Trainer Paul Gilligan hit with six-month ban by BHA

Paul-gilligan-360

The BHA’s panel said Paul Gilligan was not a credible witness

  PICTURE: Patrick McCann (racingpost.com/photos) 

TRAINER Paul Gilligan has been banned for six months by the BHA for sending a horse to race at Uttoxeter who had previously competed at an unrecognised meeting in Ireland.

Gilligan, who is licensed by the Irish Turf Club, was found guilty by the BHA at a hearing on March 21 and 22 in relation to the running of Dubawi Phantom at Uttoxeter on June 29, 2014.

Dubawi Phantom won the race in question under Richard Johnson but Gilligan has now been ordered to repay the £9,384 won by the now nine-year-old, less that already dished out to Johnson and Gilligan’s stable staff.

One horse or two?

The affair stems back to August 2013, when a horse named Ayres Rock ran at the Dingle festival.

According to Gilligan, he acquired a gelding named Dubawi Phantom in November of the same year from a friend but was subsequently prevented from running him at the following year’s Galway festival by stewards, who believed the horse was in fact Ayres Rock.

Dubawi Phantom had run and won at Uttoxeter prior to the Galway spectacular and the BHA began its own investigations upon being informed of the Turf Club’s findings.

The BHA’s veterinary officer Nick Bowen studied photographs and DVD recordings of the previous outings of both Dubawi Phantom and Ayres Rock and concluded it was the same horse, based largely on its idiosyncratic markings.

‘Gilligan knew it was the same horse’

Gilligan denied he had run Dubawi Phantom at the Dingle festival, but the panel found he did know the two were the same horse by the time of the Uttoxeter race.

In its reasoning, the BHA said Gilligan had not been a credible witness and added that parts of his explanation of events were “simply unbelievable”.

On the decision to hit Gilligan with a lengthy ban, the BHA’s report added: “Racing relies on the integrity of trainers to only enter those horses into races who are eligible to race. Mr Gilligan has disregarded the rules of racing.

“He knowingly sent a horse to run under a different name in an unregistered race before entering the same horse into a registered race. He subsequently lied to BHA investigators when questioned about the events and created a false trail of evidence to try to hide his wrongdoing.

“The panel is mindful of the hardship that may be faced by a trainer and his staff by the effect of any disqualification, but believe the penalty to be fair and proportionate in all the circumstances.”

 

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