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Donnacha O’Brien (Rider) Appeal Dundalk – 7th October 2016


The Appeals Body (Division Two) N.B. Wachman (in the Chair), Mrs J.O. Onions and Noel McCaffrey met in the Turf Club, Curragh, Co Kildare on Thursday, 20th October 2016 to consider the appeal of Donnacha O’Brien (rider), against the decision of the Stewards at Dundalk on 7th October 2016. On the day he was suspended for three race days and ordered to attend RACE for one day’s tuition, as he was found in breach of Regulation R10 3(f) by using his whip with excessive force following the running of the Nursery Handicap.

Donnacha O’Brien’s grounds of appeal were that the local stewards erred in their decision and that he was not in breach of the Regulation.

Evidence was heard from Terry Smith MRCVS, Turf Club Veterinary Officer, Donnacha O’Brien and A.P. O’Brien (Master of Donnacha O’Brien). Film of the race was also reviewed and the Appeals Body considered two veterinary reports submitted by A.P. O’Brien from Anglesey Lodge Equine Hospital and O’Byrne and Halley.

In his evidence Terry Smith gave details of the examination he carried out on the horse post race.

In his evidence Donnacha O’Brien said he was surprised he was found in breach of using his whip with excessive force, as he was never in breach of this part of the Regulation before. He said he didn’t believe he used excessive force and the force used was no greater than what he would normally use.

In his evidence A.P. O’Brien referred to Donnacha O’Brien’s riding style and the race in question. He also referred to two veterinary reports relating to the horse concerning the horse’s skin.

Having considered the evidence and in particular the two veterinary reports submitted by A.P. O’Brien, the Appeals Body allowed the appeal because of the very exceptional circumstances which arose due to the sensitive nature of the horse’s skin.

The case was presented by Paul Murtagh, Stewards Secretary.

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