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Auckland RC 8 March 2014 - R 1

Created on 10 March 2014

Rules:
638(1)(d)
Committee:
ADooley (chair)
GJones
Name(s):
Miss R Myers - Rider of BENZINI
Mr M Williamson -Stipendiary Steward
Mr M Du Plessis - Rider of SECRET'S ONLY
Informant
Mr J Oatham - Senior Stipendiary Steward
Information Number
A6561
Plea:
Denied
Charge:
Careless Riding
Evidence:

Following race 1, White Cliffs Timber Mile, an Information was filed pursuant to Rule 638(1)(d). The Informant, Mr Oatham alleged that passing the 400 metres Miss R Myers angled her mount BENZINI out, making heavy contact with SECRET’S ONLY (M Du Plessis) which became badly unbalanced.

Miss Myers acknowledged that she understood the nature of the charge, the Rule and confirmed she denied 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.

Submission For Decision:

Mr Williamson demonstrated the incident using the head on video films. He pointed out to the Committee that Miss Myers riding BENZINI was following ESTRATO with SECRET’S ONLY racing on its outside. He said that there was no run available for BENZINI and it was racing in a tight position about half a length behind SECRET’S ONLY. He said Miss Myers pushed BENZINI out making heavy contact with SECRET’S ONLY causing that horse to become unbalanced with its hind quarters and back end being turned sideways.

Using rear on video footage Mr Williamson demonstrated that Miss Myers tried to force a run when half a length behind SECRET’S ONLY when in fact there was no run available.

Under cross examination Miss Myers submitted to Mr Williamson that during the recent Hastings meeting she was questioned by Stewards concerning her ride on SHEEZGORGEOUS in terms as to whether she was being competitive.

The Committee requested Mr Oatham read aloud the Rule 642 (2) (i) (ii) (iii) for Miss Myers' benefit and clarification. Miss Myers acknowledged this particular Rule.

At this juncture Mr Oatham advised the Committee that he did not propose to call any further witnesses, in particular Mr Du Plessis.

In response Miss Myers indicated she would call Mr Du Plessis.

Miss Myers submitted that she acknowledged she has put pressure on SECRET’S ONLY but that horse lay in on her mount. Miss Myers said she was riding the favourite and she is entitled to give her horse the best opportunity. Miss Myers believed it was a confident ride, not a careless ride and competitive riding as opposed to careless riding. She also pointed out that Mr Du Plessis has never stopped riding SECRET’S ONLY.

In response Mr Oatham elected not to cross exam Miss Myers and added the films of the incident were quite clear.

Miss Myers called Mr Du Plessis as a witness. Miss Myers asked Mr Du Plessis whether he would have done the same competitive riding, to which he responded in the affirmative. Mr Du Plessis added his mount got “barrelled” during the incident.

Under cross examination from Mr Oatham, Mr Du Plessis said there was a half run available but not a full run.

In summing up Mr Oatham submitted that the films clearly showed that there was no run available for BENZINI and to suggest that there was is being overly generous. He said the line between riding competitively and carelessly is fine but in this case there was severe contact and SECRET’S ONLY became unbalanced as a result. He submitted that Stewards cannot allow horses to force a run that is not available. In this case the manner of the shift was too abrupt and further it resulted in a change of placings. He added the fact BENZINI was the favourite is irrelevant.

In summing up Miss Myers submitted that she is obliged to give her horse every chance. She said her manner of riding was at the high end of competitiveness. She added it was the first time BENZINI had run at Ellerslie causing him to run out which coupled with SECRET’S ONLY laying in.

Reasons For Decision:

The Committee carefully considered all the evidence and submissions as presented. Having reviewed the video films several times we established that Miss Myers did push out on her mount BENZINI when about half a length behind SECRET’S ONLY. This resulted in solid contact to SECRET’S ONLY hind quarters. The Committee rejects Miss Myers' submission that her riding was at the high end of competitiveness and the low end of carelessness. The Committee accepts there is a fine balance between what may be construed as competitive riding versus careless riding. In our opinion Miss Myers' manoeuvre went beyond the acceptable bounds of competitiveness. Further we do not accept the fact BENZINI was favourite was a justification to ride in such a manner, as all riders are expected to exercise prudent care.

Decision:

The Committee note that Rule 642 (2) “interference” is defined as:

(i) a horse crossing another horse without being at least its own length and one other clear length in front of such other horse at the time of crossing;

(ii) a horse jostling with another horse, unless it is proved that such jostling was caused by the fault of some other horse or Rider or that the horse or Rider jostled with was partly at fault; or

(iii) a horse itself, or its Rider, in any way interfering with another horse or the Rider of another horse in a Race, unless it is proved that such interference was caused by the fault of some other horse or Rider or that the horse or Rider interfered with was partly at fault.

For the above reasons we find the charge proved.

Submission For Penalty:

Mr Oatham produced Miss Myers' record which showed 4 previous breaches under this Rule in the last 12 months. He said the breach was at the low end of carelessness but aggravated by the fact BENZINI was relegated from 1st to 2nd place. He said the race had a significant stake ($40,000) and today was a premier raceday. Mr Oatham submitted giving consideration to those factors a 5 to 6 day suspension would be appropriate.

Miss Myers advised that she had upcoming commitments at Wellington on March 15, and sought a deferment to any proposed suspension. Miss Myers told the Committee that she rode in both the North and South Island.

In response to a question from the Committee re her intention to ride at Wyndham on March 16 and Timaru on March 20, Miss Myers replied she had a license which entitled her to ride all over the country.

Miss Myers was unable to advise or provide any evidence to the Committee when she last rode at Wyndham or Timaru. When tested further Miss Myers added she could ring up Mrs Parsons, South Island trainer, and arrange some rides for those upcoming South Island meetings.

In response to a question from the Committee, Mr Oatham submitted Miss Myers had not ridden in the South Island since Cup week in November 2013. He submitted Miss Myers did ride all over the North Island and rode in the South Island at the major carnivals.

The Committee does not accept that Miss Myers contacting Mrs Parsons for rides was sufficient evidence. The Committee rejected Miss Myers' submission as we do not accept this is a firm engagement for the pending South Island meetings. We note Miss Myers has no recent history of riding at South Island meetings outside of Cup week in November, therefore she is not a regular South Island rider. The Committee note Mr Oatham has no record of Miss Myers riding at South Island meetings in the last 4 months and he classified Miss Myers as predominantly a North Island rider.

The Committee reminded Miss Myers that Committees need to test firmly the evidence of riders in respect of where they will be riding. This procedure as per JCA newsletter December 2011 is consistently adopted for all riders in this region.

The Committee sought further submissions from Miss Myers, she described the carelessness as low end and did not wish to comment on an appropriate number of days.

Reasons For Penalty:

The Committee carefully considered all the evidence and submissions presented. We have adopted 5 riding days as the starting point in considering the term of suspension for this careless riding charge. There are no mitigating factors in this case. The aggravating factors are Miss Myers' record under this Rule which we assess as below average (5th in 12 months), the level of carelessness we assess as mid – range based on Miss Myers was only half a length behind SECRET’S ONLY when forcing a run which resulted in solid contact to SECRET’S ONLY hind quarters. This also resulted in BENZINI being relegated from 1st to 2nd place which is a further aggravating fact.

After taking into account all the above factors we consider an appropriate penalty is a 6 day suspension.

Penalty:

We grant Miss R Myers' request to seek a deferment to her suspension as per Rule 1106(2).

Accordingly, we impose a suspension on Miss R Myers which will commence after racing on 15 March and conclude after racing on 26 March (6 days).

The penalty did not include any South Island meetings for the reasons stated above.

Following the delivery of this penalty Miss R Myers expressed concerns that the judicial system relating to a rider's South Island history is completely wrong and it needs to be looked at.

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