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17/01/02 Leading International Jockey Banned
0927andraschstarke.jpg (10148 bytes)Leading international jockey Andrasch Starke has been handed a heavy suspension after an inquiry into a positive swab returned by that rider was concluded in Hong Kong on Tuesday night.

Further evidence was taken from Starke and Dr TSM Wan, the Hong Kong Jockey Club's Senior Racing Chemist, before Stewards, headed by former Australian John Schreck, handed out the ban.

The German jockey, who rode his first winner when he was 15 and his first Group event at 18, is a multiple jockey's premiership winner in Germany. In 2000 he won his third premiership as well as passing 1000 career wins.

This time last year the jockey was at the top of his tree after winning the prestigious International Jockeys Championship in Hong Kong.

Starke's sample, which he provided at the Sha Tin meeting on December 16 last year, contained traces of benzoylecgonine, which is a major metabolite of cocaine.

The reserve portion of the sample was analysed by Dr John Vine, of the Racing Analytical Services Limited in Melbourne. Dr Vine also confirmed the presence of benzoylecgonine.

Starke was found to have breached The Hong Kong Jockey Club Rule of Racing 60 (2) "in that at the meeting on December 16, prior to commencing his riding engagements, he had provided a sample of his urine which upon analysis was found to contain benzoylecgonine, a major metabolite of cocaine."

"Jockey Starke was suspended from riding in races for a period to expire on Monday 1 July 2002, on which day he may resume race riding," Schreck's report stated.

"In arriving at this penalty, the Stewards were aware that Starke has not been allowed to ride in races nor on the track or in trials since December 18," the report said.

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