Protecting the Integrity & Reputation of Irish Horseracing

Donnacha O’Brien (Rider) Appeal – Galway 3rd August 2018

The Appeals Body (Division 2), Justice Tony Hunt (in the chair), Justice Leonie Reynolds and Joseph M. McGrath met in the Stewards Room at Leopardstown Racecourse on Thursday, 16th August 2018 to consider the Appeal of Donnacha O’Brien (Rider) against the decision of the Stewards at Galway on 3rd August 2018.

On the day, following the running of the Guinness Irish EBF (Fillies) Maiden, the Stewards received a report from the Clerk of Scales, Liam Walsh, that Donnacha O’Brien, Rider of Queen Iseult (GB), attempted to weigh out without any harness attachment on his back protector prior to this race. Having considered the evidence, the Stewards found the rider in breach of Rule 198 (v) and Regulation 10 and considering Donnacha O’Brien’s clean record imposed a suspension of seven days on the rider.

The grounds of Appeal lodged by Donnacha O’Brien was that he had been unfairly treated for this offence.

Evidence was heard from Donnacha O’Brien and Aidan O’Brien. The Appeals Body also considered a transcript of the original evidence and the Recommended Penalty Structure used by the Raceday Stewards.

Having considered the evidence, the Appeals Body determined that the Stewards on the day were perfectly correct in their application of the penalty structure. On consideration of the appeal the Appeals Body accepted that the breach had occurred as a result of a genuine error and without intention to cheat the weigh out system. While recognising the importance of safety considerations, the Appeals Body noted that there ought to be a review of the ability to take account of factors such as an intention to cheat on weight, inadvertence, and whether the attempt to weigh out involved an absent or unapproved body protector or, as in this case, a missing crotch strap when imposing penalty.  On the basis of the evidence given the Appeals Body decided to vary the sanction imposed to five days (18th, 20th, 22nd, 23rd and 24th August) starting on 18th August 2018.

The case was presented by Cliodhna Guy, Head of Legal, Compliance & Licensing.


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