Trainer Paul Gilligan disqualified for 18 months by Turf Club

BHA investigation showed that Dubawi Phantom had previously raced as ‘Ayres Rock’ at flapper meeting

Trainer Paul Gilligan has been disqualified from racing for 18 months by The Turf Club. Photograph: Lorraine O’Sullivan/Inpho

Trainer Paul Gilligan has been disqualified from racing for 18 months by The Turf Club. Photograph: Lorraine O’Sullivan/Inpho

 

The Cheltenham Festival winning trainer Paul Gilligan has been disqualified from racing for 18 months by the Turf Club over the Dubawi Phantom ‘flapping’ controversy.

Gilligan is currently serving a six-month disqualification from the British Horseracing Authority who imposed that penalty in December on the back of Dubawi Phantom winning a race at Uttoxter in June of 2014.

It was established at the BHA investigation that Dubawi Phantom had previously raced as ‘Ayres Rock’ an an unregistered ‘flapper’ meeting at Dingle in 2013.

At a Referrals Committee hearing on Wednesday the Turf Club reciprocated the BHA ban which ends in June but also imposed an 18 month disqualification of its own which is set to start on April 26th.

The penalty was based on Gilligan running the horse in Ireland on three occasions when he knew, or should have known, the horse had raced at an unrecognised meeting.

Gilligan, who saddled Bertie’s Dream to win at Cheltenham in 2010, didn’t contest the book of evidence at the Referrals Committee hearing but insisted he had done nothing wrong.

Afterwards the trainer, who is based in Athenry, Co Galway, declined to comment but his solicitor, Michael Keane, indicated he is likely to appeal the severity of the sentence.

“We are very disappointed. Because of the elongated and time-consuming events in England last year, where there were effectively three hearings, I took the view there was no point rehashing the same thing again so we accepted the book of evidence,” said Keane.

“My client doesn’t accept the charge and always has, and still does, maintain his innocence. The Turf Club were always going to reciprocate the ban which is fine. But they decided to do us on the Irish races.

“We are very disappointed at the severity of the ban. We will wait and let things settle but I think we will be appealing the severity.

The Referrals Committee took into account how Gilligan had received a suspended one-year ban from training in 2013 after a dispute in relation to the ownership of the Grade Three winning chaser, Wellforth.

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