No way! Eclipse hardens jockeys' stance on broadcasting of inquiries in Ireland

Irish Jockeys Association secretary Andrew Coonan has stated that the broadcasting of stewards' inquiries in Ireland would not be welcomed, especially following Saturday's Coral-Eclipse after which Oisin Murphy and Donnacha O'Brien presented their cases on ITV.

The prospect of cameras entering Irish stewards' rooms through terrestrial broadcaster RTE had been discussed in recent years, with the Irish Horseracing Regulatory Board (IHRB) consenting for the inquiries to be broadcast, but the jockeys opposed the move.

Coonan said: "I can see televising inquiries raises the profile from a public point of view, but not at the expense of the jockey's reputation. Not at the expense of the jockey. Purely from a rider's perspective I would certainly not encourage it, welcome it or want to see it introduced in Ireland."

During Saturday's Sandown contest Roaring Lion leaned across in the closing stages to interfere with Saxon Warrior, although no alterations were made to the placings – as was widely expected.

Coonan said: "I read Julian Muscat’s piece in Wednesday's Racing Post and I would absolutely endorse his opinion – the cameras should not be there. Deliberation and discussion that takes place in the stewards' room should not be open to the public, in my view.

"Jockeys ride horses to an extremely high level but are not trained lawyers or trained debaters. They'll put their point across in very clear terms, but invariably you will have people in the press, public and twitterati saying, 'Why didn't he say this or that?' and 'What sort of a guy is he?'"

Coonan added: "It's for that reason that we were steadfastly against the idea of it when it was brought in, and nothing I've seen since has changed my mind. In fact, Sandown's Eclipse stewards' inquiry only endorsed my views and those of the Irish Jockey Association."

IHRB chief executive Denis Egan said of the issue: "It was previously discussed and we have no problem, but the jockeys are not happy to let the cameras in."

He explained: "It was four or five years ago that we were approached by RTE to see whether we'd considering allowing the inquiries to be broadcast.

"At the time the stewards discussed it and agreed they would consider it, but when the jockeys were approached they said they weren't in favour."

Egan added: "It hasn't been discussed since then with the directors but I don't see any reason why, if the jockeys changed their stance, we wouldn't seriously consider it."