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Auckland RC 9 September 2018 - R 2 - Chair, Mr A Dooley

Created on 10 September 2018

Rules:
638(1)(d)
Committee:
ADooley (chair)
GJones
Name(s):
Mr S Phelan - Class D Rider of DELACROIX
Mr B Jones - Stipendiary Steward
Mr A Kuru - Rider of THE ARABIAN DUKE
Mr G Walsh - Rider of ZEDACE
Informant
Mr J Oatham - Chief Stipendiary Steward
Information Number
A10075
Plea:
Denied
Charge:
Careless Riding
Evidence:

Following the running of race 2, Diet Coke Steeplechase, an Information was filed pursuant to Rule 638(1)(d). The Informant, Mr Oatham, alleged that Mr Phelan permitted his mount DELACROIX to shift in approaching the 400 metres when not sufficiently clear of ZEDACE which was checked with THE ARABIAN DUKE being hampered.

Mr Phelan said that he understood the Rule and confirmed that he 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:

At the request of Mr Phelan the hearing commenced after race 8.

At the commencement of the hearing the Committee explained to Mr Phelan the procedure for a defended hearing.

Mr Jones demonstrated the incident using the available video footage. He identified the 3 horses named in the Information as they were entering the final straight. He said that Mr Phelan allowed his mount to shift in when only a bare length clear of ZEDACE. As a result that runner was checked and THE ARABIAN DUKE who was racing on their inside was hampered. He showed on the video film that Mr Phelan’s inward manoeuvre was on an acute angle as the runners were approaching the 400 metres.

Mr Oatham called Mr Kuru, the rider of THE ARABIAN DUKE as a witness. He confirmed that he suffered interference near the 400 metres. He said that he had the inside running and was holding his running line. He said that he had to steady his mount when ZEDACE, ridden by Mr Walsh, received interference from Mr Phelan’s mount.

Under cross examination from Mr Phelan, Mr Kuru was of the view that Mr Walsh should not have been racing between THE ARABIAN DUKE and DELACROIX.

In response to a question from Mr Oatham, Mr Kuru accepted that there was sufficient room for Mr Walsh to be placed between THE ARABIAN DUKE and DELACROIX.

Mr Oatham called Mr Walsh, the rider of ZEDACE, as a witness. Mr Walsh said that he was taking a run between DELACROIX and THE ARABIAN DUKE as they entered the home straight. He said that Mr Phelan allowed his mount to shift in when a bare length clear of him. As a result his mount was checked out of the gap.

Under cross examination from Mr Phelan, Mr Walsh reiterated that his rightful running line was taken when Mr Phelan shifted in.

Mr Phelan told the Committee that he was leading the field as they entered the final straight. He said that he was trying to get his mount to change legs and the horse may have over reacted. He believed that there was never sufficient room for Mr Walsh to get between DELACROIX and THE ARABIAN DUKE approaching the 400 metres. He said that it is quite difficult to line up the fence at the top of the home straight and he was entitled to be where he was. He said that Mr Walsh was trying to get on his inside and he considered this manoeuvre to be dangerous.

In summing up Mr Oatham said Mr Phelan did not realise that he had 2 horses to his inside approaching the 400 metres. He said the video films clearly showed that there was sufficient room for those horses to be racing on the inside of Mr Phelan’s mount. He identified that there was plenty of room for Mr Walsh to be racing in the centre. In conclusion he said that Mr Phelan altered his running line after he interfered with Mr Walsh’s mount.

In summing up Mr Phelan said he felt that it is difficult to ride from the 800 metre fence to the 400 metres as there are no inside markers to guide horse and rider. He was of the view that there was not enough room for 2 horses to be racing on his inside approaching the 400 metres.

Reasons For Decision:

The Committee carefully considered all the evidence and submissions presented and studied the video films of the alleged incident. We observed that Mr Phelan was racing in the lead as the field was passing the 500 metres. It was clear that Mr Phelan was angling his mount out as he entered the home straight. At that point ZEDACE was racing 1 length in arrears and there was a clear gap of 2 horse widths between ZEDACE and DELACROIX. Shortly after Mr Phelan turned his horse's head in on an acute angle and DELACROIX crossed ZEDACE when insufficiently clear. In doing so ZEDACE was severely checked losing ground and THE ARABIAN DUKE was also hampered. Mr Phelan did take some corrective action but it was too late as the interference had already occurred.

In our opinion the video evidence was compelling and the Committee does not accept Mr Phelan’s assertion that there was insufficient room for Mr Walsh to improve on his inside.

Decision:

For the reasons detailed above we found the charge against Mr Phelan proved.

Submission For Penalty:

Mr Oatham produced Mr Phelan’s record which showed no previous breaches under the careless riding Rule in the last 12 months. He confirmed that there are only 3 race meetings programmed for the rest of the Jumping season and he described Mr Phelan’s carelessness as mid-range. . He said that he was aware Mr Phelan had commitments at Rotorua next Sunday and submitted that a 2 day suspension would be appropriate.

Mr Phelan advised that he had firm upcoming engagements at Rotorua on 16 September, and sought a deferment to any proposed suspension. Mr Phelan asked the Committee to take into account that he would have up to 8 rides at Te Aroha on 30 September.

Reasons For Penalty:

The Committee carefully considered all the evidence and submissions presented.

In assessing Mr Phelan’s carelessness the Committee considered the inward shift to be low to mid-range but the severity of the check to ZEDACE places Mr Phelan’s culpability in the mid-range.

In consideration of penalty the Committee gave careful thought to two specific factors. First the limited riding opportunities that are available to Jump/Highweight riders and second the fact that there are only 3 race meetings scheduled through to the end of this current Jumps season.

In relation to the first issue the Committee is mindful that the JCA Penalty Guide starting point for a mid-range breach for a Jumps/Highweight rider is 4 national riding days.

There were no aggravating factors that warranted an uplift in penalty.

The only mitigating fact was Mr Phelan’s clear record for which he was afforded a 1 day discount.

The Committee had regard for the fact that Mr Phelan would be missing the last race meeting of the Jumps season where he could potentially have had 8 rides.

After taking into account all the above matters the Committee considered that an appropriate suspension was 2 days.

Penalty:

The Committee grants a deferment to Mr Phelan’s suspension pursuant to Rule 1106(2).

Accordingly, Mr Phelan had his license to ride in races suspended for a period to commence after racing on 16 September and conclude after racing on 30 September 2018.

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