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D.J. O’Keeffe (Rider) Appeal – Ballinrobe 20th September 2019

The Appeals Body (Division 2) Mr. John Powell (in the chair), Mr. Joseph M. McGrath and Mr. Philip Caffrey convened at the Offices of the IHRB, The Curragh, Co. Kildare on Monday 14th October 2019 to consider the the Appeal of D.J. O’Keeffe (Rider) against the decision of the Acting Stewards at Ballinrobe on 20th September 2019.

On the day, following the running of Adare Manor Opportunity Handicap Steeplechase, the Stewards enquired into possible interference after the last fence involving Well Joey, ridden by D.J. O'Keeffe, placed first and Captain Cobajay, ridden by S.D. Torrens, placed second. They made no alteration to the Judge’s placings, however they were of the opinion Mr. O’Keeffe had ridden carelessly and suspended him for 2 racedays.

The grounds of Appeal lodged by Mr. O’Keeffe was that the second placed horse had not suffered interference and so he was not guilty of careless riding.

Evidence was heard from Mr. O’Keeffe and Mr. Torrens. The Appeals Body also viewed recordings of the race.

In his evidence, Mr. O’Keeffe stated that he felt he had not properly represented himself at the hearing due to his inexperience. He said that he was entitled to move across and had not interfered with Mr. Torrens’s mount. He felt he was sufficiently ahead of that horse and riding in accordance with proper race riding. He felt was a matter for Mr. Torrens to take such action as he deemed necessary to ensure his horse achieved it’s best possible place and that he had not caused interference in his actions. Mr. Torrens stated that he had sufficient room having come over the last to stay on the running rail and had taken that line. He confirmed that Mr. O’Keeffe had come across and he had to switch out so as to ensure that he did not clip heels and that his horse had space to run.

Mr. Andrew Coonan, Solicitor, also made submissions on behalf of Mr. O’Keeffe.

Having considered the evidence, the Appeals Body found that the Stewards had not erred in their decision and were of the opinion Mr. O’Keeffe was in breach of Rule 214 in that he had ridden carelessly. Having considered his record and submissions made in mitigation, they confirmed the suspension of two racedays. Furthermore, they ordered that his deposit be forfeited.

The case was presented by Mr. Liam Walsh, Stipendiary Steward and Ms. Cliodhna Guy, Head of Legal, Licensing & Compliance.  Mr. O’Keeffe was represented by Mr. Andrew Coonan, Coonan Cawley Solicitors, Wolfe Tone House, Naas Town Centre, Naas, Co. Kildare.

Suspension Dates: 16th and 17th October.

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