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Waverley RC 29 August 2019 - R 2 - Chair, Mrs N Moffatt

Created on 02 September 2019

Rules:
649(3)
Committee:
NMoffatt (chair)
NMcCutcheon
Name(s):
Mrs L Allpress - Class A Rider CROWNING STAR
Mr S Barron - Clerk of Scales
Mr M Austin - Stipendiary Steward
Mr N Goodwin - Stipendiary Steward
Informant
Mr D Balcombe - Stipendiary Steward
Information Number
A11621
Plea:
Denied
Charge:
Failed to draw the correct weight on weighing in
Evidence:

Following the running of Race 2 (Ultra Scan 1100), an information was lodged by Mr D Balcombe alleging a breach of Rule 649(3) in that Lisa Allpress the rider of CROWNING STAR failed to draw the correct weight on weighing in.

At the outset, Rule 649(3) was read:

A Rider must not weigh-in at a weight that exceeds or is less than the proper weight as is defined in and with the allowance permitted by Rule 648(3).

Mrs Allpress confirmed that she did not admit the breach. 

Submission For Decision:

Mr Balcombe explained that when Mrs Allpress returned to scale following her ride on CROWNING STAR in Race 2 she failed to make the proper weight of 57.6kgs, instead weighing in at 56.5kgs.

Mr Balcombe said, after noticing the discrepancy, the Steward who was present at the scales took Mrs Allpress aside and called the other Stewards. She was reweighed, and her weight confirmed at 56.5kg – 1kg light. Mr Balcombe said Mrs Allpress was adamant that all her gear was there and Mr Austin, the Steward who was checking gear before the race, confirmed that a lead bag was present before the race and that it was still present after the race at the weigh-in. Mr Balcombe said there was no contention that any gear had been left off or lost during the race.

Mr Austin gave evidence for the Stewards. His role for the day was “Gear Steward”, and he said he was 100% certain that all Mrs Allpress’ gear was present both before and after the race. Mr Austin explained that he was present at the scales when Mrs Allpress weighed out for Race 2. Initially, when standing on the scales her weight showed 56.6kgs. Mr Austin recalled Mrs Allpress returning to the jockeys’ room to get more lead. While she was away he reminded the Clerk of the Scales, who was having his first day on the job, to check the weight himself rather than rely on the rider to call it out to him. Mrs Allpress returned and reweighed; however Mr Austin did not see her weight on the second occasion. He did recall the Clerk of the Scales calling “correct weight” upon which Mrs Allpress handed her saddle to Mr Benner.

Mr Austin said he was back at the scales after Race 2 when Mrs Allpress weighed in. He recalled her weight as being 56.45kgs and said he was 100% positive that she weighed in with the same gear as she weighed out. Mrs Allpress showed Mr Austin all her gear, and then she went into the Judicial room and showed the other Stipendiary Stewards before returning to the jockey’s room.

Mr Barron, the Clerk of the Scales, gave evidence. He confirmed that he weighed Mrs Allpress out for Race 2 and when she returned after the race she was 1kg lighter than the weight he had written down on his sheet. He said that there was a lead bag on the floor, and initially, it was assumed that it belonged to Mrs Allpress, but she showed him that hers was in fact with the saddle she was holding.

The Committee had Mr Barron explain the process he uses when weighing riders. He said that when the jockey stands on the scales to weigh out, the number that appears on the display is the figure he writes down on the right-hand column of his sheet. He said that on 3-4 occasions today he had made an error recording this number, but each time he had immediately corrected it. Mr Barron acknowledged this is what happened with Mrs Allpress for race 2. He had originally written 56.6 but had immediately overwritten the 6 with the number 7 to read 57.6.

Mrs Allpress asked Mr Barron if it was possible that he had looked at her weight and then after she got off he had changed the number to 57, not realising that maybe she was, in fact, a kilo under. Mr Barrron agreed that that was a possibility. He said he only knew what he had written down and had no idea if he had made a mistake or not. Mrs Allpress had him confirm that this was his first day working as Clerk of the Scales. Mr Barron confirmed it was and said his only previous experience was when he “looked over the shoulder” of Mr Price for 3 races at Wanganui a week ago. Mr McCutcheon asked Mr Barron if it was possible that Mrs Allpress weighed out at 56.5, but he had recorded it as 57.5. Mr Barron agreed that was a possibilty, he couldn’t say yes or no either way.

Mrs Allpress defended the charge on the basis that the Clerk of the Scales, being his first day on the job, made a mistake. She said the first time she got on the scales her weight was 56.5kg, so she returned to the jockey’s room for more lead. On returning to the scales, she heard (as did Mr Austin) Mr Barron say “correct weight” and assumed she was all good.

Mrs Allpress said Mr Barron had admitted to other mistakes throughout the day. It was her opinion that she weighed out at the correct weight, but Mr Barron neglected to take into account the 1kg for her safety vest. She didn’t change a single thing from weighing out to weighing in. In response to questions from the Committee Mrs Allpress said she only glanced at her weight while on the scales the second time, satisfied that the call of “correct weight” from the Clerk of the Scales meant she was the right weight.

Mr Balcombe summed up for the Stewards. He said the Rules were clear in that it was the jockey’s responsibility to weigh out at the correct weight.

He referred to Rule 618(1)(b)

it is a Rider’s responsibility if he is engaged to ride a horse in a Race to ensure that:

(b) he weighs out at the correct weight, including claiming the correct allowance in the event that he is an Apprentice Jockey, or is a Rider eligible to claim an allowance in a Jumping Race or Highweight Race in accordance with Rules 542(2) or (3), as applicable,

He said while it could not be established exactly what happened today, and even if there was an error made by the Clerk of the Scales, the onus was on the jockey to weigh out correctly.

Mrs Allpress said the Clerk of the Scales had made a definite mistake by calling out “correct weight” while she was standing on the scales. He had admitted to making other mistakes throughout the day as well. Mrs Allpress was adamant she had done everything she possibly could do to maintain correct weight and the error was with Mr Barron who was, unfortunately, working his first day.

Reasons For Decision:

In coming to a decision, the Committee revisited all the evidence presented. All relevant paperwork was available including Mr Austin’s gear check-list and the Clerk of the Scales weight recording sheets. Mr Austin’s evidence and his checklist satisfied us that there was no gear left off the horse. He viewed the saddle and gear on three occasions; at weigh out, in the enclosure before the race and again when Mrs Allpress weighed in.

The only conclusion we can arrive at is that an error occurred during the weigh-out procedure. Whether it was a recording error by the inexperienced Clerk of the Sales or a mistake by Mrs Allpress herself, we may never know. Rule 649(3) however places the responsibility quite clearly with the rider. There was no doubt that Mrs Allpress weighed in 1kg lighter than the weight she was carded to carry.

Decision:

Accordingly, the charge against Mrs Allpress of failing to draw the correct weight on weighing in was proved.

Submission For Penalty:

Mr Balcombe said Mrs Allpress had a clear record under this rule. Previous breaches had been met with penalties ranging from $300 - 3 weeks suspension. Mr Balcombe cited a prior case (Wenn) with similarities where a horse was disqualified from 4th place, and the rider received a 5 -day suspension.

Mr Balcombe said owners, trainer and punters were all affected by the disqualification of CROWNING STAR. Mrs Allpress did not try to deceive; instead, this was a genuine mistake. The Stewards’ submission was for a 2-week suspension.

Mrs Allpress said it would be a massive injustice if a suspension was imposed and the incident warranted a fine at most. The RIU was asked to comment on Mrs Allpress' submission. Mr Balcombe said the Stewards did not support a fine and he had been directed to seek a suspension.

Reasons For Penalty:

The JCA Penalty Guide does not provide a specific starting point for this rule but is instead fact-dependent. The Committee carefully considered all submissions. CROWNING STAR finished second and was subsequently disqualified. The owners and trainer lost stake money of $2000 and punters were denied a return on their investments. If it were not for extenuating circumstances, Mrs Allpress would be facing a substantial suspension of her license.

The Clerk of the Scales was on his first day of the job and freely admitted making other errors while recording weights. The Committee viewed at least 4 further weights that he had overwritten and corrected during the day. Under questioning, Mr Barron conceded “it was highly possible” he had incorrectly weighed Mrs Allpress out.

We accept that it is the responsibility of a rider to weigh out at the correct weight. Mrs Allpress erred in not looking at the scales as she weighed. It is possible that this was the only mistake she made and it is the Committee’s opinion that a suspension of Mrs Allpress’ license would be unduly harsh considering the unusual circumstances surrounding today’s breach. Taking into account all factors including Mrs Allpress’ clear record over a 20 year riding period, it was our opinion that a monetary penalty was an appropriate sanction.

Penalty:

Accordingly, Mrs Allpress is fined the sum of $1000.

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