Images

‘I’m looking forward to being positive and I’m looking to the future,’ he continued. ‘I’m in a lot better place than I was before and I’m enjoying my work. We all make mistakes and I regret it but we all have to look forward and work hard.’

Despite his comments, panel chair James O’Mahony branded his actions as ‘unforgiveable’ and that McCarthy had ‘let down a lot of people.’

He said, ‘You’ve let down an awful lot of people and the sport. Cocaine taking in this context is pernicious to the sport.’

While McCarthy appears to remain in hot water for his actions last year, the panel appreciated his cooperation and his honesty.


Following yesterday’s hearing, McCarthy’s licence revocation has been backdated to October from when he first received his suspension meaning he’s eligible to race again next month.

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Niamh Shackleton

Niamh Shackleton is a pint sized person and journalist at UNILAD. After studying Multimedia Journalism at the University of Salford, she did a year at Caters News Agency as a features writer in Birmingham before deciding that Manchester is (arguably) one of the best places in the world, and therefore moved back up north. She's also UNILAD's unofficial crazy animal lady.

Topics: Sport, cocaine, Drugs, Now, Racing


BBC Sport and 1 other
  1. BBC Sport

    Jockey Adrian McCarthy regretful after ban for being 1,000 times over cocaine limit

  2. Racing Post

    Adrian McCarthy hit with six-month ban following positive cocaine test