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Mr. Tom Taaffe (Trainer) “Walking Fame” – Identity Query Gowran Park – 24th January 2019


The Referrals Committee, Justice Tony Hunt (in the chair), Justice Leonie Reynolds and Philip Caffrey met at Croke Park Hotel on Tuesday 26th February 2019 to consider a Referral from Cliodhna Guy, IHRB Senior Racing Official as to how an incorrect horse from Mr. Taaffe’s stables was brought to Gowran Park Racecourse on 24th January 2019 to run in the P. J. Foley Memorial Irish National Hunt Flat Race instead of “Walking Fame” which had been declared to run in the race.

On the day the IHRB Veterinary Officer was unable to positively identify the animal from the passport documentation presented to the IHRB staff.  The Stewards ordered the withdrawal of “Walking Fame” from the race and referred the matter to a Senior Racing Official for further investigation under Rule 90(vi).

The matter was investigated and the blood sample taken from the horse presented on the day confirmed the identity of the horse as being another horse returned in training under Mr. Taaffe.

The evidence was considered by the Referrals Committee including a written submission from Mr. Taaffe explaining how the error occurred. He confirmed that the identity of two fillies (“Walking Fame” and “Cottie”) had been confused when they had been purchased due to identical markings. Mr. Taaffe assured the IHRB that it was a genuine mistake and he accepted full responsibility for his error. 

The Committee, having considered the evidence, noted that the animal produced to run as “Walking Fame”, at Gowran Park on 24th January 2019, was in fact the filly “Cottie”.  They accepted the explanation submitted by Mr. Taaffe and cautioned him as to his responsibilities.

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

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