Protecting the Integrity & Reputation of Irish Horseracing

Lawrence Walshe (Trainer) Random Stable Inspection 6 Aug 2013

The Referrals Committee, Judge Tony Hunt (in the Chair), Mrs. J.O. Onions and Con O’Mahony met at the Turf Club, the Curragh, Co. Kildare on Thursday, 22nd August 2013, to consider the referral of Lawrence Walshe, trainer by Denis Egan, Chief Executive of the Turf Club following a random stable inspection carried out at his Training Establishment on 6th August 2013 by Turf Club Officials, Michael O’Donoghue and Ms. Nicola O’Connor M.R.C.V.S.

During the visit they found that:

(i) three horses returned in training as being under his care were not present and should have been returned out of training; (ii) a medicines register was not available for inspection. They observed Mr. Walshe riding without wearing approved safety equipment. They also expressed concern at the answers given by Mr. Walshe to legitimate queries in respect of other horses under his care which had not been returned in training.

Evidence was heard from Michael O’Donoghue and Ms Nicola O’Connor M.R.C.V.S.

In his evidence, Michael O’Donoghue confirmed that three horses returned in training as being under the care of Lawrence Walshe namely Alluvium (GB), Grange Queen and Harrier Reef were not at his premises. He also said that a medicines register was not available for inspection and that both he and Miss O’Connor observed Lawrence Walshe riding without wearing approved safety equipment. Mr. O’ Donoghue went on to express concern about some of the answers given by Lawrence Walshe in relation to other horses under his care which had not been returned in training. He said that Mr Walshe was evasive in response to the questions asked as to the identities of the horses and that the passports of these horses were not available for inspection. As a result they noted the microchip numbers and it was possible to identify the horses subsequently through information provided by Weatherby’s.

Mr O’Donoghue referred in particular to two of these horses which Mr Walshe could not identify, one of which Mr Walshe described as a “breaker” and another as a horse which he said had been sent to him by a client on livery. In relation to the horse described as a “breaker”, this horse was subsequently identified as “New Star” which had run in 33 races in the UK. The other horse was identified as “Jerry’s Agent” which had been in training with Lawrence Walshe previously and returned out of training by him on 9th May 2012.

In her evidence Ms. Nicola O’Connor said the fact that Mr Walshe had horses under his care without passports was worrying as trainers are under obligation to check the identity of the horses against the passport and endorse the passports by signing them.  She confirmed that it was only possible to identify two horses by their passports and that the other horses under Mr Walshe’s care were microchipped and their identities validated subsequently. She outlined to the committee the importance of passports being updated each time medicines are administered to horses particularly medicines the use of which could render horses as being not fit for human consumption.   Ms. O’Connor also examined the passports for the missing horses and a copy of the medicines register which Mr Walshe had handed in at the hearing.  In respect of the passports she noted that the vaccinations were not up-to-date in some cases and that one of the passport was not endorsed.

Andrew Coonan made a number of submissions on behalf of Lawrence Walshe.  He said that Mr Walshe accepted that three horses returned in training as being under his care were not present and should have been returned out of training, that a medicines register was not available for inspection and that Mr Walshe was riding without wearing approved safety equipment when the Turf Club officials arrived.  He said this was due to the fact that Mr Walshe had recently suffered an injury which made the wearing of safety equipment uncomfortable.

Having considered the evidence, the Referrals Committee reserved judgement and informed Mr Walshe that he would be notified of the committee’s decision in writing within the next three weeks.

The case was presented by Conal Boyce, Solicitor, Naas, Co. Kildare.  Lawrence Walsh was represented by Andrew Coonan, Coonan Cawley Solicitors, Naas, Co. Kildare. a


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