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John Joseph Murphy Appeal

John Joseph Murphy / Iona Equine Syndicate

Cork – 28th May 2010

The Appeals Body, Division Two, Judge Tony Hunt (in the Chair), Martin P. O’Donnell and Mrs. J.O. Onions met in the Turf Club, The Curragh, Co. Kildare on Monday 21st, June 2010 to consider the appeal of John Joseph Murphy, trainer, and Iona Equine Syndicate, owners of “Sebadee” against the decision of the Stewards at Cork on 28th May 2010, not to alter the placings of first and second placed horses following the running of the Newmarket Handicap Hurdle after they held an enquiry into interference following the race in which Sebadee, had finished second to “According To Him”, trained by Eugene M. O’Sullivan.

Evidence was heard from P.W. Flood, rider of According To Him, J.R. Barry, rider of Sebadee, Thomas Carmody, former champion jockey (expert witness called by the appellants) and John Joseph Murphy.  Videos of the race were also viewed.  At the request of the appellants, the Appeals Body also viewed a video of the 2008 Irish 1,000 Guineas in which a horse trained by John Joseph Murphy was demoted from second to fourth place for causing interference.

In his evidence P.W. Flood confirmed the evidence that he gave to the stewards at Cork.  He said he was going very easily throughout the race on the winner According To Him and while he accepted that there was interference, in his view it didn’t affect the result.  He said he never had to use his whip and eased his horse in the last few strides which is why the deficit between the winner and the second was reduced to 3/4of a length.

J.R. Barry told the Appeals Body that the interference, which in his view occurred at each of the last three hurdles, cost him the race.  He said that he was practically carried out onto the chase track after the last hurdle and but for that he would have won by at least two lengths.  He said his horse stays very well and always picks up in the latter stages of a race.

Thomas Carmody said that in his opinion the interference caused by the winner cost the runner up the race.  He outlined how the interference would have affected the runners up’s momentum at critical times in the latter stages of the race. 

John Joseph Murphy said that in his opinion the interference caused by the winner cost his horse the race.

Having considered the evidence the Appeals Body said that this case was decided on its own facts.  They noted that there was significant interference caused by According To Him both before and after the last hurdle.  To reverse the placings they needed to be satisfied that the winner improved his finishing opposition in relation to the second.  Based on the video evidence they were not satisfied that this had occurred particularly in view of the way that the winner was traveling.  Taking into account all these facts, they felt that the Stewards on the day made the correct decision not to reverse the placings.  The appeal was dismissed.

Following an application for costs by the Turf Club, the Appeals Body made no order for costs as they felt that there was merit in the appeal and only ordered the forfeiture of the appellant’s deposit.

The case was presented to the Committee by Denis Egan, Chief Executive of the Turf Club.  John Joseph Murphy and the Iona Equine Syndicate were represented by Andrew Coonan, Coonan Cawley Solicitors, Naas, Co. Kildare.

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