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Donnacha O’Brien (Rider) Appeal - Dundalk, 14th April 2019

The Appeals Body (Division 2) Justice Tony Hunt (in the Chair), Philip Caffrey and Joseph M. McGrath met in the offices of the IHRB, The Curragh, Co Kildare on Thursday, 25th April 2019 to consider the appeal of Donnacha O’Brien, Rider of Ferretti (USA), against the decision of the Stewards at Dundalk on 14th April 2019. On the day, following the running of the Imperial Hotel Dundalk Maiden, he was suspended for 1 race day, as he was found in breach of Rule 211 in that he failed to keep a straight line while riding before reaching the marker poles during this race.

Mr. O’Brien submitted an appeal against the severity of the sanction.

The Appeals Body reviewed the footage of the race and heard submissions from Mr. O’Brien. Mr. O’Brien confirmed that he accepted the charge and stated that he had no previous record of a breach of Rule 211(a). In view of this he submitted that in the circumstances, and in the absence of a guideline stating otherwise, the starting point for a breach should be a caution and not a suspension. The Appeals Body queried previous sanctions for breaches of Rule 211 and noted that in 90% of cases where there was no previous record the rider had been sanctioned with a caution.

Having considered the submission made by Mr. O’Brien, the Appeals Body allowed the appeal and substituted a caution and a fine of €150 for the one-day suspension. As the Appeal was allowed the deposit was ordered to be refunded. It was noted that in the event of any further breaches of the Rule, the Rider may be subject to a suspension if deemed appropriate by the Stewards.

The case was presented by Cliodhna Guy, Solicitor, Head of Licensing, Legal and Compliance. 

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