'Real Article' inquiry falls at first hurdle
The Turf Club were yesterday forced into an embarrassing climbdown when a scheduled inquiry into last week's controversial Tipperary defeat of the current Galway Hurdle favourite The Real Article collapsed on a legal technicality.
Despite the referral being instigated by the Turf Club chief executive Denis Egan under his guise as Keeper of the Matchbook, yesterday's hearing was unable to proceed following preliminary legal submissions by solicitor Frank Ward on behalf of The Real Article's trainer Edward O'Grady.
Ward put it to the Referrals Committee that the case could not be dealt with by the committee under Rule 27, which was the basis of Egan's application.
Ward argued that, because the acting stewards at Tipperary found no infringement of the rules, there was no basis on which the committee could, as Egan had requested, "consider the failure of the Stewards at Tipperary to impose a sanction following the running of the Kevin McManus Bookmaker Grimes Hurdle".
The Turf Club's solicitor Conal Boyce contested the challenge, but Ward's submission was allowed, with the committee concluding that it had no power to deal with Egan's application. The Real Article is now free to take up his engagement in the €260,000 highlight of the summer jumps season on Thursday.
Following his short-head defeat to Captain Cee Bee, under tender handling by Paddy Mangan, bookmakers cut the six-year-old from double-figure odds into 7/2. Had he won, he would have been liable for a penalty for Galway at the handicapper's discretion.
However, because The Real Article was beaten, he is not required to carry the extra 18lbs that the Turf Club's senior assessor Noel O'Brien subsequently allotted him for future races as a result of his proximity to Captain Cee Bee last Sunday week.