Turf Club cracks down on potential ‘non-triers’

A significant overhaul of running and riding rules means jockeys must be “seen” to try

Trainer Tony Martin and jockey Barry Geraghty successfully appealed against a 30 day ban for a ride on Noble Emperor at Limerick. Photo: Inpho

Trainer Tony Martin and jockey Barry Geraghty successfully appealed against a 30 day ban for a ride on Noble Emperor at Limerick. Photo: Inpho

 

The Turf Club has published a significant overhaul of its running and riding rules, including in relation to the contentious ‘non-trier’ issue.

Just days after it was confirmed the case involving the Tony Martin trained Pyromaniac had been resolved, with all penalties against the horse and its connections dropped, and racing’s regulatory body paying the legal costs of both sides, the Turf Club has outlined changes to its controversial Rule 212 which will come into force on Friday week.

A major new element to the new rules is an obligation that every horse is “seen, to a reasonable and informed member of the racing public, to have run on its merits” and that each horse in each race is “seen” to be given a full opportunity to achieve its best possible placing.

Such a move puts an onus on jockeys to be seen to try and secure that placing.

Another change in Rule 212 is in relation to a new provision for dealing with possible breaches of rules different to the ones initially under consideration.

The maximum fine that can be imposed in future is increased from €6,000 to €10,000 and the maximum suspension on a horse is increased from 60 days to 90 days.

The rule alterations come on the back of a number of high-profile cases of horses and jockeys being suspended, and trainers fined, in relation to breaches of the ‘non-trier’ rules.

In April, former champion jockey Barry Geraghty successfully appealed against a 30 day ban he picked up for riding the JP McManus owned Noble Emperor at Limerick earlier that month.

Noble Emperor was originally banned from racing for 60 days while the horse’s trainer, Tony Martin, was fined €3,000. All penalties were dropped on appeal to the Referrals Committee who concluded that Noble Emperor had achieved its best possible placing given the circumstances of the race.

In July another Referrals Committee panel confirmed a 42 day ban on Pyromaniac, owned by Newtown Anner Stud, after the horse had run at Killarney. However the penalty was delivered under a different clause of Rule 212 to the one the horse was originally penalised under by raceday stewards.

A High Court ‘stay’ allowed Pyromaniac run in the Galway Hurdle and the horse has run three more times subsequently.

On Sunday it was confirmed that the matter has been resolved with the Turf Club paying costs. It is understood the basis for that resolution is that the Referrals Committee was not entitled to impose what was effectively a new penalty after the original suspension was lifted.

That was another blow to the authority of racing’s integrity body which has come under pressure in recent years in relation to a number of issues in relation to its policing of the racing and breeding industries.

The Turf Club has made the fight against doping a priority for 2017 and has now outlined changes to the rules in relation to the running and riding of horses.

"The new rules give the stewards greater discretion when dealing with running and riding offences to ensure that an appropriate rule is used in dealing with any transgression,” the Turf Club’s chief executive Denis Egan said.

"The new rules should alleviate the difficulties which arose in the past where the same rule wording was used to deal with minor and major breaches,” he added.

The new rules state: “Having regard to the importance, for the health (including financial health) of the sport and industry of racing and breeding, of each horse competing in each race being seen to have been given a full opportunity of obtaining the best possible place, there is an overall obligation on all persons who may have involvement with the running and riding of a horse in a race to ensure that the horse concerned runs on its merits and is also seen, to a reasonable and informed member of the racing public, to have been run on its merits.” 

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