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Auckland RC 1 January 2021 – R 8 – Chair, Mr G Jones

Created on 02 January 2021

Rules:
638(1)(d)
Committee:
GJones (chair)
BScott
Name(s):
Ms J Fawcett - Rider of THE BUZZ
Mr M Williamson - Senior Stipendiary Steward
Informant
Mr J Oatham - Chief Stipendiary Steward
Information Number
A13445
Plea:
Admitted
Charge:
Careless riding
Evidence:

This charge arises from the running of Race 8, the City of Auckland Cup (Group 3 - $200,000). Chief Stipendiary Steward  Mr Oatham filed an Information pursuant to Rule 638(1)(d) alleging the rider of THE BUZZ (Ms J Fawcett), “permitted her mount to shift out near the 1750 metres when not sufficiently clear of PAISLEY PARK which was checked”.

Ms Fawcett acknowledged she understood the Rule and confirmed her admission of the breach.

Rule 638(1) (d) provides: A Rider shall not ride a horse in a manner which the Judicial Committee considers to be careless.

Using all available video footage Stipendiary Steward, Mr Williamson demonstrated the incident and identified all horses and riders concerned. He told the Committee that THE BUZZ was two back on the fence passing the 1800 metre mark. At this point MASETTO (V Colgan) had crossed over into the lead and PAISLEY PARK (S Collett) was on the outer and slightly behind THE BUZZ. He said that Ms Fawcett shifted out to avoid the heels of MASETTO and in doing so took the running line of PAISLEY PARK who had to be restrained and was checked. Mr Williamson said that Stewards accept that when Mr Colgan crossed into the lead, he “shaved” THE BUZZ, meaning that he came very close to THE BUZZ when not fully clear. He added that up until this stage Ms Fawcett’s mount was not in any trouble and she should have restrained THE BUZZ rather than electing to shift out into the path of PAISLEY PARK. He said that as a consequence of Ms Fawcett’s shift other horses included SPRING DELIGHT were checked.

In response Ms Fawcett stated that she fully accepted that she moved out, but that was because she was not given sufficient room when Mr Colgan allowed his mount to cross over into the lead.

Decision:

As Ms Fawcett admitted the breach the Committee found the charge proved.

Submission For Penalty:

Mr Oatham produced Fawcett’s riding record which indicated four previous breach under the careless riding Rule in the last 12 months. The most recent occurred on 26 September 2020 which related to a fall and as a result she incurred a 1-month suspension.

Mr Oatham said Stewards assessed the level of carelessness in the low to mid-range. He said there were consequences to three horses who were affected to varying degrees, but he acknowledged there were also mitigating circumstances (as described by Mr Williamson). However, he added that Ms Fawcett should have restrained her mount when she realised, that she was racing on the heels of Mr Colgan’s mount.

He advised that this breach occurred in a Group 3 race and this should be factored in to any proposed penalty.

In response Ms Fawcett advised that should she find herself in similar circumstances in the future she will exercise greater care and make an more of an effort to provide for the safety of riders around her.

Ms Fawcett sought a deferment to any proposed suspension until after racing on 7 January 2021 at Ruakaka. 

Reasons For Penalty:

After considering the submissions and reviewing the race film and the Committee determined Ms Fawcett’s carelessness to be low-range and adopted a 4-day (suspension) and $250 (fine) as our starting point. This is in conformity with the NZTR Penalty Directive which recommends a 4 national day and $250 fine starting point for low range carelessness.

The available films established that as Mr Colgan shifted his mount into the lead, he was not totally clear of Ms Fawcett who took evasive action and shifted out into the running line of PAISLEY PARK. Had Ms Fawcett elected to restrain her mount as opposed to shifting out the breach may have been avoided. In that regard the Committee accepts that Ms Fawcett made a mistake due to an error of judgement on her part and there are mitigating factors in her favour.

Aggravating factors are that this breach occurred in a Group 3 race with stakemoney of $200,000, and there were consequences to at least two others runners whose chances were affected to varying degrees.

Rule 920(2) empowers a Committee in imposing a penalty to have due regard to such matters as it considers appropriate including: (a) the Status of the Race; (b) the stake payable in respect of the Race; (c) any consequential effects upon any person or horse as a result of the breach of the Rule; and/or (d) the need to maintain integrity and public confidence in racing.
In terms of the Status of the Race it is the practice of this Committee, which is consistent with how others have interpreted the Rule, to apply uplift as follows:
Group (1) – 3-day uplift
Group (2) – 2-day uplift
Group (3) and Listed – 1-day uplift
Although this is not a mathematical or prescriptive process, it does provide for consistency and transparency as to how uplifts are applied. In addition, it is incumbent on all riders on Premier or Iconic racedays to be aware that in circumstances where they breach the Rules, penalties may be uplifted. Further, they should also have in back of mind, the need to avoid being unavailable for pending Premier and Iconic racedays due to suspension.
Therefore, in accordance with rule 920(2) the Committee applied 1-day (suspension) and $150 (fine) penalty uplift from our starting point.
The mitigating factors we considered included Ms Fawcett’s admission of the breach and the fact that Mr Colgan’s inward shift was a contributing factor. For those combined reasons we afforded her a 1-day reduction.
After taking into account all the above factors the Committee considered that an appropriate suspension was 4 (national) days and a fine of $400.

Penalty:

The Committee granted M Fawcett a deferment to her suspension pursuant to Rule 1106(2).

Accordingly, Ms Fawcett’s licence to ride in races is suspended for a period of 4 days commencing after racing on 7 January 2021 and concluding after racing on 15 January 2020.

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