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Hefty Fine Jessica Harrington hit with two-week ban after breaching Covid protocols to attend Aintree Grand National

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Jessica Harrington

Jessica Harrington

Jessica Harrington

Leading trainer Jessica Harrington has been hit with a €3,500 fine and is prohibited from attending a racecourse for two weeks by the Irish Horseracing Regulatory Board (IHRB) after breaking Covid protocols to attend last month's Aintree Grand National.

Harrington was before a Referrals Committee of the IHRB today via Zoom having failed to comply to the Covid-19 protocols required for Irish representatives at the Grand National fixture at Aintree on April 10.

The 74-year-old travelled to the Liverpool showpiece without residing in the Irish 'bubble' as required with the Gold Cup-winning trainer admitting that she had intended to travel over and back on the same day, which would free her of such requirements.

However, Harrington changed her mind in the days before the world's most famous steeplechase as the trip was "too exhausting" and she instead opted to travel over on the Friday and carry out some independent business with owners by "viewing a horse they had requested her to look at".

The Classic-winning trainer accepted an offer to stay at the owners' accommodation and she didn't think that she was breaking the rules at the time as "she never entered the Irish bubble on the race day".

The Moone handler subsequently accepted that she was in breach of the protocols with a three-man committee finding her in breach of Rule 272 (i) in that she acted in a manner which was prejudicial to the proper conduct or good reputation of horse racing.

Harrington acknowledged the work which has been undertaken by Dr Jennifer Pugh as well as the staff of the IHRB and Horse Racing Ireland (HRI) in order for racing to continue operating in unprecedented circumstances while Justice Raymond Groarke stated that this breach could have had "enormous consequences" for racing in Ireland.

Harrington accepted that she was in breach of the rules and was hit with a substantial fine while she will be unable to attend an Irish racecourse for two weeks from May 24 onwards.

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