A stable employee at Charles Byrnes' stable was yesterday suspended for four months by the Turf Club Referrals Committee having been found to be laying horses running out of Byrnes' yard, one of which was current Champion Hurdle favourite Solwhit.
John O'Gorman was in breach of Rule 273 (xiv) 4b which prohibits the holder of a racing establishment employee card to lay any horse under the care and control of the trainer for whom he is employed, to lose a race with any person or betting organisation.
O'Gorman was handed the four-month ban, for which the normal suspension is 12 months, having admitted his wrongdoing from an early stage in the investigation and following a representation made by Charles Byrnes at yesterday's hearing.
Evidence was heard from Hugh Hynes, the Turf Club Integrity Analyst and from O'Gorman, who admitted laying nine horses trained by Charles Byrnes to lose between the dates of May 8th 2008 and 21st December 2008.
Having considered the evidence, the committee noted that the laying of horses to lose by a racing establishment employee card holder when employed in a trainer's yard seriously damages the integrity of racing and that the appropriate penalty for such an offence would be in the region of 12 months. However, in mitigation, the Committee acknowledged that Mr O'Gorman had admitted the offence at an early stage and cooperated fully with the investigation.
Having regard for all these circumstances, the Committee imposed a four-month disqualification on O'Gorman with effect from yesterday's date.
As outlined in the details of the nine cases below, the maximum won by O'Gorman was €345.58, made from laying Merchant Paddy to win and to be placed at Gowran Park in November 2008. However his biggest loss was following Solwhit's win in the Ladbrokes Handicap Hurdle at Fairyhouse, where the current Champion Hurdler's win cost him a sum of €8,607.81.
Also heard by the Referrals Committee yesterday was an incident involving jockeys Colm O'Donoghue and Danny Mullins, where the Acting Stewards at Dundalk on November 27 received a complaint from Mullins, that he had been physically attacked byO'Donoghue in the weighroom following the running of the card's fifth race.
Having considered the evidence of the case, the committee indicated that offences that take place in the weighroom area are exceptionally serious.
They did, however, take into account the attitude of O'Donoghue and that he had admitted the offence through his solicitor Frank Ward.
They also noted that O'Donoghue had apologised to Mullins for what had happened.
Taking all the evidence into consideration the Committee found O'Donoghue in breach of Rule 272 and suspended him for three race days.