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Controversy over 14-hour delay to news of Dundalk non-runner

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A 14-hour delay before bookmakers were informed of a Dundalk non-runner originally chalked up at 10-1 then cut to 5-2 has sparked controversy.

Turf Club chief executive Denis Egan has indicated the blame for the delay in bookmakers being informed of the withdrawal of US Navy Seal from a race on Friday lies with SIS Ireland.

US Navy Seal was declared a non-runner before 5pm on Thursday, but SIS Ireland, the agent responsible for formally delivering all non-runners to bookmakers, passed on the withdrawal only the following morning. In the intervening hours US Navy Seal dramatically shortened in price.

Paddy Orr, on-course manager for SIS Ireland, defended the delay as part of the firm's “protocol”.

It was normal practice

Orr stated it was normal practice not to relay news of a non-runner until the day of the race unless it was withdrawn by 2.30pm the previous day, despite the operator being aware of US Navy Seal's withdrawal before 5pm on Thursday and markets being open on the race.

He conceded a review may now be necessary of a policy that raises the possibility for manipulation of rule 4, which provides for bookmakers to deduct a percentage of winning bets after short-priced withdrawals.

He said: “The overnight declarations go out at 2.30pm every day to bookmakers, but obviously Friday is different because it also carries weekend racing.

“In this instance, [the horse] would have had to have been declared a non-runner before 2.30pm on Thursday before our overnight declarations went out.

“The non-runner could not be taken out until the following morning, which we did at 7am on Friday morning. This is SIS protocol, but perhaps we may review this going forward.”

Bookmakers rely on the information feed that carries non-runners from SIS and do not make changes to markets based on any other information, even when non-runners are flagged on the Turf Club website, as US Navy Seal was.

This is a precautionary measure taken by bookmakers and they therefore rely solely on the SIS feed before making changes to their markets.

Drastically cut in price

US Navy Seal, who was originally chalked up at odds of 10-1 on the first show on Thursday evening, was drastically cut in price by bookmakers and was only a 5-2 chance when the official feed finally filtered through on Friday morning, 14 hours after the horse had been declared an official non-runner by the Turf Club. It has not been possible to ascertain the legitimacy of the apparent gamble.

Egan stated the delay between SIS being made aware of the news of US Navy Seal’s withdrawal at 4.47pm on Thursday evening and the point at which it delivered the feed to bookmakers at 7am on Friday morning, was far too long.

Egan said: “US Navy Seal was withdrawn at 4.45pm and an email was issued at 4.47pm to our email list, which includes SIS, who have the responsibility of delivering non-runners to bookmakers.

“As far as we were concerned, that was the end of the matter, but what subsequently transpired was the non-runner was not passed on to the bookmakers for quite some time.

“Meanwhile, the non-runner was on our website as soon as the email was sent at 4.47pm and available for everybody to see.”

The non-runner could not be taken out until the following morning, which we did at 7am on Friday morning. This is SIS protocol, but perhaps we may review this

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