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Andrew Lynch (Rider), Mrs Gillian Callaghan (Restricted Trainer) Appeals Naas, 8 November 2014

The Appeals Body (Division One), Joseph Finnegan (in the Chair), Peter Reynolds and Paul Ronan met at the Turf Club, The Curragh, Co Kildare on Friday, 21st November 2014 to consider the appeals of Andrew Lynch, rider and Mrs Gillian Callaghan, restricted trainer.  The appeals were against the decision of the Stewards at Naas on 8th November 2014, when following the running of the  Maiden Hurdle, both Andrew Lynch and Mrs Gillian Callaghan were found to be in breach of Rule 212, as the Stewards were of the opinion that Mount Corkish Girl did not run on her merits.  As a result Andrew Lynch was suspended for seven race days, Mrs Gillian Callaghan fined €1,000 and Mount Corkish Girl suspended for 60 days.

Andrew Lynch’s grounds of appeal were that he did not knowingly or deliberately prevent Mount Corkish Girl from running on her merits.

Mrs Gillian Callaghan’s grounds of appeal were that at no stage did she intend or instruct Andrew Lynch to ride Mount Corkish Girl on anything other than on her merits and at all times instructed the jockey to obtain the best possible finish position.

Evidence was heard from Andrew Tyrrell, Turf Club Veterinary Officer at Naas, Andrew Lynch and Mrs Gillian Callaghan.  Film of the race was viewed, as was film of the horse’s previous run at Punchestown on 16th October 2014.

In his evidence Andrew Tyrrell referred to his finding that the horse coughed post race.  He said the horse coughed once when he originally asked for her to be trotted up.  He said he observed the horse for a further 15 minutes and asked that the animal be trotted up again after which the horse gave a further two/three coughs.  He noted there was more coughing than usual in the stable yard that day post race which he attributed to horses possibly swallowing muck.  He said that if a horse did swallow muck it could affect performance and the effect on the performance would depend on where during the race the muck was swallowed.  He said he noted no other abnormalities to the horse post race other than a slight grazing which he felt was insignificant.

Mr Tyrrell noted the contents of a report from Ratoath Veterinary Clinic, whose practice examined Mount Corkish Girl in the days after the race at Mrs Callaghan’s yard and also a post race report submitted by Mrs Callaghan on the following day which referred to the horse having an elevated temperature.  Mr Tyrrell also noted that Mount Corkish Girl had made an “uneventful recovery” in the days following the race without the intervention of medicines.  In conclusion, he accepted that the elevated temperature suggested that the horse had a problem.

In his evidence, Andrew Lynch said that his instructions were to jump off and get the horse settled as she had run keenly in her previous race at Punchestown with the result that she didn’t get home and didn’t find a lot off the bridle.  He said he tried to get her switched off early at Naas, but the horse was throwing her head around in the early part of the race.  He said she came back underneath him down the back and dropped the bit.  He said she was under pressure seven furlongs from home and he gave her a chance to get herself back together so as she would get home.  He said she jumped the fourth last hurdle well, but missed the third last.  He said he rode the horse hands and heels from the second last home and that she would not have finished any closer with a more aggressive ride.  He said the post race coughing could have explained why she dropped the bit so far out.  He said that he was satisfied that the horse had obtained her best possible placing.  In response to a question from Conal Boyce with regard to the vigorousness of the hands and heels ride, Andrew Lynch said he rode her to the best of his ability and strength without having to resort to the whip.

In her evidence, Mrs Gillian Callaghan said she was very pleased with the run and that the horse had run considerably better than in her previous race at Punchestown.  She confirmed that the instruction to Andrew Lynch was to drop in mid-division and have horses in front of her, get her into a nice rhythm and ride to obtain the best possible place.  She said that the horse was as fit as she could get her at home and that she was satisfied with the ride.  She said she did not think the horse would have finished much closer had the rider been any harder on her.  She said the horse looked tired when she was being unsaddled.  She accepted that she didn’t refer to the coughing as an excuse during the enquiry, as she felt that the horse had given her all.

Mrs Callaghan then referred to what occurred post race on arrival home.  She said the horse did not eat up that evening and had an elevated temperature for most of the next day.  She phoned Ratoath Veterinary Clinic that evening and they examined the horse.  No medicines were prescribed and the horse was out of sorts for a few days, but has now recovered.

Having considered the evidence the Appeals Body said that the onus of proof rests with the Turf Club to prove that there was a breach of rules.  They found that this onus had been established and that the horse was not ridden in such a way as to obtain her best possible placing.  However, they felt that the rule breach was at the lower end of the scale but that Andrew Lynch could have ridden more forcibly with hands and heels. The Committee felt that, on the evidence of the video, this did not occur.

In relation to Mrs Gillian Callaghan, the Appeals Body found that, taking into account her responsibility for the running of the horse, her explanations were not sufficient to take her out of the offence but that the offence committed by her was at the lowest end.

As a result of finding both in breach of Rule 212 and taking into account the mitigating circumstances, the Appeals Body reduced Andrew Lynch’s suspension from seven race days to three race days (November 22nd, 23rd and 27th), Mrs Gillian Callaghan’s fine was reduced to €500 and the suspension on Mount Corkish Girl reduced to 30 days.  They also ordered that both appeal deposits be refunded.

The case was presented by Conal Boyce, Solicitor, Naas, Co Kildare.  Mrs Gillian Callaghan was represented by Kevin Power, Maurice Power Solicitors, Kilmallock, Co Limerick.  Andrew Lynch was represented by Andrew Coonan, Coonan Cawley Solicitors, Naas, Co Kildare. a

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