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J.A. Heffernan (Rider) Appeal – Gowran Park 12th August 2020

The Appeals Body (Division 1), Justice Nial Fennelly (in the chair) Ms. Mary O’Connor and Mr. Joseph M. McGrath convened at offices of the Irish Horseracing Regulatory Board on 24th August 2020 to consider the Appeal of J.A. Heffernan (Rider) against the severity of the sanction imposed by the Stewards at Gowran Park on 12th August 2020.


On the day, following the running of the first division of the Bet 10 Get 20 With MansionBet Handicap the Stewards suspended Mr. Heffernan for four racedays having found him in breach of Rule 214, in that he had ridden carelessly.


Evidence was heard from Mr. Heffernan and the Appeals Body also watched a recording of the race.


In his evidence, Mr. Heffernan accepted the decision of the Stewards on the day to find him in breach of Rule 214 but felt the suspension of four racedays was harsh for the nature of the incident. Mr. Heffernan outlined how the race developed from his perspective and that he feared that had he not have made the manoeuvre that he did that the Stewards may have found him guilty of a different offence of not obtaining his best possible position. He added that the nature of the track at Gowran Park means that horses do tend to run around a bit as the home straight isn’t a dead straight line. Mr. Heffernan also stated that, in over 3,000 rides over the last eight seasons, he had served just two suspensions for careless riding. He further added that he felt he could have explained himself better to the Acting Stewards on the day regarding the judgment he made in the race as to why he went for the gap which was developing on his outside.


Having considered the evidence and taken Mr. Heffernan’s record into account, the Appeals Body reduced the sanction to three racedays. They also ordered that the deposit be refunded.


The case was presented by Mr. Paul Murtagh, INHSC Registrar.


Suspension Date: 26th, 27th, 28th August

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