Sport Horse Racing

Friday 17 November 2017

Gilligan gets six-month ban from British officials

Paul Gilligan
Paul Gilligan

Thomas Kelly

Galway trainer Paul Gilligan has been disqualified for six months at a rehearing by a panel of the British Horseracing Authority (BHA) for sending a horse to race at Uttoxeter that had previously competed at an unrecognised meeting in Ireland.

The Athenry-based handler had received the same penalty in March, by a panel chaired by Matthew Lohn, for running Dubawi Phantom at Uttoxeter when he was not qualified to run in Britain.

The inquiries chaired by Lohn were identified as potentially unsound. They also included the Jim Best case. The Gilligan inquiry was reheard by a panel comprising of Patrick Milmo QC, Lucinda Cavendish and Jeremy Barlow.

The panel, which acts independently of the BHA, has ruled that the trainer should be disqualified from racing for six months and that Dubawi Phantom should be disqualified from the race at Uttoxeter on June 29, 2014.

"He has been found in breach and he has been disqualified for six months. That is the same penalty he got first time round," said BHA spokesman Robin Mounsey. "The written reasons will follow, probably in the new year."

The affair stems back to August 2013, when a horse named Ayres Rock ran at the Dingle derby fixtures.

According to Gilligan, he acquired a gelding named Dubawi Phantom in November of the same year from a friend but was then prevented from running him at the following year's Galway Festival by stewards, who believed the horse was in fact Ayres Rock.

Dubawi Phantom had won at Uttoxeter prior to Galway and the BHA began its own investigations upon being informed of the Turf Club's findings.

At Hereford yesterday, the performance of former 'pointer' Finian's Oscar earned rave reviews as he landed the novice hurdle on his debut for Colin Tizzard.

Bought for £250,000 by Alan and Ann Potts, he started at a decent level against odds-on shot Acting Lass but Finian's Oscar (11/4), from the same family as Nicky Henderson's Champion Chase winner Finian's Rainbow, looked in a different league.

He cruised to the front under Tom O'Brien, beating the favourite by a comfortable seven lengths over an extended two miles and five furlongs.

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