Protecting the Integrity & Reputation of Irish Horseracing

Michael Hourigan / Sherco Sports Referral

Michael Hourigan / Sherco Sports Referral

Sligo 14th July 2013

The Referrals Committee, Justice Frank Clarke (in the Chair), Derek Pugh and William Flood met at the Stewards Room, Kilbeggan Racecourse, Co. Westmeath on 19th July 2013 to consider the referral in respect of the apparent improvement in form shown by Sherco Sports, trained by Michael Hourigan, in the Ladies Day Handicap Hurdle (Div. 2) at Sligo on 14th July 2013 as compared to her previous run at Ballinrobe on 25th June. The Stewards on the day were unable to proceed with an enquiry because the trainer was not available, nor did he have an authorized representative available.

Evidence was heard from Michael Hourigan and from Andrew Shaw, National Hunt Handicapper. 

In his evidence, Michael Hourigan accepted that an Authorised Representative had not been appointed in accordance with the provisions of Rule 147 (v). He said he had completed the necessary paperwork but that he forgot to send it to Sligo.

In relation to the improvement in form, Michael Hourigan said that Sherco Sports had not run for a year prior to her last run at Ballinrobe where she was tailed off at the last when she unseated her rider. He said the mare was lazy and the addition of a tongue strap, blinkers plus the assistance of Ruby Walsh was the main reason she won at Sligo.

In his evidence Andrew Shaw said that the run at Sligo was a big improvement on her last run at Ballinrobe and agreed with Michael Hourigan that his explanation was probably the reason for the improvement.

Having considered the evidence the Committee noted that Michael Hourigan had accepted that he was in breach of Rule 147 (v) and fined him €130. They noted his explanation for the improved run which was consistent with the explanation given by the handicapper.

The case was presented by Shay Quinn, Stewards Secretary. 


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