Protecting the Integrity & Reputation of Irish Horseracing

Paul Gilligan (Trainer)/Dubawi Phantom Referral

 

The Referrals Committee, Justice Tony Hunt, (in the chair), Justice Leonie Reynolds and C.P. Magnier, met at the Turf Club, Curragh, Co. Kildare on Wednesday, 12th April 2017, to consider whether or not Paul Gilligan, Trainer, was in breach of any rules as a result of entering and running Dubawi Phantom at Kilbeggan on 16th May and 1st June 2014, Sligo on 13th July 2014 and entering and declaring Dubawi Phantom to run at Galway on 30th July 2014, when it was alleged that the horse had run at Unrecognised Meetings including one at Dingle on 10th August 2013 under the name of Ayers Rock. The Committee were asked to consider if there were specific breaches under Rule 272 (bringing the sport into disrepute and providing false/misleading information) and Rule 273(iv)(a) and (b) running of an ineligible horse.

At the outset Michael Keane, representing Paul Gilligan, said his client was not admitting to any wrong doing. He said he was accepting the statements and the case made out against his client and that he would not be calling any witnesses but reiterated that he wasn’t accepting any wrong doing.

Evidence was heard from Terry Smith MVB, MRCVS, Turf Club Veterinary Officer and Christopher Gordon, Turf Club Head of Security. The Committee also considered the book of evidence which had been issued in advance to all parties. The book of evidence included:

• Transcripts of interviews between the British Horseracing Authority (BHA) and Paul Gilligan dated 5th December 2014.
• Transcript of interview between the Turf Club and Paul Gilligan dated 11th January 2017.
• Timeline of events.
• Photographs from Dingle Racecourse taken on 10th August 2013.
• Film footage from Dingle Racecourse taken on 10th August 2013 and Uttoxeter Racecourse taken on 29th June 2014.
• Photographs taken at Uttoxeter Racecourse taken on 29th June 2014.
• Expert witness statements
• Transcript of stewards’ enquiry at Galway Racecourse on 30th July 2014.
• Transcripts of BHA hearings on 21st/22nd March 2016 and re-hearing on 13th and 19th December 2016.
• Decision of the disciplinary panel of the BHA.
• Passport checklist from Kilbeggan on 16th May 2014 and Sligo on 13th July 2014.

In his evidence Terry Smith MVB, MRCVS outlined why he believed that the horse he identified in Galway on 30th July 2014 as Dubawi Phantom was the same horse as he identified as Ayers Rock from the pictures taken at Dingle.

In his evidence Christopher Gordon confirmed the evidence set out in his statements dated 7th April and 3rd June 2015 which had been included in the book of evidence.

A number of submissions on the evidence were made by Tim Naylor, barrister, who went through the book of evidence and highlighted the reasons he believed that Dubawi Phantom and Ayers Rock were one and the same horse.

Having considered the evidence, the Referrals Committee said the decision that had to be made was whether there was one or two horses. That decision would be made based on the evidence and on the balance of probabilities, taking into account which scenario was more likely.

They agreed that comparisons were possible in this case based on the quality of the material available and on the evidence. They noted that they had the opportunity of reviewing the evidence in advance and of also looking at the photos and listening to the evidence of Terry Smith MVB MRCVS.

In arriving at their decision, they looked at the surrounding circumstances. The Turf Club’s case was that there was only one horse and that Dubawi Phantom and Ayers Rock was the same horse. Paul Gilligan’s case was that there were two horses. They agreed that for Paul Gilligan’s version of events to be the more likely, there would have to have been up to 8 remarkable coincidences and based on the evidence presented this was something they could not countenance. They agreed that the timeline of events was consistent with there being one horse in that the “appearance” of Ayers Rock happened when Dubawi Phantom was not running.

In the circumstances they found that Paul Gilligan was in breach of Rule 272(i) as he deliberately tried out Dubawi Phantom (under the name of Ayers Rock) in 2013 at the unrecognised meeting in Dingle with a view to running on the track. They also found Mr Gilligan in breach of Rule 272(i) as his conduct was prejudicial to the integrity, proper conduct and good reputation of horseracing, and Rule 272(ii) for giving a false account to the Stewards at the enquiry at Galway on 30th July 2014. In addition he was found in breach of Rule 273(iv)(a) for entering and/or starting a horse in a race a horse which he knew or should have known had run at an unrecognised meeting, and 273(iv)(b) for running a horse which he knew or should have known was restricted from running.

In arriving at penalty, the Referrals Committee took into account a number of aggravating and mitigating factors. They described the aggravating factors as intentional, deliberate deception in various places over a period of time and the fact that the rule breach took place within 3 months of a previous decision in 2013, when Mr Gilligan’ licence was under the threat of suspension. In relation to mitigating factors, they acknowledged his acceptance of the case presented albeit that he did not accept that he had done any wrong. They also accepted that he was already the subject of a long drawn out disciplinary process in Great Britain and the impact that had on his business.

In the circumstances they imposed a disqualification of 18 months commencing on 26th April 2017 in respect of the various rule breaches. Under the provisions of Rule 275(ii) they imposed a life ban on Dubawi Phantom.

The case was presented by Tim Naylor, Barrister, Danielle Sharkey, solicitor and Cliodhna Guy, solicitor. Paul Gilligan was represented by Michael Keane, Flynn & McMorrow, solicitors, Carrick-on-Shannon, Co. Leitrim.


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