The Turf Club, the regulatory body for both flat and national hunt horseracing in Ireland, recently announced new 'non-trier' rules for persons involved with the running and riding of racehorses in a race in Ireland.

The new rules have been introduced shortly after the settlement of a Judicial Review action brought in the High Court to overturn a Turf Club Appeals Body decision. A 42 day racing ban was imposed on the racehorse Pyromaniac and a €1,000 fine was imposed on the trainer under the old 'non-trier' rules. The trainer succeeded in obtaining a stay on the ban allowing Pyromaniac to run in the Guinness Galway Hurdle. See previous article here for more details. This High Court action was recently settled with no penalty for the trainer or Pyromaniac.

The new Rule 212A (the "Non-Trier Rule") creates new offences for persons who deliberately or recklessly cause or permit a horse to run other than on its merits and for riders who negligently misjudge the number of circuits, position of the winning post or ease their mount without good reason. The assessment of whether a racehorse has '"run on its merits" is considered from the viewpoint of a "reasonable and informed member of the racing public".

The penalty for breach of offences under the Non-Trier Rule has increased from a 60 day to 90 day suspension and from a €6,000 to a €10,000 fine. It will also be an offence for a person to lay a horse where they have knowledge of an intended breach of the Non-Trier Rule.

In addition to the new offences, Rule 212 C now grants greater discretion to racing stewards and senior racing officials to report infractions to the Referrals Committee. It also allows additional evidence, which may not have been originally considered, to be used. A successful argument was raised on this point under the old rules in the Pyromaniac case.

The new rules came into effect on Friday 20 January 2017.