The start of the point-to-point season will have to wait a further seven days for 14 riders who failed in their appeal over a two-day suspension that was imposed prior to the Covid-19 lockdown last March.
The 14 riders – Luke Murphy, Stephen Connor, Paddy McGuigan, Jordan Gainford, James Kenny, Aaron Sinnott, Brian Lawless, Aaron Murphy, Paul Bannon, Dan Nevin, Anthony Fox, Thomas Reilly, Noel McParlan and Jack Hendrick - had each received a two-day suspension after being found to have breached Regulation 30(xi)(a) by attempting to line up for the start before being instructed to do so by the Starter, Regulation 30(xi)(b) by putting a horse into a trot or canter with a view to taking any advantage before the race is started and 30(xii)(b) by failing to comply with any instruction from the starter.
The incident dated back to the start of the Albert Bartlett five and six-year-old geldings’ maiden at Tyrella on March 7, with the appeal taking place on Wednesday last.
At the hearing which took place at the IHRB offices, evidence was heard from four of the riders, in addition to IHRB Point-to-Point Official Michael O’Donoghue and starter Craig Caven.
In their evidence the riders stated that, in their opinion, the false start was caused by a number of the horses in the race being inexperienced and the starting area being a very confined space for the number of runners in this particular race.
In his evidence, Mr. O’Donoghue outlined his role as an IHRB Official on the day and the duties of the other officials at the fixture.
He stated that Mr. Caven gave his address to the riders prior to the first race of the day and added that in addition to that, he himself briefed the riders prior to the third race and then attended the start of this race.
In his evidence, Mr. Caven confirmed that he had briefed the riders prior to the first race and stated that he was checking the starting tape as the horses were coming towards him which led him to shout “No, no, no” and raise the red flag for a false start prior to him having an opportunity to call the riders forward.
Having considered the evidence, the Appeals Body, on the balance of probabilities, could not find any error in with the decision of the Stewards on the day and dismissed the appeal.
They confirmed the suspension of two days, and ordered that the single deposit be forfeited.