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NZ Metro TC - 5 October 2018 - R 3 - Chair, Mr R McKenzie

Created on 09 October 2018

Rules:
869(3)(b)
Committee:
RMcKenzie (chair)
SChing
Name(s):
S J Ottley
Licensed Open Driver
Informant
N M Ydgren
Chief Stipendiary Steward
Information Number
A12401
Plea:
Admitted
Charge:
Careless Driving
Evidence:

Following the running of Race 3, Cavell Leitch Mobile Pace, an information was filed by Chief Stipendiary Steward, Mr N M Ydgren, against Licensed Open Driver, Ms S J Ottley, alleging that Ms Ottley, as the driver of BAILEYS KNIGHT in the race, “shifted inwards when not clear of BRINGITONHOME (R T May) resulting in that runner striking a marker and losing a position at the 1500 metres”.

Ms Ottley was present at the hearing of the information. She indicated that she understood the Rule and the charge and that she admitted the breach.

Rule 869 provides as follows:

(3) No horseman in any race shall drive:-
     (b) carelessly.

Mr Ydgren showed video replays from a number of angles of the relevant part of the race. He pointed out that, passing the 1600 metres, BRINGITONHOME, driven by Mr May, was leading and about to hand up the lead to HENRY HUBERT (G D Smith). At this point, BAILEYS KNIGHT, driven by Ms Ottley, was racing in 2nd position outside the leader, HENRY HUBERT. Approaching the turn into the straight, with approximately 1500 metres to run, BRINGITONHOME had “lost the back” of HENRY HUBERT, and a gap had been created between those two runners, Mr Ydgren said. Ms Ottley then attempted to shift down into that position but was not sufficiently clear of BAILEYS KNIGHT to enable her to do so. This very apparent from video coverage from the back straight camera, he said.

There was not a full run for Ms Ottley to take the gap and, as a result, Mr May was taken down into the passing lane and forced over the track marker marking the start of the passing lane and was forced to restrain, Mr Ydgren said. It was fortunate for Mr May that the passing lane was there for him to shift down into and absorb the pressure created by Ms Ottley. A potentially “nasty situation” was avoided, Mr Ydgren submitted. Ms Ottley was able to drop into the trailing position behind Mr Smith, with Mr May losing that position and being forced to race 3-back.

Ms Ottley said that she had initially been looking for the lead but it was not available to her. The gap appeared to her inside and, she said, she genuinely believed that there was sufficient room to move down. She believed that Mr May had been “hunting up” to hold his position, which he was entitled to do, and when she got into the gap she had to take hold of her horse. She accepted that the video replays showed that there was not room for her to move down. She submitted that, while Mr May, had “brushed” a pylon and lost his position, it did not affect the horse’s chances as it subsequently “dropped out”. 

Decision:

Ms Ottley having admitted the charge, the charge was found proved.

Submission For Penalty:

Mr Ydgren referred to the Penalty Guide starting point of a 3-days suspension for a second breach of the careless driving Rule within 6 months. Ms Ottley had been fined the sum of $200 on 3 August last for striking a wheel. This had involved a very minor incident in which Ms Ottley had made a simple miscalculation and brushed a wheel which punctured. The fine imposed by the Judicial Committee reflected the minor nature of the breach, Mr Ydgren said.

Apart from that breach, Ms Ottley’s record is a very good one, Mr Ydgren said. The previous breach was 87 drives ago and there is no other mention of careless driving on her record. That is an excellent record, Mr Ydgren submitted.

Mr Ydgren went on to say that, had Mr May’s runner broken or suffered interference, the Stewards could have possibly been considering a more serious charge. In the event, all that Mr May had to do was to steady and lose his position. He summed up the breach by saying that, while the consequences were in the low-to-mid range, the degree of carelessness was at least mid-range. He submitted that a 3-day suspension would be an appropriate penalty.

Ms Ottley referred to the very minor nature of her previous breach referred to by Mr Ydgren. A 3-day suspension for her, who drives at just about every meeting and has mostly a full book, would involve a “huge loss” and, possibly, 30 drives, she said, Tonight’s meeting is a Premier Meeting and she has 9 drives. She has some significant drives coming up in the next few weeks. She asked the Committee to consider a penalty of a 2-day suspension and a fine in the circumstances.

Mr Ydgren accepted that Ms Ottley is driving a “leading contender’ for the New Zealand Trotting Cup which is likely to be racing at Methven on 14 October, which falls outside the period for deferment. A 3-day suspension would encompass that meeting, he said. Missing that drive could have consequences for her, he added. However, Stewards did not favour a combined penalty.

The hearing discussed upcoming race meetings at which Ms Ottley would be likely to be driving. She had confirmed drives at Timaru on 7 October. Ms Ottley told the Committee that she had been approached by two trainers asking her to drive at the meeting of Gore HRC on 13 October. Mr Ydgren was able to confirm that Ms Ottley had driven at Gore on 19 May last, at Invercargill on 29 April and is a frequent visitor to Forbury Park, so she does drive in the Southern Region when she gets drives.

Ms Ottley did not seek a deferment to enable her to drive at Addington on 11 October next.

Reasons For Penalty:

In deciding on an appropriate penalty, the Committee had regard to the Penalty Guide starting point for a 2nd breach within 6 months of a 3-day suspension. This is the starting point for a mid-range breach of the Rule. The Committee assesses the present breach as being mid-range. There are no aggravating factors. We have taken a number of mitigating factors into account. Firstly, Ms Ottley’s frank admission of the breach. Secondly, her driving record having had 87 drives since the breach on 3 August last. Thirdly, the very minor nature of that previous breach – the Judicial Committee, on that occasion, found that “the level of carelessness and consequential effects were at a low level”. In the light of that, Ms Ottley’s driving record is a very good one, especially considering her previous excellent record. The Committee considered that a combination of those mitigating factors warranted a discount of 1 day from the starting point.

The Committee is prepared to include the meeting of Gore HRC as a driving day, based on the penalty submissions presented, including Ms Ottley’s assurance that she had been offered drives at that meeting by two trainers.

The Committee records that it did not need to consider the effect of Ms Ottley’s being unable to drive at the Methven meeting because of its decision to impose a 2-day suspension and its decision to allow the Gore meeting as a driving day.

Penalty:

Ms Ottley’s Open Driver’s Licence is suspended from after the close of racing on 7 October up to and including 13 October – 2 days. The meetings intended to be encompassed by that period are NZ Metropolitan TC on 11 October and Gore HRC on 13 October.

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