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D G Hogan (Trainer) Appeal – Down Royal 6 May 2024

The Appeals Body, Mr Robert Dore (Chairman), Mr Jack Rearden and Mr Raymond J. McSharry convened at the Offices of the Irish Horseracing Regulatory Board on Wednesday, 15 May to consider the appeal of D G Hogan (Trainer) against the decision of the Raceday Stewards at Down Royal on Monday, 6 May 2024.

On the day, following the running of the Club Lemon Handicap Hurdle, the Raceday Stewards enquired into possible interference in the closing stages between Tell Us This ridden by Conor Stone-Walsh, placed first and Benjis Benefit ridden by Aidan Kelly, placed second, where it appeared that interference may have occurred. Having viewed a recording of the race and considered the evidence the Raceday Stewards were of the opinion that while Tell Us This had caused interference to Benjis Benefit, he did not improve his finishing position as a result of this interference and so they made no alteration to the Judge’s placings.

The grounds of appeal lodged by the Mr Hogan, Trainer of Benjis Benefit was that the Raceday Stewards on the day erred in their decision not to reverse the placings.

Evidence was heard from Mr Thomas Foley, representing Mr Hogan and Longevity Racing Club (Owner), Mr Aidan Kelly, rider of Benjis Benefit, Mr Conor Stone-Walsh, rider of Tell Us This, and Mr Gavin Cromwell, trainer of Tell Us This. The Committee also watched a recording of the race.

In his evidence, Mr Foley suggested that Benjis Benefit was denied the opportunity of a clear run after the last hurdle. Mr Foley stated that he felt Mr Stone-Walsh made insufficient effort to straighten his mount, Tell Us This, after the last hurdle and therefore Mr Kelly had no option but to stop riding Benjis Benefit in the closing stages. Mr Foley maintained this interference ultimately cost Benjis Benefit the race.

In his evidence, Mr Kelly said that he felt he had a fair chance of winning the race with a clear run as he hadn't fully asked his mount for full effort at the time the interference began. Mr Kelly accepted that the interference occurred inside the final 100 yards, but he felt he had loads of horse left at this point and he had no choice but to stop riding in the closing stages.

In his evidence, Mr Stone-Walsh explained that his mount raced greenly in what was only his second start in a handicap. He stated that he was always in front and was always holding the runner-up who didn't go by him when the opportunity was there prior to any interference being caused. Mr Stone-Walsh accepted that interference had occurred but, in his opinion, without any interference his mount would still have won the race.

In his evidence, Mr Cromwell stated that watching the race live he always felt that Tell Us This was going to win the race and was always holding the runner-up. Mr Cromwell said that his charge was a green horse and wasn't surprised he idled in front.

Having considered the evidence, the Appeals Body found that serious interference had taken place, and they were satisfied on the balance of probabilities that Tell Us This had improved his finishing position relative to Benjis Benefit as a result of the interference and so they  ordered that the placings be reversed.

The Amended result of the Club Lemon Handicap Hurdle now reads:

First place:                         Benjis Benefit

Second place:                    Tell Us This

Third place:                       Who's In Midfield

Fourth place:                     Divilabother

Fifth place:                        Breagagh

The appeal was presented by Mr Thomas Foley, on behalf of Mr Hogan. The IHRB was represented by Mr Paul Murtagh, INHSC Registrar and IHRB Head of Raceday Operations and Ms Clíodhna Guy, IHRB Head of Licensing, Legal and Compliance.

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