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Brian M. McMahon (Trainer) and Mr. E Mahon (Rider) Referral – Thurles 25th November 2021

The Referrals Committee, Mr. Sean Barry (in the chair), Mr. Finbarr Cahill and Mr. Jack Rearden convened at the Offices of the Irish Horseracing Regulatory Board on Tuesday, 21st December 2021 to consider the referral of Brian McMahon (Trainer) and Mr. Eoin Mahon (Rider) from the fixture at Thurles on 25th November 2021.

On the day, following the running of the BetVictor Maiden Hurdle,  the Stewards wished to enquire into the running and riding of Longhouse Force, trained by Mr. McMahon and ridden by Mr. Mahon. Evidence was heard at the enquiry from Mr. John Staunton (Authorised Representative) and Mr. Mahon (Rider) but having heard evidence from Mr. Staunton that Longhouse Force gurgled in two previous races which had never previously been reported and also a report from Mr. Mahon that the horse had gurgled in this race which wasn’t reported prior to the Stewards Enquiry, the Stewards referred the matter to the Referrals Committee for further consideration.

At the Referral Hearing, the panel considered evidence from Mr. McMahon and Mr. Mahon and they also watched a recording of the race.

In his evidence, Mr. McMahon began by apologising for failing to report that Longhouse Force had gurgled in his previous two races. He said that he had two runners in both races and making the report had slipped his mind. Mr. McMahon stated that his instructions to Mr. Mahon were to get the horse settled and finish as close as he could as the owner wanted to see improvement from the horse on this occasion as his previous form had been disappointing. Mr. McMahon explained that that the horse had been examined with a standing scope and showed no issues but that on an overhead scope showed that he flipped his palate so he then had a wind operation following his previous run at Ballinrobe. Mr. McMahon suggested that this operation had seemingly failed to work as the horse worked well at home but failed to reproduce that on the track even with the application of a tongue tie. He added that in the circumstances at Thurles, Mr. Mahon was faced with a difficult decision as the horse was making a noise from the fourth last hurdle but he was also trying to hold on to him for strong late finish to try and satisfy the owner. Mr. McMahon said he couldn’t criticise the ride and felt he finished as close as he could. He also added that it had subsequently been discovered that the horse had a heart murmur.

In his evidence, Mr. Mahon confirmed the instructions offered by Mr. McMahon. He said he had been familiar with the horse from his homework but this was his first time to ride him in a race. Mr. Mahon said the horse can be keen but had worked well at home and failed to reproduce that form on the racecourse. He confirmed he was happy with the horse throughout the race until he began to gurgle at the fourth last and from that point he just tried to nurse the horse home because he was conscious that the owner had wanted to see more from the horse on this occasion. Mr. Mahon accepted that he was not at his strongest in the closing stages but suggested that he regretted not pulling the horse up because of the noise he was making. Mr. Mahon said that as he approached the scales he was informed that he was needed for a Stewards Enquiry and at that point he forgot to report that horse had gurgled.

Having considered the evidence, the panel were satisfied that both Mr. McMahon and Mr. Mahon were in breach of Rule 212A(i) in that they were involved in the running and/or riding of a Horse in a race who deliberately or recklessly caused or permitted a horse to run other than on its merits and Rule 212A(ii) in that they contributed to the running and or/riding of a Horse in a race in such a way that the Horse cannot be seen to have been the subject of a genuine attempt to obtain from the Horse timely, real and substantial efforts to achieve the best possible place. Having taken their records into consideration, the panel suspended Mr. Mahon for 21 racedays and fined Mr. McMahon €6,000. Furthermore, under Rule 212C(d) the panel suspended Longhouse Force from running for a period of 90 days.

The case was presented by Mr. Michael Daly, IHRB Regulatory Legal Advisor and Mr. Colman Sweeney, IHRB Stipendiary Steward.

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