Apprentice Ben Kennedy Handed 9 Month Suspension

By: Sarah Fortnum
January 4th, 2012

Young apprentice jockey Ben Kennedy has been served a nine month ban from riding after testing positive to drugs on December 24.

The top jockey tested positive for both amphetamines and cannabis at Ascot Racecourse.

Kennedy was tested after he was found asleep in the jockey’s room before race 8 on Christmas Eve.

The 19-year-old’s sentence will be revised in six months’ time if a clean sample can be provided.

Until then, Kennedy is banned from all facets of riding, including barrier trials and track work.

The apprentice said he had attempted to use the amphetamines for weight loss, while the cannabis was to help him sleep the night before.

The weight loss was in order to be able to ride Lovre at 53 kilograms in the ATA Handicap, in which he finished last.

Kennedy fronted the stewards inquiry in Perth today and expressed remorse for his actions.

“It was a silly mistake,” Kennedy said.

“It’s one that I regret. Instead of looking for another way out I took the easy way out.”

Chief steward Brad Lewis said the fact Kennedy had mixed the two different drugs led to his penalty being so severe.

“I think your senior riders would be disgusted,” Lewis said.

“The fact both drugs were in your system simultaneously places your offending in the highest category.

“The use of amphetamines for weight loss is unacceptable.”

As part of his suspension, Kennedy will be required to undergo drug counselling to help put him back on track.

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