Protecting the Integrity & Reputation of Irish Horseracing

Integrity Portal

David Simmonson (Rider) – Application to review suspension

The Referrals Committee, Mr. Justice Tony Hunt (in the chair), Mr. Philip Caffrey and Mr. Anthony Byrne convened via Zoom on Thursday 1st July 2021 to consider an application from David Simmonson (Rider) to review the suspension imposed on him at a referral hearing on 29th November 2019.


On that day, the committee had found Mr. Simmonson in breach of Rule 271(i) in that samples of urine taken from him during in-competition testing at Tipperary Racecourse on 11th August 2019 were found to contain benzoylecgonine (metabolite of cocaine). As a result the panel imposed a two year suspension of Mr. Simmonson’s licence to apply with effect from the date of his most recent ride which was 11th August 2019. They did agree to review the matter again within one year should Mr. Simmonson wish to reapply to the Committee for a review of the suspension.


On this occasion, evidence was heard from Mr. Simmonson and the panel considered a report from Dr. Jennifer Pugh, IHRB Senior Medical Officer, a report from Mr. John Tobin, Addiction Counsellor and correspondence from Ms. Katy Brown, Trainer.


In his evidence, Mr. Simmonson outlined the efforts he made while suspended and how he had obtained work in other sectors but his love of horses and horse racing had led him to a return to working for Ms. Brown and other trainers.  


Having considered the evidence, the panel noted that Mr. Simmonson had served the majority of the initial two year suspension handed down by the referrals committee in November 2019 without reapplying. They acknowledged the positive approach taken and the honesty shown by Mr. Simmonson in the matters brought before the committee. In reaching a decision, the committee reminded Mr. Simmonson of his responsibilities as a licence holder and a professional athlete. The panel lifted the balance of the suspension from 1st July 2021 in order to allow him to reapply to the Licensing Committee with the condition that he must comply with any conditions that Dr. Pugh and the Licensing Committee felt appropriate to be attached to his licence.


The case was presented by Ms. Cliodhna Guy, IHRB Head of Licensing, Legal & Compliance.

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