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Connor King (Rider) / J.P. Murtagh (Trainer) / Eddystone Rock Limerick – 23rd April 2016


The Referrals Committee Justice Tony Hunt (in the Chair), Sean Barry and Laurence McFerran met at the Turf Club, The Curragh, Co Kildare on Tuesday, 17th May 2016 to consider whether or not Connor King and J.P. Murtagh (rider and trainer respectively of Eddystone Rock), were in breach of any Rules having been referred following the running of the Mobile Betting At 188Bet Maiden at Limerick on 23rd April 2016. On the day the Stewards were unable to complete their enquiry as J.P. Murtagh’s representative had not been informed of the riding instructions and the matter was then referred to the Referrals Committee in accordance with Rule 147(v).

Evidence was heard from Connor King and J.P. Murtagh. The Committee also considered a transcript of evidence given at the original enquiry and reviewed film of the race.

In his evidence Connor King confirmed his instructions were to sit behind the leader, follow the fancied horses and arrive in the final furlong to win the race. He said the race went according to plan until his mount was stopped in the last furlong as he was starting his run and had to switch around horses. He explained that he pushed Eddystone Rock out as hard as he could and he gave the horse a flick of the whip towards the end of the race. He said he did everything he could to get the horse to win the race and even if he was harder on the horse, he still wouldn’t have finished any closer. He described the horse as being genuine and that he tried his hardest.

In his evidence J.P. Murtagh confirmed the instructions and said he had passed on these instructions to Connor King the previous evening on the way to Dundalk. He said he was disappointed the horse didn’t win as he wanted him to win. He had watched the race on television and knew his chance of winning was gone once his run was stopped in the latter stages of the race. He felt his horse would have won but for the interference. He said if the rider had hit the horse, it would not have made any difference and by the time his horse did get a run it was too late. He felt that Connor King had put himself in a position to win but this position was taken from him when the gap closed.

J.P. Murtagh accepted he did not tell Ms Valerie Keatley, who was his authorised representative at Limerick, the riding instructions and explained that this was due to an oversight.

Having considered the evidence the Referrals Committee found Connor King and J.P. Murtagh were not in breach of any rules with regard to the running and riding of Eddystone Rock. However, they found J.P. Murtagh to be in breach of Rule 147(v) for failing to make his authorised representative fully aware of the riding instructions and cautioned him for this rule breach. They also ordered that he make a contribution of €150 towards the Turf Club costs.

The case was presented by Paul Murtagh, Turf Club Stipendiary Steward.

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