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Declan McDonogh Appeal - Leopardstown, 11th May, 2014

Declan McDonogh – Leopardstown, 11th May 2014
The Appeals Body (Division Two), Judge Tony Hunt (in the Chair), Peter Allen and Mrs. T.K. Cooper met at the Turf Club, The Curragh, Co. Kildare on Monday, 19th May 2014 to consider an appeal from Declan McDonogh, rider, against the decision of  the Stewards at Leopardstown on 11th May 2014.  On that date the Stewards found the rider to be in breach of Rule 214 in that he had ridden carelessly on Ebanoran during the running of the Derrinstown Stud Derby Trial Stakes and as a result was suspended for three race days.  
The rider’s grounds of appeal were that the decision of the Stewards was unduly harsh and they didn’t take into account all the circumstances.
Evidence was heard from Declan McDonogh and from John Oxx, trainer, Ebanoran.
In his evidence Declan McDonogh described Ebanoran as a “quirky” horse.  He outlined what happened during the race and his view of the two incidents of interference which occurred. In relation to the first incident which occurred about 1 ½ furlongs out, he said that in his opinion he was clear of Geoffrey Chaucer (USA) and was entitled to cross over. He said he accepted that Ebanoran went right towards the end of the race when he pulled his whip through to his left hand but attributed this to the horse spooking when he saw a photographer who was positioned on a ladder about 20 yards past the finishing line. He said he did not bring this to the attention of the Stewards at the original enquiry as he hadn’t noticed the photographer and that it was only afterwards when he reviewed the race that he realized what occurred. 
In response to questions from Paul Murtagh, the rider said that he took every precaution to make sure he was clear before crossing over in front of Geoffrey Chaucer (USA) and he attributed what occurred to misjudgement. In relation to the second incident he said it was too close to the line to take remedial action.
In his evidence John Oxx said that Ebanoran was an inexperienced horse and described the race as the horse’s first serious race. He was critical of the position of the photographer and attributed the horse’s swerve to this.
Having considered the evidence the Appeals Body found that there were two incidents of interference. They were satisfied that Declan McDonogh was responsible for the first incident as he was not far enough clear when coming across. They described the second incident as more ambiguous and attributed what occurred to the use of the whip in the left hand and the positioning of the photographer. However, the Committee decided on balance that what occurred amounted to careless riding. 
In relation to penalty, the panel reduced the suspension by a day to two race days (May 26th and 29th).  They were also critical of the positioning of the photographer and asked that protocols be put in place to ensure there is no reoccurrence of what occurred.
The case was presented by Paul Murtagh, Stipendiary Steward.  Declan McDonogh was represented by Patrick Ward, Frank Ward & Co. Solicitors, Ormond Quay, Dublin 7.

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