Top horse racing trio found guilty of racing rule breach

on September 29, 2008 by Administrator

A hearing in London last week judged that jockeys, Colm O’Donoghue and Johnny Murtagh, and trainer Aidan O’Brien, breached the rules of racing at Newmarket on the 23rd of August. During the Group One event, O’Donoghue, who was riding Red Rock Canyon, made a manoeuvre that benefitted another horse in common ownership.

O’Donoghue moved Red Rock Canyon off the rail in the last 1200 metres of the race, which encouraged Johnny Murtagh to take the gap. Murtagh and his horse, Duke of Marmalade, went on to win the event. As a result of this, Murtagh was punished for breaking Rule 220 (iii), since he displayed behaviour that went against the proper conduct of horse racing.

O’Donoghue freely admitted during the inquiry that he made the manoeuvre to benefit Murtagh but claimed that he had no idea that this was against racing regulations. Trainer, Aidan O’Brien, was found guilty of giving inadequate instructions concerning the official racing rules.

The two jockeys were punished with seven-day riding bans by the British Horseracing Authority (BHA), whilst O’Brien was handed a £5,000 fine. The length of the riding bans will leave both O’Donoghue and Murtagh free to compete in the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe at Longchamp in early October.

Following the inquiry, the British Horseracing Authority appeared surprisingly keen to play down the severity of the incident. Paul Struthers, spokesman for the BHA, stated that

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