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Non Raceday Inquiry RIU v G D Smith - Reserved Decision dated 5 June 2019 - Chair, Mr S Ching

Created on 06 June 2019

BEFORE A JUDICIAL COMMITTEE

IN THE MATTER of the New Zealand Rules of Harness Racing

IN THE MATTER of Information No. A11216

BETWEEN N YDGREN

Chief Stipendiary Steward for the Racing Integrity Unit

Informant

AND G D SMITH of Kaiapoi, Licensed Open Horseman

Respondent

Date of Hearing: 27 May 2019

Venue: Addington Raceway, Christchurch

Judicial Committee: S Ching (Chair)

R McKenzie (Panellist)

Present: N Ydgren, the Informant

S Renault, Stipendiary Steward, Registrar

Date of Decision: 5 June 2019

RESERVED DECISION OF JUDICIAL COMMITTEE

The Charge

[1] Information No. A11216 alleges that:

G Smith, as the driver of CHEVRON SUPREME, breached Rule 869(3)(g), in that, the manner in which he drove through the early and middle stages was capable of diminishing his runner’s chances of winning.

[2] Mr Ydgren produced a letter, dated 17 May 2019, signed by Mr M R Godber, General Manager of the Racing Integrity Unit, authorising the filing of the information pursuant to Rule 1108 (2).

The Rules

[3] Rule 869(3)(g) reads as follows;

(3) No horseman in any race shall drive:

(g) in any manner capable of diminishing the chances of his horse winning.

The Plea

[4] Mr Smith had endorsed the Information that the breach was not admitted which he confirmed at the hearing. Mr Smith also confirmed he understood the charge and the Rule it was brought under.

Facts

[5] On 10 May 2019 at the NZ Metropolitan Club’s meeting at Addington Raceway, Mr G Smith was the driver of CHEVRON SUPREME in Race 8, the Nevele R Fillies Series No 41Final Mobile Pace and was placed 13th or last position in the event.

Informants Evidence

[6] Mr Ydgren produced the following written submissions which he presented orally to the hearing;

Summary of Race

- CHEVRON SUPREME was 11th win favourite and 10th place favourite in a 13-horse race. Clearly an outsider and not considered a realistic winning chance.

- Drawn 7 which was the second widest barrier.

- CHEVRON SUMPREME was sent forward in the early stages – consistent with last few races and with the horses perceived preferred racing position.

- Became evident in the early early stages that lead horse ALLABOUTDREAMS, driven by Mr B Barclay, was intent on not surrendering that position. Mr Barclay, on close up camera views, shows this.

- Mr Smith continues to allow CHEVRON SUPREME to stride forward unchecked applying a sustained pressure to the lead of ALLABOUTDREAMS until finally wresting the lead off that horse, through the straight on the first occasion. Racing past the 1000 metres CHEVRON SUPREME loses the lead, weakens and then compounds over the final stages to finish last, beaten 61.8 lengths.

- Instructions to Mr Smith as confirmed by Mr Robert Dunn were as follows;

1) Horse can over race behind gate, so don’t fight it.

2) Races best in front so look to take up that position.

[7] Mr Ydgren then showed the films of the race and pointed out CHEVRON SUPREME as the second widest horse and going forward as the mobile start was declared. He said that the horse up against the pylons was WAINUI CREEK with ALLABOUTDREAMS between both runners and all 3 horses vying for the lead. ALLABOUTDREAMS then went on to lead the race over the early stages with CHEVRON SUPREME on its immediate outside. Mr Smith continued on the immediate outside of ALLABOUTDREAMS, before that horse eventually relinquished the lead to CHEVRON SUPREME through the straight the first time.

[8] Mr Ydgren then presented the following submissions;

Submissions

[9] At no stage has Mr Smith deferred from these tactics. In fact, he has driven in the exact manner prescribed. Unfortunately for Mr Smith, the connections of his horse and the horses that were following him he should have reconsidered those tactics early in the race and adopted a ‘plan b’.

[10] As a result of Mr Smith’s driving in the middle stages, CHEVRON SUPREME’s reserves were severely dissipated resulting in the horse finishing where it has. Mr Ydgren then stated that when watching the films it is not overly apparent that the pace is lightning fast and the field does not become spread out over 200m or any excessive distance as you would expect but it was fair to say that the field does open up significantly. He said that it was only when we made an analysis of the times that were being dictated that Mr Smith’s drive came under severe questioning.

Analysis of times

[11] Mr Smith has made Chevron Supreme run a lead time of 25 seconds which is very fast. When we compare that to other lead times that night, we see it was clearly the fastest from the 1980m. The other four mobile 1980m mobile starts were as follows;

R1 – 27.72

R2 – 26

R4 – 28.05

R7 – 27.39

[12] The lead time in this race from the Stewards’ perspective is compelling in that it is particularly fast. Mr Smith, being a very experienced horseman would have, or at least should have been acutely aware of the times that were being dictated over the early stages. this. Mr Smith has had over five and half thousand lifetime drives. Bearing in mind this race was run over 1980m we cannot gain an exact time of the opening 400m as it is 20 metres short. But from Stridemaster we can see that the actual time from the 1980 to the 1600 was run in 25.07 seconds. At that time of the race Chevron Supreme was running 15.45 metres per second so we can comfortably add one just over one second to equate that to an opening 400 metres in slightly over 26 seconds.

[13] Mr Ydgren explained that the lead time was from the start to the 1 mile which is 25.07. He said CHEVRON SUPREME on Stridemaster, showed as 15.45m per second which is obviously just short of the 20m extra and you add in just over 1 second for the 20m which gives you just over 26 seconds for the opening quarter. Mr Ydgren produced the Stridemaster statistics to the hearing.

[14] After running such fast opening sectionals Stewards would have expected to see some effort from Mr Smith to give his runner some respite. This, however, did not occur and what we see instead is that Mr Smith then applies a sustained and concerted pressure to the lead of ALLABOUTDREAMS and eventually seizes the lead from that horse.

[15] CHEVRON SUPREME is asked to run the next 200 metres between the 1600 to the 1400 in 13.49 seconds. From the 1800 metres to the 1400 metres, which is a 400m split, Mr Smith has asked his horse to run a time of 26.91 seconds. The time run by CHEVRON SUPREME from the 1600 to the 1200 was run in 27.27 seconds. These times set from the outset are sublimely quick. He has run his first half in 53.37 seconds. There are very few horses who could expect to remain competitive at the end of a race having dictated these times early in the race. We also need to bear in mind, when we consider that time, that CHEVRON SUPREME, did a significant part of its early racing wider than hard against the pylons. The options available to Mr Smith at this time were to take hold of his filly and ease the speed. This would have meant that he would have had to sit parked or wait for cover from an improving runner. His other option is what has unfolded here, he has adopted a one-dimensional approach and dictated sectionals which are always going to come around to impact him at a later stage. This Committee should be satisfied that, when viewed objectively, Mr Smith exercised poor judgement on this occasion to the extent that it prevented CHEVRON SUPREME from, effectively, taking any part in the finish.

[16] Of note is that on this night Mr Smith had CHEVRON SUPREME run a lead time nearly 1 second quicker than the NZ Free for All. (25.87) When we make a comparison to that race outside of that obvious difference, we can note the following.

1800 – 1400 Chevron Supreme 26.91 Cruz Bromac 28.66 (1.75 seconds quicker)

1600 – 1200 Chevron Supreme 27.27 Cruz Bromac 28.15 (.88 seconds quicker)

[17] From the start of the race until the 1200 metres CHEVRON SUPREME ran 52.34. CRUZ BROMAC ran the same distance in 54.02. CRUZ BROMAC is a rating 123 horse. CHEVRON SUPREME is a rating 60 runner. There is a huge class difference between these two horses. On both occasions the weather and track were rated fine and fast.

[18] This race set a new NZ record and do accept that the 1980 metres distance has not been in use for an extended period but the previous time of 2.22.7 set by KENDRA in January this year is considered a very fast time. The eventual winner of this race, BELLE OF MONTANA, broke that NZ record by 2.2 seconds.

[19] When spoken to regarding his tactics and overall drive, Mr Smith detailed the instructions that had been given to him and advised that in hindsight he had regretted surrendering the lead to race favourite, PRINCESS TIFFANY, near the 1000 metres. He felt the horse had dropped the bit once taking a trail and been disappointing thereafter, because of that. Stewards strongly submit that the subsequent performance of CHEVRON SUPREME is a direct result of the unreasonable task it was set in the early and middle stages. After working excessively hard in the early stages it was more than reasonable for CHEVRON SUPREME to finally be given some respite, despite this coming far too late. It would have been simply unreasonable for Mr Smith to try and hold out the challenge of PRINCESS TIFFANY at that time. Any viewer at this time realised that the manner in which Mr Smith drove through the early stages would be detrimental to the filly’s ability to finish the race off competitively. The obligation to drive in a manner which is not detrimental applies to all stages of the race. The underlying purpose of the Rule is to ensure that every horse in a race will be given their full opportunity to win.

[20] CHEVRON SUPREME, as mentioned earlier, for this race was rated as a Rating 60 horse. In terms of the race itself there were only 3 horses with a lower rating than CHEVRON SUPREME. It had won 3 races and $31,143 in stakes. The chances of Mr Smith’s horse’s chances of winning were already reduced by factors such as her wide draw and the fact that this field was an assembly of the best 3yo fillies in the country. Whatever chance Mr Smith had in this event he had to protect by driving this horse not only to the best of it’s abilities but also in the most reasonable manner to ensure her chances of winning were not diminished, this he did not do. He drove excessively, aggressively and simply set the filly too immense a task. It could not be competitive over the concluding stages because of the energy expended over the first 800 metres. A post-race Veterinary examination showed there to be no irregularities with CHEVRON SUPREME other than a slow recovery rate which was consistent with a horse having a tough run.

Summary

[21] This Rule is one of strict liability and that the informant only has to establish that Mr Smith has driven in a manner capable of diminishing the chances of CHEVRON SUPREME. Although on this occasion CHEVRON SUPREME did clearly lose its chance. This case is not so much about tactics but the actual speed at which he caused his horse to race for some 900 metres when either vying for the lead or after reaching it. This speed was clearly excessive, as demonstrated by the sectional times, which speak for themselves. Mr Smith has driven this horse outside of its capabilities. When faced with the calibre of opposition as it encountered in this race it would be reasonable to see the filly driven in a more conservative manner. It was not unreasonable for Mr Smith to make an attempt for the front based on the fact the filly has previously raced with success from that position. However, to expend so much energy in such a high class race was a bad assessment on Mr Smith’s part as to his overall chances. He should have moved away from his pre-race tactics at a far earlier stage when it became apparent that 1. Mr Barclay was not going to easily surrender the lead and 2. That the times they had run in the opening stages were unquestionably fast. Instead what has occurred is a reluctance or inability from Mr Smith to deviate and change his plans to best suit his situation and as a result his horse is a spent force at the 1000 metres. After it had worked so hard to get to the lead the horse was not given adequate opportunity to run a better placing in the field. Had more appropriate driving tactics been adopted; the horse would likely have performed better and its placing in the race may well have been enhanced. Such was the error of judgement on Mr Smith’s part that it was outside the normal limits of acceptable driving. His driving can properly be described, on this occasion, as culpable or blameworthy.

Respondents Submissions

[22] Mr Smith, in defence, stated that as with any Group 1 race, he did his form going into it by watching every start this filly had. He said that CHEVRON SUPREME had raced 10 times, led in 7 of them, galloped in 2 races, and was once driven with cover. Her first two starts, they just let her go, as they were trying to sell her. They let her do her own thing off the gate and in her first start she ran a 56-mile rate with a hood on under a hold and won by a couple of lengths at Auckland. He said that this was an exceptional time especially for a 3-y-o filly having her first start. Her next start she galloped behind the gate extinguishing herchances. The following start they tried to teach her to race by taking her back off the gate and putting her in the field which did not work. Over time her racing manners got worse until she is either galloping behind the gate or over racing and choking down in her races.

[23] Mr Smith stated that because it was his first drive on the horse, he asked both the trainer, Mr R Dunn and normal driver, Mr J Dunn, what their thoughts were. Mr R Dunn told him that they had not been happy with her, but her blood was right, and she was good to go. Mr Dunn said that she galloped last start when they were trying to keep her back off the gate and his instructions were to let her go, let her do her own thing, don’t fight her, don’t chase her and don’t grab her up, just let her be herself. Mr R Dunn said that she was their best chance in the race if the “real one” turned up but had no idea if the “real one” would turn up.

[24] Mr Smith stated he then asked Mr J Dunn was there any tricks to getting the filly away to which he replied to put her straight on the gate, let her head go and just let her go, without restraining her. He said that his one question to John was, if I get across the field, could he trail a “good one” if they come at him, as he considered being a rougher horse, he would probably be attacked. Mr Dunn’s answer to his question was, “I would not” as she will just “chuck it in”.

[25] Mr Smith stated that with that in mind, he did not chase her out of the gate. Mr Smith then showed the early stages of the race and pointed out that he did not move his hands throughout the first 600m of the race and did not attack. He said the two horses inside himwere attacking, being ALLABOUTDREAMS, driven by Mr Barclay, who was using the stick to attack for the lead, in the middle and WAINUI CREEK on the pylons. He said he did not hold the filly back or let her go, he just sat out there and let her do her own thing over the
first 600m. Mr Smith said that was how they drove her over the first few starts and with all of her best races, this was what they did with her.

[26] Mr Smith said that it wasn’t until he straightened up that he pulled the shorteners and gave the filly her head to roll forward and take the lead. Again, he said, he did not chase her and try and fire her up, just tried to keep her relaxed.

[27] Mr Smith said he was trying to follow instructions, as Mr R Dunn had told him, that if the filly could do her own thing and bowl along in front, she would run a very good time and be more than competitive with these fillies. He said he was very aware that they had worked very hard early so that when the favourite, PRINCESS TIFFANY, lobbed up outside him, he did not feel it was in his best interest to go again. Mr Smith said that as he was taking the trail and was crossed, the filly just dropped the bit and started to pull up. He said he tried to wake her up and get her going but just as Mr J Dunn had said, the filly has just shut down and given up. He added that when they got back to the stables the filly was barely blowing and obviously the vet found nothing wrong with her. Mr Smith stated that the filly was not blowing excessively, like a horse that has had a hard run. He said that the filly just “chucked it in” like it has done in it’s last couple of starts.

[28] Mr Smith said that the rule states that you cannot drive a horse in a manner that diminishes its chances. He stated that if you took a hold of this filly and tried to sit parked and restrain it, it would just over race and choke, and probably gallop, so would not be any more beneficial than what he did by letting her roll. Her 3rd start, at Auckland, he said, the trainer told him, they tried to restrain her early and she galloped losing 200m, thereafter was unable to be held. She caught the field with 700m to run, was still unable to be held, and as a result, the driver let her stride forward 3 wide, eventually finishing in 6th place.

[29] Mr Smith stated that Mr J Dunn drove her 1 start ago, with a 24.9 lead time, running 4th or 5th that night which he said was faster than what we went this race. He said that CHEVRON SUPREME, 2 starts ago, when she galloped at the start, and caught the field, raced very erratically at the back of the field, before being allowed to roll forward 3 wide at the 500 to 600m, due to its erratic racing behaviour at the back of the field.

[30] Mr Smith did not deny that the sectionals were quick and that he was setting the filly a big task but, in his opinion, it was more advantageous to the horse than fighting her and causing her to gallop and taking no part, or choking down when trying to restrain her. He said when he assumed the lead, he tried to ease her back gently to give the filly a breather but shortly after a taking the lead position, the favourite moved quickly up to his outside. Mr Smith said he was aware that he had gone quick early and did not think the filly was good enough to fend off another attempt at the lead, so made a judgement call and allowed the favourite to take the lead. Mr Smith said he regreted it immediately as, as soon as she was crossed, the filly dropped the bit, and “chucked it in”. Mr Smith said that both Mr J and Mr R Dunn were disappointed that he had handed up the lead and asked was it that the favourite attacked him. He said the filly needs to be happy in her races and fighting her and any restraining of her leads to her “chucking it in”.

[31] Mr Smith said ALLABOUTDREAMS was paying $45 and after doing his form was the horse that would be holding the front and even if the front runner was paying $1.60, based on what the Dunn’s had told him and the way she raced, he would not have changed his driving tactics, believing this was the best way to drive her by letting her roll and not try to restrain.

[32] In answer to a question from the Committee, Mr Smith said that he would have preferred to sit outside of ALLABOUTDREAMS but she was still wanting to improve forward, so let her roll to take the lead. He said he was concerned that if the pace had eased, she may have started racing erratically and choked down, knowing her history. He added she was travelling kindly, not under a stranglehold or being chased up, and nicely on the bit, until PRINCESS TIFFANY crossed her and at that point she fell in his lap, dropped the bit and chucked it in.

[33] In answer to another question from the Committee, Mr Smith stated that Mr Barclay was reluctant to relinquish the lead but in conversation he told him that he was instructed to lead and was going on to assume the lead position. Mr Barclay reluctantly eased to allow Mr Smith to take the lead. Mr Smith stated that the whole race he was trying to keep the filly happy as instructed. He said he never chased her or wind her up, never took a hold of her to upset her, just tried to keep her in a good state of mind to get the best out of her. He said that based on what he had seen on her earlier races he felt, ability wise, she was up to anything in the field.

[34] Mr Smith said that the last time Mr J Dunn drove her she ran a quicker lead time than the subject race. He added that there had been quicker lead times over 1980m at Addington since the race in question, there being two or three 24 second lead times on the night. Mr Smith said it was all very well picking out one race and make the stats apply to anything. He said he could not see the relevance of the time comparisons as these were the best fillies in the country and it would be very rare not to run the first quarter in 26 seconds off the gate, especially if you wanted to be handy in one of these races. He added the 1980m start has not been in use that long and the record does not really say anything. There would be very few times that 3yo fillies had raced over that distance and KENDRA’s record was a filly’s heat with only 6 to 7 horses in it.

[35] In cross examination Mr Ydgren asked Mr Smith the following questions;

Q-Did you know how fast you were going in the early stages?

A-Within reason but I knew they were hiking early but there wasn’t much he could do about that as R May and B Barclay were having their own tussle over the first 400 to 500m and it wasn’t until Mr Barclay crossed down to the pylons about the mile that it became about him. He said he was just sitting out there keeping her happy. The early pace he said was on them and he had nothing to do with it.

Q-Mr Smith, I believe that you were involved with the early speed as you were there on the outside and part of the tussle over the early stages, even ahead of those runners for some part of it?

A-If you watch my movements, I haven’t made any movement to go forward or back and with Mr Barclay attacking for the lead with the stick for the first 400 to 500m. he said that whether he was out there or not, Mr Barclay would have still been attacking for the lead.

Q-Mr Smith, we are not saying you were chasing your horse up but what we are saying is that you made no counter movements to restrain your driving to a more reserved manner. You said that within reason, you knew how fast you were going, were you aware that your first 800m was run in 53.37 seconds?

A-Mr Smith said he did not deny they were going quick and not denying that he was setting a big task for the filly. He said that he still thought it a better option to go forward than to taking a hold of her, her galloping and taking no part or having her fire up and get too keen.

Q-Mr Smith do you accept that a 53.37 second first half is a sublimely fast sectional?

A-Yes, agree that it is fast but its s a Group 1 fillies’ race. He said the reason that he drove the horse the way he did was to drive her to her strengths not her weaknesses.

Q-Leading into the race what chance did you give this horse?

A-He said it was a hard question too answer. Based on her last start when she galloped her chances were not great. But if you took into consideration her best races, it certainly looked up to any filly in New Zealand, at times. He said that Mr R Dunn had said that this was their best chance in the race if the” real one” turns up as they had the filly right, it was all dependant on if the “real one” turns up.

Q-In hindsight, Mr Smith, do you believe sitting up or racing parked and waiting for cover, would have been a better option?

A-He said he had only driven the filly the once so didn’t know. Based on what happened he still didn’t know. Based on what the Dunn’s had said after the race that he should have held the front and the way she dropped out afterwards, he would have preferred to hold the front. He added that if he had tried to hold the front PRINCESS TI FFANY would not have left him alone with a result that he would have had to go through to the 600m with the same result-once headed, ie; the filly would chuck it in. He said that all he could go with was what he was told and her racing history. He said if he could do it again, he would try something different, but that’s with the benefit of hindsight. At the time he said, all he could do was go off what he was told and what he had seen in her previous starts. He was doing his best based on the instructions given and the form he had researched.

Q-You said that Mr Dunn told you to drive her like the best horse? Do you think you drove her like the best horse? Do you think she was the best horse in the race?

A-Mr Dunn said don’t be afraid to drive her like the best horse. Arguably I did drive her like the best horse but on the night she was not. He thought on ability that she was up to any of them based on her earlier form and quick times.

Decision

[36] We carefully considered the evidence presented by both the informant and respondent in conjunction with available film replays of the alleged incident. The charge against Mr Smith is that the manner in which he drove CHEVRON SUPREME over the early and middle stages was capable of diminishing his runners’ chances. In essence, the thrust of the Stewards allegation, is that the actual speed and sectional times, which Mr Smith drove CHEVRON SUPREME over the first 900m were such that the horse was driven outside of its capabilities and therefore diminished his horse’s chances. The charge does not refer to a “speed duel” or “race duel” but the JCA penalty Guide divides the charge of diminishing chances into three categories; miscounting rounds, race duelling and incompetent driving. Due to the sectional times and speed being the essence of the Stewards’ charge, we draw the conclusion that speed duelling is the extent of the Stewards’ allegation, with the relevant factors, as considered by an Appeals Tribunal in the case of HRNZ v Jones and Cameron (2000) requiring consideration in this case. The Appeals Tribunal identified those factors as being:

-The distance of the race

-The stage of the race where duelling occurred

-The distance over which the duelling occurred

-The distance which the horses in question were ahead of the rest of the field

-The speed at which the horses were travelling in order to maintain or take the lead and, in this regard, sectional times for the race are relevant and

-The energy expended in having to maintain or reach the lead, in this regard, the relevancies did the driver have to urge the horse merely by shaking the reins or did the driver resort to use of the whip, pulling ear plugs etc.

[37] We found that CHEVRON SUPREME started off the 7 gate at the mobile barrier and improved quickly from that position to be in a challenging position over the early stages. We find the filly did this with ease and was not chased up or put under any pressure to do so.

[38] We found that Mr Smith found himself in a position 3 wide outside the two lead horses who had fought early in the race for the lead position. Mr Smith then improved, again with ease, and finished up parked on the outside of the lead horse, ALLABOUTDREAMS, as the field entered the straight for the first time.

[39] Mr Smith then challenged for the lead, eventually assuming the lead position with approximately 1200m to run, again with ease. Shortly afterwards PRINCESS TIFFANY challenged for and assumed the lead with CHEVRON SUPREME taking the trail.

[40] Once crossed, CHEVRON SUPREME immediately dropped the bit and began to give ground, eventually finishing in last position 61.8 lengths from the winner.

[41] This Committee firstly assessed the early stages of the race. Mr Smith was having his first drive on CHEVRON SUPREME and had reviewed the form and racing habits of the filly, as any prudent horseman would do. He had also taken advice and received driving instructions from the trainer and previous driver of the horse. The instructions and horse’s history indicated that the best way to drive the filly was to go forward and let the filly run her own race, not to try and restrain her or chase her. We were satisfied that Mr Smith’s actions over the early stages were not unreasonable considering the advice and instructions from the trainer, advice from the previous driver in conjunction with the knowledge that the filly had run exceptional sectionals before and had exceptional ability. The early pace of the race was hot and run in a very fast time, due initially to ALLABOUTDREAMS and WAINUI CREEK fighting for the lead position, ALLABOUTDREAMS’ driver even using the whip to encourage his horse forward. Mr Smith found himself outside both these runners and travelling comfortably, neither chasing his drive up or restraining it, as per instructions and perceived to be the best way to drive the filly. Despite the fast pace of the early stages of the race and very quick sectional we find no issues with Mr Smith’s drive on CHEVRON SUPREME over the early stages. Being a Group 1, 1980m race, it was not unexpected for the pace to be on from the start.

[42] In the next stage of the race, after the 1600m, Mr Smith was then positioned to the outside of ALLABOUTDREAMS and CHEVRON SUPREME was still travelling kindly and with ease. Mr Smith, despite knowing the pace was quick, allowed CHEVRON SUPREME to improve forward, and take the lead off ALLABOUTDREAMS near the 1200m. He said that his reason for this was that the filly was improving on her own accord and he did no want to try and restrain her knowing her history and the instructions received. Again, the pace was hot with very quick sectionals but CHEVRON SUPREME, we observed was travelling well, and assumed the lead with ease. We do not find it unreasonable for Mr Smith to drive in this manner with his knowledge of the horse’s history and instructions that she races better when left alone and allowed to do what she wants. Mr Smith’s plan was to give the filly a breather once in front if possible, but this did not eventuate as PRINCESS TIFFANY quickly raced up on her outside and challenged for the lead. Proof of the filly’s erratic racing manners were proven shortly afterwards when after being crossed by PRINCESS TIFFANY she dropped the bit and stopped.

[43] The speed at which the filly was travelling over the early and middle stages was very quick but would not be overly unusual for a 1980 Group 1 race and such quick sectionals in such a race would not be unexpected. Mr Smith had researched the filly’s form and observed her previous races. The statistics showed that CHEVRON SUPREME was a filly of impressive ability but with erratic racing manners. He had also taken advice and instructions from the trainer and previous driver on how to drive the filly to the best advantage.

[44] Finally we need to consider the energy expended by CHEVRON SUPREME over the early and middle stages. We find that throughout this period, the filly was travelling well within herself and assumed the lead with relative ease. Mr Smith did not move on the filly during this period and did not urge her at all until she was crossed by PRINCESS TIFFANY. Taking the racing history of the filly into consideration and the exceptional sectionals she had performed in previous starts, it was not unreasonable, we determined, for Mr Smith to drive her as he did over the early to middle stages, despite the very fast sectionals.

[45] This Committee have also considered the relevant factors determined in the HRNZ v Jones & Cameron Appeals Tribunal case and applied them as follows;

-The distance of the race - Distance of race was 1980m and a Group 1 3-y-o fillies’ race. Fast sectionals would not be uncommon in a race of this calibre especially over the early to middle stages of the race.

-The stage of the race where the alleged duelling occurred- A “duel” by definition, requires the involvement of two horses and their drivers. The only possible reference to a “duel “we can call on with this incident is when Mr Smith challenged for the lead in the straight on the first occasion. These two horses did not separate themselves from the rest of the field, as you would normally find with a “speed duel” charge, and after a period of fighting for the lead, Mr Barclay restrained his horse to allow Mr Smith to take over. We are therefore satisfied that a “speed duel” did not occur in this instance.

-The distance the horses were ahead of the field was irrelevant, as noted above, as this did not happen with this alleged incident.

-The speed at which the horses were travelling was fast but as noted above but not uncommon in a Group 1 race with 3-y-o fillies and large stake payable. Mr Smith found himself in a position outside two runners fighting for the lead over the early stages. The pace was fast from the start, caused initially by ALLABOUTDREAMS and WAINUI CREEK, fighting for the lead. The pace remained fast from the 1600m to the home straight the first time due to ALLABOUTDREAMS determined to maintain the lead position. Mr Smith was travelling well and pushed on to assume the lead at 1200m, which he was entitled to do, after Mr B Barclay reluctantly relinquished the lead.

-The energy expended in reaching the lead-We find that although the sectional times were exceptional, CHEVRON SUPREME, paced these sectionals with ease with Mr Smith not having to urge the filly in any respect over the stages in question. We find the energy expended by Mr Smith, with CHEVRON SUPREME, was not unreasonable, after taking all factors into consideration.

[46] The performance of CHEVRON SUPREME, up to the point when the filly was crossed by PRINCESS TIFFANY, was impressive. She had achieved that position with relative ease and was still travelling well within herself. As Mr Smith had stated, in retrospect, his only regret was handing up the lead to PRINCESS TIFFANY. When crossed, CHEVRON SUPREME, dropped the bit and “chucked it in” as predicted by the trainer and past driver. We find the probable reason for her poor performance was due to the filly’s poor racing manners, not the energy expended over the early stages and by stopping so quickly bought, attention to the drive by the Stewards.

[47] It is not necessary for the Stewards to prove that the manner in which Mr Smith’s driving, did in fact diminish CHEVRON SUPREME’s chances. We, however, believe that the standard of proof in such a charge is higher than the usual on a balance of probabilities, because of the serious nature of the charge and penalties that follow.

[48] This Committee, therefore, has to be very satisfied that Mr Smith has driven in a manner capable of diminishing the chances of his horse winning. We are not so satisfied in this case, on the balance of probabilities, for the reasons above and therefore dismiss the charge.

[49] The charge is dismissed.

S C Ching      R G McKenzie

(Chair)          (Panellist)

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