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Mr H.C. Swan, Mr R. James, Miss G. Benson, Mr F. Maguire, Mr A. Harvey, Mr J.L. Gleeson, Mr B.M. Coonan, Mr A.P. Ryan and Mr P. Hanlon (Riders) Appeal – Dundalk 1 March 2024

The Appeals Body, Mr Peter Allen (Chairperson), Mr N.B. Wachman and Dr Paddy Molony convened at the Offices of the Irish Horseracing Regulatory Board on Wednesday, 20 March 2024 to consider the appeal of Mr H.C. Swan, Mr R. James, Miss G. Benson, Mr F. Maguire, Mr A. Harvey, Mr J.L. Gleeson, Mr B.M. Coonan, Mr  A.P. Ryan and Mr P. Hanlon (Riders) against the decision of the Raceday Stewards at Dundalk on Friday, 1 March 2024.

Following the running of the Peter K. Hits The Big 50 (Q.R.) Handicap, Mr H.C. Swan, rider of Riyami, Mr R. James, rider of Arabian King , Miss G. Benson, rider of Caulaincourt, Mr F. Maguire, rider of Eskimo Komet, Mr A. Harvey, rider of Rockview Consort , Mr J.L. Gleeson, rider of Liberated Light, Mr B.M. Coonan, rider of Tudor City, Mr A.P. Ryan, rider of Next Week and Mr P. Hanlon, rider of Liquid Metric, were all found to be in breach of Rule 212A.(ii) by the Raceday Stewards as it appeared that Wrecking Ball Paul ridden by Mr K.P. Healy was given an unassailable lead before going on to win by 15 lengths. Having taken the record of each individual rider in this regard into account, the Raceday Stewards suspended each of the above-named riders for five racedays. 

The grounds of the appeal lodged by each rider was that the Raceday Stewards erred in their decision.

At the appeal hearing evidence was heard from Mr Swan, Miss Benson, Mr Maguire, Mr Harvey, Mr Gleeson, Mr Coonan, Mr Ryan and Mr P. Hanlon and submissions were made on behalf of Mr James by Kevin Power, solicitor. Evidence was also heard from Mr Andrew Slattery, trainer of Next Week, Mr Anthony McCann, trainer of Liquid Metric and Mr Garry O’Gorman, IHRB Senior Flat Handicapper. The Appeals Body also watched a recording of the race.

In his evidence, Mr Swan stated that he was riding to instructions from Mr Denis Hogan, trainer of Riyami to drop out and get cover. Mr Swan explained this is how the horse was ridden on his previous run, however, as he was out the back, he found no opportunity to move forward.

In her evidence, Miss Benson stated that her mount ran keen on his previous start at Dundalk, and she was instructed to settle her mount and sit in mid division. Miss Benson added that she was conscious to keep a horse in front of her and admitted she didn’t realise how far Wrecking Ball Paul had gone in front.

In his evidence, Mr Maguire stated that his mount predominantly races over distances from a mile to a mile and two furlongs and it was his first occasion stepping up in trip. Mr Maguire added that he was mindful of conserving as much energy as possible to finish out the race and achieve the best position as he was unsure about his horse over this trip.

In his evidence, Mr Harvey stated that he was instructed by Mr John McConnell, trainer of Rockview Consort to drop out and get him settled as she was keen on her previous run. Mr Harvey added that during the last furlong, his mount couldn’t gain any more ground and if he had of increased the pace earlier, they would have finished further back.

In his evidence, Mr Gleeson stated that he was instructed by Mr John Kiely, trainer of Liberated Light to drop his mount towards the back and get cover as he was drawn wide. Mr Gleeson explained that he made every effort to follow instructions and achieve the best possible placing for his horse.

In his evidence, Mr Coonan stated it was his first ride at Dundalk and he was instructed to get cover and get to the rail, as his mount just about sees out two miles. Mr Coonan also suggested his mount was a doubtful stayer therefore, he wanted to conserve as much energy as possible to finish out the race.

In his evidence, Mr Ryan stated that his mount had previously missed the break and he was under strict instructions from Mr Slattery, to get his mount to settle and finish out the race.

In his evidence, Mr Hanlon stated that it was his first-time riding at Dundalk, and he was instructed by Mr McCann, to jump out and get the horse settled. Mr Hanlon added it was Liquid Metric’s first time over two miles on the Flat.

In his evidence, Mr McCann confirmed the instructions given to Mr Hanlon and explained the horse is a low-grade type and he believed he ran well taking his previous record into account.

In his evidence Mr Slattery suggested that Dundalk is a track that takes some getting used to and he believes this race developed into a freak situation. Mr Slattery confirmed the instructions given to Mr Ryan and explained his horse has a tendency not to settle and run keen.

In his evidence, Mr O’Gorman stated that the sectional timings corroborated with the visuals on the night in that the winner obtained a clear advantage and the race was over a long way out. Mr O’Gorman explained that the winner, Wrecking Ball Paul, is free running and he felt the race was over half a mile from home. Mr O’Gorman added that a race being run like this was rare but can happen occasionally.

Having considered the evidence, Mr Allen on behalf of the Appeals Body acknowledged the decision of the Raceday Stewards on the night and stated that with the benefit of increased time to review the footage, more time to consider the evidence and the mitigating factors they allowed the appeals.

Mr Swan, Mr James and Miss Benson were represented by Kevin Power of Maurice Power & Co Solicitors, Limerick. Mr F. Maguire, Mr A. Harvey and Mr J.L. Gleeson were represented by Stephen Lanigan O’Keefe S.C.. Mr B.M. Coonan and Mr A.P. Ryan were represented by Andrew Coonan of Coonan Cawley Solicitors and Mr Hanlon represented himself at the hearing. The IHRB was represented by Ms Clíodhna Guy, Head of Licensing, Legal and Compliance and Mr Colman Sweeney, IHRB Stipendiary Steward.

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