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Miss Elizabeth Doyle (Trainer) and J.P. Sullivan (Rider) Referral – Thurles 21th March 2020

The Referrals Committee, Justice Raymond Groarke (in the chair), Mr. Anthony Byrne. and Mr. Peter M. Allen convened at the Offices of the Irish Horseracing Regulatory Board (IHRB), Co. Kildare on 13th July 2020 to consider the referral of Miss Elizabeth Doyle (Trainer) and J.P. Sullivan (Rider) by the Stewards at Thurles on 21st March 2020.


On the day, following the running of the Adare Manor Opportunity Maiden Hurdle, the Stewards wished to enquire into the running and riding of Feelgood Island (FR), placed eighth, trained by Miss Elizabeth Doyle and ridden by J.P. O’Sullivan. Mr. James Rath attended the enquiry on behalf of Miss Doyle but as he was not a nominated Authorised Representative of the trainer the Stewards could not conclude the enquiry and referred the matter to the Referrals Committee.


Evidence was heard from Miss Doyle and Mr. O’Sullivan and the Referrals Committee also viewed footage of the race.


In his evidence, Mr. O’Sullivan outlined that Feelgood Island (FR) had previously run in bumpers and had raced keenly in his two previous starts. He confirmed he had received his instructions from Mr. Rath at the races and those instructions were to drop the horse in, to try and get the horse switched off and to race more relaxed. He stated that he was happy with how the race was going in the early stages but that he had given the horse an awful ride in the closing stages as he had tried to get the horse to finish out his race strongly but left his effort too late.


In her evidence, Miss Doyle confirmed that Feelgood Island (FR) had ran disappointingly in two bumpers and that her intention was to run in this maiden hurdle to learn about what level Feelgood Island (FR) could compete at. She said that she was unable to attend the races on this occasion but had given Mr. Rath the instructions of how the horse should be ridden before they left the yard. Those instructions were to drop the horse in to get him settled and then let him do his best so that she could then make a plan for which type of race they could go for next. It was in her mind that if the horse could not be placed in a race of this nature that she would then find a maiden hurdle for horses who had been unplaced. Miss Doyle said that she was disappointed with the ride, especially the fact that Mr. O’Sullivan wasn’t stronger on the horse at the top of the hill on the final circuit. Miss Doyle accepted that she had failed to nominate an authorised representative as the form that Mr. Rath required on the day was left in the yard and not lodged with the Clerk of the Scales as is required.


Having considered the evidence, the Referrals Committee found Mr. O’Sullivan to be in breach of Rule 212A(i) and 212A(ii) in that he had not allowed the horse to run on its merits and he had not made timely, real and substantial efforts to achieve the best possible place in the race. Having considered his record in this regard, the committee imposed a seven day suspension on Mr. O’Sullivan. Furthermore, having considered the transcript from the day, the panel were satisfied that the evidence heard from Mr. Rath, who they accepted was a person connected with the horse through ownership, did not involve putting the horse into the race and contradicted the instructions given by Miss Doyle. They therefore suspended Feelgood Island (FR) for a period of 90 days. The committee found Miss Doyle in breach of Rule 147(v) in that she had failed to appoint an Authorised Representative at the race meeting and imposed a fine of €500.


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


J.P. O’Sullivan suspension dates: 23rd, 24th, 25th, 29th 30th, 31st July and 1st August

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