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Michael Hussey (Rider) Appeal, Curragh - 4 May 2015

The Appeals Body (Division Two) C.P. Magnier (in the Chair), Philip Caffrey and J.R. Craigie met at the Turf Club, The Curragh, Co Kildare on Tuesday, 19th May 2015 to consider the appeal of Michael Hussey, rider, “My Painter” against the severity of the penalty imposed on him by the  Stewards at The Curragh on 4th May 2015.  On that date the Stewards found that he was in breach of Rule 212(a)(i) for failing to take all reasonable and permissible measures to ensure that his horse was given a full opportunity to win or of obtaining her best possible place.  As a result he was suspended for 14 race days.

Evidence was heard from Michael Hussey. The Appeals Body also considered a transcript of the evidence of the original enquiry and viewed a film of the race, as well as oral submissions from Frank Ward on behalf of Michael Hussey and Conal Boyce on behalf of the Turf Club.

In his evidence Michael Hussey referred to the instructions given to him by trainer Denis Hogan which were that he was to keep the horse nice and relaxed, and not to “beat her up”.  He said it took time to get into a nice rhythm and that he got a gap on the rails in the latter part of the race.  He said he had Declan McDonogh’s mount “Northern Surprise” in his sights and as far as he was concerned, that was the only horse he needed to pass.  It was just before he reached the finishing line that he noticed the winner “Bobby Jean” as he was unsighted.  At that stage it was too late to do anything further.  He said he thought he was winning cheekily and was disgusted when he realised there was another horse he hadn’t seen.

Mr Hussey admitted that he told the Stewards on the day he thought he should have won but in hindsight he said he wasn’t so sure, as his horse took a blow in the last 50 yards.  He attributed not seeing the winner to the fact that the winner was on the far rails.  He concluded by saying that he thought he gave his horse an outstanding ride until just before he got to the line.

In response to a number of questions, Mr Hussey said that there was no question of him stopping his horse.  He said there was no reason to do this, as it was very important that he showcased his talents at the Curragh to ensure that he gets more rides.

Mr Hussey also referred to his excellent record and said that this was his first ever conviction for a breach of Rule 212 in an 18 year career.

Having considered the evidence, the Appeals Body stressed to Mr Hussey the importance of being seen to make every effort to ensure his horse obtains the best possible place.  They were critical of the way he rode the horse and said that he must make every effort to try and win.  Taking everything into account, the Appeals Body reduced the penalty imposed from 14 race days to 8 race days (May 24th, 27th, 28th, 30th, 31st May and June 1st, 4th & 5th).  They ordered that the penalty should commence on 24th May 2015.

The case was presented by Conal Boyce, Solicitor, Naas, Co. Kildare.  Michael Hussey was represented by Frank Ward, Frank Ward & Co Solicitors, Dublin 7.

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