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Luke Comer (Trainer) Referral - Fairyhouse, 20th September 2017

The Referrals Committee, Sean Barry, (in the chair), Robert Dore and N.B. Wachman met at the Turf Club, Curragh, Co. Kildare on Monday, 23rd October 2017 to consider the referral of Luke Comer, Trainer, as a result of vaccination errors discovered in the passport of Caitie at Fairyhouse on 20th September 2017.

On the day at Fairyhouse, the Stewards noted that the passport for Caitie had previously been the subject of a vaccination check at Dundalk on 24th March 2017 and an apparent error was discovered. The horse was however allowed run on that occasion on the basis of a declaration made by Mr. Comer Jnr. Authorised representative for Luke Comer Snr, that the vaccinations were in fact correct.

The horse was subsequently transferred to trainer, James Gorman and declared to run at Fairyhouse on 20th September 2017. The passport was the subject of a recheck at Fairyhouse, on the basis of the previous error, and it was noted that the passport still showed that the horse’s previous vaccination had been on 23rd March 2017 and was in fact correct at Dundalk on 24th March 2017. However, this made the horse ineligible to run at Dundalk as the horse had been vaccinated within 7 days of the race.

The matter was subsequently referred to the Referrals Committee by Cliodhna Guy, Solicitor, Head of Licensing, Legal and Compliance and the committee were asked to consider whether or not Mr. Comer was in breach of the following rules:

1. Rules 87(vii)(a) and 91(i) by running a horse in Fairyhouse on 24th March 2017 that had received a vaccination less than 7 day prior to the day of the race.
2. Rule 272(ii) for supplying misleading information to the Stewards Enquiry on the 24th March 2017 regarding the vaccination of the horse.

Evidence was heard from James Gorman, (on behalf of Luke Comer).

In his evidence, Mr. Gorman accepted that the horse was ineligible to run at Dundalk on 23rd Match 2017 as it had been vaccinated the day before. However, at the time, while Luke Comer Jnr. was aware that the horse had been recently vaccinated, he was unaware that it had been vaccinated on the day before the race. Mr. Gorman said that Mr. Comer did not knowingly mislead the stewards.

Mr. Gorman also confirmed that the matter has been regularised and that the vaccinations are now correct. He accepted that Mr. Comer was in breach of Rules 87(vii)(a) and 91(i).

Having considered the evidence, the Referrals Committee found that Luke Comer was in breach of Rules 87(vii)(a), 91(i) and 272(ii).

In arriving at penalty, the committee did not impose a fine for the breaches of Rules 87(vii)(a) and 91(i) as Mr. Comer had already been fined €350 by the stewards at Dundalk. They imposed a fine of €250 for the breach of Rule 272(ii).

The case was presented by Cliodhna Guy, Solicitor, Head of Licensing, Legal and Compliance.

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