Pyromaniac ‘non-trier’ case resolved with no penalties to horse or trainer

Outcome of dispute a blow to appeals body, with Turf Club in line to pay legal bills

Tony Martin: “A solution has been agreed.” Photograph: Alan Crowhurst/Getty Images

Tony Martin: “A solution has been agreed.” Photograph: Alan Crowhurst/Getty Images

 

The controversy over the Pyromaniac “non-trier” case that dogged the run-in to last summer’s Galway Festival has finally been resolved with no penalties applying to the horse or his trainer, Tony Martin.

Pyromaniac’s connections have confirmed that they believe the matter to be closed and have expressed their satisfaction with the outcome. They declined to comment on the question of costs. However, it is believed that the Turf Club is in line to pick up the legal bills on both sides.

The outcome is another blow to racing’s integrity body, which has seen its authority questioned in recent years on the back of some high-profile appeal cases into alleged non-trier offences. A series of significant changes to the Turf Club’s non-trier rules are expected to be announced this week.

Last July, a stay on a 42-day ban confirmed by an Appeals and Referrals Committee hearing was imposed in the High Court, which allowed Pyromaniac to run in the Guinness Galway Hurdle ahead of a potential judicial review.

The horse, owned by Newtown Anner Stud, had originally received a 42-day suspension at Killarney earlier that month. Martin was fined €2,000 by the race-day stewards and jockey Patrick McGuigan was banned for seven days.

Penalties

Those penalties were appealed and Martin’s €2,000 fine was lifted, but a new fine of €1,000 was imposed under a different clause of the Turf Club’s rule 212. A 42-day ban on the horse was confirmed at the Appeals and Referrals Committee hearing, a decision that both Martin and Maurice Regan of Newton Anner Stud described as unfair.

The High Court stay allowed Pyromaniac run in the Galway Hurdle, in which he finished unplaced. He has run three more times since, including at Ascot last month.

“It’s been all settled and put to bed as far as I’m concerned. A solution has been agreed. There are no penalties on anyone and the horse is free to run,” Martin said.

Solicitor Kevin Power, who acted for Martin and Newton Anner Stud, added: “The matter has been resolved. There are no problems and the original findings have all been quashed.”

As for the issue of costs, Power said: “I have no comment in relation to that.”

The Turf Club’s chief executive, Denis Egan, declined to comment on the matter in general.

Horse’s teeth

At the appeal hearing, held in Leopardstown the week before Galway Races, Martin argued that he hadn’t used the racecourse as a training ground when Pyromaniac was sixth in an amateur riders’ race and outlined how issues with the horse’s teeth could have affected his performance.

The outcome of that appeal was that the original penalties were lifted but the Co Meath trainer was fined €1,000 and Pyromaniac was still banned for 42 days under rule 212 (a) (ii), which relates to horses running “where they are in a condition which could preclude their chances of winning”.

In delivering its decision, the Appeals and Referrals Committee stressed that Martin hadn’t been negligent in his care of the horse.

Pyromaniac had been prominent in antepost betting lists for the Galway Hurdle, but eventually got the green light to run just three days before the race when a stay was granted in the High Court. The horse eventually finished seventh.

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