Protecting the Integrity & Reputation of Irish Horseracing

Day Care (GB) / P. Joseph O'Brien Referral

Day Care (GB) / P. Joseph O’Brien Referral

The Referrals Committee Dr. Gordon A. Holmes (in the Chair), C.E. O’Sullivan and Mrs. J.O. Onions met in the Turf Club, The Curragh, Co. Kildare on 27th May 2010 to consider the referral of P. Joseph O’Brien, owner of Day Care (GB), by Denis Egan, Chief Executive of the Turf Club, in relation to possible breaches of rules as a result of this horse’s alleged participation in an unrecognised meeting at Dingle on 7th August 2009 under the name of Grey Way. 

Evidence was heard from Terry Smith, Turf Club Veterinary Officer, John G. Carr, former trainer of Day Care (GB), John O’Donnell, former owner of Day Care (GB), Michael O’Donoghue, Turf Club Official, James P. Johnston, Head of Security, and Denis Egan, Chief Executive of the Turf Club.  The Committee also considered a written statement from P. Joseph O’Brien.

In his evidence, Terry Smith told the Committee that, in his view, Day Care (GB) and Grey Way was the same horse.  He said he identified Day Care (GB) at the stables of Ray McGlinchey at Invor, Co. Donegal on 17th November 2009.  During the identification he pointed out distinguishing markings on the horse to Mr. McGlinchey and identified these markings on pictures of Grey Way which were taken at Dingle on 7th August 2009.  Ray McGlinchey accepted that the horse in both pictures was the same and that Day Care (GB) and Grey Way was the same horse.

John Carr gave evidence that he gave Day Care (GB) to John O’Donnell in or around December 2008 as he was looking for a good home for the horse.  It was his understanding that the horse was to be retired though he could not be certain that he emphasized this point.  In early September 2009 Day Care (GB) was entered for a race in Dundalk.  He contacted Ray McGlinchey and said that the former owners were not pleased that the horse was entered to run as it was their understanding that the horse wouldn’t be running again on the track.  In response Mr. McGlinchey offered not to run the horse if it caused a problem for Mr. Carr.  In reply to a question from Conal Boyce, solicitor presenting the case, Mr. Carr said he couldn’t remember if he told Mr. McGlinchey not to run the horse because he thought the horse had been “flapping”.

John O’Donnell told the committee that he got the horse in or around December 2008 from John Carr.  He said that there was nothing stipulated by Mr. Carr as to what he could or could not do with the horse.  He confirmed that the horse won three races at unrecognised meetings held in Burt, Enniscrone and Dingle in 2009.  He said that he decided to sell the horse and that P. Joseph O’Brien visited his stables at the end of August and bought the horse.  In response to a question from Conal Boyce, he said that Mr. O’Brien did not ask any question about the horse’s previous history and John O’Donnell didn’t mention that the horse had been “flapping”.

In his evidence Ray McGlinchey told the committee that he was asked to train Day Care (GB) around the end of August by P. Joseph O’Brien.  He confirmed that he received a call from John Carr in early September when he (John Carr) saw that the horse had been entered for Dundalk.  He stated that Mr. Carr said that the horse had been given away to go “flapping” and that he wasn’t to run on the track again.  He said that he immediately took the horse out of training (8th September 2009) and decided to ring Michael O’Donoghue, Turf Club Official to ascertain what he should do with regard to establishing whether or not the horse had been “flapping”.  He said Mr. O’Donoghue recommended he get a written declaration from the horse’s owner that the horse hadn’t been “flapping”.  Mr. McGlinchey said that he drafted a letter which Mr. O’Brien signed confirming that the horse hadn’t been “flapping” since he purchased him.  The horse was subsequently returned in training on 15th September 2009 and ran on three occasions, twice at Dundalk and once at Wolverhampton.  Mr. McGlinchey confirmed that he never knew that the horse had been “flapping” until the Turf Club officials arrived to carry out an inspection of the horses he had under his care on 17th November 2009.  He said that the horse was due to run at Dundalk on the following Friday night, but that he immediately withdrew the horse and returned him out of training when he was informed by the Turf Club that the horse wouldn’t be allowed to run.

Michael O’Donoghue confirmed that he had received a phone call from Ray McGlinchey and also confirmed the advice that he gave to him.  He said that he also recommended that Mr. McGlinchey lodge a copy of the owner’s declaration with his solicitor.

James P. Johnston gave details of the random inspection that he carried out at Mr. McGlinchey’s yard in the company of Martin Healy, Turf Club security officer, and Terry Smith.  He also confirmed details of his visit to P. Joseph O’Brien and said that Mr. O’Brien had told him that he had purchased the horse from John O’Donnell, but that he didn’t know the horse’s history.

The Committee noted the contents of a statement given by P. Joseph O’Brien to James P. Johnston which was read into the record.  In the statement Mr. O’Brien confirmed a number of facts as outlined previously by Mr. Johnston and that he (P. Joseph O’Brien) was not a “flapping” man and was never “flapping” in his life.

Denis Egan outlined the background to the investigation and said it wasn’t possible to stop the horse running prior to mid November as there was insufficient evidence available until then.

Having considered the evidence the Committee found that Day Care (GB) and Grey Way was the same horse and that Day Care (GB), under the name of Grey Way, had taken part at an unrecognised race meeting at Dingle on 7th May 2009.  In accordance with the provisions of Rule 275(ii) they disqualified Day Care (GB) from the races listed below and ordered that the records be amended accordingly.

2nd October 2009 – Dundalk
Crown Plaza Race and Stay Package Handicap
1st  - Gentleman Jeff (USA)
2nd  - Tony’s Treasure
3rd  - Tenhoo (GB)
4th - Shanrod

Day Care (GB) disqualified from second place.

16th October 2009 – Dundalk
www.dundalkstadium.com handicap
1st  - Sally Bawn
2nd  - Sinntaran
3rd  - Try Freedom
4th  - Homebrew

Day Care (GB) disqualified from 3rd place.

The Committee also ordered that no entry for Day Care (GB) should be taken for a period of two years from the time (15th September 2009) the horse was last returned in training by Ray McGlinchey.

In relation to P. Joseph O’Brien, the committee said it was naive to expect that he did not make any enquiry about the horse’s previous history when he bought him from John O’Donnell.  However, there was no direct evidence that Mr. O’Brien knew or ought to have known that Day Care (GB) had run at unrecognised meetings and as such he was not found in breach of any rule.  They ordered that he pay Turf Club costs associated with the referral, limited to the cost of the provision of a stenographer and Turf Club legal costs.

The Committee also ordered that a file on the case be passed to the Turf Club Licensing Committee for reference in the event that John O’Donnell applied for a trainer’s license in the future.  They were also critical of John O’Donnell for not informing P. Joseph O’Brien that the horse had been “flapping”.

The case was presented by Conal Boyce, Solicitor, Wilkinson & Price Solicitors, Naas, Co. Kildare.  P. Joseph O’Brien was not legally represented.


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