IHRB to advertise ‘shortly’ for new chief executive

Denis Egan to take early retirement in September after almost 20 years in the post

Irish Horseracing Regulatory Board chief executive Denis Egan will take early retirement at the end of September. Photograph: Caroline Norris/Inpho

Irish Horseracing Regulatory Board chief executive Denis Egan will take early retirement at the end of September. Photograph: Caroline Norris/Inpho

 

The Irish Horseracing Regulatory Board (IHRB) plans to advertise “shortly” for a new chief executive.

The regulatory body’s current ceo, Denis Egan, announced earlier this month that he will take early retirement at the end of September.

Egan has been to the forefront of the IHRB’s defence against high-profile allegations of doping in recent months from top trainer Jim Bolger who claimed drugs are Irish racing’s number one problem.

The IHRB has also been under pressure from a number of other controversies including a four-year suspension for trainer Stephen Mahon over animal welfare issues.

Mahon’s appeal against that suspension will be heard on Saturday week (July 31st).

Egan has insisted his early retirement has nothing to do with any of the contentious issues the IHRB is embroiled in.

He figured prominently in two recent Oireachtas Agriculture Committee hearings which examined Bolger’s allegations.

In both he declined to reveal his salary, for a position he has held for almost 20 years.

Whether pay details for his successor will be made public is unclear and could be related to whether or not the person taking over is an internal appointment.

However, an IHRB spokesman confirmed on Friday: “The board has put processes in place and the position of chief executive will be advertised shortly.”

Racing’s regulator came under fire from the Oireachtas Committee for lacking transparency and accountability. It was also described as a “closed shop”.

However, the Minister for Agriculture, Food & Marine, Charlie McConalogue has said the Government is satisfied the IHRB is “sufficiently independent” to ensure maximum confidence so allegations of doping or animal welfare issues are investigated fully.

The IHRB has also confirmed that Chief Justice Frank Clarke will join the regulator’s board from January. Mr Justice Clarke is set to retire from the Supreme Court in October.

In other news, the Goffs Orby Sales, Ireland’s premier yearling auction, will be held at home in September following the lifting of restrictions on overseas buyers entering the country.

Last year the sale was moved to the Goffs sales complex in Doncaster due to the pandemic.

A Goffs statement on Friday said: “The Irish Government’s recent announcements allowing most overseas visitors to enter the country without the need to quarantine on arrival as long as they are vaccinated means that Ireland’s premier sale will be held in Kildare paddocks on its scheduled dates, September 28-29.”

Ahead of next week’s Galway festival, Gowran Park on Saturday is the single domestic fixture of the weekend in Ireland.

Despite the possibility of showers over the weekend, watering will continue at Ballybrit, where ground conditions are mostly good although good to firm in places on the steeplechase course.

Gowran’s eight-race card sees the mare Scream make a quick reappearance in a handicap having been just touched off at Naas on Wednesday.

The former three-time winner tackles the longest trip she’s ever faced but ground conditions and an inside draw could prove a big advantage.

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