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R.C. Colgan (rider) & David Broad (trainer) Appeals Ballinrobe - 15th April 2016


The Appeals Body (Division Two) Justice Tony Hunt (in the chair), Martin P. O’Donnell and M.C. Hickey met in the Stewards Room, Punchestown Racecourse, Co Kildare to consider the appeals of R.C. Colgan (rider) and David Broad (trainer), against the decision of the Stewards at Ballinrobe on 15th April 2016 following the running of the Killeen Sports Ground Rated Novice Hurdle. On the day R.C. Colgan was suspended for 21 race days and ordered to forfeit his riding fee as the Stewards found that he was in breach of Rule 212. David Broad was also found in breach of Rule 212 and was fined €2,000. Definite Earl was suspended for 60 days.

The grounds of appeal lodged were that R.C. Colgan made every effort to ensure his horse obtained its best possible placing in circumstances where the horse is known to experience breathing difficulties during his races, and that the leaders went off too fast, which allowed his horse to stay on past beaten horses and thereby exaggerating his proximity to the winner.

Evidence was heard from R.C. Colgan, David Broad and David Russell, who rode Definite Earl on a previous occasion. Film of the race was viewed in conjunction with footage of a previous race which Definite Earl took part in at Limerick on 14th March 2015.

In his evidence R.C. Colgan said his instructions were to jump off behind, get the horse settled and to do his best. He said he knew the horse well and had ridden him on six or seven previous occasions. He described the horse as being quirky and referred to the fact that, while he is a good galloper, he does make jumping errors.

With regard to the race, he said the leaders went a good gallop on heavy ground and that Definite Earl settled well. The horse made a slight mistake at the fourth hurdle and he would have liked to have been closer to the leaders going out on the second circuit. He said he was squeezing the horse along all the way down the back, but there was no immediate response. He thought the leaders would stop on the heavy ground. He said Definite Earl was on the wrong leg turning into the straight and leaned out on the last bend and became unbalanced. Thereafter his mount ran on past tired horses to get into second place close to the line. He never thought he would beat the winner and at one stage during the race he did not think he would even be placed. He felt that, even if he rode the horse differently, the animal would not have achieved a better position than second.

In response from questions from Paul Murtagh, R.C. Colgan said he could not have been closer at the second last hurdle and reiterated that he did not think he would even be placed at that stage. He said he was holding his horse together to get around the last bend and his mount did not quicken on the run in. He accepted he could have given the horse a stronger ride, but it would not have made any difference as the winner won easily.

In his evidence David Broad confirmed his instructions and said the horse tries hard in all his races. He said his best form was on a sounder surface, but he had handled heavy ground in the past. He referred to the mistakes Definite Earl made throughout the race and he thought the horse would only have finished fifth as they turned out of the back straight. He could not believe Definite Earl finished second and the owners were full of praise for the ride. He said the horse was perfect after the race. He stated that the horse can sometimes suffer from breathing difficulties on heavy ground. Overall he concluded by saying he was happy with the ride.

In response to questioning from Paul Murtagh, Mr Broad said he ran the horse on heavy ground because the owners wanted him to run. He said the horse was not run for the purposes of getting his handicap rating reduced so as he would have a greater chance on better ground. He had no other motive but for the horse to win and he was over the moon with the ride. The handicapper had raised the horses rating to 114 after the race which was a career high mark.

In his evidence David Russell referred to the time he rode Definite Earl at Limerick in March 2015. On that occasion the horse had run without a tongue tie and he made a report to the stewards secretaries post race that the horse made a respiratory noise in running. As a result he suggested to David Broad that the horse should be fitted with a tongue tie and would be better over a shorter trip on better ground. He said Definite Earl was a genuine horse.

Having considered the evidence the Appeals Body found that the evidence was not sufficient to prove any offence and they therefore allowed both appeals.

The case was presented by Paul Murtagh, Stipendiary Steward. R.C. Colgan and David Broad were represented by Eugene Gleeson SC, instructed by Kevin Power, Maurice Power Solicitors, Kilmallock, Co Limerick.

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