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Andrew McNamara Appeal – Naas, 28 Oct 2013

The Appeals Body (Division Two), Peter Reynolds (in the Chair), Philip Caffrey and Laurence McFerran met in the Stewards Room, Fairyhouse Racecourse, Co. Meath on Wednesday, 13th November 2013 to consider an appeal from Andrew McNamara, rider of Courtncatcher, against the decision of the Stewards at Naas on 28th October 2013 when, following the running of the Brown Lad Handicap Hurdle, he was suspended for two race days for careless riding.

His grounds of appeal were that he did not ride carelessly and, that bearing in mind his exemplary record, the penalty imposed of two days was excessive.

Evidence was heard from Andrew McNamara, Barry Geraghty, rider Prince Rudi, and David Russell, rider Gift of Dgab.  Recordings of the race were also reviewed.

In his evidence, Andrew McNamara said he was very familiar with Courtncatcher as he had ridden the horse on eight previous occasions, winning three times.  He said the manoeuvre he made with the horse was done on purpose so as to bring his mount across to the other horses for company.  He said he accepted he caused interference at the last hurdle when his horse jumped left, but said he could do nothing about it.  He also said that his horse had not before jumped left in any of his previous races and that this was the main reason he didn’t pull his whip through to his left hand before the hurdle.  Recordings of a previous race at Gowran Park in which the horse competed were also viewed during which Mr. McNamara pointed out to the Appeals Body the horse’s racing and jumping style.

In his evidence, Barry Geraghty accepted that his mount jumped right at the second last hurdle and that his horse and Andrew McNamara’s horse both drifted left on the run to the final obstacle.  He said he suffered no interference until about a stride before the last.

In his evidence, David Russell said that he suffered no interference until Courtncatcher jumped left at the last.  He accepted that his horse had suffered a bump because of this, but felt that his mount may have overreacted and that it shouldn’t have affected his horse in the way that it appeared to.

Having considered the evidence, the Appeals Body found that Andrew McNamara had ridden carelessly. The Appeals Body considered a number of submissions from Andrew Coonan (representing Andrew McNamara) on penalty, including reference to the number of rides that Mr. McNamara had in the past two years and to penalties incurred by him for similar rule breaches in that period.  Mr. Coonan said that Mr. McNamara’s last rule breach for careless riding was in July 2012 which was 16 months ago, despite riding in the region of 500 horses since then.

Having considered the submissions, the Appeals Body reduced the penalty imposed from two race days to one race day (Thursday, November 14th).

The case was presented by Conal Boyce, Wilkinson & Price Solicitors, Naas, Co. Kildare.  Andrew McNamara was represented by Andrew Coonan, Coonan Cawley Solicitors, Naas, Co. Kildare.

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