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Noel Meade (Trainer) & S.W. Flanagan (Rider) Appeal – Thurles 10th February 2022

The Appeals Body (Division 2), Mr. N. B Wachman (in the chair), Mr. Anthony Byrne and Mr. Noel McCaffrey, convened at Punchestown Racecourse on Wednesday, 23rd February 2022 to consider the appeal of Noel Meade (Trainer) and Sean Flanagan (Rider) against the decision of the Stewards at Thurles on 10th February 2022 to fine Mr. Meade €2,000 and to suspend Bugs Moran for a period of 42 days and to suspend Mr. Flanagan for 10 racedays.


On the day, the Stewards found Mr. Meade and Mr. Flanagan in breach of Rule 212A(ii) in that Bugs Moran, was not seen to have been the subject of a genuine attempt to obtain from the Horse, timely, real and substantial efforts to achieve the best possible place.


The grounds of appeal lodged by Mr. Meade was that he was not present on the day and had not had the opportunity to view the race prior to the enquiry but on viewing the race was of the view the horse had been given a poor ride. The grounds of appeal lodged by Mr. Flanagan was that the Stewards erred in their decision.


At the Appeal Hearing, evidence was heard from Mr. Meade and Mr. Flanagan. The panel also viewed a recording of the race and previous races in which Bugs Moran had run.


In his evidence, Mr. Flanagan stated his instructions from Mr. Meade were to jump off midway and get the horse relaxed. He also stated that whenever he is riding for Mr. Meade he is told to keep his horse as comfortable as he can for as long as possible. He said that the horses he was tracking steadied and as a result he ended up in a pocket on the rail and further back than he had intended. Mr Flanagan added that he feels the first opportunity he had to make up some ground was just after the last hurdle with a circuit to race but he thought if he moved at that time it would force him to be three horses wide going around the bend past the stands and that would not be ideal. He said that he did make a move as the field entered the back straight but the pace of the race had increased and his mount was going as quick as he could all the way to the winning post. Mr. Flanagan admitted that he had given the horse a poor ride and that his biggest mistake was early in the race when he had the horse too far back and in his opinion he is passing tired horses near the finish. He outlined that in his 18 year career this was his first involvement in a ‘running and riding’ enquiry and therefore he didn’t articulate his views properly on the day and his intention was to explain that he could have finished closer if he had ridden the horse differently.


Mr. Meade confirmed the instructions given to Mr. Flanagan by phone on the day. He explained that he was in England at the time of the race and didn’t get to view it live or see it prior to being informed of the Stewards Enquiry by his Authorised Representative, Ms. Emma Connolly. He stated that once he saw the race he was very dissatisfied with the ride and he wrongly assumed that the Stewards Enquiry would be referred on to the IHRB as he had not seen the race and he felt it was difficult for Ms. Connolly, giving her inexperience in such a situation and her close working relationship with Mr. Flanagan, to ask her an opinion or be critical of him. Mr. Meade outlined that in 25 years and with 14,000 runners during that time he had never before been involved in a ‘running and riding’ enquiry and concluded that all jockeys give horses bad rides from time to time and that on this occasion his horse had been given a bad ride.



Having considered the evidence the Appeals Body could not be satisfied that there was a breach of the rule and felt that, on balance, the appeals should be allowed and they ordered the return of both deposits.


The case was presented by Mr. Michael Daly, IHRB Regulatory Legal Advisor and Mr. Flanagan was represented by Mr. Andrew Coonan, Coonan Cawley Solicitors, Naas, Co Kildare.



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