Jessica Harrington handed ?3,500 fine and 14-day ban after Aintree Covid breach
Jessica Harrington has been fined €3,500 and prohibited from attending racecourses for two weeks after breaching the Irish Horseracing Regulatory Board's Covid-19 protocols when travelling to Aintree for the Grand National last month.
The penalty was handed out following a referral held via Zoom on Monday with the committee chaired by Justice Raymond Groarke (chair), Anthony Byrne and NB Wachman.
Following the National, in which the Harrington-trained Jett finished eighth and Magic Of Light unseated at the fourth, the IHRB became aware the trainer had travelled to the fixture without residing in the Irish bubble as required.
Harrington confirmed that she was aware of what was required in terms of accommodation within the bubble in place for those travelling to Aintree.
However, her intention was to travel to the Liverpool track from her home on the morning of the race and return to Ireland that evening, therefore not being required to enter the Irish-only area.
She added that in the days before the fixture, she decided that making the journey to Aintree in one day would be too exhausting so changed her plans to travel on the Friday instead.
Harrington used the opportunity to carry out some independent business with owners by viewing a horse and she accepted an offer to stay at their accommodation.
She said she felt at the time she was not breaking the rules as she never entered the Irish bubble on raceday, but now accepts that she was in breach of the protocols.
Having considered the evidence, the committee was satisfied the 74-year-old was in breach of rule 272(i), the same rule applied in the case of Covid breaches for the likes of trainers Emmet Mullins, who was fined €5,000 and handed a three-month racecourse ban last June, and Aidan O'Brien and Donnacha O'Brien, both of whom were fined €2,500 and given a two-week racecourse suspension in July.
Justice Groarke said the panel acknowledged Harrington recognised the work carried out by IHRB senior medical officer Dr Jennifer Pugh and the staff of the IHRB and Horse Racing Ireland in putting the required protocols in place.
Harrington's suspension commences on May 24, the Monday after the Tattersalls Irish Guineas festival.
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