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Pat Smullen (Rider) Appeal - Limerick, 25 April 2015

The Appeals Body (Division Two) C.P. Magnier (in the Chair), Martin O’Donnell and Mrs. T.K. Cooper met at the Stewards Room, Punchestown Racecourse, Co Kildare on Friday, 1st May 2015 to consider the appeal of Pat Smullen, rider, against the severity of the penalty imposed by the  Stewards at Limerick on 25th April 2015. On that date the Stewards found the rider had ridden carelessly in the closing stages of “The Racing Again At Limerick Racecourse on 17th May Handicap”.  As a result he was suspended for two race days.

Evidence was heard from Pat Smullen and D.K. Weld (trainer). The Appeals Body also considered a transcript of the evidence from the original enquiry and viewed a film of the race.

In his evidence Pat Smullen accepted that he rode carelessly on Breenainthemycra as he edged out to deliver his challenge.  He said that the horse was ungenuine and accepted that he had caused interference.  He stressed the importance of safety and said what occurred was an error of judgement that occurred in a split second.

In a submission on the penalty, Andrew Coonan, representing the rider, referred to the number of rides that Mr Smullen had in the past three years and said that he had very few offences relative to the number of rides. 

Mr Coonan outlined the possible impact that the second day of the suspension could have on Pat Smullen which was the Derby Trial meeting at Leopardstown. He said that Mr Smullen had commitments to ride two favourites which may ultimately end up running in Classic races.  He said this would not have been known to the Limerick Stewards when they imposed the penalty and in view of this, his client felt that the penalty imposed was disproportionate.

In his evidence D.K. Weld confirmed what Mr Coonan had said with regard to the rides that Pat Smullen would be missing.  He said that in the event the two horses performed well at Leopardstown with other jockeys, the owners could insist that the replacement jockeys retain the rides.  He asked the Appeals Body to take into account not only his Irish race riding record but also his worldwide race riding record, which he said was exemplary.

Having considered the evidence the Appeals Body dismissed the appeal and ordered that Mr Smullen’s appeal deposit be forfeited.

The case was presented by Paul Murtagh, stipendiary steward. Pat Smullen was represented by Andrew Coonan, Coonan Cawley, solicitors, Naas, Co. Kildare.

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