No date set for trainer Stephen Mahon’s appeal of four-year ban

Michael O’Leary keeps open option of running Tiger Roll in next week’s Galway Plate

No date has been set for the appeal by controversial trainer Stephen Mahon against his four-year ban for breaching rules in relation to animal welfare.

Last month Mahon received the longest suspension ever handed out to a trainer in Ireland after an Irish Horseracing Regulatory Board hearing.

He was found to breached rules in relation to the neglect and proper supervision of 10 racehorses at his Co Galway base.

On the back of inspections in April one animal had to be put down due to being “catastrophically injured” in a fetlock joint. Another was found to be “emaciated.”


The hearing panel concluded there were “multiple and widespread failures to secure the welfare of animals” in Mahon’s charge.

Despite being disqualified from training Mahon is allowed work in racing in other capacities.

Separately he is now under investigation by the IHRB for an incident at Tipperary on Sunday when an enquiry was held into his behaviour.

In his new role as authorised representative and travelling head lad for Galway trainer Pat Kelly, he was alleged to have interfered in the post race sampling of a horse he used to train, Stormey, who had finished third in a Beginners Chase.

A report by an IHRB veterinary assistant outlined how during a post-race urine sample, Mahon “was interfering in the sampling process by insisting that she turn the tumbler used to collect the urine sample upside down to prove that there was nothing in it, prior to the sample being taken.”

The official added Mahon was reluctant to leave the sampling unit and observe the process on the screen situated outside the testing unit.

She felt this interference caused her to miss the opportunity to take a urine sample from Stormey and added that Mahon was not wearing a face mask as required by racing’s Covid-19 protocols.

Mahon told the stewards he had his face mask on all days although they noted he was not wearing it during the enquiry and ordered him to use one.

Mahon said he has asked to see the tumbler was empty before the sample was taken and added he found it “strange” that Stormey was selected for sampling since he hadn’t won the race.

The stewards referred the matter to the IHRB’s chief executive, Denis Egan, for further investigation.

On Monday an IHRB spokesman confirmed that a date for the hearing of Mahon’s appeal against his four year disqualification has yet to be set.

“Both parties are in communication with the appeals panel and the hearing date will be set in due course,” he said.

Tiger Roll

In other news Ryanair boss Michael O’Leary has kept open the tantalising option of running his dual-Grand National hero Tiger Roll in next week’s Tote Galway Plate.

O’Leary’s Gigginstown Stud team has won the Plate four times in the last seven years and another of their star names, Samcro, tops the weight for one of next week’s €250,000 highlights.

Samcro has been given a mark of 158, 3lbs higher than Tiger Roll whose rating in Britain has been bitterly disputed by the O’Leary team who refused to run him in April’s Aintree National as a result.

Tiger Roll’s Plate mark of 155 is 4lbs higher than when he last competed over steeplechase fences in Ireland when pulled up at Clonmel in November of 2017.

A total of 45 entries remain in next week’s other big festival prize, the Guinness Galway Hurdle.

They are topped by two Grade 1 winners, Saldier and Petit Mouchoir while Willie Mullins, successful last year with Aramon, has 11 entries in all.

A trio of cross-channel hopefuls, including the Swinton winner, Copperless, remain in contention.

Brian O'Connor

Brian O'Connor

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