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Paul Power (Trainer) Appeal - Wexford, 23rd May 2018

The Appeals Body (Division 1), Justice Joseph Finnegan (in the chair), Joseph M. McGrath and John Murphy met at the Offices of the Irish Horseracing Regulatory Board (IHRB) on Thursday, 14th June 2018 to consider the Appeal of Paul Power (Trainer) against the decision of the Stewards at Wexford on 23rd May, 2018.

On the day, following the running of the Irish Stallion Farms EBF Handicap Steeplechase, the Stewards enquired into possible interference after the last fence involving Dark Outsider ridden by Danny Mullins and Bakers Street(GB) ridden by Miss J.M. Cook, where it appeared Dark Outsider was bumped and carried off his racing line before the winning post. Having viewed the recording of the race and considered the evidence, the Stewards were satisfied that Bakers Street(GB) had caused interference to Dark Outsider and in doing so had improved his finishing position. The Stewards therefore reversed the placings of the first two horses.

Evidence was heard from Miss J.M. Cook and Danny Mullins. The Appeals Body considered a transcript of the original evidence and viewed a recording of the race.  The Appeals Body also considered a number of submissions from Stephen Lanigan-O’Keeffe S.C. and Andrew Coonan.

In his submissions, Mr. Lanigan–O’Keeffe said that his case was made up of three main points namely that there was no interference and, in the event, that there was interference it was not caused by Ms. J.M. Cook but was caused by Danny Mullins.  He said that the racing line taken by Danny Mullins after bypassing the last fence inhibited Ms. J.M. Cook’s racing line.  He noted that the entire field except Danny Mullins had moved right after the bypassed fence.  He also noted that Danny Mullins was riding his whip in his left hand which impacted on Ms. J.M. Cook’s whip action and resulted in her not being able to change her whip.  He said any interference caused was by Danny’s Mullins changing course and, in any event, he submitted that the interference did not affect the result.  He said that Dark Outsider never looked like he was going to pass Bakers Street (GB) even though he got a very strong ride from Danny Mullins.

In her evidence, Ms. J.M. Cook accepted that her horse went left after the last fence which had been bypassed.  She said she heard a roar from Danny Mullins to keep right and when she heard this, she put her stick down to do that.  She said she felt her horse was always doing enough to win the race.

Ms. J.M. Cook said that all riders had been instructed at the start to cross over to the hurdle track at the bypassed fence which is why she had gone left.

Ms. J.M. Cook accepted that Danny Mullins was trying to ride a straight line from the last fence to the finishing line and while she did not believe there was any contact between the two horses on the day.  She now accepted that there was some contact. 

Ms. J.M. Cook said she accepted that she did not keep a straight course for a short time after bypassing the last fence but submitted that Bakers Street (GB) was the best horse on the day and won the race on merit.

In his evidence, Danny Mullins outlined what happened in the latter stages of the race.  He said he was obliged to leave room for Ms. J.M. Cook’s mount Bakers Street (GB) to bypass the last fence but after that he was entitled to run in a straight line to the finishing line.  He said that his mount got bumped on three occasions and was also intimidated on the run in.  He also said he was denied an opportunity to run straight to the finish and that the interference cost him the race.

Having considered the evidence, the Appeals Body noted that there would have to be errors in the Stewards decision for them to change that decision.  In view of the evidence tendered at the appeal, they found that there was no reason to interfere with the Stewards decision and dismissed the appeal.

They ordered that the appeal deposit be refunded on the basis that there was merit in the appeal lodged.

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

Paul Power was represented by Stephen Lannigan-O’Keeffe S.C. James Dullea, (Trainer-Dark Outsider) was represented by Andrew Coonan, Coonan Cawley Solicitors, Wolfe Tone House, Naas Town Centre, Naas, Co. Kildare.

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