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Eoin Doyle / J.R. Barry Appeal Hearing

Eoin Doyle – Trainer / J.R. Barry – Rider
Invincible Vibes Appeals
Down Royal – 26th August 2011

The Appeals Body (Division Two) Judge Tony Hunt (in the Chair), Martin O’Donnell and Ms. Meta Osborne met at the Turf Club, The Curragh, Co. Kildare on 6th September 2011 to consider the appeals of Eoin Doyle, trainer and J.R. Barry, rider against the decision of the Stewards at Down Royal on 26th August 2011 when following the running of the Smirnoff Maiden Hurdle, Eoin Doyle was fined €1,000, “Invincible Vibes” which finished 8th was suspended from racing for 42 days and J.R. Barry was suspended for 7 race days and ordered to forfeit his riding fee as the Stewards found that both the trainer and rider were in breach of Rule 212.

Eoin Doyle’s grounds of appeal were that Invincible Vibes ran on merit.  J.R. Barry’s grounds of appeal were that he finished in the best possible position.

Evidence was heard from J.R. Barry, Eoin Doyle and Noel O’Brien, Senior INHS Handicapper. Recordings of the race were also viewed as were recordings of the horse’s previous runs at Cork on 8th July and at Tramore on 12th August.

In his evidence, J.R. Barry stated that he had ridden Invincible Vibes on his two previous runs at Cork on 8th July and at Tramore on 12th August. He said he knew the horse very well as he regularly rides him out at home. He referred to the horse as a “nervous horse” who always travels well but doesn’t find much.  He felt he barely stays two miles and that his best chance of winning a race would be on a tight track like Tramore where he ran his best race.  He said that the horse had only ever won one race which was over five furlongs as a two year old.

In relation to the ride at Down Royal, Mr. Barry said that he wasn’t over vigorous on the day and that he could fully understand why the Stewards asked questions about the ride.  He accepted that he deliberately eased the horse but he did so because he had obtained his best possible placing.  He said he was beaten 13 lengths by the 7th placed horse and if he had been more vigorous he would not have finished any closer.

During a review of the race film from Cork on 8th July and Tramore on 12th August, J.R. Barry outlined how the horse was ridden on both occasions and highlighted the horse’s running style.  He accepted that he had made a post race report following the Cork run that the horse “choked” and that he would benefit from faster ground.  He said that things went better at Tramore where the horse finished third.  The main reasons for this were the faster ground and the tighter track.

In his evidence Eoin Doyle confirmed much of the evidence given by J.R. Barry with regard to the horse’s characteristics and the type of track that the horse is best suited to.  He fully agreed that the horse wouldn’t have finished any closer if the rider had been harder on him.  However, he accepted that there would probably have been no enquiry if this had occurred.  He said he was fully satisfied with the ride on the horse in question and that the decision made by the rider to ease up when the horse was beaten was correct because that was as good as the horse was on the day.  In response to a question from Andrew Coonan, Eoin Doyle accepted in hindsight that Down Royal wasn’t the best place to run the animal as the track didn’t suit but he decided to go there with him as there was a shortage of suitable races for the horse.  He said he fancied the horse to run well.  In response to a question from the Chairman, Eoin Doyle denied that the racecourse was being used as a training ground as the horse was fully exposed and there was no benefit from doing this.  He also confirmed that his instructions were that the whip was not to be used.

In his evidence Noel O’Brien told the Appeals Body that the horse was an easy horse to handicap.  He was consistent and said that his run at Tramore on 12th August was his best run.  As a result his rating was raised to 104.  Because the run at Down Royal was so bad, it was ignored for handicap purposes.  In his view it was about 14lbs below his best run.  Noel O’Brien agreed that the horse’s optimum trip was two miles on a tight track.

Having considered the evidence, the Appeals Body noted that it is difficult for the Stewards on the day to deal with these matters as enquiries have to be conducted within a limited time frame.  In addition, Stewards do not have recordings of the horse’s previous runs available to validate evidence being given or why a horse was ridden in a particular way.

In relation to Eoin Doyle, the Appeals Body was satisfied that the horse was not run in the race where his condition precluded his chances of winning nor was he run in the race for the purposes of giving him a school or for obtaining a handicap mark.  They noted that there was nothing to be gained from a “quiet” run.  Therefore the appeal was allowed on the basis of the evidence presented.

In relation to J.R. Barry, the Appeals Body said it had to consider if the horse was ridden to obtain his best possible placing.  In arriving at their decision the Appeals Body took into account the horse’s characteristics and the way it needs to be ridden.  They also noted that the horse barely stays two miles.  Having considered the evidence, the Appeals Body could not say that the horse wasn’t ridden to obtain his best possible placing.  That left whether or not the rider was entitled to deliberately ease the horse and his reasons for doing so.  The Appeals Body noted that J R Barry’s main reason for deliberately easing the horse was that he had “no horse” left under him and that he wouldn’t have finished closer with a more vigorous ride.  Having taken all these matters into account, the Appeals Body accepted that there was sufficient doubt that the horse would have finished any closer with a more vigorous ride and they allowed the appeal.

The case was presented by Conal Boyce, Wilkinson & Price Solicitors, Naas, Co. Kildare. 

Eoin Doyle and J.R. Barry were represented by Andrew Coonan, Coonan Cawley Solicitors, Naas, Co. Kildare.

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