TRSA Stewards yesterday concluded an inquiry into the actions of trainers Mr Niki O’Shea and Ms Ashton Downing in attempting a raceday administration to two horses trained by them while on route to a race meeting at Strathalbyn on Wednesday 2 May 2018.
Surveillance by the TRSA Stewards discovered the attempt by licensed trainers-in-partnership Mr O’Shea and Ms Downing to treat Social Set and Allez Tara, with the Stewards ordering the scratching of both horses from the races they were due to run in at Strathalbyn that day.
The Stewards subsequently opened an inquiry into the matter and, at the conclusion, laid eight charges against Mr O’Shea and six against Ms Downing.
Having considered all the evidence gathered by the Stewards Department and that provided by each trainer, the Stewards found both trainers guilty of each of the charges laid.
Of the most serious charge laid, under AR.175(aa), Conduct intended to corrupt the outcome of a race, Mr O’Shea was disqualified for a period of five years. Under the same rule Ms Downing was disqualified for a period of two years as being a party to the offence. The remaining charges resulted in disqualification of 3 months to 18 months, with all penalties to run concurrently.
These penalties come into effect as of midnight, Thursday 26 July 2018 (although it should be noted that Mr O’Shea and Ms Downing cannot start a horse in any race from the time of the decision until the expiration of their disqualification).
The severity of these penalties reflects the ethical standards that TRSA Stewards bring to every investigation in the interest of protecting the integrity of the industry and sport.
“The maintaining of the highest possible levels of integrity and horse welfare are the absolute cornerstone of the racing industry,” said TRSA CEO Jim Watters.
“While the penalties are severe, these were premeditated actions to try and illegally affect the outcome of a race. In ensuring a level playing field for all our participants, and in endeavouring to maintain the expected levels of animal welfare, the penalties must be substantial. Both Niki O’Shea and Ashton Downing have the right to appeal the Stewards’ finding and penalties and it is not appropriate to comment further at this point.”
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