CHARLES BYRNES and his sons, Philip and Cathal, have generated acres of column inches in recent times but an incident that went under the radar involved jockey Philip, who was riding a horse named Gendarme for his father at Sligo.
Although Gendarme was second favourite, he found himself with plenty to do when the race began to develop after the third-last hurdle. At this stage, the Byrnes’s horse was hemmed in by eventual runner-up Dragon’s Pass, ridden by Kieran Buckley. In an effort to get out of the pocket, Philip Byrnes reached over and struck Buckley on the head.
The other jockey, not surprisingly, was miffed although happily he was not tempted to administer his own justice when he returned to the weigh room. Buckley instead reported the incident to the stewards.
Having heard Buckley’s version of events, Byrnes told the stewards that he felt he was being kept in by the other horse but he was riding loosely and that was the reason it appeared he may have made contact with his fellow rider.
The stewards sided with Buckley and handed Byrnes a 12-day ban. With his father the subject of yet another Irish Horseracing Regulatory Board investigation concerning events at Downpatrick recently, when the Byrnes’s team collected three winners on the day but have questions to answer over the withdrawal of one of their intended runners, Karloss, the family is racking up the controversies.