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Ms. Katy Brown (Trainer) and Mr. Daniel Dunne (Authorised Representative) Referral – Cork 3rd April 2021


The Referrals Committee, Ms. Justice Leonie Reynolds (in the chair), Mr. Peter M. Allen and Mr. Peter N. Reynolds convened at Offices of the Irish Horseracing Regulatory Board on 21st April 2021 to consider the referral of Ms. Katy Brown, Trainer and Mr. Daniel Dunne, Authorised Representative by the Acting Stewards at Cork on 3rd April 2021.

On the day, following the running of the second division of the Handicap, the Stewards received a report from Ms. Nicola O’Connor, IHRB Veterinary Officer, in relation to the behaviour of Mr. Dunne, Authorised Representative for Ms. Brown, however were unable to conclude their enquiry as Mr. Dunne left prior to the conclusion.

At the Referral Hearing, evidence was heard from Mr. Liam Walsh IHRB Stipendiary Steward, Ms. Nicola O’Connor, IHRB Veterinary Officer, Ms. Katy Brown, Trainer, Mr. Daniel Dunne, Authorised Representative and Mr. Michael O’Reilly, Groom and Owner. The Committee also considered the transcript of the Stewards Enquiry and listened to audio recordings from the day.

Having considered the evidence, the Committee were satisfied that Mr. Dunne was in breach of Rule 272(i) and Rule 272(iii) and disqualified him for a period of six months, the final three months of which are suspended for a period of 12 months on the basis that Mr. Dunne conducts himself in an appropriate manner during that period towards all IHRB officials and that there is no further breach of Rule 272.
Furthermore, the panel reminded Ms. Brown of her responsibilities as a licence holder and she agreed to pay costs in the sum of €500.

The full written decision of Ms. Justice Leonie Reynolds is attached below.

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


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The Referrals Committee, Ms. Justice Leonie Reynolds (in the chair), Mr. Peter Reynolds and Mr. Peter Allen, convened on the 21st April 2021 at the IHRB offices in the Curragh to consider a referral from the acting Stewards in Cork on the 3rd April 2021. On that date, the Stewards received a report from Ms. N. O’Connor, MVB, Veterinary Officer, in relation to the behaviour of Mr. Daniel Dunne, Authorised Representative for Ms. Katy Brown. Evidence was heard in the Stewards’ room from Ms. O’Connor, Ms. Brown and Mr. Dunne. However, Mr. Dunne departed the room prior to the conclusion of the enquiry. In the circumstances, the Stewards referred both matters to the Referrals Committee ie. Mr. Dunne’s behaviour to Ms. O’Connor and to the Stewards in the Stewards’ room.


Relevant Rules:

Rule 272 provides:
‘Any person involved in horse racing who, within the jurisdiction of the IHRB;
(i) whether verbally or by conduct or behaviour, acts in a manner which is prejudicial to the integrity, proper conduct or good reputation of horse racing (whether or not such behaviour or conduct, verbal or otherwise is associated directly with horse racing); or
(ii) supplies misleading information to or gives false evidence to an Official, at a Stewards’ Enquiry or at a hearing by the Referrals Committee, the Licensing Committee or the Appeals Body;
(iii) abuses, misleads, intimidates, threatens or interferes with any person including any Official involved in the administration or the control of racing, shall be in breach of these Rules and liable to sanction.


The Hearing:

At the outset, Ms. Brown confirmed that both herself and Mr. Dunne were happy to represent themselves having been advised of their right to representation. Further, she confirmed that they understood the potential sanctions they were facing.

Mr. Liam Walsh, Stipendiary Steward on the day in Cork, explained what had happened down at the start for the second race. A horse went down in the stalls and was subsequently withdrawn. Ms. Brown’s charge, Vento Del Drago, was in the stall beside it and was taken out of the stalls by the stall handlers and examined by the racecourse veterinary officer, Mr. Conor O’Brien. The filly was deemed fit to race and participated in the race. After the race, Mr. Dunne attended the Stewards’ room and was clearly angry that Ms. Brown’s charge had not been withdrawn. Mr. Walsh stated he did his best to explain to him why the filly was not withdrawn. Whilst it is clear that Mr. Dunne was abusive to Mr. Walsh during this interaction, no complaint has been made against Mr. Dunne in that regard as Mr. Walsh was of the view that Mr. Dunne was upset.

Mr. Walsh was subsequently advised by Ms. O’Connor, Veterinary Officer, that she was on her way up to the Stewards’ room to make a complaint against Mr. Dunne. Upon her arrival, Mr. Walsh noted that she was visibly distressed. Ms. O’Connor relayed her complaint to the Stewards and both Mr. Dunne and Ms. Brown were afforded an opportunity to reply. During the course of his response, Mr. Dunne denied being verbally abusive to Ms. O’Connor. Thereafter, he proceeded to insult and abuse the Chairman and the Stewards and left before the conclusion of the enquiry. Ms. Brown was advised that Mr. Dunne’s behaviour was unacceptable and advised that both Ms. O’Connor’s complaint and Mr. Dunne’s behaviour in the Steward’s room were being referred on.

Ms. O’Connor stated that her first interaction with Mr. Dunne was in the yard after the second race. She recalled that he was shouting expletives at her and accusing her of wrongdoing in failing to withdraw his charge from the race. She tried to explain that she was completely unaware of events down at the start in circumstances where she was on duty in the yard and advised him to take his complaint to the Stewards. Upon his return from the Stewards’ room, he continued to accuse her of wrongdoing and made derogatory comments about Mr. Walsh to her. She advised him that they needed to attend the Steward’s room and that both he and Ms. Brown would be required to attend as she wished to make a complaint about his behaviour.

Whilst Mr. Dunne initially denied using any foul or abusive language towards Ms. O’Connor he subsequently accepted that during the course of his second encounter with her, after his first visit to the Stewards’ room, he did use the language complained of. Ms. O’Connor remained of the view that it was during their first encounter. Mr. Dunne thereafter offered an apology to Ms. O’Connor, Mr. Walsh and to the Stewards and everyone on the day. However, that apology was very quickly undermined by Mr. Dunne when he accused Ms. O’Connor of giving an untruthful account of events to the Committee and further accused the Stewards on the day of wanting to “have a go at me”. Mr. Dunne became extremely agitated and the hearing was adjourned briefly to afford Mr. Dunne an opportunity to compose himself.

At the resumption of the hearing, both Ms. Brown and Mr. Dunne apologised for Mr. Dunne’s outburst.

Thereafter, Mr. O’Reilly, the owner of Vento Del Drago, stated that when he entered the yard after the second race he came upon Mr. Dunne and Ms. O’Connor who were already engaged in a heated discussion. He advised that his primary concern was for the welfare of his filly. He agreed that Mr. Dunne’s behaviour on the day was “wrong” but felt both he and Mr. Dunne had raised legitimate concerns about the filly being allowed to run. He recalled how he asked Ms. O’Connor to calm down on two occasions. Ms. O’Connor accepted that he did so but advised that the reason her voice was raised was because of the manner in which Mr. Dunne had spoken to her before Mr. O’Reilly arrived. Mr. O’Reilly advised that his main concern was to get a vet to look at the filly but Ms. O’Connor had no recollection of such a request being made.

Further, no such request had been made by Mr. Dunne or Ms. Brown to the Stewards. However, Ms. O’Connor had examined the filly at the request of the Stewards and found superficial grazes which were photographed. She was happy that the filly was in a fit state to travel home and Mr. O’Reilly confirmed that no veterinary treatment was required thereafter.

Ms. Brown stated at the outset that she wished to apologise for Mr. Dunne’s actions. She further stated that her immediate concern was for the welfare of the filly post race as opposed to the decision to allow the filly to run. However, it was pointed out to her that this was not borne out by the transcript of what occurred in the Stewards’ room. Unfortunately, Mr. Dunne kept insisting on interrupting Ms. Brown and trying to put words into her mouth.

Mr. Dunne commenced his account of events with an acknowledgement that his behaviour on the day was unacceptable. However, he then took issue with the manner in which the hearing was proceeding and again became agitated and left the room.

In his absence, Ms. Brown yet again apologised for his behaviour and accepted that Mr. Dunne was hot headed and had difficulty controlling his temper.

Ms. Brown asked the Committee to bear in mind in its deliberations that Mr. Dunne is her partner and the father of her child and that training horses is their livelihood. She stated that they have a small yard with some twelve horses. They employ a Mr. Rogul who rides out for them and occasionally drives the horses to the track. She advised that Mr. Dunne is an essential part of the training operation in terms of looking after the horses’ welfare, exercising them, placing them in races and driving the horse box to the track.

She accepted the very serious nature of the matters before the Committee, particularly in circumstances where Mr. Dunne had been given a previous warning in 2018 arising from an incident in Down Royal where he was found in breach of Rule 272 for verbally abusing stable yard security staff. Ms. Brown advised that in the event of a disqualification being imposed on Mr. Dunne she would need some time to put arrangements in place for an alternative Authorised Representative and gave an undertaking to the Committee that Mr. Dunne would behave in an appropriate manner to all IHRB officials in the intervening period. She was advised that if there was any breach of that undertaking, it would be considered by the Committee as a further aggravating factor in determining the appropriate sanction in this matter.



Mr. Dunne has not contested the fact that his behaviour on the day was unacceptable and stated that he “shouldn’t have done it”. By way of explanation, he stated that he was “being victimised and made little of from the word go”. There is simply no evidence before the Committee which substantiated this assertion.

There are clearly two accounts before the Committee as to how matters evolved between Ms. O’Connor and Mr. Dunne and at what stage Mr. Dunne in his own words “lost the head” and used vile and abusive language. What is clear is that Ms. O’Connor was visibly distressed by the time she attended the Stewards’ Room and Mr. Dunne has accepted his culpability in that regard.

At the hearing, Mr. Dunne apologised for his behaviour stating it was all in the “heat of the moment”. However, and as outlined above, his apology and expression of remorse was wholly undermined by his inability to control his temper and his frequent outbursts during the course of the hearing.

Ms. Brown equally apologised on numerous occasions on his behalf and accepted that his behaviour fell well short of what might reasonably be expected from an Authorised Representative in dealing with IHRB officials .

The Committee is satisfied that Mr. Dunne is in breach of Rule 272(i) and (iii) having regard to his wholly unacceptable conduct on the day. In determining the appropriate sanction, we have taken into account all of the circumstances and in particular the following matters:
1) the complete lack of respect shown to Ms. O’Connor in terms of verbal abuse and use of vile language,
2) the understandable distress caused to Ms. O’Connor arising from her interactions with Mr. Dunne,
3) the wholly impermissible and insulting behaviour towards the Chairman and acting Stewards,
4) the complete lack of cooperation with the Stewards in their efforts to conduct an enquiry into Ms. O’Connor’s complaint,
5) the previous warning issued to Mr. Dunne following a prior breach of Rule 272 arising from verbal abuse to stable yard security staff in 2018,
6) Mr. Dunne’s failure to comprehend what is required of him in terms of his conduct and behaviour as Authorised Representative for Ms. Brown.
7) the necessity to ensure that the sanction to be imposed must deter this type of behaviour.

By way of mitigation, the Committee accepts that Mr. Dunne has shown some degree of remorse although it clear that he has limited insight into the seriousness of these matters and has difficulty in maintaining his composure.

Ms. Brown has accepted that his conduct falls foul of the Rules and has asked the Committee to be as lenient as possible bearing in mind their personal circumstances as outlined by her and the fact that she has a clean record, save and except for the prior breach by Mr. Dunne in 2018 when he was acting as her Authorised Representative.

In the circumstances, we are satisfied that a disqualification is warranted as against Mr. Dunne for a period of six months. However, we propose to suspend the final three months, for a period of twelve months, on the basis that Mr. Dunne conducts himself in an appropriate manner during that period towards all IHRB officials and that there is no further breach of Rule 272. Should he fail to do so, he will be disqualified for that further three month period, in addition to any further sanction that will flow from such further breach.

In respect of Ms. Brown, she has been duly warned by the Committee that as a licence holder there is on onus on her to ensure that her Authorised Representative properly and appropriately conducts himself and fully complies with the Rules of Racing and that any further breaches are likely to have more serious consequences for her going forward.

Ms. Brown has agreed to pay to the costs incurred by the IHRB in the sum of €500.


The commencement date for the disqualification will be 28th May 2021.

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