Protecting the Integrity & Reputation of Irish Horseracing

Luke Comer (Trainer) – Stable Inspections 11th & 24th January 2017

 

The Referrals Committee Justice Tony Hunt (in the chair), Philip Caffrey and Laurence McFerran met in the Croke Park Hotel, Jones Road, Dublin 3 on Monday, 6th March 2017 to consider the referral of Luke Comer (Trainer) following the carrying out of two stable inspections at his Training Establishment on 11th and 24th January 2017 by Turf Club Officials Michael O’Donoghue and Terry Smith MVB, MRCVS.

During the inspections they noted a number of anomalies including:

(i) 13 out of the 19 horses returned in training had various problems which required veterinary input, care and monitoring for various reasons.
(ii) 3 stable staff had not been registered.

The officials also noted that Mr Comer spends a considerable amount of time out of the country.

Evidence was heard from Michael O’Donoghue, Terry Smith MVB, MRCVS and Luke Comer. The committee further noted the two reports which had been prepared by the Turf Club Officials following their visits.

In their evidence both Michael O’Donoghue and Terry Smith MVB, MRCVS outlined what they found during their visits and elaborated on various areas of the report. They also highlighted a number of areas which they felt needed to be addressed.

In his evidence, Luke Comer accepted the reports and outlined the steps he had now taken to address the concerns noted. He referred to the recruitment of additional staff and said he is well aware of the supervision that must be put in place.

Having considered the evidence the Referrals Committee noted that there were there issues that needed to be addressed.
(i) The current situation
The committee accepted that there had been a number of improvements put in place between 11th and 24th January 2017 but that the situation on the ground was still not perfect.
(ii) The future situation
The committee noted that Mr Comer had major plans to expand his interests and they stressed the importance of a plan being put in place to deal with this.
(iii) Non-residence
The committee noted that Mr Comer is present 2-3 times per week at his Training Establishment and accepted that he does not need to be there each day to exercise adequate supervision provided he has a supervisory structure in place. They also noted that he now has put systems in place to monitor what is happening.

The committee decided to take no action at present other than to note the assurances given by Mr Comer. They agreed that they would give him time to address the concerns highlighted and asked that the matter be relisted for mid-June. In the meantime they asked that the Turf Club carry out additional inspections to monitor the progress being made and to ensure that the issues highlighted are being addressed.


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