Mahon fined over Tipperary incident

STEPHEN Mahon has been fined €500 for his behaviour towards a racing official at Tipperary on July 18th.

Mahon, who is currently serving a three-and-a-half-year ban from training over a welfare offence, was representing trainer Pat Kelly at Tipperary when he “acted in an intimadatory manner” towards the IHRB’s veterinary assistant Avena O’Keeffe who was taking a sample from a Kelly-trained horse.

It was alleged that Mahon not wearing a shirt at one stage of the incident, that he insisted on inspecting the beaker before it was used to take the urine sample, that he was initially reluctant to leave the testing area, and that he was not wearing a face covering at one point.

The Referrals Committee, headed by Justice Frank Clarke, held that the issue in relation to Mahon’s shirt was irrelevant and that there was no evidence of a breach of Covid regulations in relation to the face covering.

Although the Committee accepted that the racing official has been obstructed, they deemed the offence to be “at the lower end of the range”. They also took into account that Mahon was under stress at the time and under medication.

In addition to the fine, Mahon was ordered to pay €250 in costs.

Separately, the Referrals Committee (Justice Raymond Groarke in the chair) considered the improvement in form of the Sam Curling-trained Call Me Freddie when he won a handicap hurdle at Cork in May. The race attracted attention at the time as the winner was well-backed and was ridden by Rachael Blackmore, a late replacement for a less experienced rider.

On the day, the local stewards did hold an enquiry but referred the matter on for further investigation.

Senior NH handicapper Sandy Shaw told the Committee that, while the result was a significant improvement in form, there were no issues from a handicapping point of view. IHRB head of security Chris Gordon said he had consulted with a number of betting companies and there were no betting patterns of concern.

Having considered the evidence, the Committee took no further action.