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K.M. Donoghue (Rider) Appeal – Roscommon 13th July 2020

The Appeals Body (Division 1), Justice Nial Fennelly (in the chair), Mr. N.B. Wachman and Mr. Jack Rearden convened at the Offices of the Irish Horseracing Regulatory Board (IHRB), The Curragh, Co. Kildare on 23rd July 2020 to consider the Appeal of K.M. Donoghue (Rider) against the decision of the Stewards at Roscommon on 13th July 2020.


On the day, the Stewards received a report from Clerk of the Scales, Ms. Colleen Murphy, that Mr. Donoghue, rider of Make My Heart Fly, had attempted to weigh out for the Oran Steeplechase wearing a body protector with the harness removed. Following an enquiry, the Stewards were satisfied that Mr. Donoghue was in breach of Rule 198(v) in that he had attempted to weigh out for a ride without wearing a body protector that was of a pattern approved by the Directors of the IHRB and they suspended him for 7 racedays.


Submissions were made by Mr. Patrick Kennedy on behalf of Mr. Donoghue and evidence was heard from Dr. Jennifer Pugh (IHRB Senior Medical Officer).


Mr. Kennedy made a number of submissions regarding the drafting of Regulation 10 where it specified that the harness must be worn when racing. He noted that this did not include a requirement for it to be worn when weighing out and submitted that this may have been an error in the drafting. He accepted that the harness must be worn when racing and that it made sense for it to be worn when weighing out so that it could be confirmed.


Ms. Cliodhna Guy noted the provisions of Rule 197, 198(v) and (vi) regarding the requirements at weighing out.


In her evidence, Dr. Pugh confirmed that Level 2 Back protectors were required when racing and that IHRB Medical Officers would carry out spot checks in the weighroom during racing to ensure that the back protectors had not been modified and met the required standard. She noted that the Clerk of the Scales would often check that the harness was in place when weighing riders out and it was a rule of racing that the harness was worn.


Having considered the evidence the Appeals Body found that there was a disparity in the rules as currently drafted and Regulation 10 only specified that the harness must be worn when racing which appeared to be in error. On that basis it should be construed in the favour of the appellant and therefore the appeal was upheld and the deposit ordered to be returned.


The case was presented by Ms Cliodhna Guy, Head of Legal, Licensing & Compliance. Mr. Donoghue was represented by Patrick Kennedy of Patrick J. O’Meara & Co. Solicitors, Liberty Square, Thurles, Co Tipperary.


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