A meticulous scam rigged races using falsified qualification records but escaped detection because of a botched investigation carried out by the Irish Greyhound Board.
This was among the most serious findings of an internal panel established by the IGB when it was forced to reopen the case.
The panel’s draft report was recently considered by the IGB. On Friday, it was accepted and its recommendations will be implemented across the country.
The result-rigging scheme involved the creation of fictitious trial histories for imposter dogs.
Having gained qualification, with fake records, these ringers turned up at Dundalk race track to win with significantly improved times.
In the critical case, which ultimately drew attention to the scam, a supposedly novice dog from Waterford (Mays Hurryonboy) came within 0.1 seconds of Dundalk’s course record on Jun 15, 2009.
He crossed the line 13 lengths clear of the opposition and 34 lengths ahead of his documented trial form.
The dog in question had been presented for the race by Newry-based solicitor Gary Haughey, the brother of the IGB’s officiating control steward in Dundalk that evening, Declan Haughey.
The report said all evidence indicated Mays Hurryonboy was not the dog that ran on the night.
Its trial records, which decided the class of opposition, had been pasted from the results of slower dogs at events three months earlier.
The internal panel’s inquiry, the third probe into Mays Hurryonboy’s win, also discovered this race was not the only one to involve falsification of trial records.
An examination of results, between May 2008 and Jun 2009, found a number of cases where dogs with fictitious trials competed.
“This scheme was meticulous in its design and executed without detection,” the investigative panel found.
The report did not establish if the scam happened because of negligence or complicity on behalf of the IGB regulation staff on the night.
Attempts to contact Declan Haughey were unsuccessful. Gary Haughey did not return a request for comment.
Perry Aylward said he was neither the owner or the trainer of the dog. His wife, May Aylward could not be contacted.
Dundalk’s former racing manager, Michael Dempsey, said he had co-operated fully with the inquiry and was devastated to have been named in it.
A spokesperson for the board in Dundalk had called for an inquiry into the matter in 2009 and, when that investigation was established, it provided a full briefing on the matters at hand.
The new report high-lighted significant shortcomings in the original IGB inquiry.
It said the system had been missed due to a failure to interview key personnel, seek copies of records or examine betting patterns: “The concerns raised in the email sent by the chief executive of Dundalk were not thoroughly investigated... The initial investigation did not delve deep enough into the matter to establish the facts of what happened.”
The IGB accepted its system had been manipulated: “The board has decided to adopt this draft report and implement its recommendations... Whilst Bord na gCon issued a statement on 11 November 2009 on this matter, new evidence subsequently came to light, which showed the need for further investigation.”
© Irish Examiner Ltd. All rights reserved
More in this section