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M.P. Sheehy (Rider) Referral – Dundalk 27th November 2020

The Referrals Committee, Justice Tony Hunt (in the chair) Mr. James Hunt and Ms. Mary Cosgrave convened at Dundalk Racecourse on 4th December 2020 to consider an objection from the Keeper of the Match Book to the result of the Irish Stallion Farms EBF Maiden at Dundalk on 27th November 2020.


On the day, following the conclusion of the fixture, the Clerk of the Scales Report recorded that Mikey Sheehy (Rider) had weighed out at 121lbs to ride Hala Joud, placed fourth, trained by Joseph O’Brien, in the Irish Stallion Farms EBF Maiden, when he should have weighed out at 123lbs. The objection to the result was made under the provisions of Rule 262(v)(c) in that the weight at which the Rider weighed out was less than his correct weight.


Evidence was heard from Mr. Pat Malone (IHRB Clerk of the Scales), Mr. Sheehy and Mr. Brendan Powell (Authorised Representative) on behalf of Joseph O’Brien.


In his evidence, Mr. Malone outlined the normal procedure for weighing out and weighing in riders in his role as Clerk of the Scales and also some of the changes to these procedures as a result of Covid-19 Protocols. Mr. Malone explained that Mr. Sheehy was replacing Alan Persse on Hala Joud due to an injury sustained in an earlier race on the card and when he was making the change on the Clerk of the Scales programme that he had mistakenly inputted a 7lbs allowance for Mr. Sheehy rather than a 5lbs allowance. Furthermore, he explained that Mr. Sheehy had presented himself as the scales to weigh out with a 7lbs allowance for this particular race and therefore the error was not noticed by either party and thus Hala Joud carried 2lbs less than the correct weight.


In his evidence, Mr. Sheehy stated that he had recently lost the right to claim a 7lbs allowance and that this fixture was his first to ride with a 5lbs allowance. He said that the spare ride on Hala Joud had come about following a fall to Mr. Persse and that following a brief conversation with Mr. Powell to confirm he was riding the horse he had returned to the weighroom to get his saddle from his valets and stood up on the scales to weigh out and failed to notice that he had presented himself to ride with a 7lbs allowance rather than a 5lbs allowance for this race. He explained that in his previous rides on the card he had carried both a 5lbs allowance in one race and had no allowance in the apprentice race.


In his evidence, Mr. Powell stated that Mr. O’Brien fully accepted the reason behind the referral hearing and he said that this was an unfortunate mistake that happened due to a sequence of events on the night. Mr. Powell said that due to the Covid-19 Protocols no access to the weighroom is permitted and therefore he was unable to see the weight that Mr. Sheehy weighed out at but accepted that an error was made, and it was due to a combination of events such as Mr. Sheehy’s recent change of claiming allowance, the fact that this was a spare ride at late notice and the Covid-19 Protocols slightly changing the normal procedure and this was an unfortunate incident but blame could not be attributed to anyone.


Having considered the evidence, the Referrals Committee were satisfied that there had been a breach of Rule 230(iii) in that Hala Joud had carried less than the correct weight in accordance with the conditions of the race. They disqualified the horse, ordered that the stake be forfeited and amended the result to read as follows:


First:        Let’s

Second:   Twilight Man (GB)

Third:       Smart Remark

Fourth:    Olivia Valere

Fifth:        Red Contender 

Sixth:        Bella Coaster


Furthermore, the Referrals Committee noted the unfortunate combination of circumstances that led to the error and complimented the very fair and reasonable attitude taken by Mr. O’Brien, Mr. Sheehy and Mr. Powell and took no further action.


The case was presented by Mr. Liam Walsh, Stipendiary Steward



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