Protecting the Integrity & Reputation of Irish Horseracing

Tom Donohue / Thomas Foley Appeal Hearing

Tom Donohue / Thomas Foley Appeals – Roscommon, 15th August 2011

The Appeals Body (Division Two), Judge Tony Hunt (in the Chair), J.R. Craigie and Mrs. T.K. Cooper met at the Turf Club, The Curragh, Co. Kildare on 31st August 2011 to consider the appeals of Tom Donohue and Thomas Foley, owner and trainer respectively of Isobella Blue (GB), against the decision of the Stewards at Roscommon on 15th August 2011, when following the running of the County Roscommon Hunt Handicap Hurdle, the Stewards made no alteration to the race result even though they found that while interference had occurred the winner Wither Hills had not improved his placing in relation to the second Isobella Blue (GB).

The grounds of appeal lodged were that the Stewards erred in their decision in failing to promote Isobella Blue (GB) to first place following a steward’s enquiry as the interference which took place was such that Wither Hills impeded Isobella Blue (GB) and improved his position as a result.

Evidence was heard from T.C. Carroll, rider Isobella Blue (GB), Thomas Foley and A.E. Lynch, rider Wither Hills.

In his evidence, T.C. Carroll said that Isobella Blue (GB) was a light filly which was easily intimidated.  He said his instructions were to ride her around the outside as she doesn’t like getting bumped.  He said he had to drag his filly continuously left between the last hurdle and the finishing line to avoid contact with Wither Hills as he drifted left.  He accepted that he didn’t stop using his stick or stop riding but he was hampered as he couldn’t ride in a straight line.  He said his mount made considerable ground when Wither Hills stopped hanging.  He concluded by stating that in his opinion he would have won if his mount had been allowed to run in a straight line.

Thomas Foley gave evidence of his filly’s characteristics and confirmed what T.C. Carroll had said.  He said he was happy with the ride and that Wither Hills took his horse’s ground and stopped her from winning.

In his evidence, A.E. Lynch said that he was riding Wither Hills for the first time.  He said his instructions were to ride him handy as the trainer thought he would win.  He said he had plenty of horse underneath him but that his horse idled in front and responded every time he was hit.  He also said that if he had pulled his whip through he felt that he would have won more comfortably.  He accepted the decision of the Stewards on the night that he was guilty of careless riding but felt that his rule breach did not affect the result.  He said that he didn’t accept there was interference even though his horse drifted nor did he accept that he carried Isobella Blue (GB) across to the stand rail.  In his view T.C. Carroll was drifting across the track on purpose.  He concluded by stating that the best horse won on the night.


Having considered the evidence, the Appeals Body accepted that there was interference and that it was consistent and over a considerable distance.  They were satisfied that Wither Hills had improved his placing in relation to Isobella Blue (GB) and ordered that the result be reversed.

The result now reads:-

First:  Isobella Blue (GB)
Second: Wither Hills
Third:  Like The Da
Fourth: Marching Orders

The case was presented by Denis Egan, Chief Executive of the Turf Club.

Tom Donohue and Thomas Foley were represented by Andrew Coonan, Coonan Cawley Solicitors, Naas, Co. Kildare.  Brian Hamilton, trainer of Wither Hills was represented by Frank Ward, Frank Ward & Company Solicitors, Upper Ormond Quay, Dublin 7.

 


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