Protecting the Integrity & Reputation of Irish Horseracing

Eugene M. O’Sullivan (Trainer) Appeal - Limerick 14 Oct 2012

The Appeals Body (Division Two), Judge Tony Hunt (in the Chair), Dr. Colm O’Flaherty and Paul Ronan met at the Turf Club on 22nd October 2012 to consider the appeal of Eugene M. O’Sullivan, trainer of A Decent Excuse, against the decision of the Stewards at Limerick on 14th October 2012 not to reverse the placings of first and second, following the running of the Oakbruce Properties Handicap Hurdle.

Mr. O’Sullivan’s grounds of appeal were that:
1. The designated winner (Roadtoabbeyfeale) took the ground of A Decent Excuse thereby depriving A Decent Excuse a clear passage.
2. The actions of the rider of the Roadtoabbeyfeale caused A Decent Excuse to veer off the straight line thereby preventing him from availing of the opportunity to pass the designated winner.

Evidence was heard from Alan Crowe, rider A Decent Excuse, Eddie O’Connell, rider Roadtoabbeyfeale and John Supple, trainer Roadtoabbeyfeale.  Film of the race was also viewed.

In his evidence, Alan Crowe said that he suffered significant interference from the 100 yard marker all the way to the finishing line.  He said that he was gaining ground and as a result of the actions of Roadtoabbeyfeale he could not ride his horse as vigorously as he would have liked.  He said he couldn’t pull his stick through due to the actions of the winner.  In conclusion, he said he felt he was going to pass the winner the whole way up the straight but that he ran out of racing room.  He said he was convinced he would have won but for the interference.

In his evidence, E.J. O’Connell said that he had ridden Roadtoabbeyfeale on a number of occasions and won on him at Listowel.  He accepted that he was guilty of careless riding and that he should have pulled his whip through.  He said his horse had plenty left and idled when he got to the front.  He noted that Roadtoabbeyfeale had won over three miles on similar ground.  He concluded by saying that he always believed that he was going to win and that he didn’t think A Decent Excuse would ever pass him.

John Supple told the Appeals Body that Roadtoabbeyfeale was bred to be a stayer and that the distance of the race (2 miles 6 furlongs) was on the sharp side for him.  He said that his horse had a tendency to idle when he gets to the front as he always feels that he has done enough.  However he will always go on when another horse comes to him.  He said he didn’t accept that his horse was tiring.


Having considered the evidence, the Appeals Body said that in arriving at their decision, they had to apply the balance of probability to assess the likely outcome of the race in the absence of the interference caused to A Decent Excuse.  Based on the evidence, they were happy that the Stewards on the day had reached the correct conclusion, in that they could not be satisfied that the runner up (A Decent Excuse) would probably have made up the deficit of ½ length if it had not received the interference in question.  Therefore the appeal was dismissed.  They ordered that 50% (€250) of the appeal deposit be returned to the appellants.

The case was presented by Conal Boyce, Wilkinson & Price Solicitors, Naas, Co. Kildare.  Eugene M. O’Sullivan was represented by Denis A. Linehan & Co. Solicitors, Charleville, Co. Cork.  J.J. Byrne and John Supple, owner and trainer respectively of Roadtoabbeyfeale, were represented by Andrew Coonan, Coonan Cawley Solicitors, Naas, Co. Kildare.


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