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Donal Aidan O’Brien - Random Stable Inspection 23 Aug 2013

The Referrals Committee, Judge Tony Hunt (in the Chair), Michael Doyle and N.B. Wachman met at the Turf Club, The Curragh, Co. Kildare on Tuesday, 10th September 2013 to consider the referral of Donal Aidan O’Brien, restricted trainer, by Denis Egan, Chief Executive of the Turf Club following a random stable inspection carried out at his Training Establishment on 23rd August 2013 by Turf Club Officials, Michael O’Donoghue and Ms. Nicola O’Connor M.R.C.V.S.   During the inspection they found that: (i) Donal Aidan O’Brien was intending to run “Good Time In Milan” at Kilbeggan later that evening despite the fact that the mare was noticeably lame. (ii) A Medicines Register was not available for inspection   Evidence was heard from Michael O’Donoghue, Ms. Nicola O’Connor M.R.C.V.S. and Donal Aidan O’Brien. The Committee also considered a written report on the visit from Mr. O’Donoghue and Ms. O’Connor.   In his evidence Michael O’Donoghue confirmed the contents of his written report. He said that Mr. O’Brien was not able produce a Medicines Register for inspection.

In her evidence Ms. Nicola O’Connor referred to the background to her instructing Mr. O’Brien to withdraw “Good Time In Milan” from her intended engagement at Kilbeggan later that evening. She said that during the identification process she observed that the near foreleg of “Good Time In Milan” was bandaged.  She questioned the reason for this treatment.  Donal Aidan O’Brien stated that this mare always had a little swelling on this near fore leg and she was treated for this as a matter of routine in the nearby seawater. He stated that this swelling had subsided in recent days following her run at Tramore 5 days ago and that his vet John Roche M.R.C.V.S had no concerns with her soundness.  She said that Mr. O’Brien was supported in his comments by stable employee Shirley McCarthy, the mare’s regular rider.  She stated that the mare did a “good swing” yesterday on the beach.  Mr. O’Brien said he was satisfied that the mare was fit to run at Kilbeggan later this evening.

Ms. O’Connor, M.R.C.V.S said she thought otherwise and was adamant that this mare was not fit to run as she had in her opinion a suspensory ligament with inflammation to midway up the tendon. She also was of the opinion that warm bandaging was incorrect in this case. She instructed Mr. O’Brien to have “Good Time In Milan” walked and trotted on a solid surface.  Ms. O’Connor said it  was noticeable that “Good Time In Milan” was very lame.  Her opinion was supported by Michael O’Donoghue.  She said that Mr. O’Brien conceded on the soundness of this mare but did not suggest her withdrawal from her engagement at Kilbeggan later this evening.

In his evidence Donal Aidan O’Brien outlined the background to the Good Time In Milan’s injury and said that he would have trotted up the horse to ensure that she was sound before loading her for Kilbeggan but that he hadn’t done this when the Turf Club officials arrived to carry out the inspection. He said that the horse was never unsound and that the bandage put on the mare’s leg the evening before was purely precautionary. He said he would not have run the mare if she was unsound. He also submitted a written report from his veterinary surgeon John Roche which referred to an examination of the mare which took place on 27th August 2013.

In relation to the non-production of the Medicines Register, Mr. O’Brien said that he accepted that he couldn’t produce it as it had been mislaid. He said he had now purchased a hard covered book which will be used in future for recording medicines administered to his horses.

Having considered the evidence, the Committee found Donal Aidan O’Brien in breach of Rule 148(iii)(b) for failing to produce a Medicines Register. He was fined €200 and ordered to pay €200 in costs.

In relation to the charge of intending to run “Good Time In Milan” at Kilbeggan when the mare was noticeably lame, the committee gave Mr. O’Brien the benefit of the doubt insofar as they accepted that he would have trotted up the mare prior to loading her into the horsebox for Kilbeggan.  He was advised to exercise more care in this area and to carry out a more timely inspection of any horse he intends to run at a much earlier stage.

The case was presented by Conal Boyce, Solicitor, Naas, Co. Kildare.

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