The jockey was young conditional Thomas Doran, who was having only his fifth ride in public last night when he incurred a 50-day ban for not trying hard enough. He was riding Massini’s Trap for trainer James Nash in a maiden hurdle race. He had previously had the misfortune to lose an iron when partnering the horse a couple of weeks ago, so you would have thought he would be all out to prove his worth.
Instead, he gave the horse an absolute howler of a ride, something he admitted afterwards when the stewards called him in. Although the horse was a 25/1 chance, Doran acknowledged that with a more perceptive ride he would probably have won the race. In fact, he finished third, beaten two and a quarter lengths, after making up lots of ground after the horses turned into the straight.
The stewards’ report on their enquiry said, “Evidence was heard from the rider concerned, who stated that his instructions were to jump off fifth or sixth on the rail, creeping into the race before ultimately doing his best. He added that the horse jumped adequately towards the rear before staying on very well in the straight. He concluded by accepting that he left the horse too much to do, and had he ridden his mount more prominently he felt he would have won.”
The trainer confirmed those instructions, and acknowledged that he was disappointed with the ride given Massini’s Trap. The stewards were left with little option but to impose a lengthy ban, a painful lesson for the young jockey, but one from which he’ll surely learn.
Meanwhile, on Monday night, the Ballinrobe stewards refused to allow Sharon Dunphy’s Like A Diamond to run in a nine-furlong maiden. This must have disappointed a fair number of punters, as the horse had been backed in from 50/1 to 11/4, though the withdrawal was nothing to do with that.
This was a matter of a horse being prepared at a different location from which it is registered. This issue has suddenly cropped up twice in the matter of a couple of weeks, as earlier in the month Mikey O’Connor had two horses taken out of races at Cork.
Now there’s absolutely no suggestion that anything untoward was behind the change of training location. It’s a matter of safety and animal welfare, which is demonstrated by training establishments meeting a set of standards. Dunphy explained, “I moved into a new yard in Felthard two weeks ago and it has not been inspected yet. Obviously somebody made the Turf Club aware of that.”
That sounds perfectly reasonable to me. Denis Egan, chief executive of the Turf Club in Ireland, set out their position. He said, “It is absolutely crucial that horses are trained at the licensed premises where they are registered because all training facilities have to be inspected and found to be up to a particular standard to be licensed. We have no idea what standards a yard that hasn’t been inspected is up to. There’s also the fact that we must know where horses are. Most of our information is intelligence led tip-offs. We need that, as there are 500 yards and we could turn up at 490 in a year and find no problems.”
Two situations, both of which could have been avoided with a little more forethought and planning.