Pyromaniac to miss Galway after Martin fails to overturn ban
Pyromaniac will not be permitted to line up at Galway next week after the Turf Club's appeals body essentially backed the Killarney stewards' finding that the horse did not run on its merits.
Tony Martin's appeal against his €2,000 fine for using the racecourse as a schooling ground was successful, but he was instead fined €1,000 for running a horse that was not fit to race, having indicated that there was a problem with the horse's teeth.
At Killarney, after Patrick McGuigan failed to put Pyromaniac into the race in a meaningful fashion, the stewards suspended the horse from racing for 42 days.
In upholding that ban, the appeals panel has emphatically backed the stewards' conclusion. In recent times, the redress process has been a source of almost routine joy for connections found guilty under rule 212, which covers the schooling in public infringement. Since November, Martin has fallen foul of the ruling on three occasions, but the punishments were dramatically quashed on appeal in the cases of Bobbie's Diamond and Noble Emperor.
This time, there was far less mercy. In the wake of the high-profile Noble Emperor saga in April, the Turf Club's Senior Steward Meta Osborne publicly conceded that the regulator was conscious of criticism of the perceived benevolence of its disciplinary procedures, stressing that a review had already begun.
The Pyromaniac case was the most contentious verdict to come under the spotlight since then, and yesterday's outcome lends credibility to Osborne's commitment to uphold the integrity of Irish racing.
McGuigan did not appeal his seven-day ban for a ride that never gave his mount a chance to do itself justice in an amateur riders' race at the Kerry venue on July 12. Having been sent off the 4/1 second favourite, Pyromaniac finished a never-dangerous sixth.
However, the appeal on behalf of Clonmel's Newton Anner Stud, which is owned by Listowel natives Maurice and Patricia Regan, was in vain, which suggests that there may be a renewed Turf Club determination to deal with such cases more forcefully. A winner at the Galway Races in 2014, Pyromaniac's potential targets next week included the Guinness Galway Hurdle, the €300,000 highlight of the seven-day gala.
The Turf Club's chief executive Denis Egan said: "He (Martin) was originally found to be in breach of Rule 212a. It wasn't specified what part of that rule at the time, but he was found to be using the racecourse as a training ground which is Rule 212a3.
"That has now changed to Rule 212a2, which states that no horse should run where they are in a condition which would preclude their chances of winning.
"The explanation put forward, apart from the fact that he wasn't happy with the ride, was that the horse hung during the race and a problem with his teeth was discovered after the race.
"The stewards found that the horse ran under conditions that precluded his chances of winning.
"They are not in any way accusing him of being negligent, but found that the horse couldn't win with the problem. Whether he should or shouldn't have known, that's what they found.
"The 42-day suspension starts from today."