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Danny Mullins (Rider) Referral - Fairyhouse, 11 October 2014

The Referrals Committee, Mr Justice Tony Hunt (in the Chair), Sean Barry and John Moloney met at the Turf Club, The Curragh, Co Kildare to consider the referral of Danny Mullins, rider of Bashful Beauty, by the Stewards at Fairyhouse on 11th October 2014 following an enquiry into the running and riding of the above mentioned horse in the Thistle Cheltenham Hotel Handicap Hurdle.  The matter was referred to the Referrals Committee for further consideration in view of the seriousness of the allegation made by Norman Lee, trainer of Bashful Beauty, at the original enquiry.

Evidence was heard from Noel O’Brien, Senior Turf Club National Hunt Handicapper, Norman Lee, J.J. Hanlon, trainer of It’s All An Act (race winner), Yvonne Gleeson, groom Bashful Beauty, Paul Mullins, owner Bashful Beauty, and Danny Mullins.

The Committee also considered the documentation listed below.  The interviews were carried out by Christopher Gordon, Turf Club Head of Security,Declan Buckley, Deputy Turf Club Head of Security and Hugh Hynes, stewards' secretary.

i) Enquiry report and transcript of Stewards Enquiry -Fairyhouse, 11th November 2014

ii) Interview with Norman Lee on 11th November 2014

iii) Interview with Danny Mullins on 7th November 2014

iv) Interview with Paul Mullins on 27th October 2014

v) Interview with Yvonne Gleeson on 26th October 2014

vi) Interview with John Hanlon on 6th November 2014

vii) Note of meeting with Michael Mee on 26th October 2014

viii) Report from Terry Smith, Turf Club Senior Veterinary Officer

ix) Report from Noel O’Brien, Senior Turf National Hunt Handicapper

x) Statement of Christopher Gordon, Turf Club Head of Security

xi) Statement of Declan Buckley, Turf Club Deputy Head of Security

Film of the race was also viewed as was film of the horse’s previous run at Listowel on 18th September 2014.

In his evidence Noel O’Brien said he saw nothing wrong with the way the horse was ridden but acknowledged that the horse, which he described as very consistent, had run about 10lbs below his best.

In his evidence Norman Lee outlined why he was concerned about the run and why he asked to see the Stewards.  He said that the rider did not follow the instructions given to him and felt that the horse could have finished fourth with a more aggressive ride from the last hurdle.

In his evidence John J. Hanlon explained the background to his discussions with Danny Mullins which took place as the riders walked into the parade ring.  The discussions related to the schooling of a horse the next morning.  He said that he had originally offered Danny Mullins the ride on Its All An Act, but Danny had declined, as he felt that Bashful Beauty had a better chance.

In her evidence, Yvonne Gleeson said that she knew Bashful Beauty well and rode the horse at home.  She said in her opinion the horse was left too far back and contrasted the way the horse was ridden at Fairyhouse compared with the way Danny Mullins rode the horse at Listowel when he gave the animal a more aggressive ride.

In his evidence, Paul Mullins said he couldn’t believe how Bashful Beauty stopped after the last hurdle.  He said that Danny Mullins should have been more aggressive in the latter stages of the race.  He also confirmed the riding instructions given to Danny Mullins which he said were not followed.

In his evidence, Danny Mullins confirmed the riding instructions.  He said that the horse made a mistake at the first hurdle and was unable to go the early pace.  He said his mount ran flat during the race and that he stood up in the saddle in the last 150 yards as he thought there was something wrong with the horse.  He accepted that he made no post-race report about the horse’s performance to any racing official.  He said he was unhappy at the way the horse moved throughout the race and that the whip being used wouldn’t have made any difference.

Having considered the evidence, the Appeals Body found that Danny Mullins was in breach of Rule 213 as he failed to report that the horse had felt flat throughout the race.  They said it was important that if a rider is not seen to be making an effort for a particular reason, that the reason is reported.  They noted that if a report had been made on the day, it may well have been possible for the Stewards to have dealt with the matter on the day.

In arriving at penalty, the Appeals Body took into account that it was a serious omission on the part of Danny Mullins not to make the report and as a result they suspended him for three race days (December 20th, 21st and 31st). The Committee also ordered that he make a contribution of €500 towards the Turf Club’s costs.

The case was presented by Conal Boyce, Solicitor, Naas, Co Kildare.  Danny Mullins was represented by Frank Ward, Frank Ward & Co Solicitors, Dublin 7.  Norman Lee was represented by Patrick Kennedy, Patrick J. O’Meara & Co Solicitors, Thurles, Co Tipperary.

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