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Paul Hennessy/First Friday Appeal - Dundalk 16 Nov 2012

The Appeals Body (Division Two), Mrs. J.O. Onions (in the chair), J.R. Craigie and Liam Ward met at the Turf Club, The Curragh, Co. Kildare on 30th November 2012 to consider the appeal of Paul Hennessy, trainer First Friday, against the decision of the Stewards at Dundalk on 16th November 2012 to reverse the placings of the winner First Friday and runner-up Balmont Flyer following the running of the Crowne Plaza Leading Jockey and Trainer Championship Handicap, as they found that interference had occurred and that First Friday had improved his finishing position as a result of this interference.

The grounds of appeal lodged were that the Stewards erred in their decision.

Evidence was heard from Danny Mullins, rider First Friday, and Pat Smullen, rider Balmont Flyer.  Film recordings of the race were also viewed.

In his evidence, Danny Mullins said that his horse hung the whole way up the straight and when he was passed by Balmont Flyer the horse battled on again and headed Balmont Flyer on the line having been in the region of a head down 100 yards from the winning post.  He said he never used his stick and that his horse was the best on the night.  He accepted that he had drifted off the rails but he didn’t accept that he caused any interference to Balmont Flyer.

In his evidence, Pat Smullen said that he delivered his challenge inside the furlong pole and went a head up.  He noted that Danny Mullins was having difficulty with his mount as the horse was hanging.  He said there were two incidents, the first one which occurred about 150 yards out and which he described as “minimal” and the second 50 yards from the line, which caused Balmont Flyer to lose concentration and momentum. He said that, in his view, this was enough to cost him the race as he was only beaten by a nose.  He also said that he was carried off his racing line by First Friday which cost him ground.  He concluded by saying that he was on the best horse on the day and that the interference cost him the race.

Having considered the evidence, the Appeals Body allowed the appeal on the basis that they were not satisfied that the interference improved First Friday’s placing in relation to the runner up Balmont Flyer.  They ordered that the result be amended and to read as follows:

First:  First Friday
Second: Balmont Flyer
Third:  Saint By Day
Fourth:  Bensoon (GB)

The appeal was presented by Conal Boyce, Solicitor, Naas Co. Kildare.  Paul Hennessy was represented by Andrew Coonan, Coonan Cawley Solicitors, Naas, Co. Kildare.

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