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Non Raceday Inquiry RIU v M McNab - Decision dated 9 November 2019 - Chair, Mr S Ching

Created on 12 November 2019

BEFORE A JUDICIAL COMMITTEE

IN THE MATTER of the New Zealand Rules of Racing

IN THE MATTER of Information No. A11541

BETWEEN MR D WADLEY, Stipendiary Steward for the Racing Integrity Unit

Informant

AND MR M MCNAB, Licensed Class A Rider

Respondent

Date of Hearing: 9 November 2019

Venue: Riccarton Park, Christchurch

Judicial Committee: S C Ching (Chair)

R G McKenzie

Present: Mr J Oatham, Chief Stipendiary Steward, for the Informant

Mr M McNab, the Respondent

Mr M Davidson, Stipendiary Steward

Mr D Wadley, Stipendiary Steward

Date of Decision: 9 November 2019

DECISION OF JUDICIAL COMMITTEE

The Charge

[1] Information No. A11541 alleges that:

On the 3rd day of November, Mr M McNab, being the rider of MISS SCANDINAVIA in Race 11, the Country Feasts Rating 72, at the Banks Peninsula Racing Club, permitted his mount to shift outwards when not sufficiently clear dictating MAMMA SANS outwards, with that runner then striking a heel of THE LUSTRE and falling, near the 175m.

This is in breach of Rule 638(1) (d).

Documentation was provided from the Operations Manager of the Racing Integrity Unit, Mr M Godber, that permission was granted for the Information to be filed as required under Rule 903(2)(d).

The Rules

[2] Rule 638(1)(d) of the Rules of Racing provides as follows:

“(1) A Rider shall not ride a horse in a manner which the Judicial Committee considers to be:

(d) careless”

The Plea

[3] Mr McNab had signed the information form, indicating that he admitted the breach of the Rule, which he confirmed at the hearing. Mr McNab also confirmed that he understood the charge and rule under which the charge was made.

Summary of Facts

[4] Mr Oatham, with the assistance of Stipendiary Steward, Mr M Davidson, gave evidence and produced video replays from four different camera angles, being side on, head on, back on and back straight to show that approaching the 175m, Mr McNab, riding MISS SCANDINAVIA, was in a 2 wide position with MAMMA SANS, ridden by Mr B Murray, in a 3 wide position on the outside of MISS SCANDINAVIA. Mr Davidson pointed out on the film, THE LUSTRE, ridden by Mr J Lowry, who was racing in a 4 wide position immediately ahead of both other named horses. He then showed Mr McNab angle his mount out and shift out when only ½ to ¾ of a length ahead of MAMMA SANS, and when looking for clear running. Mr Davidson showed that this outward movement, by Mr McNab, forced MAMMA SANS out onto the heels of THE LUSTRE and shortly afterwards MAMMA SANS clipped a heel of that horse and fell. Mr Davidson stated that at the point that Mr Murray clips the heel of THE LUSTRE, that horse may have shifted in slightly which may have contributed to the incident. He added that Mr McNab has moved out 1 ½ to 2 horse widths in this incident.

[5] Mr McNab stated that he was extremely sorry for causing the fall. He said he came out gradually to take the run, and just moved Mr Murray out a fraction in behind Mr Lowry’s horse. He said that THE LUSTRE has moved inwards a fraction when Mr Murray was inside its heels, which he submitted contributed to the incident.

Submissions of Informant on Penalty

[6] Mr Oatham presented to the hearing a written submission from Te Akau Racing, signed by Mr D Ellis, in support of Mr McNab.

[7] Mr Oatham also presented to the hearing a written submission from Champagne Racing trainers, Ms A Furlong and Mr S Kennedy in regard to the consequences of the incident, to both Mr Murray and the horse, in conjunction with a veterinary report from Canterbury Equine Clinic, on MAMMA SANS.

[8] Mr Oatham stated that Mr McNab’s penalty record showed 3 breaches over the previous 12 months which were at Tauranga on 23 March where he received a 7-day suspension and $750 fine for a breach in a Group 2 race. The other 2 breaches were at Riccarton Park on 21 September where he received a 6-day suspension and 8-day suspension for a low and mid-range breaches, respectfully. He stated that Mr McNab had ridden on 50 occasions since the latest breach with 318 total rides, over the previous 12 months, to date. Mr Oatham stated that Mr McNab’s record could be described overall, as good and submitted that his record could be considered as a neutral factor when assessing penalty.

[9] Mr Oatham stated that Mr McNab’s frank admission of the breach and his genuine remorse, for what has occurred should be to his credit. He added that Mr McNab did not attend the meetings at Ellerslie and Avondale due to the stress of this impending charge.

[10] Mr Oatham stated that the JCA Penalty Guide was updated on 1 November 2017 and as part of that update, the starting point for a breach that involves a fall, was amended to a 4-week suspension. He said since the amendment there have been 4 careless riding charges where a fall was involved resulting in the following penalties imposed;

- 16 November 2018 at Ruakaka, G Cooksley, a 3-week suspension was imposed after a fall that involved 2 riders with both injured, 1 rider out for a number of months.

- 19 January 2019 at Wellington, L Innes, a 5-week suspension imposed after a fall with the carelessness being more serious than today’s breach.

-16 March 2019 R Myers at Wellington received a 3-week suspension for a breach where a fall was involved.

-24 May 2019 at Dunedin, L Callaway, who received a 4-week suspension for a breach where a fall was involved.

[11] Mr Oatham said that the Stewards regarded the carelessness with this breach to be above mid-range and to be consistent with the historic penalties in conjunction with all the factors presented, submitted that a suspension of up to 4 weeks be considered as penalty.

Submissions of Respondent on Penalty

[12] Mr McNab reiterated that he was extremely sorry for what had happened in this incident. Mr McNab sought a deferment on penalty for 7 days until Saturday 16 November as he had commitments for that period of racing.

Reasons for Penalty

[13] In determining penalty the Committee took the JCA Penalty Guide starting point of a 4-week suspension for a mid-range breach of this Rule where a fall is involved. The Committee agreed with the Stewards’ assessment of the carelessness, that being above mid-range.

[14] We researched previous breaches, as noted above, where a fall was involved. Of particular assistance to the Committee were the R Myers and L Callaway cases, where the horses blundered after striking a heel and the rider was dislodged with penalties being 3 weeks and 4 weeks respectively. In both these cases the riders and horses were not injured.

In the L Innes case there was a fall of both horse and rider, as well as disruption to other runners, but with no injury to horse and rider. The penalty with this breach was a 5-week suspension.

The Committee found the consequences of Mr McNab’s carelessness to be at a higher level than that of the Myers and Callaway cases, with an injured rider who is likely to be away from riding for quite some time and an injured horse with an uncertain racing future.

[15] Mr McNab’s penalty record showed 3 breaches in the previous 12 months, as noted above. Records show that Mr McNab has ridden on 50 occasions since his last breach and with only 3 breaches over the prior 12 months, where he has had a total of 318 rides. Taking this into consideration we were prepared to consider his record in totality, a neutral factor.

[16] In adopting the 4-week starting point for a mid-range breach, we determined that an uplift in penalty was warranted, firstly for the above mid-range carelessness and secondly, the high-end consequences of Mr McNab’s carelessness. This uplift we set at 2 weeks.

[17] We were however, able to afford Mr McNab a combined discount for the mitigating factors being the slight inward movement by THE LUSTRE, which we determined may have contributed to the incident, Mr McNab’s genuine remorse for his actions and his frank admission of the breach.

[18] We therefore determined that a 5-week suspension is an appropriate penalty in this case.

[19] Mr McNab’s application for a deferment until after racing 16 November is granted.

Penalty

[20] Accordingly, Mr McNab’s licence is suspended from the conclusion of racing Saturday 16 November up to and including 21 December 2019.

S C Ching

(Chair)

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