Protecting the Integrity & Reputation of Irish Horseracing

Mr. Pat Taaffe (Rider) Referral – Clonmel 3rd September 2020

The Referrals Committee, Mr. N.B. Wachman (in the chair), Mr. Joseph M. McGrath and Mr. Anthony Byrne convened at the Offices of the Irish Horseracing Regulatory Board (IHRB), The Curragh, Co. Kildare on 14th December 2020 to consider an objection under Rule 262(v)(d) from Ms. Cliodhna Guy as a Senior Racing Official to the result of the Tickinor (Pro-Am) INH Flat Race at Clonmel on 3rd September 2020.

 

Following the racemeeting in Clonmel, it became apparent to the IHRB that Mr. Pat Taaffe, rider of Cottie, placed second, was not in possession of a valid Qualified Rider’s Permit to ride on the day in question.

 

Evidence was heard from Mr. Pat Taaffe (Rider) and Mr. Tom Taaffe (Trainer) and Ms. Cliodhna Guy, IHRB Head of Legal, Licensing and Compliance.

 

In his evidence, Mr. Pat Taaffe explained the sequence of events that lead to him renewing his Qualified Rider’s Permit on the days leading up to the race in Clonmel. He explained he was the holder of an A3 Permit which expired on 31st August and he had completed his application to renew his permit in advance of that date. However, due to insufficient funds in his Horse Racing Ireland (HRI) account for the renewal fee his Permit application was unsuccessful, a fact that he was unaware of at the time.

 

Mr. Tom Taaffe explained that he has a habit of declaring horses and riders days in advance of the race if his plans are clear and declared Mr. Pat Taaffe to ride Cottie on the morning of 31st August and the declaration was accepted since he was the holder of a license at that time. However, the license indicator was taken down later that day but the declaration stood and nobody contacted him to say Mr. Pat Taaffe was not qualified to ride on 3rd September. He noted that this was a genuine oversight by Mr. Pat Taaffe and that of the IHRB and HRI systems. He added that had this been brought to his attention, he would have sought a replacement rider or not run the horse in the circumstances as it was to no advantage to run the horse with an unlicensed rider.

 

Ms. Guy explained that this was an unfortunate sequence of events and it only came to light a number of days after Clonmel when Mr. Pat Taaffe was sought to ride in another race. It transpired that due to insufficient funds being available in the rider’s HRI account at the time of his application, the application for renewal was refused and Mr. Taaffe was not permitted to be declared on any horses as he did not hold a valid Permit as a result – however, the system didn’t pick up that he had already been declared four days in advance of the Clonmel race. It was noted that there was no intent to deceive by any parties.

 

Having considered the evidence, the Referrals Committee agreed that while there was no malice or intent to deceive by any of the parties, the fact remained that the rider did not hold a Qualified Riders Permit on 3rd September and was therefore not qualified to ride under the conditions of the race and under Rule 124(iii) and so they ordered that Cottie be disqualified from 2nd place and they took no further action. They amended the result to read:

 

First:        More Info

Second:   Stowaway John

Third:       Wild Caprice

Fourth:    Fongs Way

Fifth:        Gibberwell

 

 

The case was presented by Ms. Cliodhna Guy, Head of Legal, Licensing & Compliance. Mr. Taaffe was represented by Patrick Kennedy of Patrick J. O’Meara & Co. Solicitors, Liberty Square, Thurles, Co Tipperary.


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