'A waste of a morning' – upset Elliott hits out after overturning non-trier fine
Gordon Elliott hit out at the Turf Club on Monday for "a waste of a morning" after he and Jack Kennedy won their appeal against the penalties handed out to them by the Down Royal stewards this month under the non-trier rule.
Elliott was not at Down Royal on the day in question, November 4, as he was at the Breeders’ Cup, but he was fined €2,000 through his representative, Ian Amond, after the stewards found there had been a breach of Rule 212A (ii) following the performance of Suitor in a 2m maiden hurdle.
The stewards also handed Jack Kennedy a five-day ban and suspended Suitor from running for 42 days. All penalties were overturned by the appeals committee, headed by Joe Finnegan in the chair.
After being absolved of any wrongdoing, Elliott said: “We didn't do anything wrong so we didn't have any worries coming here today. As far as I'm concerned, this was a waste of a morning as we have a busy yard to run.”
He added: “I was going to be fined €2,000 but for Jack it was going to be an absolute disaster [to receive a five-day ban] as he was going to miss races like the Betfair Chase and rides on horses like Samcro in the coming weeks. I'm more happy for him than anything.”
As for Suitor, Elliott added: “He’ll run again in a couple of weeks’ time and he’s fine.”
When providing evidence, Elliott revealed that he was thrilled with the ride Kennedy gave Suitor, who was making his hurdling and stable debut at Down Royal.
He also explained that he gave the horse a break of 21 days after picking him up from the sales and had given the five-year-old eight solid weeks of training prior to that hurdling debut, meaning he was fit and ready to run.
He went on to elaborate that his horses are better schooled than most but Suitor jumped slowly during the early stages of the race and he was completely satisfied that Kennedy achieved his best possible finishing position. He also added that the Goldman Racing Syndicate, who own Suitor, were “absolutely over the moon” after the race.
Prior to Monday, Matthew Smith was the only other trainer to have successfully appealed the penalties handed out by raceday stewards under the redrafted Rule 212, which was brought into effect in January.
However, on that occasion, Smith was the only appellant to be exonerated as the appeals committee dismissed the appeal of jockey Andrew Lynch and upheld the 42-day ban imposed on the horse in question, Theturnofthesun.
Also at Monday’s Turf Club hearing, Danny Mullins was unsuccessful in his appeal against a five-day ban under the Rule 212 (a) he received at Thurles on November 9 following his ride aboard Omega Springs in a beginners’ chase.
However, the committee found that the trainer of Omega Springs, Liam Casey, fulfilled all of his duties and allowed his appeal to stand, making him the third trainer to successfully appeal the new non-triers’ rule. The 42-day suspension of Omega Springs was also lifted.
Mullins, who provided his own legal representation, said afterwards: “I have learned from this. We gave it a shot and thankfully Liam has got off. This won’t happen to me again.”
The five-day ban will begin on November 23 and ends on November 30 and Mullins was also ordered to forfeit his riding fee as well as his deposit. Casey was relieved to have the process over and done with but declined to offer any comment after the hearing took place.
Leopardstown result stands
Meanwhile, the appeals committee could find no error in the decision made by the raceday stewards at Leopardstown on October 28, who reversed the placings of the first two home in the Knockaire Stakes so that the second horse past the post, Making Light, was promoted to first place.
Making Light, trained by Dermot Weld, was taken off a true line in the closing stages by the David O’Meara-trained Larchmont Lad, who finished first, but given that the winning margin was just a nose, the appeals committee felt the right decision had been made on the day.
O’Meara said: “I am disappointed with the committee’s decision but I also respect it.”
Along with Joe Finnegan in the chair, the appeals committee was made up by John Powell and Philip McLernon.
Members can read the latest exclusive interviews, news analysis and comment available from 6pm daily on racingpost.com