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NZ Metro TC 23 August 2020 - R 8 - Chair, Mr R McKenzie

Created on 25 August 2020

Committee:
RMcKenzie (chair)
Name(s):
D J Butt
Licensed Open Driver
Informant
P Williams
Stipendiary Steward
Information Number
A13280
Plea:
Admitted
Charge:
Breach of Pushout Rule
Evidence:

Following the running of Race 8, PI & GJ Kennard (Fillies & Mares) Mobile Trot, an information was filed by Stipendiary Steward, Mr P Williams, against Licensed Open Driver, Mr D J Butt, alleging that Mr Butt, as the driver of GOLD CHAIN in the race, “shifted outwards prior to the 1000 metres forcing DORA EXPLORER (D D McCormick) wider on the track”.

Mr Butt 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.

Rule 869 provides as follows:

(4) No horseman shall during any race do anything which interferes or is likely to interfere with his own horse and/or any other horse or its progress.

(6) Subject to sub-rule (4) hereof:

b) a horse during any race shall not be forced to race wider on the track;

(c) a horse during a race shall not move ground outwards once the nose of the wider runner coming forward is in line with or past its sulky wheel and until the wider runner going forward is fully past.

Mr Williams showed a video replay of the incident with approximately 1100 metres to run. He pointed out that, just past the winning post, GOLD CHAIN, driven by Mr Butt, was racing four places back on the markers. DORA EXPLORER, driven by Mr McCormick, was racing to the outside of GOLD CHAIN. Before the 1000 metres, Mr Butt commenced to move out from the markers, forcing Mr McCormick to race 3-wide, Mr Williams said.

The Committee noted that DORA EXPLORER raced 3-wide thereafter until commencing to tire passing the 800 metres, finishing in a distant last position.

Mr Butt said that he was unaware of the change to the pushout rule in November 2019. He submitted that, under the previous rule, his move would have been acceptable as Mr McCormick was not going forward at the time.

Decision:

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

Submission For Penalty:

Mr Butt told the Committee, at the outset, that his penalty preference would be for a term of suspension as opposed to a fine.

Mr Williams said the Penalty Guide provided for a penalty of either a $250 fine or a 5-drives suspension. Stewards would have no objection to a suspension, Mr Williams said.

Mr Butt’s driving record was produced to the Committee. He has a clear record under the rule. The drive on GOLD CHAIN was Mr Butt’s first for the current season and, in the 2019/2020 season, he had a total of 18 drives.

The Committee indicated that a likely fine for this breach would be $200, or 4 drives, having regard to Mr Butt’s record and his admission of the breach. It was submitted by Mr Williams, and accepted by Mr Butt, that a 4-drives suspension would equate to 2 months.

Reasons For Penalty:

Mr Butt has expressed a clear preference for a suspension rather than a fine. Mr Butt has admitted the breach and has a clear record. Other relevant factors are that the breach occurred just prior to the 1000 metres and, in the Committee’s view, the chances of DORA EXPLORER were not affected. A fine would have been in the amount of $200, so the term of suspension is to be 4 drives. The period of suspension cannot be calculated with any precision, but Mr Williams’ submission for 2 months was accepted by Mr Butt as being fair, based on the frequency with which he drives. The Committee is satisfied that this is fair and reasonable.

Penalty:

Mr Butt’s Open Driver’s licence is suspended up to and including 22 October 2020.

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