Bookmakers claim Byrnes gamble damages sport's image

Charles Byrnes

Charles Byrnes: landed a coup with three runners at Roscommon

  PICTURE: Patrick McCann (  

 By David Jennings 8:00PM 3 AUG 2016 

IRELAND’S racing regulator is to dig deeper into the betting coup successfully executed by Charles Byrnes at Roscommon on Tuesday night.

Turf Club chief executive Denis Egan indicated the book had not been closed on the matter, although he underlined raceday officials were happy with measures taken on the day.

The stewards at Roscommon held inquiries into the apparent improvement in form of two of the three winners that enabled Byrnes to execute a gamble a betting industry insider estimated stretched “well into seven figures”.

No action was taken by stewards, but the explanations of the trainer were noted in the two inquiries on a night when any punter on at the very early prices would have netted a combined treble of 4,334-1 on War Anthem, Mr Smith and Top Of The Town.

The Roscommon trio: profiles

Unsuccessful in ten starts for John Murphy but did start 11-10 favourite for a 7f maiden at Laytown last September on his final start for Murphy, where he was beaten over four lengths into third. He was sold for 8,000gns at Tattersalls last October but showed precious little on his first two outings for Byrnes, beaten an aggregate 139 lengths in two maiden hurdles at Listowel and Limerick. With the 97-rated Henry Howard among the leading fancies for the Roscommon race, it was without doubt a moderate maiden hurdle and War Anthem took full advantage.

A Galileo gelding who cost a tasty 280,000gns as a yearling and is a brother to St Leger third Michelangelo, as well as classy stayer No Heretic who sadly lost his life at Goodwood last week. Bought by Byrnes in October 2014 for 25,000gns, when a 63-rated maiden on the Flat for John Gosden. In his previous 11 starts before Roscommon, Mr Smith has been beaten a total of 496 and a half lengths. His hurdle mark had dropped only from 88 to 83 in all that time. It was his first try at two and a half miles, and it was only the second time he had worn blinkers.

Started life with Patrick Neville but showed precious little in three starts for him in 2013. First glimpse of ability arrived at Kilbeggan in June last year when upped to three miles for the first time and finishing a close-up third to Dunroe Boy in a handicap off a mark of 93. He was placed in a handicap at Limerick next time before opening his account in 2m7f maiden hurdle at Downpatrick in July, having been supported into 11-8. Form tailed off after that and was beaten 51 lengths in his first two outings of 2016. His mark dropped 3lb to 100 as a result, and he wore a hood at Roscommon, the same piece of headgear he had on when delivering at Downpatrick but which was left off on his first two runs this year.

Egan said: “We will look into it further, but the stewards on the night did conduct two improvement-in-form inquiries and examined videos of those horses’ previous runs and were happy with the action they took.”

All three Byrnes runners had shown poor form in the lead-up to Tuesday’s races, but War Anthem and Top Of The Town were backed from 16-1 in the morning to starting prices of 6-1 and 5-4, while Mr Smith’s early price of 14-1 shrank to an SP of 7-4. All three were ridden by Davy Russell.

Stewards spoke with Byrnes after the victories of War Anthem and Mr Smith, but there was no stewards’ note following the race won by Top Of The Town.

Read all the fall-out from the successful gamble on the Racing Post ipad now, or in Thursday’s Racing Post

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