Cheltenham Festival

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12 Jun 18 10:12
Date Joined: 22 Sep 06
| Topic/replies: 48,937 | Blogger: irishone's blog
Broken my post cheltenham promise not to bet until jan 1st 2019 . Pat Kelly has one race in mind for this horse according  to those in the know at rossie last night. 6\1 is well worth a punt at this moment in time top up as the others fall away , it wont be 6\1 on the 15th march 2019 and you can still lay it off for profit
Pause Switch to Standard View PRESENTING PERCY
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Report Hibore February 17, 2020 7:40 AM GMT
Irish, I think it’s more than the ground tbh. How about improving 10-12 lbs. The owner did say he needs Cotswold air to run his best so maybe he will ?
The vibes before the Irish Gold Cup were that he was at his best and no excuses. He was found wanting for the fourth or fifth time. Excuses excuses excuses.

If it wasn’t for the Percy Cult he would be 20/1 for the GC. I’m fully expecting him to be backed into 7/1 or 8/1 on the day before running behind Kemboy and Delta again at least.
Report irishone February 17, 2020 2:45 PM GMT
Still biting hibore !  Laugh
Report duffy February 17, 2020 3:24 PM GMT
Try questioning Santini and he'll have your fooking arm offWink
Report Hibore February 17, 2020 4:33 PM GMT

Irish knows I'm pulling his leg.
Report irishone February 22, 2020 10:32 AM GMT
What if you were the jockey of Pp and you were told before the savilles, its not his ground, leave it up to you but dont tear into.him because he is not 100%. What if you wore that same silk before the pp gold cup and you were told hes 100%, its up to you, dont get to the bottom of him, theres a bigger gold cup awaiting.
Report irishone February 22, 2020 10:33 AM GMT
Now watch the races again !
Report shlotter February 22, 2020 1:42 PM GMT
obviously I have backed PP ew ante post for der Mammy, not quite to the monster gamble of last year, but as much I want to see a tricolor from a jockey being waved on the walkway in, think it might be another Irish horse that takes it. To be honest I don't care which Irish horse wins the Gold Cup, so long as it is an Irish horse.
Report ENGLANDBARNES1 February 23, 2020 8:31 AM GMT
The trainer has such a good record at Cheltenham and the horse had an excuse last year- lame.
I don’t think it had any excuses last time out at leopardstown though and finds little off the bridal.
Report irishone February 27, 2020 7:10 AM GMT
Davy wavering !
Report impossible123 February 27, 2020 2:48 PM GMT
A non-entity.
Report irishone March 5, 2020 8:52 PM GMT
The horse has been entered in the race based on two cheltenham wins and runs in the saville and the irish gold cup.

You are the non-entity.
Report duffy March 6, 2020 2:29 PM GMT
You just can't legislate for Pat Kelly, we all assume that he would have been spot on for the Irish Gold Cup, but he's off the wall he isn't interested in anything other than the one race, we just don't know if he had left something to work on going forward, ultimately he moved into the race like the winner and if it had been the first run of the season you'd have said he blew up and it would have been marked down as highly encouraging. In the end he was plugging on again and not beaten far. He's a player.
Report irishone March 6, 2020 6:00 PM GMT
Has to be away from.other horses
Wont take tight gaps , nervous in a crowd.
P G knows
Report irishone March 11, 2020 12:17 AM GMT
Davy offered delta
Stuck with percy
Horse travelled down with mall dini
Not running but they love each other
Percy is absolutely flying
Report foxy March 11, 2020 6:31 PM GMT
Hopefully not a wasted journey
Report impossible123 March 11, 2020 7:43 PM GMT
Only a miracle, sadly miracle does exist eg Champ and Politologue.
Report foxy March 11, 2020 8:01 PM GMT
I was hopefully the horse gets to run
Report foxy March 11, 2020 8:01 PM GMT
Report irishone March 13, 2020 7:51 AM GMT
The vibes from the percy camp are very positive, yet the horse was drifting yesterday, which is a worry, phillip has some very powerful friends, some of whom have 33\1 tickets, so it wouldnt surprise me if they were laying off. I have not backed the horse and will not back it, the trainer looked very smart, dapper and even keeled this week,  lets hope Percy runs well and comes back safe .....(have to add the horse was left overnight in a field in athenry  last week with mall dini).
Report irishone March 13, 2020 3:10 PM GMT
No excuses for percy today he wants it soft side of good and hes got it
Report duffy March 13, 2020 3:19 PM GMT
I'll be backing Percy before the off, more from the heart than the head but I'm clinging onto the trainer only having ready for today even at the expense of the Irish GC, I have a real soft spot for the horse so I'm quite prepared to throw more good money after bad in this case, hope they all come back safe and sound.
Report irishone March 13, 2020 3:30 PM GMT
Yes more imp tgan anything
Report duffy March 13, 2020 3:47 PM GMT
Thank fook he got up.
Report irishone March 13, 2020 4:07 PM GMT
Dont think he would of won by any means, jumped low several times and didnt look right in the paddock
Report Hibore March 23, 2020 9:34 PM GMT
So after 2 years we can finally put to bed the biggest talking horse of a generation. Hundreds of thousands thrown down the drain on the dream that the horse was something special when all along he wasn’t much more than an average 165 chaser. Perhaps the fox hunters or cross country could be his thing next season, one thing is for sure he’s out of his depth against the big boys in the Gold Cup.
Report irishone March 24, 2020 11:16 AM GMT
No doubt you will also be happy to hear
Thirty people on a bus from craughwell county galway
Went to cheltenham to support the horse from the local stable
Have now all tested positive for coruna virus
Report GAZO March 24, 2020 11:32 AM GMT
sad but i take it that they were not strapped on the bus
Report sageform March 24, 2020 3:22 PM GMT
Hope they all recover quickly. That does not make PP a better horse though unfortunately.
Report duffy March 24, 2020 6:45 PM GMT
Yes the PP story is over, Santini too has confirmed his obvious achilles heel? he didn't have enough tactical pace to go when he needed too,after a couple more GC failures and when he drops a bit I can see the Welsh national through the slop and it probably need to be properly heavy being right up his streetGrin.
Report duffy March 24, 2020 6:59 PM GMT

Don't be laying the spreading of coronavirus from the Festival hordes at the hooves of PP, the poor horse doesn't need friends like you.Grin
Report irishone March 24, 2020 9:46 PM GMT
Report irishone March 24, 2020 9:46 PM GMT
Report duffy March 24, 2020 10:50 PM GMT
Stay safe allHappyWink
Report foxy March 25, 2020 8:01 PM GMT

Was your 1116 post a serious post ?
Report cloone river March 25, 2020 8:49 PM GMT
Was wondering the same.Hope they are all ok?
Report irishone March 25, 2020 10:55 PM GMT
The Government didnt set up a testing centre in the town for nothing foxy. Over the last two weeks almost everyone who went to Cheltenham from the area has been in there.
Report Hibore March 26, 2020 7:51 AM GMT
No doubt you will also be happy to hear
Thirty people on a bus from craughwell county galway
Went to cheltenham to support the horse from the local stable
Have now all tested positive for coruna virus

According to the media there were only 25 cases in the Galway area 3 days ago. There is only only one recorded case from somebody who attended Cheltenham as well.
Surely the above would be reported by the media ?

Let’s hope it’s untrue.
Report irishone March 26, 2020 12:05 PM GMT
I can only pass on what is doing the rounds here.
Your figures are way out as reported cases are all over the world.
We are getting over 200 a day reported cases in Ireland alledgedly!
Galway is the 6th biggest city.
Those figures came from 14 days of testing, and there were 40 reported cases in galway three days ago on the 23rd of march .
It takes 5 days now to get a test.
It takes 3-5 days to get the result.
On this occasion i prefer the grapevine information based on the fact i know two of the victims.
Report firstimevisor March 26, 2020 2:43 PM GMT
Irish, maybe that story is doing the rounds but there's no truth to it whatsoever. As of Sunday 23 March there were only 35 positive tests in Co. Galway. On that same day the first positive test was recorded of a person who had been to Cheltenham. This was reported extensively by the press and caused a huge reaction on social media even though only 1 from a total of 785 positives had travelled to Cheltenham.
20,000 travelled from Ireland to Cheltenham which roughly equates to 4 from every 1000 of the population so this in itself was a complete non-story from the press.
Now if there had been a bus from Craughwell where 30 from 30 had tested positive the newspaper headlines would have been off the charts.It just did not happen.
Report foxy March 26, 2020 3:24 PM GMT
That all makes sense to me firstimevisor,these tales that are doing the rounds are doing nobody any good.
Report irishone March 26, 2020 3:47 PM GMT
Hibore  26 Mar 20 07:51 
According to the media there were only 25 cases in the Galway area 3 days ago.

So .... 25 cases according to the media 23rd March   AS PER HIBORE .

firstimevisor  26 Mar 20 14:43 As of Sunday 23 March there were only 35 positive tests in Co. Galway.
AS PER FIRST TIME VISOR   (wow an increase of 40%)
Confirmed SARS-CoV-2 cases in Ireland by county (vte)
County    16 March    17 March    18 March    19 March    20 March    21 March    22 March    23 March
Galway    12    13    14    21    25    33    35    40

That says 23rd March 40 cases .. (wow 25 cases up to 40) 60% INCREASE IN NO TIME AT ALL LADS !)

.... are you really believing everything you read or see on the media and would you put that before your next door neighbour informing you about what is happening in a local hospital ?

The governments are manipulating the press and the figures , they have to , they have not got the resources over here to deal with it !  How about "Facemasks" are no good .... that's another bit of fake news. Nurses haven't had facemasks delivered for a week that in the media here ?
Report irishone March 26, 2020 3:55 PM GMT
And this I know is 100% true ...

The global coronavirus pandemic has seen people reach out a helping hand within their communities, and around the world, such as the Chinese city of Enshi which has offered 5,000 face masks to help fight the virus in Galway.
Mayor of Galway Mike Cubbard said that just yesterday he was contacted by the Deputy Director of Enshi City Municipal Chinese Government, who asked about the situation in Galway and to offer the face masks.
Relations between Enshi and Galway began under the previous city Mayor Niall McNelis when he visited the city last year as part of a tour of China to promote investment in Galway, and remained thereafter.
“As a friend of Galway, they want to help us where possible therefore have offered 5,000 face masks to me as they are aware there is a shortage of them.”
Report irishone March 26, 2020 3:59 PM GMT
Report foxy March 26, 2020 4:21 PM GMT
The point here irishone is your post on 30 out of 30 getting this awful virus is 100% on that basis everyone who went to the festival will get it ,do you really think it’s acceptable to post that sort of stuff on the basis it’s doing the rounds ?
Report firstimevisor March 26, 2020 4:51 PM GMT
Irish, leaving aside the waiting time for testing and then for results, looking at your figures above even if the unfortunate 30 were tested on the 18th(day after Gold Cup) and had the results back by 23rd, when you posted,well the total increase in positives in that time was just 26. The most cases in any one day was 8. Something's not adding up?
Report irishone March 26, 2020 4:51 PM GMT
No not at all foxy
Dont think they got it there
First reported here 6th march a week before the festival
Report irishone March 26, 2020 4:55 PM GMT
Gold cup wasnt on 17th mate
Report foxy March 26, 2020 4:59 PM GMT
Ok irishone it’s all above my intelligence all this I am confused.
Report irishone March 26, 2020 5:05 PM GMT
I dont know the facts foxy because they are kept very much under wraps. I

I wouldnt be surprised if someone travelled over with them, coughing and spluttering all the way over, said he had flu, didnt go to the races, stayed in hotel all day watching it in his room and came back on the bus.
Report firstimevisor March 26, 2020 5:09 PM GMT
My mistake, should have said 14th. Still doesn't add up though.Never happened
Report irishone March 26, 2020 5:49 PM GMT
You can take that view if you wish visor
Dont care to be honest
So much fake news about
Under the current restrictions
You and nobody else can prove it
Report firstimevisor March 26, 2020 6:45 PM GMT
No offence to you personally or your next door neighbor but the reality of the present situation is bad enough, real bad and the figures released every night are actual figures re testing, positive tests, deaths and recoveries. These figures are not plucked out of the media's ass, they are official HSE figures which means they are facts and the facts alone are enough.
Report Hibore March 26, 2020 7:14 PM GMT
One of my friends mum passed away from the virus last Sunday. If you think it’s acceptable to claim all 30 people on a coach who went to support a horse at Cheltenham have the virus then you should be ashamed. It’s not something to make up or pass on rumours as fact.

If true call the Sun and it will be headline tomorrow. Might make few quid as well.

I hope everyone on here stays safe.
Report foxy March 26, 2020 7:27 PM GMT
Thanks hibore same sentiments to everyone from me also.
Report irishone March 26, 2020 10:41 PM GMT
The sun already knows.

So you come on here slagging the horse off, stating he cant mix with the big boys when he obviously can, you give statistics which aint true about the deaths in galway and you are not ashamed of yourself ?
Report Hibore March 27, 2020 1:38 PM GMT
Claiming 30 people have a life threatening virus as a response to a negative comment about a horse is extremely childish and juvenile.

I hope you regret the post and let’s move on.
Report impossible123 March 27, 2020 3:21 PM GMT
I hope everyone on this platform is safe and sound post this pandemic. Whether it' June, July or end of the year horse racing ora no horse racing that's immaterial; sound health is more important and paramount than money and horse racing put together, any time!
Report FOYLESWAR March 27, 2020 7:37 PM GMT
seconded ^
Report irishone March 27, 2020 8:25 PM GMT
I bow to your great recognition of childish and juvenile behaviour as witnessed in your post of the 23rd March.
Report FOYLESWAR March 28, 2020 8:53 AM GMT
this is crap lads, its all history now ifs, buts, maybes ........move on look forward not back . time spent better sorting out next years races  not going over old shyte.
Report irishone March 28, 2020 9:11 AM GMT

Report impossible123 March 28, 2020 11:28 AM GMT
As the saying goes "you cannot polish a turd".
Report irishone March 28, 2020 3:07 PM GMT
Yep and you cant educate pork
Report Hibore September 15, 2020 5:05 PM BST
Moved stables to Gordon Elliott. Missed this a few weeks ago.

Surely must be a good move for the owner and horse.
Report irishone September 19, 2020 6:44 AM BST
I'm not living in Galway anymore , so cant advise Hibore. PG 's place was closed down due to Covid at one stage , but there were horses in the fields of Athenry recently and I believe he has had three runners , last one in July.
Report irishone September 25, 2020 4:40 PM BST
Report impossible123 October 30, 2020 10:59 PM GMT
If as fit as Delta Work, and sound I'd fancy his chance against the former. But money for Chris's Dream though, the other two are drifters.
Report duffy November 19, 2020 1:27 PM GMT
Go on the PercyLove
Report duffy November 19, 2020 1:34 PM GMT
Set aside what he may or not be capable of going forward it was great to see him put in that performance.
Report Hibore November 19, 2020 8:40 PM GMT
The Percy Clan will be very excited. Kealy won’t be on the Xmas card list though.

'It's hardly something to get excited about'

Race-fit horse beats two rivals who haven't run for eight months on ground they don't like. It's hardly something to get excited about, is it?

Sure, it was great to see Presenting Percy win his first race over fences since the 2018 RSA, but a plod round a field in a time more than five seconds slower than the beginners' chase on the card is nothing to get carried away about.

He'll doubtless head to the Gold Cup, but he'll be ten in March and much better horses that age have failed. If he wins, it would mean a hell of a lot of horses have disappointed.
Paul Kealy, tipster
Report duffy November 19, 2020 8:45 PM GMT
Sounds like it really bothered him that Percy wonGrin
Report impossible123 November 20, 2020 12:20 AM GMT
I wonder if Elliot would consider the Galmoy Hurdle before another attempt in the Blue Riband next March. Here's hoping (or NOT).
Report sageform November 20, 2020 9:13 PM GMT
I have never been a fan of PP and backed Monalee yesterday but as soon as I saw him at the start, looking as fat as an Xmas steer, I knew my fate. PP might improve a bit for Elliott's fitness regime but his jumping has always been suspect.
Report impossible123 November 20, 2020 10:00 PM GMT
Notwithstanding thursday's performance I firmly believe he's a back number; greatest claim to fame was beating Monalee in The RSA.
Report irishone November 21, 2020 6:14 AM GMT

Clueless !
Report buddeliea November 21, 2020 8:12 AM GMT
Thought he jumped well
Report buddeliea November 21, 2020 8:13 AM GMT
If he can improve a tad for going to GE,then he has a chance in the Gold Cup,hes not been far away from the very best.
Report buddeliea November 21, 2020 8:14 AM GMT
Age of 10 may be against him, but not ability imo.
Report Hibore November 21, 2020 8:42 PM GMT
I thought he ran well on Thursday and backed him for the first time since the RSA. I would back him in Ryanair as he possess speed but can’t see how ever outstays the likes of Santini and ABP. Surely even the Percy clan secretly think that also.
Report duffy November 21, 2020 8:53 PM GMT
I wouldn't want him going back in trip and don't let Elliott hear you say it, he's lining him up for a National tilt.
Report impossible123 November 22, 2020 7:07 AM GMT
I do not think PP has the tactical speed for The Ryanair; he'd be rushed-off his feet early. Real Steel had the tactical speed to be rushed-up 3 out in The Gold Cup but was found wanting soon after - he's not a 3m horse. Yesterday the lack of fitness told, I think.
Report irishone November 25, 2020 6:47 AM GMT
Guessing lads and after timing .
Not profitable long term.
Duffy correct.
Report duffy November 25, 2020 12:46 PM GMT
Not sure the race fit horse angle stacks up, he went off 3rd favourite which appears surprising considering we are being led to believe that both Kemboy and Monalee looked like prime candidates for the new season of fat fighters!!!

Secondly in the past 2 seasons, Kemboy has actually beaten a "race fit" horse on debut and the next year the stable saw fit to bring him back for the Savill's Chase itself where he went off a strong 7/4 favourite by the way, so that's how much they thought he needed a run then!!

No, it's clear whats gone on post race here and that is the fact that Percy polarizes opinion, you're either very much with him or tother.

The Pro Percy's have very much looked to find excuses for him in the past (I have been very much one and had given up on him before the stable change) and the anti Percy's being able to sit comfortably in their chairs.

The boot was on the other foot this time, maybe nothing will come of it but the truth here is that the horse travelled through the race well which is something he did even with Kelly handling him, but this time he finished the race off well, that's the difference.
Report Hibore November 25, 2020 3:31 PM GMT
I doubt any horse thread on here has ever had nearly 1000 posts and 2 1/2 years between chase wins Crazy
Report impossible123 November 25, 2020 4:26 PM GMT
It was not rocket science to expect a good show from PP; fitter & no unorthodox prep after a stable change; the ground (very soft) was against Kemboy; Monalee was beaten by PP in The RSA.

The result was pretty obvious. But, will PP win in another proper GP1 race here or in Ireland eg against Santini/Champ/ABP? Nope, but I think he'll beat Minella Indo though.

As always horse racing is mainly about opinions eg a smart Alex in the RP is suggesting Cyrname could be a Gold Cup horse. Each to his own, I guess.
Report duffy November 25, 2020 4:41 PM GMT
The result was pretty obvious

3/1 not a bad price for an obvious one!!

Win much?
Report impossible123 November 25, 2020 6:06 PM GMT
Nope, a mere interest for vindication. I must admit 2x I backed PP (RSA was the other time) I've collected unlike Kemboy; 7/2 was freely available for PP.

Some horses win for you, some just do not regardless.
Report irishone November 25, 2020 8:44 PM GMT

After timing King.
Report Hibore December 28, 2020 7:32 PM GMT
Shocking run from the Percy today. Can’t see where they go with him next.
Wasting their time and money running in these races.
Report buddeliea December 29, 2020 7:56 AM GMT
That was a lot worse than his last run and his runs of last season though .
I would be inclined to put a line through that myself.
Report FOYLESWAR December 29, 2020 8:27 AM GMT
elliots not running well the last few days had loads turned over ,see how they rock today.
Report irishone January 30, 2021 8:02 AM GMT
The story of two trainers, two positives tests and two different outcomes
27 Dec 20 12:46
Joined: 25 Jan 05 | Topic/replies: 36 | Blogger: me!'s blog
Two trainers in breach of the same rule have been treated in very different ways by IHRB

Pat Kelly has no appetite for the attention US president Donald Trump craves but the trainer whose team numbers only 15 horses proved he is the very model of a 'stable genius' when saddling a winner at the festival for the third year running. In 2015 and last year after producing Mall Dini and Presenting Percy to win the Pertemps Final, Kelly turned down interview requests, and with a sweep of the hand he declined all invitations to share his reaction to his latest feat.

Instead it was the performance of Presenting Percy, ridden with tremendous patience by Davy Russell that spoke volumes as he was brought to the fore at the second-last and then raced away from Monalee to steal the staying novice chasers' championship by seven lengths.

And it was left to an elated Philip Reynolds, owner of both Presenting Percy and Mall Dini, to champion Kelly. "Pat is incredible and he should be up here talking to you because he deserves all the credit," said Reynolds. "Pat is quiet. He's an incredible genius. I know that word is used very loosely, but where Pat Kelly is concerned it is fitting."

On the first Friday of April in 2018, a couple of weeks after his triumphant return from the Cheltenham Festival, Pat Kelly was back to work at his Mountain South Stables near Athenry when he received a surprise visit from the Irish Horseracing Regulatory Board. Two officials had been sent to inform him that a winner he had trained a month before had tested positive.

It came in the form of a letter:

"Dear Mr Kelly . . . This is official confirmation that analysis of the regulatory 'A' sample taken from Warendorf (FR) at the North Galway (F) Point to Point meeting on 11th March 2018, has confirmed the presence of cobalt. In accordance with Rule 20 (xviii) of the Rules of Racing you are required to allow the Irish Horseracing Regulatory Board's Racing Officials, Brendan J Daly, Security Officer, and Nicola O'Connor, Veterinary Officer, to enter and inspect your facilities and premises . . ."

The trainer was stunned.

He'd had some unannounced visits before - routine inspections from the Department of Agriculture - but it was the first time in 30 years that he had been served with a breach of the anti-doping rules. Ms O'Connor explained that he had four days to decide whether he wanted the B sample analysed. Then they crossed the road to the yard.

Kelly invited them to take samples from any horse, every horse, but they seemed more interested in the contents of the feed room and he watched as they made notes and took photos of the bags: Red Mills Sweetfeed Mix, Bluegrass Racehorse Cubes, and Bluegrass Competition Mix. They inspected the tack room, asked about his medicines register and left after about 40 minutes.

Three days later he took a call from Lynn Hillyer, the IHRB's Head of Anti-Doping. She was following up, she explained, to assist him in understanding what had happened, both for the case itself and the other horses in the yard being exposed to the same issue. Kelly told her he had no idea where the cobalt had come from, and that he wasn't into messing with needles and that in his yard.

A month later, there was an informal meeting with Hillyer at a solicitor's office in Naas, and four months after that - on September 25, 2018 - the case was heard by an IHRB Referrals Committee at their offices in the Curragh. They were furnished with a number of expert reports, heard evidence from Kelly and Hillyer and concluded that the trainer was in breach of Rule 96 (A). A decision was published in a short, and rather puzzling, press release.

"The Committee noted that two competing hypotheses had been presented by the parties but that they were satisfied that the IHRB evidence was sufficiently strong and scientifically based to be relied on. They accepted that the most probable explanation was that the horse was exposed to cobalt proximate to the race . . . but accepted Mr Kelly's assurance that he had not administered anything to the horse."

The penalty? A fine of €1,000 and costs of €3,000 in favour of the IHRB which - all things considered - was nothing really. A host of other trainers - there had been 21 positives already that year - had taken the medicine and gone quietly, but Kelly wasn't happy. The newspaper reports had been cutting. His reputation had been trashed. And the more he thought about it, the more it grated on him.

Joseph O'Brien has avoided sanction from the Irish Horse Racing Board (IHRB) despite having one of his horses disqualified after testing positive for a banned substance earlier this year. The O'Brien-trained Pedisnap won the Golf Membership Gowran Apprentice Handicap at Gowran Park on August 15 under champion apprentice Shane Crosse but was subsequently found to have exceeded the threshold for cobalt.

A Paris laboratory confirmed the findings when testing the B sample, as requested by O'Brien, and the Kilkenny handler outlined that the cobalt came from a "salt lick" that the horse had been exposed to on a daily basis and on the day of the race . . .

Analysis of a sample of a salt lick from the same manufacturer corroborated that it contained cobalt at a level sufficient to result in the adverse analytical finding. Pedisnap was disqualified and the stake forfeited, but the IHRB waived a €1,000 fine as they were satisfied that O'Brien had taken all reasonable precautions to avoid a breach of rules and that the substances had been administered unknowingly.

Michael Verney,

In the winter of 2018, William Jones spent a lot of time going through the IHRB rulings on prohibited substances and had become almost fluent in the language of their press releases. The 68-year-old former stable hand and author of The Black Horse Inside Coolmore was researching a new book and was intrigued by the way the regulatory body conducted its business.

To whom were they accountable?

The cobalt cases in particular were perplexing. Cobalt is a prohibited substance when present in concentrations above the international threshold for plasma of 25 nanograms per millilitre. The threshold for urine samples is 100 ng/ml. The levels for Warendorf - the horse trained by Pat Kelly - were 38.8 ng/ml for the 'A' sample and 38.3 ng/ml for the 'B' sample. But there were no levels given for Pedisnap, the horse trained by O'Brien.

It wasn't the only inconsistency.

Like Kelly, the committee were satisfied that O'Brien had breached Rule 96 (a); unlike Kelly, they waived the €1,000 fine as they "were satisfied that the trainer had taken all reasonable precautions to avoid a breach of the rules and that the substance had been administered unknowingly".

But that raised other questions.

Joseph O'Brien had trained 17 winners in August 2018. Two of those winners had come at Gowran Park on August 15. One of those winners, Pedisnap, had tested positive for a prohibited substance, cobalt, that experts had attributed to a supplement the horse had licked on the day of the race.

What about the other horses? Why did only one test positive? Was Pedisnap the only salt licker in the yard?

Jones had other questions. On December 29, a week after the referrals committee had ruled on the case, he sent a letter (his third that month) to the IHRB office at the Curragh: "Dear Sirs, I request the following information under the Freedom of Information Act. On 21 December 2018, the IHRB issued a press release regarding an inquiry held by the Referrals Committee to consider adverse findings of cobalt in a horse trained by Joseph Patrick O'Brien.

"The press release stated a sample taken from Pedisnap following her win at Gowran Park on 15 August 2018 was found to contain cobalt. Please supply me with details of the level of cobalt found in her post race test. The Committee also considered an expert report provided by Professor Stuart Paine of University of Nottingham. Please supply me with a copy of Professor Paine's report.

"Finally, please supply me with the name of the 'salt lick' which was deemed to be responsible for the cobalt positive or the name of its manufacturer. It is surprising the IHRB decided to withhold this information at the inquiry because surely it is of significant public interest that this is known so that no other trainer gets caught in this way with a positive for cobalt . . ."

A week later, he received a response from Cliodhna Guy, the IHRB's Head of Licencing, Legal and Compliance: "Dear Mister Jones, I refer to the three pieces of correspondence received by email and registered post. Please note that the IHRB is not a body subject to the Freedom of Information Act and your requests are therefore declined."

Pat Kelly was also writing letters. More than a year had passed since the hearing at the Curragh but the case was still upsetting him, and he addressed his concerns to Denis Egan, the CEO of the IHRB:

"Dear Mr Egan, I am formally writing this letter to afford you the opportunity to respond to a variety of questions that in my opinion still remain unanswered following the IHRBs handling of the Warendorf case following his win at Belclare on March 11, 2018.

"I am hereby giving you notice that if the following questions are not answered to my satisfaction within seven days of receipt of this letter sent by registered post, I am prepared to sit down with a well-known investigative journalist to discuss the case in its entirety and in particular to voice my serious concerns with how the entire case was investigated and concluded by the IHRB.

"The purpose of this interview would be to inform the public about many aspects of the case that went unreported leading to much unsatisfactory speculation and conjecture in the media and in the public domain . . ."

Among the 15 issues he wanted clarified was a question on transparency: "I wish to know why the exact levels of cobalt found in Warendorf's sample were published in the official IHRB press release ie 38ng/ml but subsequently in similar cobalt positive cases no specific levels were published eg Referrals Committee 21/12/2018." (This was the date of the Joseph O'Brien hearing).

A week later he received a response to the 15 issues from Cliodhna Guy. The most interesting was the question on transparency: "It is a matter for the IHRB to determine the content of any press release."

William Jones, The Black Horse trilogy and why 'you don't stand up to Coolmore'
There is something strange about the way the IHRB dealt with these cases, so I contacted them requesting they provide this information. Their reply only heightened those suspicions. This should have been an entirely routine matter for any regulator and it was surprising the IHRB didn't include this information at the outset. After all, their motto is: Protecting the Integrity and Reputation of Irish Horseracing. They refused to provide the information I requested. Why do they keep withholding routine evidence from their reports of the inquiries they conduct? What are they hiding?

William Jones,

'The Black Horse is Dying'

Cliodhna Guy has always been a favoured contact. Her father, Al, and mother, Kay, took a urine sample once from Michelle Smith - a remarkable cocktail of whisky and steroid - and have always been heroes of mine . . . which is not to say Cliodhna is always glad to hear from me.

"Hi Cliodhna, I'm looking at something here."

She laughs: "Ahh jaysus! Okay, go on."

"Pat Kelly sent a letter to Denis Egan last year about the way the IHRB had handled the Warendorf case, I don't know if you remember that?"

"Yes, I do."

"He had some questions, and you replied to him."


"One of the questions was about the way his case had been treated, compared to the way Joseph O'Brien's case had been treated. There's some concern within the sport that they weren't handled evenly."

"Totally different cases."

"Okay, maybe you can explain it. Why was there no levels given for the O'Brien case?"

"To be honest, you're catching me on the hop. I don't have the file in front of me."

"Do you want to call me back?"

She calls 40 minutes later.

"I've just gone back through it," she says, "and there was no strict policy. We put the levels in in some cases and didn't in others. We just decided they weren't really relevant for the press releases, because unless you knew the dosages and the timings and everything else, it wouldn't make sense. Some of our samples are blood; some of our samples are urine, so if it was over the threshold it was just an adverse analytical finding."

"I've got some specific questions with regard to the O'Brien case."


"Lynn Hillyer went to the yard and after consulting with Joseph, she identified a possible source of the cobalt - the likely source - as a salt lick the horse had been exposed to. Right?"


"That wasn't the only horse in the yard - the only horse that Joseph trains - so why did only one test positive? And what was the name of the salt lick?"

"I thought that was published at the time?"

"No, it wasn't."

"Because there had been (she looks at the file) . . . No, we didn't publish the name. I'll write that down and go and check. What was the question?"

"He wasn't the only horse licking this thing."

"It was a 'she'."

"Sorry, so why was she the only horse that went positive? And what was the name of the salt lick?"


"And I would have imagined, having identified the salt lick as the source of the contamination, you would have immediately issued a warning to other trainers. But I don't see that warning anywhere. There's no mention of it in any press release."


"So that's it. If you could come back to me on that it would be great."

"I'll do my best."

"Or you could just send me the O'Brien report and make it easy for both of us."

"I don't think I'll be doing that," she laughs. "Well, I can't actually."

"Why not?"

"Well, in terms of . . . there can be stuff contained in them that . . . it can be personal, and it's not something we're in a position to release."

"Okay, but even the science of it, I don't imagine that's too personal."

"Listen, I'll come back to you."

She sends an email.

"Hi Paul, Further to our conversation today:

1. In relation to the O'Brien case, if other horses were exposed to the salt lick why did they not also test positive.

IHRB response: A sample may return an AAF (adverse analytical finding) depending on the amount of a substance a horse has been exposed to and when the exposure or exposures occurred. The case horse may have been exposed to the substance closer to the race in question or consumed a larger amount than the other horses.

2 Why was the salt lick not named in the press release.

IHRB Response: At the time Dr Hillyer had been in contact with the manufacturers and expressed her concerns regarding the amount of cobalt salts in the lick concerned as it was not clearly labelled as containing cobalt. Due to a previous separate case the IHRB were aware that the salt lick may contain cobalt and that was confirmed by analysis.

We did not name the specific salt lick in the press release however when contacted by trainers they were informed of the specific brand - Baby Red Rockies."

An hour later, out of the blue, Joseph O'Brien phoned. It was the first time we had ever spoken:

"Sorry to bother you, Paul. Cliodhna Guy called me from the IHRB this evening to give me a heads up that there might be some kind of article out at the weekend. She said that they didn't want to release to you any of the details of my case. Is that right?"

"That's it."

"Yeah, so basically . . . I'm happy to go through whatever you want."

"Okay, so let me explain, Joseph. The root of all this is the way the IHRB have been dealing with these cases. The perception is that because you're Joseph O'Brien, you get treated differently.


"I have the file of the IHRB investigation into the Pat Kelly case, the cobalt case, he has given me the full report. I asked Cliodhna for the full report into your case, so that I can read how they dealt with it. That's it."

"Yeah, okay."

"Can you send it to me?"

"I'm sure I can. I'm sure she'll be able to send it to me, or I can get her to release it to you. That should be absolutely no problem"

"That would be really helpful."

"I'll come back to you as soon as I can."

He calls 12 minutes later.

"Is it a bad time?"

"No, I'm good, Joseph."

"So, she's very reluctant to do that. She says at this stage, when they didn't do it originally. I'm not sure I'll be able to get her to do it. It's really an annoyance for me."

"That's fine, Joseph. It (helps) that you've told me you want her to do it, and that she won't do it. That actually makes a difference."

The following morning, Cliodhna sent an email:

"Hi Paul. As discussed on the phone, investigation reports are only issued to the parties to the matter. As I understand it, Mr Kelly has chosen to provide you with the investigation reports, appendices and correspondence he has in relation to his case, and the subsequent 2019 correspondence between us, which is a matter for him. As you will see from our website, we have had a number of cobalt cases since 2018 . . . and the press releases are available, but we will not be issuing any other investigation report to you."
Report Hibore March 13, 2021 6:04 PM GMT
We are being invaded by the Percy clan.
Report irishone March 14, 2021 8:17 AM GMT
Jees hibore I didnt realise how deep you were in my keep net !
Report irishone April 15, 2021 9:39 PM BST
an honour and a priviledge to have met him !
Report Hibore April 15, 2021 10:22 PM BST
Very sad.

Report cloone river April 16, 2021 8:58 AM BST
Sad news.He would have been some horse for the grand national.No horse would have beaten him the day he won the RSA.  RIP.
Report duffy April 16, 2021 3:14 PM BST
RIP dear Percy

Report impossible123 April 17, 2021 10:59 AM BST
Such a shame. He was a good horse who did me a favour in The RSA. RIP!
Report jimnast April 17, 2021 1:02 PM BST
very sad news Sad

remember seeing him win the porterstown chase of a big weight at fairyhouse watch most of the races by the last fence i thought he had just joined the race 2 out such was the ease of his win,also remember the galmoy hurdle russell refers to today in the post what a reception he got ,happy times ,
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