POOLE Pirates captain Darcy Ward has blamed dehydration for his failed alcohol test ahead of this afternoon’s Latvian Speedway Grand Prix.

Ward’s world title hopes suffered a huge blow when he was excluded from this afternoon’s meeting in Daugavpils – a decision revealed by the FIM jury.

The 22-year-old, who is due to attend a jury meeting following the conclusion of events at the Lokomotiv Stadium, apologised for the failed test.

He told Eurosport: “I got some bad news yesterday when I was having dinner and a couple of drinks. I didn’t eat properly and I wasn’t hydrated unfortunately.

“It’s the worst day of my life and it will never happen again. I should have hydrated but it was only marginal and I’m having a bad time.

“Of course I will be back and I’m sorry to the sport and all the fans.”

This evening’s summit with the FIM jury will give Ward the chance to explain his version of events.

Based on that meeting, a decision will then be made on what punishment, if any, will be handed out.

Ward dropped from third to seventh in the standings following this afternoon’s meeting, which was won by former Pirate Krzysztof Kasprzak, while Ringwood-based Chris Holder was eliminated in heats.

Ward only has a 12-point cushion in the top eight with four rounds to go, with those finishing ninth or below not qualifying automatically for next year’s series.

His team manager at Poole, Neil Middleditch, politely declined to comment on the matter in detail.

However, Middleditch told the Daily Echo: "I do not condone Darcy's actions but there are some mitigating circumstances which will come to light."

Ward was replaced in this afternoon's meeting by Kjastas Puodzuks.