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D.W. O’Connor, R.P. Whelan, O.J. Orr, Chloe Byrne, J.M. Sheridan, Sam Ewing & R. Coakley (Riders) Referral – 17th February 2021

The Referrals Committee, Mr. Robert Dore (in the chair), Mr. Anthony Byrne and Mr. Thomas Breen convened at the Curragh Racecourse on Saturday, 17th April 2021 to consider the referral of riders, D.W. O’Connor, R.P. Whelan, O.J. Orr, Chloe Byrne, J.M. Sheridan, Sam Ewing and R. Coakley following the Floodlit Friday Nights at Dundalk Handicap at Dundalk on 26th March 2021.

On the day, the Stewards wished to enquire into an incident shortly after leaving the stalls but were unable to do so as R. Coakley did not make himself available and therefore the matter was referred on to the Referrals Committee.

At the Referral Hearing, evidence was heard from Mr. O’Connor, Mr. Whelan, Mr. Orr, Ms. Byrne, Mr. Sheridan, Mr. Ewing and Mr. Coakley and the panel also viewed a recording of the race.  

In his evidence, Mr. O’Connor said it got tight when the horses left the stalls and he got tight for room on the rail. He added that when Ms. Byrne’s mount drifted in he got tightened up even more.

Mr. Whelan stated it was tight for room when the horses broke from the stalls and in his opinion Ms. Byrne’s horse appeared to shy away from horses on the outside and thus came in and tightened it even more.

Mr. Orr said that he could see Ms. Byrne’s horse shying away from the horses on her outside and crossed in front of him causing him to take a precautionary check off heels.

Ms. Byrne stated that her mount broke well and kept straight but appeared to have a look at the horses on her outside. She added that her mount slightly shied away from the horses on her outside in on the horses to her inside.

Mr. Sheridan said that things got tight when the horse on his outside drifted across.

Mr. Ewing stated his mount may have shifted slightly but felt this did not impact on the incident.

Mr. Coakley stated this mount may have shifted slightly but he did not feel this had any impact on the incident.

Having considered the evidence, the panel did not apportion any blame as they were satisfied the interference was accidental.

Furthermore, the Referrals Committee interviewed Mr. Coakley under the provisions of Rule 228(vi) in that he had not presented himself at the Stewards Enquiry.

Mr. Coakley apologised for not attending the enquiry and accepted the inconvenience this caused on numerous parities by having to set up the referral hearing. He said that he had got changed after the race in the overflow riders room and returned to his car to follow current Covid-19 protocols and that he waited in his car until 7.55pm. He said he did not hear his name being called out to attend the enquiry and once again apologised for this.

The Referrals Committee noted his explanation and accepted that with the current Covid-19 protocols it was an understandable mitigating factor and took no further action.

The case was presented by Mr. Liam Walsh, Stipendiary Steward.

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