Protecting the Integrity & Reputation of Irish Horseracing

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Emmet Mullins (Trainer) Referral – Leopardstown 14th June 2020


The Referrals Committee Ms. Justice Leonie Reynolds (in the chair), Mrs. Mary O’Connor, and Mr. Jack Rearden convened at the Offices of the Irish Horseracing Regulatory Board (IHRB), Co. Kildare on 23rd June 2020 to consider the referral of Emmet Mullins (Trainer) by the Stewards at Leopardstown on 14th June 2020.
On the day, the Stewards received a report from Declan Buckley, IHRB Security Officer, that Mr. Mullins had been denied access to the racecourse due to not having the necessary requirement of a Health Screening barcode for this fixture. This was confirmed to Mr. Mullins by Dominic O’Meara, IHRB Security Official, at the main entrance to the racecourse. Mr. Buckley later received a report from Kevin Borthwick, IHRB Security Official, that he had seen Mr. Mullins at the weighroom area collecting his colour bag. CCTV footage before and after the third race was also viewed and, using their powers under Rule 14(ii)(b) the Stewards referred the matter to the CEO of the IHRB for further investigation.
Evidence at the referral hearing was heard from Mr. Mullins, statements were provided by Mr. Declan Buckley, Mr. Dominic O’Meara and Mr. Kevin Borthwick and video evidence was also viewed.
In his evidence, Mr. Mullins confirmed that he had been racing a number of times since racing resumed and had completed the required Health Screening process. He confirmed that on arrival to Leopardstown he was informed at the Health Screening area that his barcode was not valid for that fixture and he was denied access to the racecourse. Mr. Mullins stated that Oriental Eagle was an important runner for him on the day and that in hindsight he panicked after being informed he could not access the racecourse. Mr. Mullins said that he had concerns that his groom, Mick Molloy, would not be able to carry out the duties of saddling the horse and putting on a tongue-tie on his own so he entered the racecourse via the horse walk as horses for a previous race were entering the enclosure. Mr. Mullins accepted that this was irresponsible, he was deeply sorry and added that there was no malice in his actions. He fully accepted that he was responsible for the administration error and understood why he had been denied entry to this fixture on the basis of his failure to complete the administration requirements.
Having considered the evidence, the Referrals Committee were satisfied that Mr. Mullins’ conduct was a breach of Rule 272(i) in that he acted in a manner which was prejudicial to the integrity, proper conduct or good reputation of horseracing. The committee reminded Mr. Mullins of the unprecedented amount of work and effort on behalf of the Irish Horseracing Regulatory Board, Horse Racing Ireland and all interested parties and in particular the trojan work carried out by Dr. Jennifer Pugh and others to secure the safe return of racing in the current pandemic.
In determining the appropriate sanction, the Referrals Committee, accepted Mr. Mullins’ good disciplinary record in his 14 years as a licence holder with the Turf Club and the Irish Horseracing Regulatory Board and his acknowledgment of the seriousness of his conduct at an early stage. Owing to the nature of the breach and the potential implications for the future of racing, particularly in circumstances where it was a flagrant breach of the protocols to ensure the health and safety of all racegoers and the future of the racing industry, the committee fined Mr. Mullins €5,000 and prohibited him from attending any racecourse in Ireland for three months.
The case was presented by Cliodhna Guy, Head of Legal, Licensing & Compliance.

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