High-profile Fairyhouse bans are overturned in successful appeals
An unusually busy afternoon on behalf of race-day stewards at Fairyhouse on November 28 was rendered in vain on Monday night when connections of the two horses found guilty of schooling in public won their appeals.
On the day, Pat Fahy's JP McManus-owned Shantou Ed and Tony Martin's Deborah Breslin-owned Bobbie's Diamond were banned for 30 days, their riders Alan Crowe and Philip Enright suspended for a week and their trainers fined €1,000 each.
In total, the connections of four McManus horses had been asked to explain their performances at Fairyhouse. Now Shantou Ed - beaten 80 lengths when eighth in the beginners' chase - will join the others in clear, as will Bobbie's Diamond, which finished 16 lengths further behind in 11th.
Given that there were just two similar sanctions imposed on Irish tracks throughout 2014, the stewards' vigour on the day had attracted considerable attention.
However, the Turf Club's appeals process is well established as a source of redress that yielded a 61pc success rate last year, and a panel comprising former Turf Club senior steward Nick Wachman, High Court judge Tony Hunt and Colin Magnier, the former top-class amateur rider from Co Meath, on Monday upheld the two challenges.
Both findings were based on medical evidence that the Turf Club report indicated wasn't available to the race-day stewards. A veterinary examination two days after the race identified Shantou Ed as suffering from a lung disease.
In the case of Bobbie's Diamond, which a Turf Club vet had found to be post-race normal, a secondary examination - organised by his trainer, Martin, and undertaken by a Ratoath Veterinary Clinic vet before the horse left the track - showed that the horse had bled internally.
Martin also had a referral in relation to the possibility of not relaying that Bobbie's Diamond had previously made a respiratory noise quashed. He stated that, although the horse had made a noise at home, it hadn't done so on the track.