Noel Meade appeals against ‘non-trier’ Bugs Moran decision

Meade, Moran and rider Sean Flanagan all banned after failure to aim for optimal finish

Former champion trainer Noel Meade has lodged an appeal to the Irish Horseracing Regulatory Board against a €2,000 fine imposed under 'Non-Trier' rules at Thurles last week.

The Meade-trained Bugs Moran finished fourth under jockey Sean Flanagan in a maiden hurdle last Thursday behind the winner, Adamantly Chosen.

Afterwards the stewards held a running and riding enquiry at which both Meade and Flanagan were found to be in breach of rule 212 in that “the animal was not seen to have been the subject of a genuine attempt to achieve its best possible placing.”

The stewards fined Meade and suspended Flanagan for 10 race-days. The jockey has also appealed his penalty. The stewards suspended Bugs Moran from racing for 42 days. That decision has been appealed too.


Meade wasn’t at the meeting but Flanagan told the enquiry his instructions were to drop the horse out as it can be very keen at home, to switch the animal off and do the best he could.

He said his mount rode differently than he had expected and as a result he was further back than he had hoped for in the early stages. He added that he had never ridden the animal on the track before and in future would ride it differently.

Flanagan accepted he could have possibly finished third but felt he was riding at his strongest in the closing stages. He also said he felt Bugs Moran may benefit from a step up in trip in future.

Meade was represented at the enquiry by his authorised representative Emma Connolly who confirmed Flanagan's riding instructions and expressed her satisfaction with the ride. She also said she had spoken with Meade over the phone prior to the enquiry and reported he hadn't seen the race.

An IHRB veterinary officer reported that the horse was post-race normal and that samples had been taken for analysis.

During a notable career lasting over half a century, Meade has been champion National Hunt trainer seven times including half a dozen times in a row between 2002 and 2007.

He is also a former chairman of the Irish Racehorse Trainers Association and has served on the board of Horse Racing Ireland.

Meade and Flanagan have enjoyed considerable success together in recent seasons, including at the Christmas festival in Leopardstown when the JP McManus owned School Boy Hours landed the €200,000 Paddy Power Chase.

They also struck at last year's Cheltenham festival with Jeff Kidder in the Boodles Hurdle. An IHRB spokesman said on Monday he anticipated the appeals are likely to be held next week.

In other news, the British Horseracing Authority has confirmed that Irish jockey Robbie Dunne's appeal against a verdict of bullying against fellow rider Bryony Frost will be heard on March 30th.

In December Dunne was banned for 18 months, with three months suspended, after a six day hearing. Dunne has said he plans to appeal the substance of the verdict and the penalty imposed by an independent judicial panel.

Brian O'Connor

Brian O'Connor

Brian O'Connor is the racing correspondent of The Irish Times. He also writes the Tipping Point column