Protecting the Integrity & Reputation of Irish Horseracing

Leigh Roche Appeal (Dundalk 19 Aug)

Leigh Roche Appeal – Dundalk, 19th August 2012

The Appeals Body (Division Two), N.B. Wachman (in the Chair), Martin O’Donnell and John Powell met at the Turf Club, The Curragh, Co. Kildare on Monday, 27th August 2012 to consider an appeal from L.F. Roche, rider Love Nest (GB), against the decision of the Stewards at Dundalk on 19th August 2012 when, following the running of the Crowne Plaza Hotel of Dundalk Handicap, he was suspended for two race days for careless riding.

The grounds of appeal lodged by his solicitors, Coonan Cawley, were that “L.F. Roche did not ride carelessly and that in all the circumstances he made a concerted effort to avoid any interference”.

Evidence was heard from Leigh Roche, Michael Hussey, rider Truly Genius, Niall McCullagh, rider Misty Lane and Chris Hayes, rider Wild China.

In his evidence Leigh Roche said that he took a number of steps to keep Love Nest (GB) straight on the two occasions that the horse had drifted.  He accepted that his horse had drifted but that he didn’t make contact with any other horses.  He said his horse was getting lonely out in front and on the first occasion his mount drifted out towards the parade ring gate.  He said that the second time his mount drifted occurred too close to the line for him to put his stick down a second time. 

In his evidence Michael Hussey attributed the interference suffered by his mount to general bunching and suggested that his horse had rolled in before the incident.  He accepted that he had not said this to the Stewards at Dundalk and that it had only become apparent to him as a result of reviewing the race film. 

In his evidence Niall McCullagh said he thought he would have been awarded the race by the Stewards after he pulled up.  He said that Leigh Roche’s filly was hanging all the way to the finishing line and that he had suffered sustained intimidation.  However, on reviewing the film he said he now felt that he didn’t think he would ever have got past the winner.  He said that his view of what occurred was that Leigh Roche was trying to hold the horse straight with the result that he was not pushing the horse as hard as he could.  He felt that Leigh Roche had made a good effort to keep his horse straight.  He did accept that it might have been better had Leigh Roche put his stick down once the second drift occurred.

In his evidence Chris Hayes said that he wasn’t really affected by the interference and in his view any interference that occurred was minimal.  He said the interference did not cost him a placing and that any interference suffered by him happened from the inside.

Film of the race was also viewed.

Having considered the evidence, the Appeals Body dismissed the appeal and confirmed the finding of careless riding.  In relation to penalty they noted that Leigh Roche’s record was poor as this was his fourth careless riding offence in three months.  They confirmed the penalty of two race days, (September 2nd and 3rd 2012) and said that they had considered increasing the penalty in view of Mr. Roche’s poor record.  They also ordered that he forfeit his appeal deposit.

The case was presented by Conal Boyce, Wilkinson & Price Solicitors, Naas, Co. Kildare.  Leigh Roche was represented by Andrew Coonan, Coonan Cawley Solicitors, Naas, Co. Kildare.


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