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Barry Geraghty (Rider) Appeal Clonmel - 29th October 2015

The Appeals Body (Division Two) N.B. Wachman (in the Chair), Robert Dore and Mrs. T.K. Cooper met at the Turf Club, The Curragh, Co Kildare on Tuesday, 10th November 2015 to consider the appeal of Barry Geraghty, rider of Fever Pitch (who finished fifth beaten a short head for fourth place), against the decision of the Stewards at Clonmel on 29th October 2015. Following the running of the “Download The At The Races App Rated Steeplechase” the Stewards found Barry Geraghty to be in breach of Rule 212 for failing to take all reasonable and permissible measures to ensure that his horse was given a full opportunity to win or of obtaining her best possible placing. As a result he was suspended for two race days and ordered to forfeit his riding fee.

Evidence was heard from Barry Geraghty and Ruby Walsh, rider of Ibetellingyoualie (who finished in fourth place in the race). The Appeals Body also considered a transcript of the evidence given at the original enquiry and film of the race was also viewed.

In his evidence Barry Geraghty referred to what occurred during the race. He said his horse travelled reasonably well in the early stages of the race, but was outpaced on the run down the hill with the result that he lost contact with the leaders. He said his horse emptied at the bottom of the hill and he held on to him as best he could to ensure he got fourth place. He said he rode the horse positively under a hands and heels ride from the last and he was getting everything from his horse. He said he could possibly have been fourth if he didn’t chase the first three throughout the race and when he did ask his horse for a response between the last two fences, the animal had very little to give. He also referred to some interference in the latter stages of the race which carried his horse slightly off line. He said he was only beaten by a short head for fourth place and that he did everything possible once Ruby Walsh’s horse came alongside him to ensure his horse finished fourth.

In his evidence Ruby Walsh said that his mount was not going to win the race after passing the stands on the first circuit and thereafter he rode the race to see how he could obtain the best possible place and what horses he could finish in front of. He said when the leaders quickened it was obvious that Barry Geraghty’s mount was the only horse he could beat and he rode the race accordingly. He said he knew by Barry’s riding actions between the last two fences that Fever Pitch had nothing more to give and if his horse jumped the last cleanly he would finish in front of him. He said he was actually surprised at how well Fever Pitch quickened when his mount came alongside. He said he was always confident he would finish in front of Fever Pitch as that horse had expended too much effort down the hill in chasing the leaders and he knew from Barry’s riding style that his horse had nothing more to give.

Having considered the evidence the Appeals Body allowed the appeal. In arriving at their decision they noted that they had examined camera angles not referenced at the original enquiry at Clonmel and that they had considerably more time to analyse what had occurred, which the Clonmel Stewards did not have.

The case was presented by Paul Murtagh, Stipendiary Steward. Barry Geraghty was represented by Andrew Coonan, Coonan Cawley Solicitors, Naas, Co Kildare.

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