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Geraldine TC 23 November 2019 - R 6 - Chair, Mr R McKenzie

Created on 27 November 2019

Committee:
RMcKenzie (chair)
HWeston
Name(s):
B T Hope
Licensed Junior Driver
G P Hope
Licensed Public Trainer
Informant
S P Renault
Stipendiary Steward
Information Number
A9030
Plea:
Admitted
Charge:
Contravention of the Use of Whip Regulations
Evidence:

Following the running of Race 6, PGG Wrightson Standardbred Junior Drivers Mobile Pace, an information was filed by Stipendiary Steward, Mr S P Renault, against Licensed Junior Driver, Mr B T Hope, alleging that Mr Hope, as the driver of FRANCO NIVEN in the race, “used his whip on more occasions than allowed under the Use of the Whip Regulations in the last 400 metres”.

Mr Hope had signed the Statement by the Respondent on the information form indicating that he admitted the charge. He confirmed this at the hearing, at which he was present, and confirmed to the Committee that, prior to pleading to the charge, he had received advice from Mr R T May, Licensed Open Driver.

Rule 869 provides as follows:

(2) No horseman shall during any race use a whip in a manner in contravention of the Use of the Whip Regulations made by the Board.

The Use of Whip Regulations (effective from 30 November 2017) provide:

(b) No horseman is permitted to use their whip in a striking motion on more than ten occasions inside the final 400 metres. This is inclusive of “backhanders” and the use applies to the horse, harness and/or sulky.

Mr Renault showed video replays of the final 400 metres of the race. He pointed out FRANCO NIVEN, driven by Mr Hope, racing in the position one-out and one-back. Approaching the home turn, Mr Hope improved 3-wide. Mr Renault alleged that Mr Hope had used his whip in a striking motion on 15 occasions, one just after passing the 400 metres the rest in the home straight. Mr Hope accepted the count alleged by Mr Renault.

Mr Hope won the race by a small margin (a half neck), Mr Renault said.

Mr Hope said that he had been a little “enthusiastic”. The horse had been tending to “knock off” but kept on responding to the whip. He had got excited in the close finish, he said.

Decision:

Mr Hope having admitted the breach, the charge is found proved.

Submission For Penalty:

Mr Renault said that Mr Hope has had 75 drives this season and has a previous breach on his record – on 24 October 2019 at Oamaru HRC (fined $200) – which was 21 drives ago.

The Penalty Guide starting point for a second breach is a 3-5 days suspension, Mr Renault said. Stewards’ concerns were over the number of strikes in this case, he said.

The hearing then looked at upcoming meetings at which Mr Hope would be likely to drive. Mr Renault said that Mr Hope did not drive at Forbury Park and, therefore, the meeting there on 28 November should not be included as part of any suspension.

Mr Hope said that he was likely to be driving two horses trained by his father at the Forbury Park meeting but would prefer to take that meeting as one of the days of his suspension. It was explained to Mr Hope that, if his father was expecting him to take those drives, then he should do so.

The hearing was adjourned at this point to enable Mr Hope to call his father, Licensed Trainer, Mr G P Hope. After a discussion, Mr Hope Snr said that he had two horses likely to go to Forbury but he was prepared to release his son from those driving engagements.

Reasons For Penalty:

The Committee had regard to the Penalty Guide starting point of a 3-5 days suspension. The Committee viewed the breach as being mid-range – it was only a second breach but aggravating factors were, firstly, the number of strikes and, secondly, that Mr Hope won the race. The appropriate starting point, having regard to those factors, is a 4-days suspension. Mr Hope’s admission of the breach does not call for a discount from that starting point.

Penalty:

Mr Hope’s Junior Driver’s Licence is suspended from after the close of racing on 24 November 2019 up to and including 1 December 2019 – 4 days. The meetings intended to be encompassed by the period of suspension are Forbury Park TC, NZ Metropolitan TC, Oamaru HRC and Banks Peninsula TC.

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