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G.B. Noonan, N. Terrassin and A. McCurtin (Riders) Referral – Killarney 15th July 2021

The Referrals Committee, Mr. N.B. Wachman (in the chair), Mr. Peter N. Reynolds and Mr. Anthony Byrne convened at the Offices of the Irish Horseracing Regulatory Board on Wednesday 4th August 2021 to consider the request by the Registrar of the Irish National Hunt Steeplechase Committee, Mr. Paul Murtagh under Rule 27(i)(a) to review the sanction of a caution imposed on G.B. Noonan, N. Terrassin and A. McCurtin for breaching Rule 208 at Killarney on 15th July 2021 in that they had failed to comply with the instructions of the Starter, causing a false start.

The grounds of appeal by Mr. Murtagh was that the penalty imposed was unduly lenient.

Evidence was heard from Mr. Murtagh, Mr. McCurtin, Mr. Terrassin (in the company of Mr. Patrick Harty, Trainer), and Mr. Noonan. The panel also viewed a recording of the Start of this race.

In his evidence, Mr. Murtagh outlined his grounds for appealing the sanction imposed on the day. He stated it wasn’t an appeal he lodged lightly but that in light of all the circumstances surrounding the introduction of the new starting procedures, he felt it was important that all riders were dealt with appropriately. He stated that new starting procedures were introduced on 9th July at the request of the Irish Jockeys Association following a meeting which included himself and the IHRB Starters. He added that the Irish Jockeys Association requested that the disciplinary records of all riders in relation to breaches for the Starting Rule be wiped clean as a demonstration of good faith for the co-operation between riders and the IHRB on attempting to improve this area. This request had been granted by the Directors of the IHRB on the basis that going forward the entry for a breach of the Starting Rule would be a suspension as recommended by the Stewarding Review Committee. As these three riders were the first riders found to be in breach of Rule 208 since 9th July, Mr. Murtagh felt it was important that the sanction imposed was a suspension, rather than a caution.

In his evidence, Mr. McCurtin stated that he was aware of the new starting procedures and was getting used to them when he rode at Killarney.

Mr. Noonan stated that was aware of the new starting procedures when riding at Killarney.

Mr. Terrassin said that he was unaware of the new starting procedures as he was not a member of the Irish Jockeys Association.

Having considered the evidence, the Referrals Committee deemed Mr. Murtagh’s appeal successful and therefore increased the penalty imposed to one raceday. They also strongly agreed that the guidelines for a first of offence of these protocols should be at a minimum of one day and that those guidelines should be published immediately on the IHRB website to reflect the recommendations of the Stewarding Review Committee.

The case was presented by Mr. Liam Walsh, IHRB Stipendiary Steward and Ms. Cliodhna Guy, Head of Licensing, Legal and Compliance.

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