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P.G, Coffey (Restricted Trainer) Appeal Navan, 9th December 2017

The Appeals Body, Mr. Justice Joseph Finnegan (in the chair), N.B. Wachman and John Moloney, met on Tuesday, 19th December 2017 at the Turf Club, The Curragh, Co. Kildare to consider the appeal of P.G. Coffey, Restricted Trainer against the decision of the Stewards at Navan on 9th December 2017.

On the day, following the running of the Kells Maiden Hurdle, the Stewards, having viewed a recording of the race and considered the evidence, found that P.G. Coffey was in breach of Rule 212 A(ii) and having considered his clean record in this regard, imposed a fine of €2,000 and suspended The Monks Kitchen for 42 days as a consequence. In addition, they found that John. J. Fitzpatrick, Rider was in breach of Rule 212 A(ii) and having considered his record in this regard, suspended him for 10 racedays and ordered that he forfeit his riding fee. Furthermore, the Stewards found the rider to be in breach of Rule 272(ii) in that he had supplied misleading or false information at this enquiry and as a consequence suspended him for 5 racedays.

John J. Fitzpatrick did not appeal the decisions.

P.G. Coffey’s grounds of appeal were that he did not cause, contribute or permit his horse to be ridden in any way other than to obtain its best possible place and he, at all times, instructed his rider to make every effort to do so.

Evidence was heard from P.G. Coffey. The Appeals Body viewed a recording of the race and a transcript of the evidence given at the original enquiry. They also considered submissions from Andrew Coonan, on behalf of P.G. Coffey and Paul Murtagh, on behalf of the Turf Club.

In his evidence, P.G. Coffey gave details of the characteristics of The Monks Kitchen. He said she was a small filly who didn’t take a lot of work to get fit. He said the horse was fit at Navan and well schooled.

Mr. Coffey referred to the enquiry and said it was the first time he ever had to attend an enquiry in relation to the performance of one of his horses.

In relation to the race, Mr. Coffey said he watched it from the stand without binoculars and referred to the absence of the big screen. He said his initial views to the Stewards on how the horse was ridden were given without having had an opportunity to review the race.

Mr. Coffey said he was happy with the ride up until the turn into the straight and in hindsight, he felt that the rider should have come up the outside after that rather than following many of the other runners through the fallen section of hurdles which inhibited his ability to ride the horse out fully.

He said that the only instruction he gave to the rider was to do his best. Mr. Coffey said his comments in the Stewards room regarding his satisfaction with the ride were based on his limited view of the race as it happened as he had not seen a rerun prior to the enquiry.

Having considered the evidence, the Appeals Body noted that the trainer was responsible for everything connected with the running of the horse unless he provided a satisfactory explanation. On the day at Navan the Stewards felt that he hadn’t provided that explanation. Having considered all material facts, including the evidence given today by Mr. Coffey, the Appeals Body were satisfied that Mr. Coffey’s explanation of what occurred still wasn’t satisfactory and dismissed the appeal. They ordered that the fine imposed for the breach of Rule 212A(ii) remains in place and that the suspension of 42 days on The Monks Kitchen also remains in place.

Prior to the hearing commencing Andrew Coonan, offered his condolences on the death of Noel O’Brien. He said he was a huge loss to his family and colleagues and he offered his deepest sympathies to all.

The case was presented by Paul Murtagh, Head of Raceday Operations and Cliodhna Guy, Head of Licensing, Legal and Compliance. P.G. Coffey was represented by Andrew Coonan, Coonan Cawley, solicitors, Naas, Co. Kildare.

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