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Kevin Prendergast (Trainer) Appeal – Dundalk 10th November 2021

The Appeals Body (Division 2), Mr. Peter N. Reynolds (in the chair), Ms. Mary M. O’Connor and Mr. Jack Rearden convened at the Offices of the Irish Horseracing Regulatory Board on Monday, 22nd November 2021 to consider the appeal of Kevin Prendergast (Trainer) against the decision of the Stewards at Dundalk on 10th November 2021 to fine him €2,000 and suspend Aghaboy (GER) for a period of 42 days.

On the day, the Stewards found Mr. Prendergast in breach of Rule 212A(ii) in that his runner, Aghaboy (GER), was not seen to have been the subject of a genuine attempt to obtain from the Horse, timely, real and substantial efforts to achieve the best possible place.

The grounds of appeal lodged by Mr. Prendergast was that at all times he had instructed his rider to obtain the best possible position on this horse and that through inexperience and/or lack of opportunities she did not, or was unable to obtain the best possible place despite his instructions.

At the Appeal Hearing, evidence was heard from Ms. Jessica O’Gorman (Rider), Mr. John Sullivan (Authorised Representative) and Mr. Prendergast. The panel also viewed a recording of the race.

In her evidence, Ms. O’Gorman informed the panel that her instructions from Mr. Prendergast were to jump out of the stalls and get a good position where the horse would be coming home well and to win if she could but not to use her whip due to her inexperience. Ms. O’Gorman stated that she has recently engaged Warren O’Connor as her jockey coach and that this was her first ride since she had changed her style on a horse with the focus being on keeping tidy. She said that during the race she felt that she was doing a good job but on viewing the recording accepted that she should have been much stronger in the latter stages of the race.

Mr. Sullivan confirmed the instructions given to Ms. O’Gorman by Mr. Prendergast and stated that having previously ridden and worked for Mr. Prendergast for a number of years that Mr. Prendergast would always get apprentices to refrain from using their whip until they obtained enough experience.

Mr. Prendergast also confirmed the instructions he had given to Ms. O’Gorman by phone prior to the race. He explained that the race in question was due to be divided and that Sean Davis had been engaged to ride a horse in each division for him. However, the race did not divide and as it was confined to riders who had not ridden more than 10 winners in the previous year he was unable to get a more experienced rider. He stated that the owner was keen to run due to the horse being balloted out on a number of occasions and at this stage he declared Ms. O’Gorman to ride the horse as she had been familiar with him from riding him at home. Mr. Prendergast stated that he was satisfied with the run from the horse but was disappointed with the ride on the day and that Ms. O’Gorman was not stronger in the latter stages of the race.

Having considered the evidence, the panel allowed Mr. Prendergast’s appeal but reminded him and his Authorised Representative of their responsibilities of informing the Acting Stewards on the day of their satisfaction or dissatisfaction of a ride if involved in a similar enquiry.

The case was presented by Mr. Michael Daly, IHRB Regulatory Advisor and Mr. Prendergast was represented by Mr. Andrew Coonan of Coonan Cawley Solicitors, Naas, County Kildare. 

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