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Non Raceday Inquiry RIU v J D Markham - Decision dated 9 July 2017 - Chair, Mr R McKenzie

Created on 12 July 2017

NON RACEDAY JUDICIAL COMMITTEE DECISION

Informant: S P Renault, Stipendiary Steward

Defendant: J D Markham, Licensed Junior Driver

Information No: A09621

Meeting: New Zealand Metropolitan Trotting Club

Date: 7 July 2017 (heard 9 July 2017 at Rangiora)

Venue: Addington Raceway, Christchurch

Race: 5

Rule No: 869(2)(a)

Judicial Committee: R G McKenzie, Chairman - S C Ching, Committee Member

Plea: Admitted

Date of Decision: 9 July 2017

FACTS:

Information No. A09621 alleges that Mr Markham, as the driver of JEAN SEBASTIAN in Race 5, Darren DeFilippi Memorial (Junior Drivers) Handicap Trot, he “used his whip in an excessive manner inside the final 400 metres”.

Mr Renault produced a letter dated 8 July 2017 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 information was served on Mr Markham at the meeting of Rangiora Harness Racing Club held at Rangiora on 9 July 2017 and was heard at that meeting.

Mr Markham was present at the hearing of the information and he indicated that he admitted the breach. He was assisted at the hearing by Licensed Open Driver, Mr G D O’Reilly.

Rule 869 provides as follows:

(2) No horseman shall during any race:-

(a) use his whip in an unnecessary, excessive or improper manner.

The Use of Whip Guidelines (effective from 1 December 2016) provide:

The whip shall not be used more than 10 times in the last 400 metres of a race, otherwise this will be deemed excessive use pursuant to these Guidelines.

SUBMISSIONS:

Mr Renault showed to the hearing a video replay of the final 400 metres of the race. He pointed out Mr Markham, driving JEAN SEBASTIAN, at the rear of the field as the field entered the final straight. Upon entering the home straight, Mr Markham commenced using his whip and from that point, Mr Renault alleged, Mr Markham used his whip, free of the rein, on 12 occasions which was accepted by Mr Markham.

Mr Markham said that, over the closing stages of the race, he felt that he was making ground and had a chance of running into a stakes-bearing placing, perhaps 4th. He freely acknowledged that his use of whip was outside of the guidelines.

DECISION:

Mr Markham having admitted the breach, the charge was found proved.

PENALTY SUBMISSIONS:

Mr Renault informed the Committee that Mr Markham has had 51 drives to date this season and last season had a total of 31 drives. He is starting to drive on a more regular basis, he said.

Mr Markham has a previous breach of the Rule on his record – he was fined $300 at Oamaru on 21 May last. This breach was at the lower end of the scale, Mr Renault said.

Mr Renault referred to the Penalty Guide starting point for a second breach of the Rule within 6 months of a 3-5 days suspension. He submitted that, taking into account Mr Markham’s admission of the breach and his Junior Driver status, a 3 day suspension was appropriate.

Mr Markham said that he was intending to take a horse to the meeting of Forbury Park TC on 13 July but preferred not to seek a deferment of any suspension.

Mr O’Reilly asked the Committee to consider that Mr Markham was a Junior Driver and found it difficult to get drives and he suggested that the Committee show some leniency.

REASONS FOR PENALTY:

In determining penalty, the Committee took the starting point of a 4 day suspension. That starting point was based on Mr Markham having only 1 to 2 drives per meeting. There were no aggravating factors. The breach, in the Committee’s view, was in the low range, as submitted by Mr Renault. The number was just over the allowable threshold and the force used was not excessive. The sole mitigating factor was Mr Markham’s admission of the breach, although that was somewhat inevitable. The Committee was satisfied that that factor warranted a discount of 1 day from the starting point.

PENALTY:

Mr Markham’s Junior Driver’s licence is suspended from after the close of racing today up to and including 16 July 2017 – 3 days. The meetings intended to be encompassed by that term of suspension are Forbury Park TC on 13 July, NZ Metropolitan TC on 14 July and Ashburton TC on 16 July 2017.

R G McKenzie         S C Ching

CHAIRMAN             COMMITTEE MEMBER

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