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09 Oct 2020
Auckland-Tc - R4

Auckland TC 9 October 2020 – R2 – Chair, Mr G Jones

Created on 12 October 2020

Rules:
869(7A)(c)
Committee:
GJones (chair)
ASmith
Name(s):
Mr J Abernethy – Open Driver of ADIEU FLIRT
Informant
Mr S Mulcay - Senior Stipendiary Steward
Information Number
A12970
Plea:
Admitted
Charge:
Forcing another runner to make contact with the markers.
Evidence:

Following the running of Race 2, the Race 2 the Vincent At Alabar Pace Mobile Pace 2200m, an Information was filed by Senior Stipendiary Steward, Mr Mulcay alleging Open Driver, Mr J Abernethy, breached Rule 869(7A)(c) when he changed ground inwards into the passing lane with ADIEU FLIRT forcing SHES NO LADY over the marker line over the latter stages of the run in the home straight.

Mr Abernethy 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.

Rule 869 (7A) (c) provides - every driver who moves inwards shall ensure:
(c) that the movement does not cause any other driver, horse or sulky to contact any trackmarker or protrude inside the marker line.

Following the running of race 2 Stewards instigated a protest alleging the 3rd placed ADIEU FLIRT (J Abernethy) interfered with the 5th placed SHES NO LADY (S Reid). Although this Committee dismissed the protest, this charge arises from the incident that gave rise to the protest.

Mr Mulcay used available films to demonstrate the final 400 metres of the race. He identified SHES NO LADY who was racing four back into the home straight behind DOUBLE UP (B Mangos). ADIEU FLIRT was trailing that runner. Mr Mulcay said that Mr Reid quickly established SHES NO LADY into the passing lane and at that point was entitled to do so. He said that in the run up the straight Mr Abernethy allowed ADIEU FLIRT to shift in to the passing lane. He made the decision to shift in late and ended up directly behind DOWN THE HATCH (A Poutama). As a result, there were three horses vying for the run on the passing lane and SHES NO LADY was tightened; placed into restricted racing room and eventually forced over the marker pegs between the 25-metre mark and the winning post.

In response Mr Abernethy advised the Committee that as he entered the home straight his horse was shifting outwards and he turned his horses head in, so that he could get into the passing lane. He said that he was too late to enter the passing lane and Mr Reid allowed his horse to take that option. He said getting close to the finish line the passing lane does tend to get narrow. Mr Abernethy accepted that ADIEU FLIRT drifted in but he said it got tight down on the markers as the field approached the finish line. He said that he could not ease back once he had attempted to shift into the passing lane and had no other option but to race up behind DOWN THE HATCH.

Decision:

Pursuant to Rule 1111(1)(d) as Mr Abernethy admitted the breach the Committee found the charge proved.

Submission For Penalty:

Mr Mulcay submitted that Mr Abernethy has a clear record and he admitted the breach at the first available opportunity. He said that the breach is low end, albeit an aggravating factor is that SHES NO LADY may have finished closer but for being forced down into the marker line.

He submitted that in the circumstances a fine would be an appropriate penalty.
Mr Abernethy submitted that there were mitigating factors in his favour and asked the Committee to consider imposing a fine as opposed to a suspension.

Reasons For Penalty:

The JCA Penalty Guide provides a starting point of a 6-drive suspension or a $300 fine for a breach of this rule. The Committee has noted that similar recent breaches have incurred penalties ranging from fines between $150 to $500 and limited number of suspensions.

After taking into account the submissions of both the Informant and Respondent and noting the race film and that the resultant impact on the affected runner, SHES NO LADY the level of carelessness was assessed to be low end. Notwithstanding that the protest by the 5th horse (SHES NO LADY) was dismissed, it was clear to the Committee that interference did occur and with a clear unimpeded run SHES NO LADY may well have finished in 4th place.

Mr Abernethy is a reasonably busy North Island driver. Last season which was interrupted by COVID-19 (2019/2020 he had 214 race drives. After affording him credit for his very good record and his admission of the breach the Committee determined that a $250 fine to be an appropriate penalty in the circumstances of this case.

Penalty:

Accordingly, Mr Abernethy was fined the sum of $250.

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