Stewards put stop to gamble at Ballinrobe
CONTROVERSY reigned at Ballinrobe when one of the biggest gambles of the season was dramatically withdrawn by order of the stewards.
Just minutes before the runners were to go to post in the fourth race, morning gamble Like A Diamond – backed from 50/1 into 4/1 – was dramatically ruled a non-runner.
Mystery surrounds the background to this horse which had never run before and was down to be trained by Sharon Dunphy. Later, the stewards received a report from Turf Club senior security officer Chris Gordon in relation to the training of Like A Diamond.
According to the official report issued by the stewards, Gordon reported that the horse was "not trained at the registered licensed premises of Ms Sharon Dunphy at Drish, Thurles, Co Tipperary but at another premises in the neighbourhood".
Evidence was heard from Dunphy which included her acceptance of the report furnished by Gordon. Evidence was also heard from Fabian Burke, groom in charge, who had entered the yard on a temporary pass to work for Ms Dunphy at this meeting.
Having considered the report and evidence and, in particular, the admission by Ms Dunphy that Like A Diamond was not trained from her licenced training establishment, as required by rule 147 (vi), the stewards ordered the horse's withdrawal and referred the matter to the Turf Club.
After all this drama, the race was won easily by the Dermot Weld-trained Train Of Thought. Meanwhile, Danny Mullins will be available for the last three days of next week's Galway Festival after his 14-day ban for driving a racecourse ambulance at Bellewstown was reduced on appeal.
The rising star of the jump-jockey scene, who is retained by prominent owner Barry Connell, drove the vehicle himself after he had pulled up his mount Private Treasure when it got injured in the Anglo Printers Novice Hurdle.
Mullins explained to the stewards he felt assistance was slow in coming forward and that in the heat of the moment, he jumped into the Order of Malta ambulance so that he had time to weigh out for the following race.
The stewards initially banned Mullins for 14 race days under rule 272, which governs behaviour that is prejudicial to the integrity, conduct and good reputation of racing.
Mullins has now had the suspension cut to 10 days and will be free to ride from August 2 onwards, which means he's eligible for the last three days of Galway.
Should he again breach rule 272, his four-day suspended ban will be factored into any future punishment, but the rider was happy with the hearing his appeal got.
"I'm glad we've got something out of it – it wasn't an ideal outcome, but at least I get to ride at Galway for a few days," he stated. "I admitted I was wrong and knew I was wrong. I was hoping to get to ride at all of Galway; that didn't happen, but we are happy enough."
One race Mullins won't be able to ride in is tomorrow week's Galway Plate, the weights for which were announced yesterday with last year's Galway Hurdle hero Rebel Fitz having the dubious honour of heading the field.