A BREEDER, rider and owners were left extremely disappointed at the final RDS young horse qualifier in Mullingar on June 26th, when a human error led to their RDS qualifying place being taken off them after the prize giving.

Declan Phelan from Tullogher House Stud in Co Kilkenny feels aggrieved following a mistake by Showjumping Ireland, which resulted in his horse, Tullogher Kaizen ridden by Paddy O’Donnell, being announced, and then denounced, as the eighth-place finisher at the four-year-old Dublin Horse Show qualifier. The horse is co-owned by his 12-year-old nephew Denis Phelan.

Following the prize giving, where the combination received their rosette, the rider was called to the judges’ box to be informed there was a mistake and they in fact finished in 18th place. Speaking to The Irish Field this week, Phelan said: “First of all, there was a big delay in calling out who finished eighth and they eventually announced it was my horse and we had qualified for Dublin.

“There was then an announcement that one of the places was being revised. They told the other person they were getting eighth place and the result was changed on SJI Live before Paddy [O’Donnell] was called into the judges’ box and told that they added up the scores wrong and we didn’t get the place.

Phelan continued: “To me, it is morally wrong to hand out a position and then take it back. I appealed it there and then; I was told the results were added up wrong and that was the end of story. I then appealed it further, as to me it just doesn’t roll.

“SJI sent me out a letter via email to say they had investigated it and it was down to an inputting error on the SJI app. They are harping on about score sheets, but we weren’t afforded the chance to look at the score sheets ourselves.

“We do feel that we should have a place in Dublin in so far it wasn’t our mistake, it was their mistake. Why did they take three minutes from the first seven to call the last horse and still make a mess of it. We are very disappointed; it is very unprofessional at that level.”

Phelan also added: “The rules of the RDS say you must come in to the ring with your horse and passport, but that horse that got the place never came in and I take a big exception to that. We followed that up and we were told one of the officials went out and took the microchip from that horse in the box.”

SJI response

When contacted about the issue, Showjumping Ireland’s Ronan Corrigan told The Irish Fieldit was a genuine error, which has been thoroughly investigated since.

“We went back and we got a report from every one of the ground jury on the day and it genuinely was nothing other than somebody hitting the wrong number when they were putting a score on the app” he said.

“The score sheets are unaltered, unedited and are correct.”

When asked how the scores are recorded and put up on SJI Live, Corrigan said: “What they were doing in Mullingar was the judges were sitting together with the scribes, one of the scribes was then inputting it into her laptop and radioing in the score to one of the judges in the judges’ box to put it onto the [SJI] app, so whether somebody misheard or whether somebody mistyped, that is what happened.”

Corrigan added that the person that did qualify was asked to present the passport and animal on the day and he confirmed “all those things were done”.