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J.A. Heffernan (Rider) Appeal – Dundalk 4th February 2022

The Appeals Body (Division 1) Ms. Susan Ahern (in the chair), Mr. M.C. Hickey and Mr. Finbarr Cahill convened at the Offices of the Irish Horseracing Regulatory Board on Wednesday 16th February 2022 to consider the appeal of Seamus Heffernan (Rider) against the decision of the Stewards at Dundalk on 4th February 2022.


On the day, following the running of the BetVictor Casino Handicap, the Stewards found Mr. Heffernan, rider of No Trouble, in breach of Regulation 10(3)(h) in that he had used his whip above shoulder height and having considered his record suspended him for 11 racedays.


The grounds of appeal lodged by Mr. Heffernan was that the Stewards on the day erred in their decision.


At the Appeal Hearing, evidence was heard from Mr. Heffernan via Zoom, Mr. Hugh Ryan (architect) and the committee also watched a recording of the race.


In his evidence, Mr. Heffernan confirmed that had been shown a replay of the race at the Stewards Enquiry on the day and that he had accepted the breach without properly viewing the replays at the time. He said that after viewing of the race further and discussions with others that he felt he was not in breach and it was his own fault for not explaining himself properly on the night. He said he had never been before the Stewards previously for this particular breach of using his whip above shoulder height and said there was no advantage in using a whip in this way.


In his evidence, Mr. Ryan used visually enhanced photographic evidence and gave an analysis of Mr. Heffernan’s shoulder position. He suggested that using the plane of Mr. Heffernan’s shoulders that it would be his suggestion his arm was not above shoulder height.


Having considered the evidence, the Appeals Body did not feel that the Stewards on the day erred in their decision of finding Mr. Heffernan in breach of Regulation 10(3)(h) and dismissed the appeal in its entirety.


The case was presented by Mr. Michael Daly, IHRB Regulatory Legal Advisor and Mr. Colman Sweeney, IHRB Stipendiary Steward.  Mr. Heffernan was represented by Mr. Patrick Kennedy of Patrick O’Meara Solicitors, Liberty Square, Thurles, County Tipperary.


Suspension Dates: 18th, 25th, February, 4th, 11th, 18th, 25th, 26th, 27th, 29th, March, 1st April and 2nd April.

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