Protecting the Integrity & Reputation of Irish Horseracing

W.J. Lee (Rider) Appeal - Limerick, 17th June 2016

 

The Appeals Body (Division Two) N.B. Wachman (in the Chair), C.P Magnier and Peter N. Reynolds met in the Turf Club, The Curragh, Co Kildare on Wednesday, 29th June 2016 to consider the appeal of W.J. Lee (rider) against the decision of the Stewards at Limerick on 17th June 2016. Following the running of the Ballyduane Stud Claiming Race, W.J. Lee was found to be in breach of Rule 214 and was suspended for seven race days as the Stewards found he had ridden carelessly.

His grounds of appeal were that he was not in breach of Rule 214 and in the event that he was in breach, the penalty imposed was too severe.

Evidence was heard from S.P. Davis (rider of Miss Ives) and W.J. Lee. Film of the race was also reviewed.

In his evidence S.P. Davis outlined what occurred in the latter stages of the race which lead to him being unseated from Miss Ives. He said he was on the rails on the turn into the straight about two lengths behind Optimystic which was ridden by W.J. Lee. He said he went for a clear gap about one and a half furlongs out when Optimystic rolled off the rails and left plenty of room for him to come through. When his horse got into the gap he was up on the girths of Optimystic when that horse started to drift across which resulted in him being unseated and his horse going through the rails. He accepted he did not shout to let W.J. Lee know he was coming through but felt he was entitled to go for the gap.

Mr Davis outlined the injuries sustained as a result of the fall which will leave him sidelined for a further seven weeks. He said he fully accepted what occurred was an accident and that there was no intent on W.J. Lee’s part to cause any injury.

In his evidence W.J. Lee outlined the characteristics of Optimystic. He said he knew the filly well and that she was an awkward filly. His instructions on the day were to jump out and make the running. He said the race was run at an even gallop and that he rolled off the rails on the turn into the straight. He then pulled her back on to the rail and she then drifted left about two furlongs from the finish which left a gap on the rails. He said he hit his mount four times and she ran straight but she started to go right at the fifth hit with the result she rolled onto the rails bringing down S.P. Davis. He said he did his best to keep his filly straight and that he didn’t know that S.P. Davis was on his inside as there was no shout. He said he would normally expect a jockey to shout in such circumstances. He said the incident was due to the actions of the Optimystic rather than anything he did.

In response to a number of questions from Paul Murtagh, W.J. Lee said his filly may have been intimidated by another horse drifting towards his mount which could have caused her to roll back to the rails. He said he wasn’t aware that there was another horse on his inside an accepted there may have been an element of misjudgment in what he did but felt he did not have time to react when his filly started to drift.

Having considered the evidence the Appeals Body found W.J. Lee guilty of careless riding and in breach of Rule 214. They found that he had caused interference by coming off his racing line.

In arriving at the penalty, the Appeals Body stated that the incident was a bad case of careless riding and required a penalty at the higher end. They noted that W.J. Lee had a poor record and taking all these matters into consideration they increased the penalty from 7 race days to 10 race days. In addition they also ordered that W.J. Lee forfeit his appeal deposit.

The case was presented by Paul Murtagh, Stipendiary Steward. W.J. Lee was represented by Patrick Ward, Frank Ward & Company Solicitors, Dublin 7.


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