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Thomas Gibney (Trainer) and Colin Halpin (Rider) Referral – Cork 18th April 2022

The Referrals Committee, Mr. Donal H. Gavin (in the chair) Dr. Paddy Molony and Mr. Patrick Dunican convened at Roscommon Racecourse on Monday, 9th May 2022 to consider the Referral of Thomas Gibney (Trainer) and Colin Halpin (Rider) following the running of the Coolagown Stud Maiden Hurdle at Cork on 18th April 2022.


On the day, following the running of the Coolagown Stud Maiden Hurdle, the Stewards wished to enquire into the running and riding of A Million Bucks, ridden by C. Halpin and trained by Thomas Gibney but were unable to do so as the trainer was not present.  


At the Referral Hearing, evidence was heard from Mr. Gibney and Mr. Halpin and the Referrals Committee also watched a recording of the race.


In his evidence, Mr. Halpin explained that he had received his instructions from Mr. Gibney the morning before the race in question. He outlined his instructions were to drop the horse in at the back of the field and get him settled so he could get jumping in a nice rhythm. He added that he was to be patient and wait until the turn for home before making his move. Mr. Halpin stated that he was familiar with A Million Bucks and that he can be quite difficult as he is a keen running horse and hence why the tactics were changed for this race to drop the horse in as opposed to racing handy previously. He added that his mount gurgled in the closing stages of this race.


In his evidence, Mr. Gibney confirmed the instructions he gave to Mr. Halpin and that the horse can be handful. Mr. Gibney stated that he believed the horse had lost confidence from being ridden more forward in previous races and that was why he had given Mr. Halpin the instructions to drop in on this occasion. He said the horse did settle and get into a nice rhythm and he felt the tactics worked on this occasion. Mr. Gibney added that he didn’t feel the horse had any breathing issues but that he felt 30 per cent of the horses he trains do make a noise on the heavy sand gallop but the majority are fine on the track although heavy ground such as it was at Cork on the day in question can sometimes contribute to horses making a noise. He said that he watched the race from Fairyhouse and he was happy with the run for the most part but felt Mr. Halpin could have been stronger in the closing stages.


Having considered the evidence, the Referrals Committee noted the explanations offered and took no further action. 


The case was presented by Mr. Michael O’Donoghue, IHRB Stipendiary Steward.

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