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Paul Townend (Rider) Appeal - Tramore, 8th October 2015


Paul Townend (Rider) Appeal
Tramore 8th October 2015 Maiden Hurdle

The Appeals Body (Division One) Joseph Finnegan (in the chair), P.J.A. O’Connor and N.B. Wachman met at the Turf Club, The Curragh, Co. Kildare on Thursday, 22nd October 2015 to consider the appeal of Paul Townend (rider) against the decision of the Stewards at Tramore on 8th October 2015. On the day the Stewards found that Paul Townend was in breach of Rule 214 in that he had ridden dangerously. As a result he was suspended for ten race days and ordered to forfeit his riding fee. In addition, his mount Vermout Fougeray (FR) was disqualified from second place as a result of the finding.

His grounds of appeal were that he was not guilty of dangerous riding and that the finding and penalty were harsh. He also submitted that his mount Vermout Fougeray (FR) was extremely difficult to ride and has a history of being truculent and unruly.

Evidence was heard from Brian Hayes, rider of Conduct Yourself and Paul Townend, rider of Vermout Fougeray (FR). Film of the race was viewed. The Committee also received a letter from Joseph Dullea (trainer of Vermout Fougeray (FR)), who submitted that the horse was an extremely difficult ride.

In his evidence Brian Hayes stated that he rode Vermout Fougeray (FR) on a previous occasion at Galway when the horse finished second. He said Galway is a right handed track and he described the ride as very difficult as the horse was always hanging. He said the horse veered violently at the stable yard entrance on the first circuit and in his opinion the horse needs to go left handed.

Mr Hayes referred to the race itself at Tramore. He said he noted Vermout Fougeray (FR) was jumping left and hanging left at the bends. He said he was behind Vermout Fougeray (FR) jumping the second last and as they approached the turn into the straight, Paul Townend corrected Veremout Fougeray (FR) who was hanging left. The correction took place at the same as his mount was coming up the inside and at the hind quarters of Vermout Fougeray (FR). This lead to an impact which Mr Hayes submitted occurred because he was coming up on Paul Townend’s inside at the wrong time. He attributed what happened to Paul Townend overcorrecting his mount who was hanging left.

Brian Hayes said that Paul Townend may not have known that he was on his inside and submitted that the elbow on the rails brought the two horses together with the result that his mount was squeezed up. He said he shouted when the impact occurred and suggested the impact was “a brief coming together”.

In his evidence Paul Townend outlined the instructions and said the trainer had phoned him on the previous night to inform him that the horse was not straight forward. He said the trainer suggested that he look at a video of the horse’s previous run at Galway.

Paul Townend outlined what occurred in the race itself. He said his mount changed legs before the second last and he was only aware that Brian Hayes was on his inside when contact was made. He accepted there was interference and he was attempting to correct his mount going left at the point of the turn into the straight but that he overcorrected. He said the interference caused was not deliberate and he did nothing to endanger Brian Hayes or his mount.

In response to questions from Paul Murtagh, Paul Townend accepted that he would have expected a horse to come up his inside if he was jumping left. He said he was aware that Brian Hayes’s mount was behind him but when he corrected his mount at the turn into the straight, he didn’t have time to check where Brian Hayes’s mount was. When put to Mr Townend that he should have known that Brian Hayes was on his inside as he only jumped the second last hurdle a half a length down behind him, he accepted that Brian Hayes was entitled to be where he was, and that he only corrected his horse four strides after the interference occurred. He said he did not do anything deliberately.

Paul Townend also explained to the Appeals Body the variation between the evidence he gave at the original enquiry and some of the evidence he gave today.

Having considered the evidence, the Appeals Body dismissed the appeal. In arriving at their decision they were satisfied that there was dangerous riding which fell within the definitions outlined in Rule 214. They also upheld the decision of the stewards at Tramore with regard to penalty and confirmed disqualification of Vermout Fougeray (FR) from second place.

The Appeals Body confirmed the result of the race, as amended by the Stewards on the day to read as follows:
First: Conduct Yourself
Second: Mouskersize
Third: Brog Deas Nua (USA)
Fourth: Way Wild West

The panel ordered the original penalty of ten race days remains in place and that Paul Townend forfeit his riding fee and his appeal deposit. They also ordered that the ban imposed starts from today (22nd October 2015).

The case was presented by Paul Murtagh, stipendiary steward. Paul Townend was represented Patrick Ward, Frank Ward & Co., Solicitors, Dublin 7.


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