Tag Archive for: Charles Byrnes

Blazing Khal stamps his class

Blazing Khal further enhanced his Cheltenham Festival claims by making it back-to-back course victories in the Albert Bartlett Novices’ Hurdle.

A winner on his hurdling debut at Galway before winning a Ballymore Novices’ Hurdle trial at Cheltenham last month, Blazing Khal stepped up to three miles for the first time on his return to the Cotswolds.

Ridden confidently by Donal McInerney, the even-money favourite gave his supporters a brief fright by fluffing his lines at the second flight from home, but was soon back on the bridle.

The Kalanisi gelding moved smoothly to the lead approaching the final flight and readily kicked four and a quarter lengths clear of Gelino Bello, who was also runner-up to the winner four weeks ago.

Paddy Power make Blazing Khal their 5-1 favourite (from 8-1) for the Albert Bartlett in March, with Byrnes planning one more run in the meantime.

He said: “I’m delighted. I thought his jumping was much better today, apart from the second-last, and he took off again when he gave him a slap down the shoulder. I’d say he’d plenty left.

Blazing Khal returns to the Cheltenham winner's enclosure
Blazing Khal returns to the Cheltenham winner’s enclosure (David Davies/PA)

“We were a small bit worried it would be a bit quick for him the last day and I think three miles is his forte.

“The Albert Bartlett would definitely be the aim. Maybe we’ll run him at the Dublin Racing Festival (at Leopardstown in February), depending on the ground – he wouldn’t run there if it’s good ground.

“He could still improve more, hopefully.”

Byrnes delighted to have Cheltenham experience in the bag with Blazing Khal

A return to Cheltenham for the Albert Bartlett remains the ultimate aim for Blazing Khal after his Grade Two success at the track during the November meeting.

The gelding was a bumper winner last year when taking a competitive contest on heavy ground at Limerick, with his graduation into the hurdling ranks a success when he won a Galway maiden in October.

A steep step up in class then followed in Cheltenham’s Ballymore Novices’ Hurdle on November 12, an early-season trial for the Grade One Cheltenham Festival event with which it shares a name.

Blazing Khal proved himself perfectly able to hold his own among higher-calibre company, however, and was a convincing two-and-a-half-length winner at 9-2 under jockey Donal McInerney.

The victory has further bolstered trainer Charles Byrnes’ plans to head to Prestbury Park in March for the Albert Bartlett Novices’ Hurdle over three miles.

“It’s a big plus now we know he handles the track and has some form there,” he said.

“He’s come home in good form, I haven’t really made any plans for him yet, but the goal is the Albert Bartlett back at Cheltenham in March.

“There’s not an awful lot for him in the meantime, there’s not a lot for him at Christmas.

“I think there’s a Grade One at Naas just after the New Year and there’s the Dublin Racing Festival, but at the moment I haven’t made any plans for him.”

Blazing Khal and Donal McInerney
Blazing Khal and Donal McInerney (Zac Goodwin/PA)

The five-year-old had seemed to show a preference for softer ground in his previous runs, but the Cheltenham performance came on good going and has left Byrnes to wonder whether he may not be as ground dependent as originally thought.

“The way he handled the ground the last time, you’d be wondering,” he said of the notion that Blazing Khal might not enjoy firmer conditions.

“I’d say it looks like ground wouldn’t be an issue to him, or so you’d hope.”

Blazing Khal puts down Festival marker for Byrnes

Blazing Khal took his unbeaten record over timber to two with a battling display in the Grade Two Ballymore Novices’ Hurdle at Cheltenham.

The five-year-old, trained by Charles Byrnes, got the better of Gelino Bello on the run to the line to score by two and a half lengths in the hands of Donal McInerney.

Current Mood took the seven-strong field along until after the second-last, where she was passed by Blazing Khal and Gelino Bello. The pair came close together at the final flight and it was the former who proved the strongest from there.

The 9-2 shot had only made his hurdling debut five weeks ago at Galway, where he won a 17-runner maiden event.

Blazing Khal was given a quote of 20-1 for the Albert Bartlett Novices’ Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival with Paddy Power and Betfair, who introduced him at 25-1 for the Ballymore.

Byrnes – who returned to training in September after a six-month suspension having been found to have been “seriously negligent” in relation to his supervision of Viking Hoard at Tramore in October 2018 – said: “We had high hopes, he was impressive the last day and I thought he’d come on plenty for it.

“His bumper form back in Ireland worked out very well, so he did look a good horse. We’ve always considered him more of a three-mile horse, he finds an awful lot at the end of his races. He jumped a wee bit slow at stages, but I think that will come on. It was the same in his bumper at Limerick, it turned out to be hot bumper so I think he’s a very good horse.”

A winner to remember for Donal McInerney
A winner to remember for Donal McInerney (Zac Goodwin/PA)

Looking to March, Byrnes – no stranger to Festival glory having guided the top-class Solwhit to the World Hurdle crown in 2013 – added: “I’d be thinking of the Albert Bartlett, but if the ground was soft he could go for the Ballymore. The Albert Bartlett would look the obvious race.

“I’d imagine he’d probably have one more run back in Ireland before then.”

It was a landmark winner for McInerney, who said: “It’s my first winner here, it’s brilliant. I was happy enough with where I was, just going down the back it was getting a bit tight for him and I just had to sit.

“He’s still a bit green and novicey over his hurdles, but he was good there.”

Byrnes loses appeal against six-month suspension

Trainer Charles Byrnes has been unsuccessful in his appeal against the decision of the Irish Horseracing Regulatory Board’s Referrals Committee to suspend his licence for six months and fine him €1,000.

Byrnes was handed the penalties after one of his horses tested positive for a prohibited substance after being pulled up at Tramore on October 18, 2018.

The urine sample of Viking Hoard was found to contain hydroxyethylpromazinehydroxide (HEPS), a metabolite of acepromazine (ACP), which is a sedative and forbidden under the rules of racing.

The IHRB committee had ruled that although it was not alleged Byrnes was directly involved in either the administration of ACP or the betting patterns surrounding the horse, “the evidence showed that Viking Hoard was subject to a dangerous degree of sedation during the race”, and came to the conclusion the horse had been “nobbled” by an unidentified third party when left unaccompanied.

The IHRB added at the time that Byrnes had signalled his intention to appeal -and the Limerick trainer has been able to continue having runners in the interim – sending out Off You Go to win at the Dublin Racing Festival.

That appeal was heard last week, and a verdict supporting the original decision was published on Thursday.

In its findings the appeals body said submissions referenced “Mr Byrnes’ personal and financial circumstances and his success as an experienced and capable trainer for 26 years”, and that the loss of his licence “would be ruinous for him” and that his employees would have to be let go and horses currently under his charge would have to be sent elsewhere.

But it added that “the focus of the Appeals Body’s deliberations must be on the blameworthiness of Mr Byrnes’ conduct. In the judgement of the Appeals Body, Mr Byrnes failure to ensure any attendance on Viking Hoard at Tramore Racecourse stables for two significant periods prior to the race on October 18 was, in the language of the Referrals Body, ‘seriously negligent’.”

It added: “Whilst the Appeals Body accepts that there is no evidence that he (Byrnes) was aware of the extraordinary and suspicious betting activity on Viking Hoard, it simply cannot ignore the very serious consequences which flowed from his misconduct and dereliction of duty.”

The appeals body said the penalties were to take effect 14 days from the publication of the verdict.

Byrnes was also ordered to pay costs, estimated at €2,000.

Speaking via Zoom at a press conference arrange by the IHRB, its chief executive Denis Egan said he was “satisfied” with the result while also finding it far from ideal they were still no nearer to knowing who administered the drug or who laid the horse.

“We’re satisfied with the outcome of the investigation. In a perfect world of course we’d like to know who administered the solution to the horse and we’d also have liked to have found out who laid the bet,” said Egan.

“Unfortunately we don’t know who administered the solution and the person who laid the bet is outside the jurisdiction, as such. The perfect result would have been to get both of those, but I think the result is excellent.

“This is something that could have gone completely under the radar had the horse not been sampled in Tramore and I think it was a very good investigation.

“We’ve an excellent relationship with Betfair/Paddy Power and I want to pay tribute to them for their cooperation on an ongoing basis. They supply information to us and are always willing to support us in any investigation.”

Egan also confirmed that Byrnes is not a disqualified person, meaning he can continue to work in racing during his period of suspension.

Charles Byrnes awaiting verdict following Viking Hoard appeal

Trainer Charles Byrnes is awaiting a verdict from the Irish Horseracing Regulatory Board’s appeals panel after contesting the decision to suspend his licence for six months and fine him €1,000.

Byrnes was handed the penalties after one of his horses tested positive for a prohibited substance after being pulled up at Tramore on October 18, 2018.

The urine sample of Viking Hoard was found to contain hydroxyethylpromazinehydroxide (HEPS), a metabolite of acepromazine (ACP), which is a sedative and forbidden under the rules of racing.

The IHRB Referrals Committee held a hearing via Zoom on January 7, with the authority informing Byrnes of its decision before issuing a 14-page written judgement to support its conclusions.

The committee decided “the evidence showed that Viking Hoard was subject to a dangerous degree of sedation during the race”, and came to the conclusion the horse had been “nobbled” by an unidentified third party when left unaccompanied.

Cliodhna Guy, IHRB head of legal, licensing and compliances, submitted that while it was not alleged that Byrnes was directly involved in either the administration of ACP or the betting patterns, he had “taken risks in discharging his responsibilities under the rules that resulted in an extremely serious outcome from the perspective of the IHRB”.

However, the IHRB added at the time that Byrnes had signalled his intention to appeal and the handler has been able to continue having runners in the interim, sending out Off You Go to win at the Dublin Racing Festival on Sunday.

The appeal was heard on Tuesday evening, with no date set for a verdict.

A spokesperson for the IHRB said on Wednesday: “The appeal was heard last night, the panel reserved their judgement and after that we just await their decision.”

Charles Byrnes lodges appeal in Viking Hoard case

Trainer Charles Byrnes has lodged an appeal against the decision of the Irish Horseracing Regulatory Board to suspend his licence for six months and fine him €1,000 after one of his horses tested positive for a banned substance.

The Byrnes-trained Viking Hoard was pulled up at Tramore on October 18, 2018, after which a urine sample was found to contain hydroxyethylpromazinehydroxide (HEPS), a metabolite of acepromazine (ACP), which is a sedative and prohibited under the rules of racing.

The IHRB Referrals Committee held a hearing via Zoom on January 7, with the authority informing Byrnes of its decision on Monday before issuing a 14-page written judgement to support its conclusions.

However, the IHRB added it had “been advised that the trainer will be lodging an appeal against this decision”, and the lodging of that appeal was confirmed to the PA news agency by the IHRB on Friday.

Doctor Duffy out to extend winning run in Kerry National

Charles Byrnes is keeping his fingers crossed Doctor Duffy can continue his progression and put up a bold show in the Guinness Kerry National at Listowel.

The high-class hurdler was beaten on his first three starts over fences – finishing fourth on his chasing debut at Tipperary before suffering short-priced defeats when runner-up at Roscommon and Galway in July.

However, Doctor Duffy rewarded those who kept the faith when scoring in a first-time visor at Kilbeggan last month – and the headgear seemed to do the trick again when he followed up in the Mayo National at Ballinrobe two and a half weeks ago.

Byrnes said: “It took him a good while to get his act together over fences. He couldn’t win a beginners chase not that long ago – but his last two runs have been good, and the visor seems to have helped him.

“He’s up in grade and doesn’t have a lot of experience over fences, but we’ll hope for the best.

“If he runs like he did in Ballinrobe, he should run a good race.”

Doctor Duffy is the clear favourite in a maximum field of 18 runners on Wednesday.

Champion trainer Willie Mullins fires a three-pronged assault, with stable jockey Paul Townend partnering Cabaret Queen – winner of the Munster National at Limerick last autumn and third in the Galway Plate on her latest appearance.

Willie Mullins has a strong hand
Willie Mullins has a strong hand (Simon Cooper/PA)

The eight-year-old mare is joined by stablemates Robin Des Foret (David Mullins) and Blazer (Mark Walsh), who finished second and third respectively in a handicap chase at Killarney last month.

Mullins’ assistant David Casey said: “Cabaret Queen ran a great race in the Galway Plate. I think the track and the ground should suit her, so hopefully she’ll run well again.

“We’re putting cheek-pieces on Blazer for the first time, which I think will make a big difference to him. He’s in good form and ran a good race in Killarney the last day – I could see him running a big race.

“Robin Des Foret has been second in a couple of good races in Killarney this year, which is a flat track and similar to Listowel. He disappointed in the Galway Plate, but I think coming back to a flat track will be a help to him.

“Hopefully they’ll all run well. It’s a competitive race, but you can make a case for them all.

Malone Road runs at Listowel on Wednesday
Malone Road runs at Listowel on Wednesday (PA)

Henry de Bromhead saddled last year’s Kerry National hero Poker Party and has this year declared four runners – with Plan Of Attack, Spyglass Hill and Kupatana joined by third reserve Minella Times.

Gordon Elliott has a couple of representatives in Ravenhill and Three Musketeers, while Joseph O’Brien has Mortal and second reserve High Sparrow in contention.

Other hopefuls include Edward O’Grady’s The West’s Awake and Dermot McLoughlin’s course-and-distance winner Freewheelin Dylan.

The main attraction on the undercard is Elliott’s Malone Road, who puts his unbeaten record on the line in the Seamus Mulvaney Bookmaker Novice Hurdle.

The Cheveley Park-owned triple bumper winner returned from the best part of two years off the track to make a winning debut over obstacles at Kilbeggan last month, and will be strongly fancied to follow up faced with four rivals.