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Saturday, 17 November, 2018

No punishment for Martin or horse after judicial inquiry

Pyromaniac (closest to camera): Tony Martin has had all punishments quashed
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The controversial Pyromaniac saga has been resolved with all sanctions reportedly quashed following a judicial review, although the Turf Club's chief executive Denis Egan has refused to comment on the case.

After finishing a staying-on sixth in an amateur riders' Flat race at Killarney in July, Pyromaniac was banned for 42 days under the non-triers' rule, his inexperienced rider Patrick McGuigan suspended for seven days, and trainer Tony Martin fined €2,000.

On appeal, after the panel had been made aware that Pyromaniac had been found to be suffering from mouth ulcers and lesions caused by sharp teeth, Martin's original fine was quashed.

However, he was instead found guilty under a different section of rule 212, namely that he ran Pyromaniac in a condition which precluded him from performing to the best of his ability.

Pyromaniac's ban was upheld, and the horse's owner Maurice Regan of Newton Anner Stud, along with Martin, appealed to the High Court for a judicial review of the decision.

They were successful in achieving a stay of the penalty, paving the way for the fancied Pyromaniac to run in the Galway Hurdle, in which he finished seventh.

The grounds for their High Court case are understood to have been based on the fact that convicting Martin under a separate clause of the rule was outside the remit of the appeals panel, and Martin's solicitor Kevin Power has stated that all sanctions have been lifted. 

"The issue has been resolved, all findings against Pyromaniac and Tony Martin have been quashed," revealed Power.

Following a number of high-profile failures to make alleged infringements of rule 212 stick, the Turf Club has moved to restructure the rule, with a redraft due to be published in the coming days.

This outcome adds another chapter to the regulator's frustrations, while Martin is understandably relieved that the case is closed.

"Everything is sorted now and it will be nice to put a line through it," he said. "It has been put to bed. There were no penalties and the horse is free to run."

Pyromaniac's most recent outing was in the Wessex Youth Trust Handicap Hurdle – formerly the Ladbroke – at Ascot in December, when he finished sixth behind Brain Power. He could appear next in the coral.ie Handicap Hurdle at Leopardstown on January 22.

Martin added: "The ground was just too soft for him at Ascot but he ran a nice race. He'll be entered at Leopardstown, along with Quick Jack and Golden Spear, who were just ahead of him at Ascot. All three could run in that and hopefully they will get some nice ground."

Everything is sorted now and it will be nice to put a line through it. It has been put to bed. There were no penalties and the horse is free to run
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