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D.E. Mullins (Rider) Appeal – Thurles, 20th January 2019

The Appeals Body (Division Two), Mr. Sean Barry, (in the chair), Mr. Joseph M. McGrath and Mr. Philip Caffrey convened at the Offices of the Irish Horseracing Regulatory Board (IHRB) on Monday 28th January 2019, to consider the Appeal of D.E. Mullins (Rider) against the decision of the Stewards at Thurles on 20th January 2019.

On the day, following the running of the Racing TV Free Trial Handicap Steeplechase, the Stewards interviewed Mr. Mullins, rider of Double Portrait, concerning his use of the whip in the closing stages of this race. Having viewed a recording of the race and considered the evidence the Stewards were of the opinion that Mr. Mullins was in breach of Regulation 10 (3)(a) having used the whip down the shoulder while in the forehand position and Regulation 10.3(f) for using his whip with excessive frequency. Having considered his previous record, the Stewards suspended him for 4 racedays.

The grounds of Appeal lodged by Mr. Mullins was that he was not in breach of either Regulation as the use of the whip in the latter stages of the race was a corrective measure when his horse had come off a true line.

Evidence was heard from Mr. Mullins. The Appeals Body viewed a recording of the race and considered a transcript of the original evidence.

In his evidence, Mr. Mullins explained his use of the whip in the latter stages of the race and said he used his whip down the shoulder to stop his mount drifting right onto the rails. As this was a corrective measure, Mr. Mullins said he felt that this use could be deemed exceptional and as such wasn’t in breach the rule.  He also said that by the Stewards including this whip use as part of the total number of hits, it also put him in breach of the frequency part of the rule.

Having considered the evidence, the Appeals Body dismissed the appeal.

In arriving at penalty, they noted Mr. Mullins’s record and the efforts he had taken since his last penalty to improve his whip use. They also noted the effect of a four-day penalty with the first day due to start on Sunday, 3rd February 2019 which was the second day of the Dublin Racing Festival. In view of this the Appeals Body exercised their powers under Rule 260(a) and ordered that the commencement date of the suspension be deferred to Thursday, 7th February 2019. Therefore, Mr. Mullins is now suspended for 7th, 9th, 10th and 13th February 2019. The Appeals Body also ordered that the appeal deposit was forfeited.

The case was presented by Cliodhna Guy, Head of Licensing, Legal and Compliance. D.E. Mullins was represented by Andrew Coonan, Coonan Cawley Solicitors, Naas, Co. Kildare.

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