Wednesday 28 September 2016

Pyromaniac cleared for Galway Hurdle following High Court decision

Racing

Published 26/07/2016 | 02:30

Pyromaniac and jockey Fran Berry (Beige and Dark Blue) win the Irish tatler Handicap during the Tattersalls Irish Guineas Festival at The Curragh Racecourse, Co Kildare. Photo: Pat Healey/PA Wire
Pyromaniac and jockey Fran Berry (Beige and Dark Blue) win the Irish tatler Handicap during the Tattersalls Irish Guineas Festival at The Curragh Racecourse, Co Kildare. Photo: Pat Healey/PA Wire

Pyromaniac has been cleared to run in Thursday's €300,000 Guinness Galway Hurdle after connections won a High Court stay on the horse's 42-day ban pending a judicial review of the Turf Club's finding against the horse.

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The Tony Martin-trained six-year-old is a 10/1 shot to land the most valuable jumps race in the country, and his participation is now assured.

At a Turf Club appeals hearing last Thursday, Martin won his appeal against the initial finding by the Killarney stewards that Pyromaniac had been schooled in public by Patrick McGuigan when finishing sixth under tender handling in an amateur riders' race.

McGuigan did not contest his seven-day ban for his ride on Pyromaniac. On appeal, Martin was instead found guilty under a different section of Rule 212, which legislates for horses not running on their merits.

Having shown new evidence that a problem with Pyromaniac's teeth had come to light, Martin was instead fined €1,000 for running a horse that was deemed not to be in a condition to do itself justice, but the 42-day ban imposed on Pyromaniac was upheld.

In the circumstances, Martin felt that it was unfair on the owner, Maurice Regan, for the Turf Club to keep the horse's ban in place.

On that basis, yesterday they sought a judicial review at the High Court, and Judge Richard Humphreys found in their favour, meaning that Pyromaniac may now take its place in the Galway Hurdle. No date has been set for the review, and, until that takes place, the horse is free to run.

Martin has won the past two Galway Hurdles with Thomas Edison and Quick Jack. Last year's winner could also be joined on Thursday by the stable's 2015 third Ted Veale.

Pyromaniac, a winner at the 2014 festival, is also entered in three races on Friday, but a tilt at the big race of the week is understood to be priority number one.

Following the High Court decision, Turf Club chief executive Denis Egan said: "I don't want to comment on the issue because it is now sub judice." Martin also did not wish to comment.

Irish Independent

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