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E.N. Hickey Appeal Downpatrick – 23 March 2014

The Appeals Body (Division One) Patrick Reidy (in the chair), Philip Caffrey and Nicholas Lambert met at the Turf Club, The Curragh, Co. Kildare on Wednesday, 16th April 2014 to consider the appeal of E.N. Hickey, joint owner of Unoccupied (GB).  The appeal was against the decision of the Stewards at Downpatrick on 23rd March 2014 to reverse the placings of Unoccupied (GB) which finished first past the post and Hidden Horizons, which finished second, following the running of the Toals Bookmakers Ulster Grand National European Breeders Fund Handicap Steeplechase.  The Stewards had held an enquiry into possible interference in the closing stages involving both horses and found that Unoccupied (GB) had caused interference to Hidden Horizons and had improved his placing as a result.  

The grounds of appeal lodged by E.N. Hickey were that the interference did not affect the placings.  

Evidence was heard from Philip Enright, rider of Unoccupied (GB) and Paul Carberry, rider of Hidden Horizons.  Film of the race was also viewed.  

In his evidence Philip Enright said that Unoccupied (GB) kept a straight racing line from the turn into the straight to the finishing line and that the interference was caused as a result of a kink in the running rail which resulted in Hidden Horizons running out of room and bumping into the rear of Unoccupied (GB). This had the effect of spinning Unoccupied (GB) sideways. After the bump he said that his horse galloped away and won easily by over a length. He said he was unaware that Paul Carberry was on his outside as he didn’t shout but he did accept that he had looked over his right shoulder twice and that he didn’t see Mr Carberry's mount on his inside. He concluded by saying that there was no room for Hidden Horizons to come on his outside and that Paul Carberry realised that when it was too late and was left with no option but to cause interference.  

In his evidence Paul Carberry said that there was plenty of room on the outside of Unoccupied (GB) when he started his run but that the gap was closed the whole way up the straight to the point where the interference was caused. He said that his mount got as far as the shoulder of Unoccupied (GB) when the gap closed. He said that while he did not shout, Philip Enright knew he was there and pulled in on top of him. He said that Hidden Horizons would have won but for the interference caused.  

Having considered the evidence, the Appeals Body found that there was interference and that the interference was caused by the first past the post Unoccupied (GB). They further found that Unoccupied (GB) had improved his placing in relation to Hidden Horizons and in view of this the appeal was dismissed. They ordered that the result as amended by the Stewards at Downpatrick should stand. The result reads:-    

First:            Hidden Horizons       

Second:        Unoccupied (GB)

Third:           Butney Boy

Fourth:         Hidden Crack (GB)  

The panel further ordered that the appeal deposit be returned.  

The case was presented by Conal Boyce, Solicitor, Naas, Co. Kildare.  Philip Enright and E.N. Hickey were represented by James Walsh, Solicitor, Fermoy, Co. Cork.  Paul Carberry and S.R.B Crawford, trainer of Hidden Horizons, were represented by Stephen Lanigan-O’Keeffe S.C.

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