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Auckland TC 1 July 2020 – R 2 – Chair, Mr G Jones

Created on 02 July 2020

Committee:
GJones (chair)
Name(s):
Mr F Schumacher - Junior Horseman
Ms N Chilcott - Open Horsewoman - assisting Mr Schumacher
Informant
Mr J Muirhead - Senior Stipendiary Steward
Information Number
A12957
Plea:
Admitted
Charge:
Careless driving (contacting wheel)
Evidence:

Following the running of Race 2, the Smith and Partners Mobile Pace 2200m, an information was filed by Senior Stipendiary Steward Mr Muirhead alleging Junior Horseman Mr F Schumacher, breached Rule 869 (3) (b) in that he "drove VESPA carelessly contacting the wheel of the sulky of BETTERBEBETTER, causing his horse to gallop and lose all chance".

Mr Schumacher endorsed the Information ‘I do admit the breach of the rule’. At the commencement of the hearing he confirmed his plea and that he understood the rule and the nature of the charge. Due to his junior driver status Mr Schumacher was assisted at the hearing by Open Horsewoman Ms N Chilcott.

Rule 869 (3)(b) provides:

No driver in any race shall drive carelessly.

Using available video footage Mr Muirhead identified the horses involved in the incident namely, VESPA (S Schumacher) and BETTERBEBETTER (L Whittaker). He pointed out that as the field left the mobile barrier gate at the 2200 metre mark VESPA was racing wide on the track from its number 6 barrier draw and Mr Schumacher angled inwards intending to obtain a run behind BETTERBEBETTER who started from the number 4 position behind the barrier arm. Mr Muirhead said that when shifting inward VESPA contacted the sulky wheel of BETTERBEBETTER. As a result, VESPA became unbalanced, galloped and was tailed off for the remainder of the race. Mr Muirhead added that the situation for Mr Schumacher was not helped by the fact that BETTERBEBETTER eased back slightly when VESPA was shifting down.
Mr Schumacher said that he angled down and just touched the wheel of BETTERBEBETTER. Neither he nor Ms Chilcott had anything further to add.

Decision:

Pursuant to Rule 1111(1) (d) as Mr Schumacher admitted the breach, the charge is deemed to be proved. 

Submission For Penalty:

Mr Muirhead submitted that Mr Schumacher is a junior driver who has had 116 drives this (2019/2020) season and his record was good and he has not previously breached the careless driving rule. Mr Muirhead said Stewards assessed the level of carelessness to be mid-range due to Mr Schumacher’s horse galloping and taking no part in the race.

Mr Muirhead submitted a fine would be an appropriate penalty, noting that as a result of Covid-19 there are currently limited driving opportunities available for northern based drivers. He added that Mr Schumacher has been selected to take part in the Junior Driver series which is scheduled to take place in the South Island at the end of July 2020 and a suspension encompassing that period would be disproportionally harsh.

Mr Schumacher submitted that he has a “few good drives pending in the near future”. He said that he was looking forward to representing Auckland in the Junior Driver series and wanted to keep race fit by being able to take as many drives as he can prior to the series. He added that he normally has 1 or 2 drives at Auckland meetings and 2 or 3 at Cambridge meetings. On that basis he submitted that he would prefer a fine as opposed to a suspension.

Reasons For Penalty:

The JCA Penalty Guide provides a starting point of a 6-drive suspension and / or a $300 fine for a breach of this rule.

After taking into account the submissions of both the Informant and Respondent; and noting the race film and the resultant impact the carelessness had on the chances of VESPA the level of carelessness was assessed as low to mid-range. It was noted that BETTERBEBETTER did ease back slightly when VESPA shifted down and this is a mitigating factor. However, the consequences of the carelessness cannot be overlooked due to VESPA being checked and taking no further part in the race.

It is accepted that a suspension encompassing the Junior Driver series would be unnecessarily severe. Accordingly, in the circumstances of this case a fine is an appropriate penalty.

After affording Mr Schumacher credit for his good record, admission of the breach and noting that limited driver opportunities are currently available a fine of $250 is imposed.

Penalty:

Mr Schumacher is fined the sum of $250.  

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