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P.J. Rothwell (Trainer) and A.W. Short (Rider) Appeal – Limerick 16th November 2021

The Appeals Body (Division 2), Ms. Justice Leonie Reynolds (in the chair), Mr. M.C. Hickey and Mr. N.B. Wachman convened at the Offices of the Irish Horseracing Regulatory Board on Monday, 6th December 2021 to consider the appeal of Philip Rothwell (Trainer) and Adam Short (Rider) against the decision of the Stewards at Limerick on 16thNovember 2021 to fine Mr. Rothwell €2,000, suspend Duffys Hodey for a period of 60 days and to suspend Mr. Short for 10 racedays.

On the day, the Stewards found Mr. Rothwell and Mr. Short in breach of Rule 212A(ii) in that Duffys Hodey, was not seen to have been the subject of a genuine attempt to obtain from the Horse, timely, real and substantial efforts to achieve the best possible place.

The grounds of appeal lodged by Mr. Rothwell and Mr. Short were that the Stewards erred in their decision.

At the Appeal Hearing, evidence was heard from Mr. Rothwell and Mr. Short. The panel also viewed a recording of the race.

In his evidence, Mr. Short stated that this was his first time to ride Duffys Hodey but prior to the race he had spoken with other riders who were more familiar with the horse. He said his mount kept changing on to his left lead early in the race but that he had settled in to follow Lake Chad and Mikey Hamill who he felt was a fancied runner and would give him a lead into the latter stages of the race. Mr. Short explained that he would have liked to have been a bit closer to Mr. Hamill passing the stands, but his horse didn’t travel well enough to do so. He said that he was trying not to force his horse and that he jumped left throughout the race and hung very left up the straight. Mr. Short said that he rode the horse to Mr. Rothwell’s instructions and although the horse never felt lame throughout the race, he was disappointed with himself that he didn’t pull him up as he hung and jumped left so badly throughout.

Mr. Rothwell explained that this race was confined to riders who hadn’t ridden 10 winners in the previous year and that Mr. Short rode a number of horses on the card for him. He confirmed the instructions given to Mr. Short for Duffys Hodey which were to get the horse settled and to his utmost best and from where he watched the race in the stand, he felt Mr. Short was carrying out those instructions and that the horse just looked one paced in the straight. Mr. Rothwell added that Mr. Short informed him the horse hung which was also reported to the Clerk of the Scales and as he was following the horse back to the stableyard Mr. Rothwell felt the horse looked lame and he could see he lost a shoe. Mr. Rothwell added that the horse was certified as lame by his own vet the morning after the race and had received eight to ten days physio after the race and had not cantered since. He concluded that he was happy with the ride given to the horse by Mr. Short.

Having considered the evidence, the decision read out by Ms. Justice Leonie Reynolds on behalf of the panel read:

“This is an appeal from the decision of the Stewards in respect of Duffys Hodey in Limerick on 16th December 2021 when the Stewards considered the running and riding of the horse under the provisions of Rule 212A(ii). We have carefully considered all of the evidence and the submissions made before us today. In relation to Mr. Short, we simply cannot accept his explanation for the manner in which he rode the horse for the following reasons. Firstly, we don’t accept the horse was hanging to the left in the manner as outlined by him and that his mount jumped left throughout. And secondly, we are of the view that Mr. Short could have made more timely efforts to ensure that the horse achieved his best possible placing.

In respect of Mr. Rothwell, he has stated that while watching the race he was satisfied with the ride given by Mr. Short but subsequently queried whether or not Mr. Short should have pulled him up on the basis that Mr. Short reported that the horse was hanging to the left. Post-race the horse was examined by the IHRB Veterinary Officer, Ms. Joan Taylor, in the presence of Ms. Nicola O’Connor and the horse was reported to be post-race normal. While subsequent veterinary reports state that the horse was lame, the Appeals Body is bound to attach more weight to Ms. Taylor’s report on the basis that it is the only contemporaneous report.

In the circumstances where we have already stated that we do not accept that the horse hung left throughout and where Mr. Short has stated that he at no time felt that there was any incident or unsoundness in the horse during the race, we can only conclude that the horse was not ridden to achieve its best possible place. Clearly where Mr. Rothwell is responsible for the welfare, training and running of the horse and was happy with the ride at the time, we find him also in breach of Rule 212A(ii). We are satisfied that the decision of the Stewards was wholly justified and we are going to affirm the sanctions imposed at the enquiry.

The case was presented by Mr. Michael Daly, IHRB Regulatory Advisor and  Mr. Rothwell was represented by Kieran A. O’Connor of O’Connor Solicitors, Dublin and Mr. Short was represented by Mr. Patrick Kennedy of Patrick J. O’Meara Solicitors, Liberty Square, Thurles, County Tipperary.

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