BARRY CONNELL and his trainer, Alan Fleming, are finding winners scarce these days and it was presumably frustrating to be stripped of one they did have through no fault of their own.
That is what happened when Connell’s Mount Pelier won in Wexford recently. The Irish Horseracing Regulatory Board registrar Josh Byrne duly objected on the grounds that jockey Conor McNamara was not qualified to ride under the conditions of the race. The race was a bumper open to amateurs and claiming professional jockeys, but McNamara also holds a flat apprentice licence which, under the race conditions, precluded him from taking the mount.
Obviously Connell et al were not aware of this and there were no shortage of jockeys who could have deputised.
It should be of some concern that Horse Racing Ireland (HRI) did not have appropriate systems in place to prevent such a scenario from happening when the jockey was declared a day before the race.
During the enquiry, Richard Shaw from HRI’s racing department confirmed they had subsequently amended the relevant computer program to ensure it would no longer be possible to book an ineligible rider in similar circumstances.
It sounds like the stable door has been firmly shut by HRI but, for Connell and Fleming, their horse has clearly bolted.