Turf Club ban employee at Solwhit yard for laying the horse to lose
A man who has been working for the trainer of Champion Hurdle favourite Solwhit yesterday became the first person here to fall foul of the rule prohibiting the laying of an employer's horses to lose on the betting exchanges.
The Turf Club's referrals committee warned John O'Gorman off for four months after Charles Byrnes' employee had admitted the offence at an early stage and co-operated fully with the investigation.
The ban, which could have been as much as 12 months, reflected the loss which O'Gorman incurred when current Champion Hurdle market leader Solwhit won for the Byrnes yard at Fairyhouse on November 29, 2008.
O'Gorman, on whose behalf Byrnes made representations during yesterday's hearing, laid the stable's runners on nine occasions between May 8 and December 21, 2008.
While his trading returned a profit on these transactions of less than E1,000, he suffered a hefty loss in excess of E8,600 when Solwhit scored in a Fairyhouse handicap hurdle before that horse was beaten at Thurles on December 21.
The committee commented that such activities "seriously damage the integrity of racing" and that the appropriate penalty would be a ban "in the region of 12 months".
At a separate hearing, the same body banned one of Aidan O'Brien's senior jockeys -- Colm O'Donoghue -- for three racedays after "an altercation" at Dundalk on November 27.
The acting stewards received a complaint from teenage apprentice Danny Mullins after the fifth race that he had been "physically attacked" in the jockeys' room area by Cork native O'Donoghue, who admitted the offence yesterday through his solicitor and apologised to Mullins.