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E.J. Sexton (Owner) Appeal Tramore 15 August 2014

The Appeals Body (Division Two) Judge Tony Hunt (in the chair), Peter Allen and Noel McCaffrey met in the Stewards Room at Kilbeggan Racecourse, Co. Westmeath on Friday, 22nd August 2014 to consider the appeal of E.J. Sexton, owner of Rathmuck Native.  The appeal was against the decision of the Stewards at Tramore on 15th August 2014 not to promote his horse to first place following the running of the Unusual Suspects Play Live After Racing Flat Race.  The Stewards had held an enquiry into possible interference coming down the hill and into the straight involving Rathmuck Native and the winner Prickly but left the result unchanged.

The grounds of appeal lodged by E.J. Sexton were that the winner improved her finishing position in relation to Rathmuck Native as a result of the interference caused and that this ultimately cost Rathmuck Native the race.   Evidence was heard from E.J. Sexton, Mark Fahey, rider of Rathmuck Native, Peter Fahey, trainer of Rathmuck Native, Kevin Power, rider of Prickly and Edward O’Grady, trainer of Prickly.  Film of the race was also viewed as was film of the last 3 furlongs of an earlier race that evening.

In his evidence, E.J. Sexton said that in his opinion the best horse didn’t win. He said Rathmuck Native was impeded twice in the last three furlongs, firstly coming down the hill and then as the horses turned into the straight. He said the second incident was far more serious and that Rathmuck Native went from being a half a length down when the interference occurred to being three to four lengths down after the interference. He said the horse lost considerable momentum and had narrowed the gap to one and a quarter lengths at the line.

In his evidence, Mark Fahey confirmed what Mr. Sexton had said. He referred to the racing line that his horse wanted to take and how he was cut off by Prickly drifting right at the turn into the straight. He said there was a gap at the point of the bend where the interference occurred and his horse was in the gap when Prickly drifted across. He said he lost considerable momentum and he was in no doubt that his horse would have won with a clear run.

Peter Fahey outlined his views on the incident and said the interference cost his horse the race.

In his evidence, Kevin Power said that he was one and a half lengths clear when the first interference occurred and attributed what occurred to a manoeuvre made by Mark Fahey rather than by anything he did. He said the layout of the track contributed to the second interference incident and that all he was doing was holding his racing line. He said there was plenty of opportunity for Mark Fahey to have made his move earlier when there was a gap. He also disputed the contention that Rathmuck Native lost three to four lengths as a result of the interference. He said he had plenty of horse left under him and described his mount as a big striding filly who took time to get into top gear. Mr. Power also referred to film of an earlier race and pointed out similar incidences of where horses drifted in at that point of the track.

In his evidence Edward O’Grady said that the best horse won and that the interference didn’t affect the result. He said that Mark Fahey found himself in “no man’s land” at the bottom of the hill and that if his horse was good enough or if he went earlier he might have won, but that he didn’t do either. He said that Kevin Power was riding his racing line and that the second interference occurred because Mark Fahey went where he shouldn’t have gone.

Having considered the evidence, the Appeals Body noted that part of the difficulty with what occurred was because of the undulations and layout at Tramore. They found that there were two incidents of interference but that the second incident was far more serious. They concluded that, on the balance of probabability, the interference did not affect the result and agreed that the original result should stand.

Therefore the result reads as follows:

First:  Prickly

Second:  Rathmuck Native

Third:  Behana Fourth: Pace and Passion

Furthermore the Appeals Body ordered that the appeal deposit be refunded as they agreed that there was merit in the appeal being lodged.

The case was presented by Conal Boyce, Solicitor, Naas, Co. Kildare. 

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