Protecting the Integrity & Reputation of Irish Horseracing

Brian O’Connell (Rider) Appeal – Downpatrick 10 August 2014

The Appeals Body (Division Two), Judge Tony Hunt (in the chair), Sean Barry and Philip Caffrey met at the Turf Club, The Curragh, Co. Kildare on Thursday, 21st August 2014 to consider the appeal of Brian O’Connell against the severity of the penalty imposed by the Stewards at Downpatrick on 10th August 2014.  The Stewards held an enquiry following the running of the Sound of Silver Handicap Hurdle and he was found in breach of Regulation 10 3(e) for hitting the horse other than down the shoulder or on the hind quarters and Regulation 10 3(g) for using his whip with the arm above shoulder height. As a result he was suspended for three race days and ordered that he attend RACE for a day’s tuition on the correct use of the whip.

Evidence was heard from Brian O’Connell.  Film of the incident was also shown.

In his evidence Brian O’Connell said that he thought the three day suspension was severe as the breach of Regulation 10 3(e) was a first offence.  He disputed whether he hit the horse in an incorrect place and felt the film evidence was inconclusive.  He said he did not abuse or mistreat the horse and there was no veterinary evidence of marking the horse.  He said the horse made a mistake at the last hurdle and on the bend he had to change his whip to his weaker left hand and in so doing lost his technique.  He said he had worked hard to remedy this since his last offence and although the offence was committed in the same calendar year, he has ridden in 229 races since without breaking the rules.

Having considered the evidence the Appeals Body felt there was some merit in the case made for the separation of each breach.  In respect of the breach of Regulation 10 3(e) the Appeals Body cautioned him.  In respect of the breach of Regulation 10 3(g), they suspended him for two race days (25th & 26th August 2014) and ordered him to attend RACE for a day’s tuition on the correct use of the whip, in lieu of the original third day of the suspension.  They also ordered that his appeal deposit be returned.

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


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