Top horse trainer Ronan McNally hit with record 12-YEAR ban and ordered to pay over £55,000 in shocking racing scandal | The Sun

TOP Irish horse trainer Ronan McNally has been hit with what is believed to be a record 12-YEAR ban for his role in a shocking racing scandal.

And he has been ordered to pay over £55,000 in costs and returned prize money for breaking multiple rules.

David Dunne, the brother of jockey Robbie, who was found guilty of bullying Bryony Frost, has also been banned for two years and fined more than £4,000 after he was found guilty of conspiring with McNally to bring racing into disrepute.

McNally's ban relates in part to the running of horse Dreal Deal.

The horse, who has won more than £50,000 in prize money, has been disqualified from two wins for McNally in 2020.

The Jam Man has also been disqualified from his runner-up position in a race under rule 275, which deals with horses allegedly subject to 'fraudulent practice'.

Overall, McNally has been found guilty of multiple 'integrity breaches'.

An Irish Horseracing Regulatory Board statement said: "The committee regards the findings against Mr McNally as very serious.

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"His offences strike at the integrity and the objective of having a level playing field for all who send horses out to race.

"They also involved a deception of the public, especially the betting public."

McNally was also found to have concealed his ownership of horses All Class, Full Noise and Petrol Head, which ran in Dunne's name.

A total of 36 races involving the trio of horses were examined.

All Class won three times in 2021 and Full Noise once, meaning Dunne must forfeit just under £24,000 in prize money.

Incredibly, McNally's ban is believed to be three times the previous longest dished out by chiefs.

Stephen Mahon was banned for four years for bringing racing into disrepute as a result of breaking welfare rules.

The IHRB released a massive charge sheet aimed at McNally and several others last month.

One of the headline charges levelled at McNally alleged the trainer 'organised the manipulation of official handicap ratings' for two horses, including All Class.

That horse won a 'farcical' Punchestown race in 2021 after being backed from around 20-1 to 6-4 and winning by 23 lengths.

Twelve jockeys were hauled in for questioning after the contest.

According to the document released at the time, the IHRB also 'proved on the evidence' that McNally 'used the racecourse as a training ground and schooling in public with the objective of acquiring a lenient official handicap rating for his horses'.

Overall, McNally was found to have been in breach of ELEVEN separate rules.

The IHRB statement read: "In 2020 three horses owned by Mr McNally showed extraordinary improvements in their form and handicap ratings over a very short period of time.

"Investigations revealed that the upturn in form and handicap ratings for the horses was dramatic and exceptional and occurred without any change in their training regime or other circumstances that would legitimately explain the dramatic and exceptional change in performance.

"Two of the four horses, namely Dreal Deal and The Jam Man, were trained by Mr McNally and the other two, Full Noise and All Class, were nominally trained by Mr Dunne and their true ownership was concealed by Mr Dunne and Mr McNally.

"The change in ability and handicap ratings of the horses was accompanied by the betting market chasing in those horses when they came good and, at least in the case of Dreal Deal, persons connected to Mr McNally (Messrs Aaron and Liam Fennessy, through Mr Ciarán Fennessy) were able to bet against it when it was well down the field and bet on it to win when it won.

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"It is the Board’s case that by far the most likely explanation for what is seen from the performance of the three horses, (Dreal Deal, Full Noise and The Jam Man) is that Messrs McNally and Dunne were manipulating the handicapping of the horses and that they were doing so illicitly when judged against the obligations imposed on them under the Rules.

"It is alleged this manipulation was achieved by: (i) Racing the horses when not fit or when the horses were ill; (ii) Sending the horses to course for schooling /conditioning, and/or; (iii) Riding or arranging for them to be ridden improperly as against the Rules."

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