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Lee Smyth: coach had his license suspended for three months
Lee Smyth had his license suspended for three months and hit with fines and costs totaling €10,000 after he admitted the flu vaccinations on the passports of two horses in his care in 2018 had been falsified.
The County Down coach appeared before an Irish Horseracing Regulatory Board (IHRB) referral panel on December 8, following a four-year investigation. It was a case that was sparked by a complaint from a veterinarian, Mark Seager, about the authenticity of stamps and signatures claiming to be his, when checking horses for sales in November 2018.
The horses in question were Wowshamproperty of David Laverty, and Brandy Ty Rockwho was bred by Laverty. Giving evidence, Laverty pointed out that both horses’ passports were in the trainer’s custody at all times.
The charges against Laverty were dismissed, as Smyth admitted that the passport entries of Wowsham on March 1, 2018 and Ty Rock Brandy on February 5, 2018 were forged.
Smyth was later found guilty of breaching Rule 272, the regulations which cover disrepute on racing, in that he conducted his training and management of Wowsham and Ty Rock Brandy in a manner detrimental to the integrity, good conduct or good reputation of horse racing in Ireland. .
He was also found guilty of breaching another clause of the same rule for knowingly providing misleading information when presenting passports for inspection on four occasions in 2018 at Down Royal, Sligo, the Curragh and Dundalk, while youHorses were disqualified from five unplaced races in the relevant period.
However, Ty Rock Brandy won twice at Wolverhampton in between, so it remains to be seen what action the BHA will take, and tThe IHRB confirmed that the BHA had been informed of the findings in the case.
Another finding of corrupt or fraudulent practice in making or allowing another person to make a false entry in passports was made against Smyth.
On presenting the forged passports to the race day veterinary authorities, it was found that he had acted in a manner “likely to cause serious damage to the interests of horse racing in Ireland”.
Judge Raymond Groarke, who chaired the IHRB panel, said the issue undermined one of the IHRB’s most important biosecurity activities to protect the racing industry in Ireland.
As a mitigation, it was taken into account that Smyth, who has trained 48 winners on the flat since obtaining his license in 2008, had never previously committed acts of serious misconduct and that he operates a small family training institution.
The committee suspended Smyth’s license for a period of three months, fining him €6,000 and ordering him to contribute an additional €4,000 towards the costs of the IHRB.
Groarke added: “Any future similar infractions by coaches should result in severe penalties, including a significantly longer period of suspension.”
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FIRST PUBLICATION AT 2:00 PM, DECEMBER 14, 2022
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