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Gordon Elliott (Trainer) Identity Query Referral – Navan 4th March 2023

The Referrals Committee, Mr. Justice Tony Hunt (in the chair), Mr. Laurence McFerran and Mr. Nicholas B. Wachman convened in the Stewards Room, The Curragh Racecourse on Tuesday 11th April 2023, to consider the referral of Mr. Gordon Elliott (Trainer) in relation to the identification of Optoforce which was due to run on 4th March 2023 at Navan in the Race Displays Maiden Hurdle.

On the day, the Stewards received a report from Ms. Emma Costello, IHRB Veterinary Officer, that she was unable to positively identify Optoforce from the markings and the microchip number contained on the passport for the horse and that the filly presented was in fact an unnamed 2019 filly by Artic Cosmos x Beyond Belief.The Stewards ordered the withdrawal of Optoforce in accordance with Rule 90 (iv) and referred the matter to a Senior Racing Official for further investigation. On further investigation, it was also noted that a second runner in the same race, Media Naranja, could not be positively identified from the markings and the microchip contained in the passport presented, and the horse presented was Mrs Paisley. Media Naranja was subsequently presented in time to race.

At the Referral Hearing, the committee considered evidence from Mr. Elliott.

In his evidence, Mr. Elliott explained that he had been abroad on the day of the fixture and his travelling head girl was also away from the yard supervising cross country schooling. Mr. Elliott apologised for the mix up that took place at Navan and explained that Optoforce, who was due to run for the first time, had not been scanned on first arrival at his yard. Mr. Elliott further explained that Media Naranja and Mrs Paisley are two horses that look similar to each other and on the morning of the race both had come off the horse walker at the same time and were put in the wrong stables by a weekend member of staff. Mr. Elliott accepted that he was in breach of Rule 90 (vi) and assured the Committee that he has taken active measures to prevent a reoccurrence of this incident.

Having considered the evidence, the Referrals Committee were satisfied that Mr. Elliott was in breach of Rule 90(vi) in respect of both Optoforce and Media Naranja. They imposed a fine of €500 in respect of Optoforce, and, having considered the mitigating circumstances, imposed a fine of €200 in respect of Media Naranja.

The case was presented by Mr. Michael Daly, IHRB Regulatory Legal Advisor

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