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Davy Russell (Rider) Referral - Tramore, 18th August 2017


The Referrals Committee, Philip McLernon (in the chair), Michael Doyle and Con O’Mahony met in the Stewards Room, Killarney Racecourse, Co Kerry on Saturday, 26th August 2017, to consider whether or not Davy Russell, rider, was in breach of any Rules as a result of an alleged incident which occurred prior to the start of the Flynn Hotel Group Mares Handicap Hurdle at Tramore on 18th August 2017, where he appeared to strike the head of his mount Kings Dolly.

Evidence was heard from Davy Russell. The Committee also reviewed footage of the incident.

In his evidence Davy Russell outlined what occurred as he was cantering towards the trial hurdle.

He said Kings Dolly was not paying attention and as she approached the hurdle, he felt she was going to jump it rather than stopping. In the circumstances, he felt it was inappropriate to use his whip to correct the horse and neither was it appropriate to let the horse jump the trial hurdle as he would be in breach of rule. He said he managed to get the horse pulled up and used his fist to hit the horse on the soft part of her neck, just behind the head to make the horse concentrate. He had his stick in his hand when he did this. He said he would have slapped the horse if he hadn’t had the stick in his hand. He accepted his actions were inappropriate.

In response to questions from Shay Quinn, Mr Russell said that he didn’t hurt the horse. He said he accepted that what occurred didn’t look good and he assured the committee that an incident like this wouldn’t ever happen again. He also said that if the same happened in the future he would jump the hurdle and deal with the consequences of that rather than striking the horse.

Mr Russell referred to the importance of horseracing in his life and said he would never do anything to harm a horse or the sport. He said his way of doing things is not to use force when dealing with horses.

In conclusion, Mr Russell referred to an email received from the horse’s trainer, Roger McGrath, who said the mare was fine after the race. The Committee noted that Mr McGrath had also confirmed this to the Turf Club during an interview with Turf Club Officials on 23rd August 2017.

Having considered the evidence, the Referrals Committee found that Davy Russell was in breach of Rule 272(i). They noted the explanations he gave for the incident and in the circumstances they cautioned him for the rule breach. They also warned him about his future conduct.

The case was presented by Shay Quinn, Stewards Secretary.

Editors’ Note:

1. Rule 272(i)
Any person involved in horseracing who, within the jurisdiction of the Governing Bodies;

(i) whether verbally or by conduct or behaviour, acts in a manner which is prejudicial to the integrity, proper conduct or good reputation of horseracing (whether or not such behaviour or conduct, verbal or otherwise is associated directly with horseracing)

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