Jockeys’ body wants review of ‘non-trier’ rule introduced in January
Pat Smullen aiming to close gap on leader Colin Keane in race for jockeys’ title
Aidan O’Brien: was fined €2,000 in March when Music Box was suspended from racing for 42 days under Rule 212. Photograph: Julian Herbert/PA
The Irish Jockeys Association wants to sit down with the Turf Club and review the impact of the ‘non-trier’ rules seven months after their controversial introduction.
The amended Rule 212 came into force in January as part of what was described as the most extensive set of running and riding regulations in any major racing jurisdiction in the world. They include an onus put on jockeys to be seen to try and achieve the best position they can in a race.
Central to it is “an overall obligation on all persons who may have involvement with the running or riding of a horse to ensure the horse concerned runs on its merits and is also seen, to a reasonable and informed member of the racing public, to have run on its merits”.
Bodies representing both jockeys and trainers initially expressed considerable disquiet with the rules, particularly in relation to a novice chase at Gowran in March when just three horses finished and the second and third wound up penalised.
Later that month the Aidan O’Brien-trained Music Box was suspended from racing for 42 days under Rule 212 with the champion trainer fined €2,000 and jockey Wayne Lordan banned for five days. The penalties were upheld after an appeal.
The rate of incidents relating to the ‘non-trier’ rules has subsequently declined and the Turf Club has expressed satisfaction with both its impact and implementation. Earlier this year the jockeys’ body urged a review of the rules after the Galway festival and that call has been repeated.
“We have the benefit now of time and everyone has a clearer understanding of how this works. There have been eight to 10 cases before the stewards which have been resolved in various different ways and I think it’s worth sitting down and reviewing this,” said IJA secretary Andrew Coonan.
“The Gowran case in particular provoked a lot of talk but people are a lot clearer now in terms of the impact of the rules on trainers, jockeys and owners. We have a broader spectrum of cases now and the view always was that we would sit down again and look at this,” he added.
Turf Club chief executive Denis Egan said the regulatory body is prepared to “sit down with anyone at anytime to discuss any rule”.
He added: “If they’ve something to say we will certainly consider it although I haven’t heard from anyone. It is noticeable though that the incidents of breaches of Rule 212 have reduced dramatically since the initial flurry of cases.”
Given the recent resurgence of Dermot Weld’s team however, the 5-4 about Smullen rallying to lift the crown for a tenth time could ultimately wind up looking generous.
Weld has had seven winner from 21 runners over the last fortnight and sends five runners to the start of Killarney’s August festival on Wednesday. Smullen has six rides overall compared to Keane’s three although the latter has perhaps the most interesting mount of the day in the Listed feature.
Psychedelic Funk proved his ability over a mile at Naas last month and lines up in the Vincent O’Brien Ruby Stakes. Conditions are likely to be testing but the Ger Lyons runner was third on soft ground in last year’s Coventry Stakes.
Weld has Raymonda in this and although she was out of the frame in Galway’s Corrib Stakes the transformation in the legendary trainer’s fortunes since Ballybrit has been notable.
Aljunood sports a first time hood in his maiden and could be a different proposition to the horse beaten three times earlier in the summer.
Very soft ground could be an issue with Dalton Highway’s chance in a later 11-furlong handicap but it could be just what’s required for Sea Swift in the five-runner finale. The filly won on heavy going at Sligo last year and is upped in trip from her last run at Gowran.