Mullins and staff sanctioned after grooms failed to self-isolate on UK return
Champion trainer Willie Mullins has been fined €2,500 and banned from attending racecourses for two weeks after he was deemed responsible for two of his staff attending Punchestown on Saturday having been at Aintree a week earlier.
At an Irish Horseracing Regulatory Board referral hearing at Thurles on Thursday, it was found that Mullins' grooms Steve Jones and Katie Murphy should have been restricting their movements for 14 days following their return from Britain.
A spokesman for the IHRB said after the hearing that it had been established by the referrals panel that they had "falsified their Covid-19 screening questionnaire".
"They answered no to two questions relating to being in the UK that they should have been answering yes to," he added.
Mullins was sanctioned under rule 272 (i), which pertains to anyone acting "in a manner which is prejudicial to the integrity, proper conduct or good reputation of racing".
Jones and Murphy were sanctioned under 272 (i) and 272 (ii), the latter subsection relating to those who supply "misleading information or give false evidence to an official". Jones was fined €400 and banned from attending a racecourse for three months, as was Murphy, who received a smaller fine of €200.
Mullins is the second champion trainer to fall foul of the Covid-19 protocols, following a breach by Aidan O'Brien on Irish 2,000 Guineas day at the Curragh in June, when O'Brien and his son Donnacha were found to have not entered the racecourse via the correct entrance. They received fines of €2,500 and two-week bans from racecourses.
Mullins' nephew Emmet has also been fined and suspended under the same rules for not filling out the screening form ahead of a Leopardstown meeting on June 14. He was hit with a €5,000 fine and suspended from racecourses for three months.
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