McNally hit with 12-year-ban for 'deceiving the betting public'

Irish trainer Ronan McNally hit with 12-YEAR ban for ‘deceiving the betting public’ by making his horses run poorly to boost their odds in later races, as insider gamblers cashed in

  • Horse trainer Ronan McNally has been hit with a 12-year-ban an £440,000 fine
  • It comes after he stopped horses performing at their best to boost their odds
  • The Irish Horseracing Regulatory Board ruled he’d ‘deceived the betting public’ 

 Trainer Ronan McNally has been hit with a 12-year ban and a £44,000 fine after he stopped horses performing to their best to secure lenient handicap ratings for future races in which they were heavily backed by his associates.

Northern Ireland-based McNally, a regular visitor to British meetings, used racecourses as ‘schooling grounds’ and did not run his horses on their merits.

After these horses had been given generous handicap marks, they subsequently showed ‘extraordinary improvements in form over a short period in time’, said the Irish Horseracing Regulatory Board as they handed down the punishment.

Irish Horse trainer Ronan McNally has been hit with a 12-year-ban an £440,000 fine 

Moscow Flyer Nove Hurdle winner Dreal Deal (pictured) was one of the horses involved

The IHRB also ruled McNally passed on inside information to associates for gambling purposes with a pattern of these individuals betting against McNally’s horses when they were unplaced and backing them when they won.

Two of the horses involved were McNally’s best-known pair: Dreal Deal, winner of the Grade Two Moscow Flyer Novice Hurdle in 2021 at Punchestown, and The Jam Man, a multiple winner over hurdles and on the Flat in Britain who won the prestigious Troytown Handicap Chase at Navan in 2020. The Jam Man also ran twice at the Cheltenham Festival.

McNally was found guilty in December but the IHRB, who said his actions struck at the ‘integrity of the sport and the objective of having a level playing field for all who send horses out to race’, revealed his penalty yesterday, the longest ban they have handed out.

The trainer has also been fined £440,000 for ‘deceiving the betting public’

They described McNally’s actions to manipulate the handicapping of his horses as ‘a deception of the public, especially the betting public’.

McNally (right) achieved a ‘pattern of improvement in form of horses at a level previously unfamiliar to experienced and long-serving handicapping officials’. Dreal Deal’s victory at Navan in September 2020, and Limerick in October of that year, have been scrubbed from the record books, as has The Jam Man’s second-place finish at Limerick in September 2020. McNally has to pay back £11,500 in prizemoney won at those races.

McNally was also found to have concealed his ownership of horses in training with fellow trainer David Dunne, who has received a two-year ban — the final 18 months of which are suspended for two years. McNally can appeal against his punishment, which takes effect from March 1.

Jockeys Darragh O’Keeffe and Mark Enright were found guilty of not reporting Dreal Deal making ‘slow starts’ when they rode him in June and July 2020 respectively and were reminded to do so in future but received no ban.

McNally has entered The Jam Man and Vee Dancer to run at Musselburgh this weekend. A BHA spokesman said: ‘We are in contact with the IHRB to consider the implications of this ruling.’

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