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R.P. McNamara, Qualified Rider, Referral Galway, 4 Aug 2013

The Referrals Committee Judge Tony Hunt (in the Chair), Philip Caffrey and Mrs. J.O. Onions met at the Turf Club, The Curragh, Co. Kildare on Monday, 4th November 2013, to consider whether or not R.P. McNamara, qualified rider, was in breach of any rule as a result of him informing D.K. Weld, trainer, that he would be 4 lbs overweight on “Notable Graduate” in the Trappers Inn Maiden Hurdle at Galway on 4th August 2013, with the result that an alternative rider had to be found for the horse. 

The Committee also considered whether or not Mr. McNamara was in breach of any rule as a result of failing to present himself to ride “Ebazziyr” in the Fr. Breen Memorial (Pro-Am) Flat Race at Galway on the same day, with the result that the horse had to be withdrawn as there was no suitable rider available.  Both matters were referred to the Referrals Committee by Denis Egan, Chief Executive of the Turf Club. 

The Referrals Committee originally heard evidence from R.P. McNamara on 20th August 2013, but having considered the evidence that day, the Committee adjourned the hearing to allow further investigations be carried out into the evidence given to the Stewards at Galway by Pat O’Brien (D.K. Weld’s authorised representative) and James Leavy, trainer “Ebazziyr”.

Evidence was heard from R.P. McNamara and James Leavy.  The Committee also considered written evidence from D.K. Weld, trainer, “Notable Graduate”.

In his evidence, R.P. McNamara said that while he was having difficulty with his weight, he fully expected to be able to make the weight on “Notable Graduate” at 11 stone 12 lbs and “Ebazziyr” at 12 stone. However when he arrived at Galway on Sunday he was over 4lbs heavier than he should have been for “Notable Graduate”. He said that he contacted Mr. Weld to say he was 4lbs overweight and that following a run he would probably be able to ride the horse carrying 2lbs overweight. Mr. Weld did not want the horse to carry any overweight and sought an alternative jockey.

Mr. McNamara then outlined the background to him failing to present himself to ride “Ebazziyr”. He said he spoke to the owner’s representative Declan Hyland at about 11.45am and as the horse did not want the ground “tacky”, it was agreed that the horse would be withdrawn. He said that he did not have any conversation with Mr. Hyland about not being able to make the weight as in his view he would not have had a problem in riding at 12 stone. Mr. McNamara said he left the track after speaking to Mr. Hyland and went home putting his phone on silent.

In his evidence James Leavy said that he agreed with R.P. McNamara on Friday that he would walk the track on Saturday to let him know whether or not the ground was suitable for “Ebazziyr”.  Mr. McNamara did not contact him on Saturday evening as agreed and despite trying on 22 separate occasions on Sunday morning to contact Mr. McNamara; he was unable to do so, with the result that he started “Ebazziyr” out on the journey to Galway. He said that he managed to contact Declan Hyland before lunch after he spoke to Mr. McNamara and he was told by Mr. Hyland that Mr. McNamara couldn’t ride the horse as he had a problem with weight.  As “Ebazziyr” is “quirky” and Mr. McNamara gets on well with the horse, it was decided to withdraw the animal as he didn’t want to put another rider up who didn’t know the horse. He said that the delay in withdrawing the horse was because the decision needed to be ratified by the owner.  

Having considered the evidence the Committee noted the conflict in the reasons for the withdrawal of “Ebazziyr”.  They found R.P. McNamara in breach of Rule 195 in respect of both incidents as he did not weigh out at the correct weight.  He was cautioned for the rule breach with regard to “Notable Graduate” as it was his first offence.  He was suspended for one race day (19th November 2013) for the rule breach relating to “Ebazziyr”.  The Committee also advised him of the importance of improving his communication skills.

The case was presented by Conal Boyce, Solicitor, Naas, Co. Kildare.

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