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Counties RC 25 July 2020 – R 1 – Chair, G Jones

Created on 27 July 2020

Rules:
638 (1)(d)
Committee:
GJones (chair)
Name(s):
Ms J Fawcett– rider of SUSSEX
Mr N Harris (Northern Rider Mentor)
Mr A Coles - Stipendiary Steward
Informant
Mr M Williamson - Senior Stipendiary Steward
Information Number
A13374
Plea:
Admitted
Charge:
Careless riding
Evidence:

This charge arises from the running of Race 1, the Savvy Racing Syndications 1100. Senior Stipendiary Steward Mr Williamson filed an Information pursuant to Rule 638 (1)(d) alleging that J Fawcett allowed (SUSSEX) to shift out in the final straight dictating (HAPPY EGO) wider on the track which had to be checked near the 100 metres.

Apprentice rider Ms Fawcett acknowledged that she understood the Rule and confirmed her admission of the breach. She was assisted at the hearing by Mr N Harris (Northern Riding Mentor).

Rule 638(1) (d) provides: A Rider shall not ride a horse in a manner which the Judicial Committee considers to be careless.

Using all available video footage Stipendiary Steward Mr Coles demonstrated the incident that gave rise to this charge and identified the two horses and riders concerned; namely: SUSSEX (J Fawcett) and HAPPY EGO (S McKay). He told the Committee that in the run up the final straight approaching the 100-metre mark Ms Fawcett allowed her mount to drift outward from near the rails to the centre of the track. She continued to ride forward using her whip and in doing so dictated HAPPY EGO wider on the track. This caused HAPPY EGO to be checked and become awkwardly placed losing ground as a consequence. Mr Coles added that Ms Fawcett did make some attempt to straighten her mount.

In response Ms Fawcett stated that she thought her mount was well clear of HAPPY EGO when shifting out. She added that the race films clearly show that HAPPY EGO was tiring at the time of being checked and it had come to the end of its run.

Mr Harris said that Ms Fawcett was concentrating on the use of her whip too much when shifting out and this may have contributed to the incident. 

Decision:

As Ms Fawcett admitted the breach the Committee found the charge proved.

Submission For Penalty:

Mr Williamson produced Ms Fawcett’s riding record which indicated 3 previous breaches of the careless riding rule during the past 12 months. He said the first breach occurred on 4 October 2019, the second on 11 December 2019 and the third on 15 July 2020. He submitted Ms Fawcett’s riding record be treated as a neutral factor, adding she has had 410 race rides this season to date and is therefore a reasonably busy rider.

Mr Williamson said Stewards assessed the level of carelessness to be low to mid-range and that a penalty commensurate with a breach in the low to mid-range category would be appropriate.

In response Ms Fawcett submitted she believed the breach to be in the low range. She added that her record for breaching the careless riding rule had improved markedly over the past 18 months and sought credit for that improvement.

She sought a 7-day deferment to any proposed suspension.

In terms of any proposed penalty Mr Harris submitted that the breach was low end and was simply the result of an error of judgement. He said that Ms Fawcett’s riding record had improved significantly. 

Reasons For Penalty:

After considering the submissions the Committee determined Ms Fawcett’s carelessness to be low to mid-range and adopted a 4-day starting point. Although the Penalty Guide for Judicial Committees recommends starting points for low (6) and mid-range (8) carelessness; due to the COVID-19 impacts on racing, the agreed approach, until the end of the current season, for careless riding and like offending is for some leniency to be applied when setting penalties. This does not apply in cases involving more serious offences including whip breaches.

The race films clearly show that whilst shifting ground outward Ms Fawcett continued to ride forward, using her whip without taking the necessary corrective action. Had she done so in a timelier manner the impact on HAPPY EGO would have been less severe. In the net result HAPPY EGO was hampered and checked.

The mitigating factors that were considered included Ms Fawcett’s admission of the breach; and although her riding record was treated as a neutral factor it is acknowledged her overall record has improved. However, this breach now represents her 4th in 12 months and she will need to be mindful of this in the immediate future. For those combined factors the Committee afforded her a 1-day reduction from the 4-day starting point.

After taking into account all the above factors the Committee considered that an appropriate period of suspension to be 3 national days.

Penalty:

Ms Fawcett is granted a 7-day deferment and her licence to ride in races is suspended for a period of 3 (national) days commencing after racing on 1 August 2020 and concluding after racing on 8 August 2020.

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