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J.A. Heffernan (Rider) Referral – Tipperary 1st June 2021

The Referrals Committee, Mr. Sean Barry (in the chair), Mr. Julian Gaisford-St. Laurence and Mr. John McStay convened at Naas Racecourse on Wednesday 23rd June 2021 to consider the referral of J.A. Heffernan (Rider) following the fixture at Tipperary on Tuesday 1st June 2021.

On the day, following the running of the Thank You To The Frontline Workers Maiden, the Stewards interviewed Mr. Heffernan, rider of Father’s Day, concerning his use of the whip in the latter stages of the race. The Stewards pursuant to Regulation 10.6(b) referred Mr. Heffernan to the Referrals Committee for consideration.

At the Referral Hearing, evidence was heard from Mr. Heffernan. The committee also watched a recording of the race.

In his evidence, Mr. Heffernan accepted that he had used his whip above the permitted number of times but stated that his mount had not been straightforward in the latter stages of the race. While watching a recording of the race, Mr. Heffernan pointed out where his mount had drifted off the rail, possibly towards a gate out to the track and he then switched his hand and used his whip a number of times to keep him straight towards the line. Mr. Heffernan stated that while he had used his whip above the permitted number of times, it was in his opinion that if his horse didn’t drift he wouldn’t have had to go over the permitted number as some were for a corrective purpose.

Having considered the evidence, the Referrals Committee were satisfied that Mr. Heffernan was in breach of Regulation 10.3(g) in that, he had used his whip with excessive frequency, 10.3(h) in that he had used his whip with his arm above shoulder height and 10.3(i) in that he had failed to give his mount time to respond. Having considered his record in this regard and Mr. Heffernan’s declaration that he was going to attend RACE in an effort to address his use of the whip, the panel suspended Mr. Heffernan for eight racedays.

The case was presented by Mr. Liam Walsh, Stipendiary Steward.

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