On Monday 29 July, the High Court placed a temporary stay on a 42 day racing ban imposed by the Turf Club pending a judicial review. The decision of the High Court allowed the racehorse Pyromaniac to take its place at the Galway Races. It is unusual for the Irish courts to intervene in decisions taken by sporting organisations, although the High Court has jurisdiction to do so due to the incorporation of the Turf Club into the Racing Regulation Body under statute.
The Turf Club originally imposed a 42 day racing ban on the racehorse for making an "insufficient effort" and using the racecourse as a training ground while running in Killarney on 12 July, both of which are offences under the Turf Club Rules of Racing and Irish National Hunt Steeplechase Rules (the "Rules"). The jockey accepted a seven day suspension for his involvement and the trainer of the racehorse was also fined €2,000. The trainer subsequently appealed the decision against him as trainer and the ban against the racehorse.
The Turf Club Appeals Body heard the trainer's appeal on 21 July. It accepted that he had not breached the "non-trying" rule or used the racecourse as a training ground, but upheld the ban on another basis, that he ran the racehorse in a condition that precluded its chance of winning, which is also an offence under the Rules. This decision was based on evidence given by the trainer that the racehorse had health issues prior to the race.
The 42 day ban was upheld thereby excluding the racehorse from running at the Galway Races. The fine imposed on the trainer was reduced to €1,000.
The trainer then requested the High Court for permission to apply for judicial review of the Turf Club's decision. Judicial review is a process which allows the decisions of public bodies to be challenged in the High Court. The High Court granted the permission requested and put a stay on the 42 day ban pending the judicial review hearing.
The stay on the ban allowed the racehorse to run in the Guinness Galway Hurdle on Thursday 28 July, just three days after the stay was granted. However, despite starting the race as third favourite, Pyromaniac finished seventh out of twenty runners.
No date has been set for the judicial review but it will not be heard until at least October when the courts return after the long vacation.