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Waikato RC 13 August 2011 - R 6

Created on 15 August 2011

ADooley (chair)
Mr M Sweeney - Rider of FLEUR DE LUNE
Mr J Oatham - Stipendiary Steward
Mr M Williamson - Stipendiary Steward
Information Number

Following race 6 an information was filed pursuant to rule 638(1).The informant Mr M Williamson alleged that Mr Sweeney permitted his mount FLEUR DE LUNE to shift inwards near the 900 metres when not sufficiently clear of RUSTY DEVIL which was checked. DOLLARIO and BULGINBAAH which were following were hampered as a result.


Mr Oatham demonstrated the video films which showed FLEUR DE LUNE racing in a 2 wide position outside the leader. He pointed out to the committee that Mr Sweeney allowed his mount to shift in when only ¾of a length to a bare length clear. The head on film showed this resulted in RUSTY DEVIL and DOLLARIO been tightened for room and making contact with the running rail. BULGINGBAAH who was following behind them was hampered from the incident.
Mr Sweeney admitted he simply did not give his fellow riders enough room. He said he was careless in allowing FLEUR DE LUNE to shift in when not sufficiently clear.


As the breach was admitted we find the charge proved.

Submission For Penalty:

Mr Williamson produced Mr Sweeney’s record which showed 2 previous breaches of this rule in the last 12 months. The previous suspensions were in November and December 2010. Mr Williamson said the degree of interference was in the mid range with 3 horses receiving significant checks. He said Mr Sweeney had admitted the breach, however advised the committee to take into account the race was of Group 3 status worth $70,000. He submitted a suspension of 6 to 8 days would be appropriate.
Mr Sweeney submitted "I have put my hands up and admitted the breach". He said his main concern was to be able to ride FLEUR DE LUNE at Hastings on August 27 2011. He confirmed to the committee that he rides only in the North Island. He asked the committee to take into account the small fields and limited opportunities during the winter months. He submitted he had 2 rides at Waipa on the 17th August 2011, but said he would seek to be released from those 2 rides.
The hearing was adjourned until 10 minutes after the completion of the next race. On his return Mr Sweeney confirmed he had spoken to connections who had consented him to be released from his 2 rides at Waipa on the 17th August.

Reasons For Penalty:

The committee carefully considered all evidence and submissions presented. The Chairman explained to Mr Sweeney the starting point for careless riding is 5 days which he acknowledged. Mitigating factors are his admission of the breach, his good riding record.
The aggravating factors are as follows, the status of the race which was a Group 3 event worth $70,000. The significant subsequent interference suffered by RUSTY DEVIL, DOLLARIO and BULGINBAAH at a crucial part of the race. The committee assessed the interference to be clearly in the mid range with Mr Sweeney been only ¾ of a length clear when shifting in. The committee accepts the rider of RUSTY DEVIL had difficulty in restraining his mount of the heels of FLEUR DE LUNE and while the inward movement was not acute the subsequent effect was significant with RUSTY DEVIL and DOLLARO making contact with the running rail. In the final result FLEUR DE LUNE was officially placed 2nd in the race and earned $14,000 in prize money.

The committee granted Mr Sweeney submission that he had been released from his 2 mounts at Waipa. All parties present at the hearing agreed Mr Sweeney rides only in the North Island and is not classified as a national rider.


We did not count Otaki Maori RC on the 14th August 2011 as one of the 6 days because riders had already been declared for that race meeting.
Accordingly we impose a suspension on Mr Sweeney which will commence after racing on the 13th August 2011 and conclude after racing on the 27th August 2011 (6 riding days).
After the committee gave their decision Mr Sweeney asked if there was a possibility for a fine and suspension to allow him to ride at Hastings on the 27th of August. The committee denied Mr Sweeney the application citing consistency with similar penalties and we were not prepared to set a precedent for a rider’s convenience. Mr Sweeney was reminded when he was previously given a fine for a similar offence. He stated that riders are being placed under financial pressure and hardship.

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