Protecting the Integrity & Reputation of Irish Horseracing

A.P. O’Brien Trainer / J.A. Heffernan Rider / Just Pretending Referral

A.P. O’Brien Trainer / J.A. Heffernan Rider / Just Pretending Referral

Dundalk 12th April 2013

The Referrals Committee, Judge Tony Hunt (in the Chair), Paul Ronan and N.B. Wachman met at the Turf Club, The Curragh, Co. Kildare on Monday 22nd July 2013 to consider the Referral of A.P. O’Brien, Trainer, J.A. Heffernan, Rider and Just Pretending following the running of the Irish Stallion Farms European Breeders Fund Fillies Maiden at Dundalk on 12th April 2013. On the evening, the Stewards were unable to conclude an enquiry into the running and riding of Just Pretending as A.P. O’Brien had not made his Authorised Representative Pat Keating aware of the riding instructions.

Evidence was heard from J.A. Heffernan and A.P. O’Brien.

In his evidence, J.A. Heffernan said that Just Pretending was a difficult filly who had refused to load on her first run. He received no instructions from A.P. O’Brien as it was left up to him as to how she should be ridden in view of his knowledge of the filly. He said he intended to drop the filly in and met interference in running in the latter stages of the race. As a result, the filly didn’t get a clear run and she just stayed on past tired horses.

In his evidence, A.P. O’Brien told the Stewards that he was happy with the run and didn’t want the whip used on her in view of her past experiences. He accepted that he had not appraised his Authorised Representative Patrick Keating of the riding instructions but said that there were no instructions to give him as he left it totally up to the rider as to how best to ride the filly.

Film of the race was also reviewed.

Having considered the evidence, the Committee found that A.P. O’Brien was in breach of 147 (v) in that he failed to fully inform his Authorised Representative of the riding instructions. He was fined €130.

In relation to the running and riding of Just Pretending, the Committee accepted the explanations offered and that the horse had obtained the best possible placing in view of what happened during the running of the race.

The case was presented by Conal Boyce, Solicitor, Naas, Co. Kildare. 


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