STEPHEN Mahon has had six months shaved off his original four-year training ban but even then he is not guaranteed to have his licence restored should he apply for one.
Mahon had his licence withdrawn in June following a Referrals Committee hearing which found that he had neglected or failed to adequately care for up to 10 horses at his training premises in Kilcolgan, Co Galway.
One horse had to be put down immediately on veterinary advice. Others were described as injured, in pain, “emaciated” or in need of veterinary attention. Mahon was also ordered to pay €5,000 in costs.
He appealed the decision and his case was heard on July 31st. The Appeals Body published its decision on Friday morning.
The main crux of the appeal centred on the Referrals Committee's view on the treatment of Geoffrey's Girl. This horse suffered a catastrophic fetlock injury which Mahon said happened on the morning of the IHRB inspection, April 13th this year. The IHRB asserted the injury was more likely to have occurred over a week earlier.
The Appeals Panel did not feel there was enough evidence to uphold the IHRB's view of what happened to Geoffrey's Girl and this is why they lessened Mahon's suspension by six months.
However, they said "that having regard to the totality of the evidence ... Mr Mahon's conduct as a licenced trainer fell well below the standard reasonably expected".
The Appeals Panel continued: "It is manifestly clear that Mr Mahon's conduct is injurious to the good reputation of horse racing. As a licence holder, he failed in his duties towards the horses in his care by failing to adequately supervise them and to identify even their most basic welfare needs."
Mahon is not a 'disqualified' person and is free to work in racing and attend meetings. He has represented trainer Pat Kelly at the races this summer.
In 2008 Mahon lost his trainer’s licence for a four-month period following a court case in which he was ordered to pay €34,000 to an owner whose horse Mahon was found to have mistreated.
The Appeals Body consisted by Mr Justice Nial Fennelly, Ms Justice Leonie Reynolds and John Murphy. Mahon was represented by Seamus Clarke, SC, instructed by solicitor Patrick Ward. Frank Crean, barrister, represented the IHRB.