Sport Horse Racing

Saturday 24 June 2017

Non-trier rules need time - Egan

Owner Alan Potts and jockey Robbie Power with Sizing John after the Gold Cup – the pair will now have a formal agreement in place. Photo by Cody Glenn/Sportsfile
Owner Alan Potts and jockey Robbie Power with Sizing John after the Gold Cup – the pair will now have a formal agreement in place. Photo by Cody Glenn/Sportsfile

Johnny Ward

the spate of non-trier controversies will ease off as trainers and riders get accustomed to the new rules, according to Turf Club CEO Denis Egan.

Senior rider Andrew Lynch was given a five-day ban after a Gowran race earlier this month. His appeal failed at a referrals hearing on Monday.

Senior rider Andrew Lynch was given a five-day ban after a Gowran race earlier this month.. Picture credit: Matt Browne / Sportsfile
Senior rider Andrew Lynch was given a five-day ban after a Gowran race earlier this month.. Picture credit: Matt Browne / Sportsfile

Barry John Foley, who was riding in the race, had his appeal allowed as had trainer Declan Queally but they will be referred on again to a later date when the Referrals Committee will consider whether or not they breached a different part of Rule 212 as a result of evidence given at the appeal.

This followed suspensions handed out to Seamie Heffernan and Rachael Blackmore earlier in the year, which related to the Turf Club's changes to Rule 212 introduced in January. The rule relates to non-triers and schooling in public.

These changes broke down infringements into four categories of severity. However, Egan argues that racing personnel are still getting accustomed to the changes.

"I believe it will be good in the long term for racing as riders will now have to be seen to make a genuine attempt to obtain from the horse timely, real and substantial efforts to achieve the best possible placing," he said. "The rule is much clearer than the old rule under which the only obligation was to obtain he best possible placing. That rule was more subjective which led to different interpretations and greater inconsistency in its application.

"I do not expect the current level of rule breaches to continue as those involved become more familiar with the rule and how it is being applied. I believe that any riders having difficulty will adopt their riding styles. In the vast majority of cases riders are fully compliant with the rule so it shouldn't be an issue for them."

Egan added that he had read about the concerns that have been raised by both the trainers' and jockeys' associations but that the Turf Club had not met with them formally to discuss those concerns, nor had it had any request for such a meeting.

"We are happy to discuss any concerns that are raised. One thing I would like to say is that there is a misapprehension out there that the whip has to be used.

"That is not the case and even under the old rule, has never been the case. Outside of both of these associations, the reaction from other parties has been very positive."

Meanwhile, Horse Racing Ireland chief executive Brian Kavanagh has defended the Fairyhouse fixture on Sunday, which sees two Grade Two novice hurdles run over similar distances, and another Grade Two contest, even though the Grand National festival and Punchestown are to follow.

"Sunday's card is a very strong and balanced one; the reason for this is that the three Graded races are normally run at the Easter Festival which this year falls a week before Punchestown.

"For that reason, the races have been brought forward this year to allow a three-week gap to Grade One races over similar trips at Punchestown," he said.

Retained

Gold Cup-winning jockey Robbie Power will start a new phase of his career as newly-appointed retained rider for Alan and Ann Potts.

Power sported the green, yellow and red silks to a famous Cheltenham Festival double recently, winning the Gold Cup on Sizing John and the Coral Cup aboard Supasundae.

However, while he will ride for the Potts when he can, Sizing John's trainer Jessica Harrington will still have first call on his services.

Potts has previously used Jonathan Burke as his retained rider, as well as several other jockeys attached to different stables.

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