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08 Mar 2019
Auckland-Tc - R4

Auckland TC 8 March 2019 - R 7 - Chair, Mr G Jones

Created on 11 March 2019

Committee:
GJones (chair)
ADooley
Name(s):
Mr B Mangos - Open Horseman
Informant
Mr N Ydgren - Chief Stipendiary Steward
Information Number
A10728
Plea:
Denied
Charge:
Contravention of the use of the whip regulations
Evidence:

This charge arises from the running of race 7, the 2019 Woodlands Stud Northern Derby (Mobile Pace) 2700m, (Group 1). Chief Stipendiary Steward Mr Ydgren filed an information alleging Licensed Open Horseman; Mr B Mangos breached Rule 869(2) in that he used his whip driving A BETTOR ACT in breach of the whip regulations inside the final 400 metres.

Rule 869(2)(a) provides that:

(2) No horseman shall during any race:-

(a) Use his whip in an unnecessary, excessive or improper manner.

The Use of the Whip Guidelines provides that:

-The whip shall not be used more than 10 times in the last 400m of a race, this is inclusive of “backhanders” and the use applies to the horse, harness and/or sulky.

-At no stage of a race will Stewards permit continuous use of the whip. Horseman must show distinct pauses between the whip being used.

Subsection (d) is also of relevance to this charge in that it provides that: 

(d) No horseman shall apply the whip to a runner which is out of contention for either stake or dividend bearing place or on any horse which is not responding or unable to hold its position in the race. 

The Information was unsigned by Mr Mangos and there was no indication on the Information as to whether he admitted or denied the breach. At the commencement of the hearing the Committee asked Mr Ydgren to clarify why this was so. Mr Ydgren advised that Stewards attempted to speak to Mr Mangos as part of their post race investigation, but he was uncooperative and responded that there were no visible marks on the horse and Stewards could “do what they want”.

The Committee was told that Mr Mangos later advised that he intended to defend the breach and would do so after the last race.

This charge was heard after the last race and Mr Mangos did not attend the hearing. It is usual practice for a Respondent to indicate on an Information whether or not they admit a breach and intend to appear at the hearing in person. The Fifth Schedule sets out the Rule of Practice and Procedure for the conduct of a Judicial Hearing. Section 22 deals with the right of a Respondent to a attend hearing.

Specifically (22.1) provides:

The parties shall be entitled to be present at the hearing of any proceeding unless:

(c ) a party absents himself or herself without the leave of the Judicial Committee.

Section (22.2) empowers a Judicial Committee to proceed in the absence of the person.

The Committee had some further discussion with Mr Ydgren as to whether Mr Mangos had been given ample opportunity to appear at the hearing.  Based on what we were told we determined the matter would be heard and in the absence of a plea we treated the matter as a ‘not guilty’ hearing. Mr Ydgren added that Mr Mangos did not seek to have the charge adjourned and it was their understanding he simply wanted it over and done with. 

Submission For Decision:

Using available video footage Mr Ydgren demonstrated the alleged breach. He identified A BETTOR ACT driven by Mr Mangos racing at the rear of the field near the 300 metre mark. He said from that point to the winning post Mr Mangos used his whip 12 times. He pointed out that A BETTOR ACT was out of contention and had no chance of running into a stake bearing place. He added it was of particular concern that A BETTOR ACT was not responding to Mr Mangos' use of the whip.  

Reasons For Decision:

The Committee reviewed the race films and noted that A BETTOR ACT was racing in last place as the field entered the final straight. It was clearly evident that Mr Mangos used his whip 12 times, with the initial strikes being ‘quick fire’.   The Committee noted that A BETTOR ACT was not responding to the whip and did not make up any further ground and finished in last place 11.8 lengths from the race winner. The use of the whip over the concluding stages was unnecessary.

Decision:

The Committee found the charge proved.

Submission For Penalty:

Mr Ydgren produced Mr Mangos’ driving record which showed no previous breaches of this rule. He described his overall record as excellent given that he is a reasonably busy driver, adding so far this current season he has had 130 drives.

Mr Ydgren submitted that although the JCA Guide provides for a $200 starting point for a first breach of the whip rule, the circumstances of this matter required an uplift from that starting point. He said the aggravating factors included the use of the whip on a horse that was out of contention as well as the status of the race. He submitted a fine of $500 would be appropriate.

As Mr Mangos elected to absent himself from the hearing the Committee did not receive any submissions from him as to reasons for the breach or penalty.

Reasons For Penalty:

The JCA Penalty Guide for a 1st breach of this rule establishes starting points, on a graduated scale, based on the number of strikes:

11 - 13 $200
14 - 16 $300
17 and over $500

As this is Mr Mangos’ first breach the Committee adopted a $200 fine as a starting point. It is of concern to the Committee that Mr Mangos continued to use his whip when his drive was clearly out of contention.  A BETTOR ACT was not responding to his urgings and there was no chance of the horse finishing in a stake bearing place. The whip regulations provide for a $300 fine (starting point) for applying the whip to a runner which is out of contention. It is also of significance that this breach occurred in a Group 1 race with a stake of $250,000. These are aggravating factors.

There are no compelling or relevant mitigating factors to be taken into account. We accept Mr Mangos' clear record, but under this rule it does not attract a penalty reduction as it is inclusive within the starting point for all license holders.   

From the $200 starting point we apply a $150 uplift for the use of the whip on a horse that was clearly out of contention. We apply a further $150 uplift for the status of the race and stakes payable. Accordingly we fine Mr Mangos a total of $500.

The whip regulations are in place to ensure animal welfare and public perception is foremost in the minds of drivers. This breach occurred in an iconic race and was broadcast across New Zealand and Australia. The use of the whip of a horse out of contention reflects poorly on the industry generally and Mr Mangos specifically. On that basis the Committee must ensure the penalty adequately reflects those concerns and operates as a deterrent.  

Penalty:

The Committee issued Mr Mangos with a $500 fine.

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