Ronan McNally has been disqualified from Irish racing for 12 years and been hit with costs of €50,000 following a referrals' committee inquiry relating to numerous breaches of regulations by horses owned by him.
Two of the four horses which came within the scope of the investigation of the Referrals Committee were trained by McNally, and two by David Dunne, and it was claimed that the latter pair’s true ownership was concealed by McNally and Dunne.
The committee brought the case that three horses showed extraordinary improvement in their form and handicap ratings over a very short period of time, but also that the “change in ability and handicap ratings of the horses was accompanied by the betting market chasing in those horses when they came good and, at least in the case of Dreal Deal, persons connected to Mr McNally (Messrs Aaron and Liam Fennessy, through Mr Ciarán Fennessy) were able to bet against it when it was well down the field and bet on it to win when it won.".
At a committee meeting which took place on January 13, it was deemed appropriate to disqualify McNally for 12 years and to disqualify Dreal Deal from his wins at Navan on September 19, 2020, and at Limerick on October 10, 2020, and to do likewise with The Jam Man from his win at Limerick September 11, 2020.
The report, released on Tuesday afternoon, stated: “The committee regards the findings against Mr McNally as very serious. His offences strike at the integrity of the sport and the objective of having a level playing field for all who send horses out to race. They also involved a deception of the public, especially the betting public. The committee has taken into account the submissions made on his behalf and his past record and the effect that severe sanctions will have on him.”
David Dunne, who trained All Class, Petrol Head, and Full Noise, had his licence suspended for two years, with the last 18 months suspended for two years, and he also received a fine of €5,000.
Ciarán Fennessy, who was alleged to have passed information about the condition and wellbeing of Dreal Deal to allow others to profit from betting on the horse with a betting organisation, and to have showed disregard for the rules of racing in that, having knowledge of intended breaches of Rule 212A by another licensed trainer, passed this information to third parties, is to be declared a disqualified person and have his licence suspended for a period of three years, with the final two years suspended for five years. He also received a €5,000 fine.
Jockey Eoin O’Brien, who rode Dreal Deal at Navan on July 3, 2020, and who was investigated under rules pertaining to running and riding offences, was given a 21-day suspension.
Darragh O’Keeffe, who failed to report to the stewards that, on June 17, 2020, at Gowran Park, his mount, Dreal Deal, was slow from stalls and/or took that the horse took a blow during the race, was cautioned with regard to his responsibility to make such reports.
Mark Enright, who rode Dreal Deal on August 8, 2020, in Cork, also failed to report relevant information to the stewards and received a similar caution.
All suspensions are to commence from March 1, 2023.