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B.J. Foley (Rider)/Declan Queally (Trainer)/Cloudy Morning Appeals Gowran Park, 11th March 2017


The Appeals Body (Division One) Joseph Finnegan (in the Chair), N.B. Wachman and Peter N. Reynolds met at the Turf Club, The Curragh, Co Kildare on Monday, 27th March 2017 to consider the appeals of B.J. Foley, Rider and Declan Queally, Trainer against the decision of the Stewards at Gowran Park on 11th March 2017. On the day, following the running of the HPR Fleet Management Beginners Steeplechase, the Stewards found there was a breach of Rule 212A(ii) and fined Declan Queally €2,000, Cloudy Morning was suspended for 42 days and B.J. Foley was suspended for 5 race days and ordered to forfeit his riding fee.

Appeals were lodged by both parties. The grounds of appeal were “inter alia that B.J. Foley made reasonable and adequate effort to ensure the horse obtained his best possible placing in circumstances where his horse was unable to keep up with the early gallop of two significantly superior horses but was getting in position to deliver a challenge, if good enough, when making a bad mistake at the third last. Furthermore B.J. Foley cajoled, coaxed and encouraged Cloudy Morning, who is known to be a difficult ride, through the race and succeeded in getting him to finish in second place.”

Evidence was heard from B.J. Foley, Declan Queally and Michael Grassick (Chief Executive Irish Racehorse Trainers Association). Film of the race at Gowran Park on 11th March 2017 was viewed, as was the horse’s previous performances at Wexford on 30th October and 22nd November 2016. The Appeals Body also reviewed the transcript of evidence from the original enquiry at Gowran Park on 11th March 2017.

In his evidence B.J. Foley initially outlined his riding experience. He then referred to Cloudy Morning and said he had schooled and ridden work on the horse prior to his run at Thurles on 9th February 2017. He described Cloudy Morning as a quirky horse who wears a visor and who can lose interest in a race. He said he was pleased with the horse’s run at Thurles but the horse did not run as well at Navan on his previous run which he attributed to changed tactics, as he had tried to make the running on the horse but this did not work out well. As a result the horse got tired in the straight. He described the ground as being heavy at Navan which was similar to the ground at Gowran Park.

Mr Foley said his instructions were to drop in on the horse and get him to travel and finish in the best possible placing without hitting the horse. He noted there were two highly rated horses in the race. In relation to the race itself, he said that General Principle and Dicosimo made the running and that they went very quick early on. He said Cloudy Morning travelled and jumped well but that he did not take the horse out of his comfort zone during the race. After the fall of Dicosimo he felt he could win the race if General Principle fell in the latter stages of the race but unless that occurred he felt that second was the best possible placing he could attain. Prior to the race he was hoping his mount would finish third, as the two favourites had a far higher rating than Cloudy Morning.

With regard to winning the race, Mr Foley said he never thought he could win the race at any stage but that he would have used his stick after the last fence if required.

Mr Foley described how he rode the horse during the race and said it would not have been wise to chase the leader (General Principle) at an early stage on the heavy ground. He reiterated that he rode the horse to keep him in his comfort zone and if he went any faster the horse would not have travelled. He said he gave his horse a chance of winning at the fourth last fence and that he was as close to the winner at the third last as he was at the finishing line.

When put to Mr Foley by Shay Quinn, on behalf of the Turf Club, that he could not see where Mr Foley made a genuine attempt to obtain from the horse timely, real and substantial efforts and that he was more concerned at finishing second than chasing the leader, Mr Foley replied by saying he did not chase the horse for the horse’s welfare and for his own welfare. He said the horse did not run on at Navan when he was bullied during that race. He said he would not have obtained his best possible placing if he had chased the winner.

Mr Foley also referred to the horse’s inferior rating over hurdles of 111 as compared to the winner’s rating over fences of 144. He said that Cloudy Morning had won low grade handicap hurdles off low ratings but that he was not competitive over hurdles off his new rating of 111.

In summing up his evidence, Mr Foley said that if he went earlier on his mount, he would have jeopardised finishing second and he also pointed out a mistake the horse made at the third last fence which cost him 4 to 5 lengths. He said his horse ran above himself in the race at Gowran Park.

In his evidence Declan Queally said he had 14 to 15 horses in training and he decided at Christmas to switch Cloudy Morning to fences. He said he only ran the horse in Gowran Park to win prizemoney. Mr Queally confirmed that the instructions from Navan were changed and the best way of getting prizemoney was to “fool him along”. He said he was delighted the horse finished second and that he was never going to beat the winner.

In response to queries from Shay Quinn, Mr Queally said he had no problem running the horse regularly as he is a tough campaigner. He said he ran the horse at Gowran Park because there was a shortage of 3 mile chases for beginners. He accepted that B.J. Foley could have used his whip after jumping the last fence but it would have been pointless to use the whip any earlier.

In his evidence Michael Grassick referred to the way the horse was ridden and said that he was being held on to, so as he would get to the finish. He referred to the bad mistake at the third last fence which took the horse out of his comfort zone and that Cloudy Morning had finished closer to the winner than he should have on the book.

In view of the evidence presented, the Appeals Body found the offence was not made out to affirm the findings of the Stewards at Gowran Park and as a result allowed the appeals.

The case was presented by Cliodhna Guy, Solicitor and Shay Quinn, Stewards Secretary. B.J. Foley and Declan Queally were represented by Kevin Power, Maurice Power Solicitors, Kilmallock, Co Limerick.

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