Angry trainer and jockey chiefs to discuss non-trier rule change
Turf Club CEO Denis Egan has reiterated his belief that the rewritten ‘non-triers’ rule will enhance the integrity of Irish racing – but the chiefs of the trainers' and jockeys' associations are to meet soon to discuss their ongoing concerns.
Michael Grassick, CEO of the Irish Racehorse Trainers Association, attended the Turf Club appeals on Monday relating to the two controversial Gowran Park ‘non-trier’ cases.
He was left angry with both outcomes, which included the connections of Cloudy Morning being exonerated of their initial sanctions before being referred under another sub-clause of rule 212.
On Tuesday, Grassick joined his Irish Jockeys' Association counterpart Andrew Coonan in condemning the implementation of the new rule, saying: “I was left completely dissatisfied with the findings of Monday’s appeals and agree with Andrew’s comments relating to Irish racing entering a very dangerous place.
'A growing concern'
“Andrew raised concerns over the fact jockeys will now need to be pandering to the man in the betting shop, and that's a growing concern of mine too.
“Monday’s case was farcical, to say the least, and justice didn't prevail. Both trainers spent more money on legal fees than the original €2,000 they were fined by the Gowran raceday stewards."
Egan dismissed claims that the stewards have been heavy handed in their implementation of the new rule and rejected the trenchant criticism by Coonan, a solicitor who also represented connections of Theturnofthesun on Monday.
“I don’t agree with Andrew," said Egan. "The vast majority of riders do not breach the rule. We've had seven breaches so far and only one has been been overturned, and that has been referred again to the referrals committee.
“The rule has been brought in for the greater good of racing and it’s going to take some time to bed in.”
The appeal panel overturned the initial finding in relation to Cloudy Morning, who finished a nine-length second to General Principle at Gowran on March 11.
However, Egan subsequently referred Cloudy Morning's trainer Declan Queally and jockey Barry John Foley under the section relating to schooling in public following comments made by Foley during the appeal process.
'Common sense is not too common'
The panel also quashed the €2,000 fine trainer Matthew Smith had received over the running of third home Theturnofthesun in the same race, but dismissed the appeal of jockey Andrew Lynch and upheld the horse’s 42-day ban, which left Grassick perplexed.
“The difficulty with common sense is that it's not too common," he said.
"In relation to the connections of Cloudy Morning, I don't understand how they can be exonerated from one thing and then be told leaving the building they will be referred on under different part of the rule. It just doesn't make sense.
“Then, for Matthew Smith to have his ban lifted but the rider and the horse to remain penalised just beggars belief. I can tell you one thing for certain, this is not the last you'll be hearing of this. Myself and Andrew will be discussing the issue as it's very worrying.”