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Horse entered in race a year after he 'died'

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The Tartan Spartan running at Limerick Racecourse back in 2018. Photo: Alain Barr

The Tartan Spartan running at Limerick Racecourse back in 2018. Photo: Alain Barr

The Tartan Spartan running at Limerick Racecourse back in 2018. Photo: Alain Barr

A man thought a broken down racehorse his company owned had been put down a year ago before he opened a newspaper to find it was entered to run at Naas racecourse today, the High Court has heard.

Andrew Hughes, manager of Thistle Bloodstock Ltd, was granted a temporary injunction yesterday preventing the horse "The Tartan Spartan" from running in the Adare Manor Opportunity Handicap Hurdle.

The injunction is against the Irish Horseracing Regulatory Board (IHRB), trainer Philip Fenton and Jim Derwin.

The injunction was granted by Mr Justice Mark Heslin following a one-side only represented application from William Reidy BL, for Thistle Bloodstock.

Mr Reidy told the court Mr Hughes said, in an affidavit, that he gave the animal to Mr Derwin about 12 months ago to euthanise it after it had broken down.

Ownership had never changed and Mr Hughes still had the horse's passport, he said. Mr Reidy said Mr Hughes assumed it had been euthanised because it had been deemed "beyond repair".

Compensation

Mr Hughes then "picked up the paper to find it listed to race", counsel said.

There was correspondence with the defendants saying legal action would be brought if no word was received back to say the horse would not run.

While the IHRB said it could not prevent it racing without a court order, there was no response from the other two defendants, the court heard.

Mr Justice Heslin granted the interim injunction as he was satisfied there was a fair question to be tried, damages would not be adequate compensation for Thistle if it was not granted and that the balance of convenience favoured the granting of the order.

He said the case could come back next week.

In November 2014, Fenton was disqualified from holding a trainer's licence for three years following an Irish Turf Club hearing.

The trainer was called before officials after being found guilty of possessing anabolic steroids and other banned substances at a district court hearing.

A cardboard box packed with 25 bottles and containers of animal remedies was found hidden in the horse spa in his yard in Co Tipperary during a search by officials from the Department of Agriculture in January 2012.