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Denis Hogan (Trainer) Appeal – Down Royal, 23rd June 2017


The Appeal Body (Division 1) Joseph Finnegan (in the chair), Robert Dore and John Powell met at the Turf Club, The Curragh, Co. Kildare on Thursday, 13th July 2017 to consider the appeal of Denis Hogan, Trainer against the decision of the Stewards at Down Royal on 23rd June 2017 to suspend Meadow Cross for 42 days.

On the day, following the running of the Daily Mirror Mares Beginners Steeplechase, the
Stewards found that S.A. Mulcahy, rider, was in breach of Rule 212A(ii) and in addition to suspending him for 5 race days and ordering that he forfeit his riding fee, they also suspended Meadow Cross for 42 days as a consequence of the rider’s actions.

The grounds of appeal lodged were that he (Denis Hogan) presented his horse in a condition to win the race and instructed his rider to do the best he could to win. As a consequence of the suspension of the horse, he will be at the loss of training fees and prizemoney in circumstances where no culpability for a breach of rules is attaching to him.

Evidence was heard from Denis Hogan. The Appeals Body also reviewed a transcript of the stewards’ enquiry and considered an initial submission from Andrew Coonan.

In his submission, Andrew Coonan said that Denis Hogan accepted the Stewards findings to penalise the rider. He noted that the Stewards had not found Denis Hogan to be in breach of any rule and therefore it was unfair that he should be penalised (by the suspension of the horse) as a result of the finding against the rider. As the appeal was being based on this point alone, he submitted that there was no reason to view the film footage of the race.

In his evidence, Denis Hogan outlined the instructions given to the rider, which he said he carried out perfectly until the latter stages of the race when he was unable to ride the horse to the level required due to weakness. He said that fourth placing flattered the horse and that he would only have been 6th or 7th if two horses in front of him didn’t fall. He referred to the horse’s subsequent run at Limerick where the horse finished 9th, beaten 16 lengths in a low grade race. He said he rode the horse himself that day and that the stronger ride on that occasion didn’t bring about any improvement. Mr. Hogan referred to the complications of the horse being suspended and the effect on the owner. He said his horse did not gain any advantage as a result of the run at Down Royal as evidenced by the horse’s subsequent performance at Limerick.

Having considered the evidence, the Appeals Body dismissed the appeal. In arriving at their decision they found that it was appropriate to suspend the horse for offences of this nature. They accepted that it imposed a hardship but that the suspension was in the interests of the integrity of racing. They also noted that the 42 day penalty imposed was at the bottom of the range of the scale of penalties that could be given.

They agreed in the circumstances that 50% of the appeal deposit would be refunded with the remaining balance being retained to cover Turf Club costs.

The case was presented by Shay Quinn, Stipendiary Steward and Cliodhna Guy, Head of Legal and Compliance. Denis Hogan was represented by Andrew Coonan, Solicitor, Coonan Cawley Solicitors, Naas, Co. Kildare.

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