TRAINER Ronan McNally has lost his appeal against the handicapper’s decision to refuse to allocate a handicap mark to Miss Polly Shelby. The four-year-old filly has raced seven times, finishing last on five occasions, second last in one run, and 10th of 14 in another.

Garry O’Gorman, IHRB senior flat handicapper, gave evidence to the hearing of the Handicapping Appeals Body on the relevant racing rule to the effect that “a horse shall not be allotted an initial handicap rating where in the opinion of the handicapper, its performance would justify a rating below 45”.


With regard to Miss Polly Shelby, in seven runs over a 15-month period, she had only once demonstrated a level of performance which would justify a rating. That was in a race on September 7th at Galway when she achieved a possible rating of 42, still some 3lb below the threshold level for allocation of a handicap mark.

For reasons pointed out by the handicapper in his submissions, there were reasons to doubt the merits of this particular performance.

Prendergast wins

Trainer Kevin Prendergast has won his appeal against ‘non-trier’ penalties imposed by the stewards at Dundalk on November 10th following the unplaced run by Aghaboy in a maiden at Dundalk. The penalties were to fine the trainer €2,000 and suspend Aghaboy for a period of 42 days.

Prendergast told the Appeals Panel last Monday that he had instructed 10lb claimer Jessica O’Gorman to obtain the best possible placing and he was disappointed with the ride.

Giving evidence at the hearing, O’Gorman stated that during the race she felt that she was doing a good job but on viewing the recording accepted that she should have been much stronger in the latter stages of the race.

The panel allowed Prendergast’s appeal but reminded him and his authorised representative of their responsibilities of informing the acting stewards on the day of their satisfaction or dissatisfaction of a ride if involved in a similar enquiry.

Ryan suspended

Jockey Gavin Ryan has been given a five-day ban for his role in the Galway incident which led to Kevin Manning suffering a broken collarbone in late October.

The Referrals Committee had to delay its investigation of the case due to Manning’s injury on the day. Last Monday Ryan and Manning attending a hearing along with Wayne Lordan, Chris Hayes and Shane Foley.

Manning described how his mount, Dublin Journal, was sluggish leaving the stalls and he found himself in the position he was in when he would have ideally been more prominent. He said that he initially received pressure from his outside and then from his inside and his horse clipped a heel and came down.

Ryan explained that he was drawn widest of all and his mount jumped smartly from the stalls and he wanted to go forward. He suggested that some of the horses who were slow away wanted to be in a better position and as a result there were five horses where there should have only been three.

When he got to the point of the bend, Manning’s mount got bumped out and ended up catching a heel.

The panel were satisfied that Ryan was in breach of Rule 214(ii) in that he had ridden carelessly and, having considered his record, they suspended him for five race days.