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Miss Jennifer Anne Lynch (Trainer) & L. F. Roche (Rider) Appeals - Killarney 18th July 2023

The Appeals Body, Mr. Robert Dore (Chairman), Mr. Laurence McFerran and Mr. Finbar Cahill convened in the Offices of the Irish Horseracing Regulatory Board on Wednesday 11th October 2023 to consider the appeal of Jennifer Lynch (Trainer) and Leigh Roche (Rider) against the decision of the Referrals Committee to reverse the placings in the William Hill Ireland Maiden and to find Mr. Roche in breach of Rule 214, in that he had ridden carelessly, following a Referral Hearing on the 28th of August 2023.

At the Appeal Hearing, evidence was heard from Miss Lynch, Trainer of Coolree, Mr. Roche, Rider of Coolree, Mr. Andrew Kinirons, Trainer of Most Wanted and Mr. Ben Browne on behalf of Mr. James Browne, owner of Most Wanted.

The grounds of appeal lodged by Miss Lynch was that the Referrals Committee erred in their decision to reverse the placings. The grounds of appeal lodged by Mr. Roche was that he had not ridden carelessly.

In her evidence at the Appeal Hearing, Miss Lynch stated it was her opinion that when the horses came into close proximity of each other that Most Wanted had lifted his head and that any contact, if there was any, was accidental. Miss Lynch added that Mr. Roche had maintained his racing line throughout having never been directly on the rail in the straight.

In his evidence, Mr. Roche stated that he felt his mount was a snug winner and that he let him coast all the way to the line. Mr. Roche said that Most Wanted moved towards Coolree and that any finding of careless riding against him was unfounded as he had taken all reasonable steps to avoid interference and it was not careless riding.

In his evidence, Mr. Kinirons explained that Most Wanted was a very straightforward horse to train and he was at a loss after the race as to how he got beaten on the day. He explained that it was following conversations with the owner of Most Wanted that it became apparent that there had been interference caused by Mr. Roche’s staying straight at a point when the track was turning and Most Wanted’s rider Ronan Whelan was riding the camber of the track.

In his evidence, Mr. Browne suggested that Mr. Roche had ridden in a dangerous manner by intimidating Most Wanted and had acted with intent to cause serious interference or knew that his actions would cause serious interference and that it was clear to see the detrimental effects Mr. Roche’s actions had on Most Wanted. Mr. Browne added that it was clear to see if Most Wanted had not have been interfered with that he would have won by half a length.

Having considered the evidence, the Appeals Body reserved their decision on the day of the appeal and issued the following written decision to both parties:

“This Appeals Body convened to consider two appeals arising from the findings of a Referrals Committee (sitting de-facto as Raceday Stewards) made on the 28th August 2023.

The Referrals Committee found Leigh Roche to be in breach of rule 214(ii), for which he received a caution.  It found Ronan Whelan to be in breach of Rule 213(ii), for which he received a caution (not under appeal).    The Referrals Committee reversed the placings such that Most Wanted was declared the winner and Coolree was placed second.

By a letter from Maurice Power solicitors dated 30th August 2023, Leigh Roche appealed against the finding made against him.  The grounds of appeal are:

“The grounds of appeal are that the Referrals Committee erred in their decision in finding a breach of Rule 214 a finding which inter alia contradicted the decision Raceday Stewards who did not see fit and/or necessary to hold a running and riding enquiry before announcing the “winner all right”.  It is Mr Roche’s position that “Most Wanted” did not suffer interference as a result of his riding and/or use of the whip and therefore the finding of a breach of Rule 214 is not well founded.

Furthermore and for the avoidance of doubt it is disputed that “Most Wanted” lost more ground as a result of any alleged interference than he was ultimately beaten by.”

By an appeal form dated the 29th August 2023 Jennifer Lynch / Lisglassick Partnership, the trainer of Coolree, appealed against the finding to reverse the placings.  This appeal form was filed by Patrick Kennedy solicitor acting for Jenny Lynch.   The grounds of appeal are:

“Stewards / Referral Committee erred in their decision to reverse the placings and their authority to do so.“


The second race on the card for the Killarney races on the 18th July 2023 was the William Hill Ireland Maiden.  After the running of the race Leigh Roche, the rider of Coolree, reported to the Clerk of the Scales that his mount hung right throughout.  After viewing the race in the normal course, the Raceday Stewards declared the winner all right. Coolree was the winner with Most Wanted placed second.

On the 20th July 2023 the IHRB received a letter from James Browne, the owner of Most Wanted.

By an appeal form dated the 24th July 2023 James Browne appealed against the findings of the Racday Stewards.   The grounds of appeal are:

“I wish to object to the decision taken by the Stewards to declare winner all right on the above mentioned race.  Leigh Roche, the rider of the winning horse Coolree, whipped the second horse Most Wanted, in the face on two occasions in order to improve Coolree’s placing in the race.   This act is in breach of rule 214 of the Rules of Racing and Irish National Steeplechase Rules and the placings of both horses should be reversed as a result.”

An Appeals Body convened on 16th August 2023 to consider Mr Browne’s appeal.

The Appeals Body, for the reasons as set out in the transcript, decided to remit the matter back to a Referrals Committee to consider the case de-novo and arising from the decision of that Referrals Committee, the parties would have a right of appeal.

A Referrals Committee was convened on 28th August 2023.  The panel members of the committee were sitting de-facto as Raceday Stewards.  The findings of the Referral Committee are set out at paragraph 2 above.


 The preliminary issue.

A preliminary issue was raised by Patrick Kennedy acting for the trainer of Coolree, placing reliance on the provisions of Rule 262(iv)a. 

            This rule provides :

            “An objection to a Horse on the grounds of :

  1. interference ….

must be made at or before the Riders of the winner and placed Horses have weighed in, or before the Raceday Stewards have authorised the “Winner All Right” announcement and all placed Horses required by the conditions of the race, whichever is the later, unless under special circumstances, the Raceday Stewards are satisfied that it could not have been made within that time.”

Essentially, Mr Kennedy made the case that there was no special circumstance to trigger an extension of the time limits set out in rule 262(iv), and that, accordingly, Mr Browne’s appeal should never have been accepted by the IHRB in the first instance, let alone being heard by the Appeals Body on 16th August 2023.

Kevin Power, on behalf of Leigh Roche, was supportive of the case made by Mr Kennedy.

Written submissions were invited by the parties in relation to the preliminary issue raised and this Appeals Body thank the parties for their written submissions which have been considered carefully.

This Appeals Body accepts the written legal submissions on behalf of the IHRB.   It is not open to this Appeals Body to go behind the findings of the Appeals Body which sat on 16th August 2023.  To do so would be an attempt to unlawfully usurp the jurisdiction of the Court and would be ultra vires the Appeals Body.

This finding disposes of the preliminary issue raised by Patrick Kennedy on behalf of the trainer of Coolree.  However, this is not to say that this Appeals Body accepts that there was a special circumstance justifying an extension of time to appeal against the decision of the Raceday Stewards.

The substantive hearing of the appeal

Having reviewed the recording of the race on numerous occasions and having heard all of the evidence adduced and listened to the arguments and submissions made by all of the parties and having read the transcript of the Referrals Committee hearing of 28th August 2023 the decision of this Appeals Body is to allow the appeal by Leigh Roche against the breach of Rule 214, and to allow the appeal of Jennifer Lynch. This being the case, the result as announced by the Raceday Stewards in Killarney on 18th July 2023, stands.” 

Amended Result

Killarney 18th July 2023

William Hill Ireland Maiden

First:                 Coolree

Second:            Most Wanted

Third:               God Knows

Fourth:             Indigo Five

Fifth:                Believe In Science

Sixth:                Awqaat


The case was presented by Mr. Patrick Kennedy of Patrick J. O’Meara Solicitors, Thurles, County Tipperary on behalf of Miss Lynch and Mr. Kevin Power of Maurice Power Solicitors, Kilmallock, County Limerick on behalf of Mr. Roche. Mr. James Browne was represented by Mr. Ben Browne. The IHRB was represented by Mr. Frank Crean BL instructed by Ms. Clíodhna Guy, IHRB Head of Licensing, Legal and Compliance.

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