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Aylmer Stud (Owner) Appeal – Killarney 14th May 2023

The Appeals Body, Mr. Noel McCaffrey (Chair), Mr. Finbar Cahill and Mr. Jack Reardan convened at the Stewards Room in the Curragh Racecourse on Wednesday 24th May 2023 to consider the appeal of Aylmer Stud against the decision of the Stewards at Killarney on Sunday 14th May 2023.

On the day, following the running of the Gerard O’Sullivan Memorial Novice Steeplechase, the Raceday Stewards enquired into an incident at the last fence, where it appeared that Saldier (FR), ridden by Paul Townend, jumped into Vina Ardanza, ridden by J.S. McGarvey. Having viewed a recording of the race and considered the evidence the Raceday Stewards found that interference had occurred but were not satisfied on the balance of probabilities that the interference altered the result of the race and therefore no further action was taken.

The grounds of appeal lodged on behalf of Aylmer Stud, owner of Vina Ardanza, were that:

  1. Vina Ardanza was caused to forfeit more ground, as a result of being interfered with, than he was ultimately beaten by;
  2. Vina Ardanza received a significant bump from Saldier which cost him his balance and momentum at a crucial time in the race;
  3. In receiving the bump Vina Ardanza was preventing from obtaining the benefit of securing a good jump at the final fence.

At the Appeal Hearing, evidence was heard from Mr. McGarvey, Mr. W. P. Mullins, trainer of Saldier, and Mr. Townend. The Committee also watched a recording of the race.

In his evidence, Mr. McGarvey noted that he had been holding his line coming up to the last fence when Saldier came across him mid-flight. He felt the interference resulted his mount being brought to the right of where he had taken off. He was of the opinion that he made up significant ground up to the finishing line but that the interference which had occurred had a material effect on the placings and the ground lost due the interference was more than that gained.

In his evidence, Mr. Mullins stated that the interference was unintentional and on landing Mr. Townend had tried to gather his horse up quickly. Mr. Mullins also expressed the opinion that Mr. McGarvey’s horse had been moving into Mr. Townend’s ground on the approach to the jump. Mr. Mullins added that he did not agree with a proposal that Vina Ardanza would have benefitted from a good jump at the last fence and stated that Saldier had managed to get back up from a losing position following the incident.

In his evidence, Mr. Townend explained that on take-off his horse had lost his balance and he believed that Mr. McGarvey had gained an advantage from Saldier’s mistake as he had the momentum following the incident.

On behalf of the appellants, Mr. Kevin Power stated that he was of the view the Saldier had changed legs prior to the fence and jumped right. He stated that the ground forfeited as a result of the interference was greater than that Mr. McGarvey was beaten by. He also noted that had Mr. McGarvey’s mount had a clear sight to jump the last fence he would have landed in front and therefore it was not just the ground lost by the interference but also the advantage that would have accrued from a good jump at the last fence. 

Having considered the evidence, the Appeals Body found that interference had taken place on the part of Vina Ardanza and they were satisfied that the interference improved the placing of Saldier in relation to Vina Ardanza. They ordered that the placings be reversed. 

The Amended result of the Gerard O’Sullivan Memorial Novice Steeplechase now reads:

1st Vina Ardanza

2nd Saldier (FR)

3rd Caesar Rock

4th Summer Tide

5th Mercury Lane


The IHRB was represented by Ms. Cliodhna Guy, IHRB Head of Legal, Licensing and Compliance and Mr. Liam Walsh Senior Stipendiary Steward. Alymer Stud was represented by Mr. Kevin Power of Maurice Power Solicitors, Limerick.

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