Ronan McNally appeal against record 12-year disqualification set for end of May

Controversial Armagh trainer saddles topweight The Jam Man in Sunday’s Ulster National

Controversial Armagh trainer Ronan McNally’s appeal against his record 12-year disqualification is scheduled to take place at the end of May.

The Irish Horseracing Regulatory Board confirmed on Friday that May 29th has been set aside to hear McNally’s appeal.

It means he can continue to enter and race his runners for the next two months as any ban doesn’t start until the appeals process has been completed.

In January, McNally, who saddles topweight The Jam Man in Sunday’s €50,000 Randox Ulster National at Downpatrick, received what is believed to be the longest ever ban in Irish racing having been found to have committed a number of integrity breaches.


An IHRB referrals committee judgment a month before that concluded McNally had treated the rules of racing in a “cavalier manner” after a long-running investigation into the improvement in form of a number of his horses.

It said McNally’s offences struck at the integrity of the sport and the objective of a level playing field. They also involved a deception of the betting public.

As well as his disqualification, McNally was ordered to pay €50,000 in cost and return more than €13,000 in prizemoney.

The businessman and restricted licence holder has said he is confident of reversing the judgments on appeal. He has also described the swingeing penalties as effectively a lifetime ban from the sport.

The Jam Man was one of the horses at the centre of the IHRB investigation and the 10-time career winner will have to concede weight all-round in Sunday’s three-and-a-half-mile marathon.

Jockey Aidan Kelly, a Cheltenham festival winner on Iroko, takes a valuable 7lb off The Jam Man.

Among his 14 rivals are the 2020 winner Space Cadet and local hope Archies Charm who won on his sole previous start at Downpatrick.

Fourth to the Kim Muir winner Angels Dream in his last race, Archies Charm ran into another Cheltenham winner before that when runner-up to Seddon at Leopardstown.

Testing ground shouldn’t be a problem and if he’s unproven at the trip the same applies to much of the field.

McNally has another runner on Sunday’s card in Full Noise who lines up in the following handicap chase.

In other news, William Haggas landed last weekend’s Irish Lincolnshire with Lattam and the Newmarket trainer saddles the favourite Al Mubahir in Saturday’s Doncaster Lincoln when the British flat season on turf kicks off.

Brian O'Connor

Brian O'Connor

Brian O'Connor is the racing correspondent of The Irish Times. He also writes the Tipping Point column