Thursday 21 March 2019

Shock at severity of Carberry ban

A bit severe. That was the initial reaction when news broke of Paul Carberry's suspension. On reflection, the view hasn't changed.

Paul Carberry was yesterday handed down a 30-race-day ban by the Referrals Committee of the Turf Club after he failed an alcohol breath test at Naas on October 31.

The ban, which is due to start on November 25, will see Carberry miss all Irish meetings from then until Thurles on January 28, thus obviously missing a number of important fixtures on both sides of the Irish Sea but, most notably, the hectic Christmas schedule.

The severity of Carberry's suspension is due mainly to the fact that this is the rider's second such offence for this issue having been also found guilty at the Galway Festival two years ago, and with no former precedent for the Turf Club to go on, yesterday's outcome was always set to be stern.


However, surely this is a bit on the extreme side.

Carberry is a character and at times some of his actions are regrettable, but in the main those instances are in the past and this latest hiccup is not one that should just be overlooked -- it is not the example anybody is looking for -- but surely the length of his suspension could have been more lenient when all things are taken into consideration.

Carberry immediately admitted that he would be working hard to assess the issue that has seen him called to the dock. "Alcohol will not interfere with my work again and I plan to take the necessary steps to address this recurring problem," he said having been stood down at Naas last month.

And just last night in the Evening Herald and before the outcome of Carberry's appeal was known, Noel Meade revealed how he was happy that his stable jockey would be turning over a new leaf for the rest of his career.

Meade told the Herald: "I am delighted with the attitude he has taken towards it and he is facing up to it. He has given me a commitment that he is giving up drinking until he has finished riding, without any question he is the best asset we have and he is a brilliant, brilliant rider."

At the end of the day, Carberry is a man who has acknowledged his mistakes, but, more importantly this time, the Meath native has realised that this is his last chance and another such offence will all but mark an end to his career.

So, in sight of this, to deprive the man of riding during one of the most important times of the year is a bit harsh and, don't get me wrong, nobody's fault only his own, but we all make mistakes and it takes a bigger man to accept that.


Carberry has accepted the issues that are holding him back and hopefully, if appealed, the powers that be can see his ban reduced.

Again yesterday's news brought up an old hobbyhorse in the fact at how quick certain sections of the media were to highlight the facts of this case and go into so much detail.

Yet the likes of Sea The Stars' campaign or often the unrivalled exploits of Ruby Walsh or others can simply go unnoticed.

A pity really that it takes such an instance to get racing a prominent mention, considering it is one of few things we are world leaders in.

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