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Gordon Elliott (Trainer) Referral – Punchestown 26th April 2022

The Referrals Committee Mr. Peter M. Allen (in the chair), Mr. Anthony Byrne and Mr. John Murphy convened at the Offices of the Irish Horseracing Regulatory Board on Friday 20th May 2022 to consider the referral of Mr. Gordon Elliott (Trainer) following the fixture at Punchestown on 26th April 2022.

On the day, following the running of the Killashee Handicap Hurdle, the Stewards interviewed Mr. Elliott concerning the late withdrawal of Eskylane in this race with the excuse given as “ground”. The Stewards also considered the fact that this race was an extended handicap where an alternative handicap could have applied and having heard the evidence referred the matter for further investigation.

At the Referral Hearing, evidence was heard from Mr. Elliott and the committee also considered reports from Mr. Pat Malone, IHRB Clerk of the Scales, and Mr. Tony Mulraney, IHRB Clerk of the Scales Assistant.

In his evidence, Mr. Elliott apologised for the matter which had arisen. He stated that Mr. David Russell has a close association with the owner of Eskylane and would look after his interests. In Mr. Russell’s opinion on the day, the ground was no longer suitable for Eskylane and he advised Mr. Elliott’s authorised representative that the horse should be withdrawn. Mr. Elliott recalled that he had won the previous race on the card and was still with owners from that race when he heard the announcement that Eskylane had been withdrawn. He admitted that he was surprised by this decision and didn’t agree that the ground wasn’t suitable on the day. Mr. Elliott stated that he felt Eskylane had a good chance and was disappointed that the horse had been withdrawn. Mr. Elliott accepted that he was responsible for all things to do with the running of his horses and he has subsequently spoken with Mr. Russell about discussing these matters going forward.

Having considered the evidence, the Referrals Committee were satisfied that Mr. Elliott was in breach of Rule 194(iv) in that Eskylane was withdrawn late with the excuse given as “ground” when there was no material change in the ground description and Rule 194(iv)(b) in that Eskylane was withdrawn late when an alternative handicap could have applied. Having considered his record in each regard, the committee fined Mr. Elliott €520 for the breach of Rule 194(iv) and €500 for the breach of Rule 194(iv)(b).

The case was presented by Mr. Michael Daly, IHRB Regulatory Legal Advisor.

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