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Wellington RC 21 January 2017 - R 10 (adjourned heard 23 January 2017 at Woodville) - Chair, Mrs N Moffatt



638(1)(d)

RACEDAY JUDICIAL COMMITTEE DECISION

Informant:  Mr N Goodwin - Sitpendiary Steward

Respondent:  Ms A Collett - Licensed Rider

Information No:  A8664

Rule:  638(1)(d)

Meeting: Wellington Racing Club

Date:  21st January 2017 (heard 23 January 2017 at Woodville)
Race No:  10

Judicial Commmittee:  Mrs N Moffatt, Chair - Mr T Utikere Committee Member

Also Present:  Mr D Balcombe - Sitpendiary Steward

Charge:  Careless riding

Plea:  Denied

 

Facts:
This was an adjourned hearing held at Woodville racecourse on Monday 23rd January as a result of a charge brought against Ms Collett following Race 10, the Wallaceville Estate Wellington Cup at the Wellington Racing Club meeting on Saturday January 21st.

 

An information was lodged by Mr J Oatham alleging a breach of Rule 638(1) (d). The information alleged that Alysha Collett shifted in after the start when not sufficiently clear making heavy contact with SLY ROMANCE. Mr Goodwin presented the case for the RIU at the adjourned hearing.

 

At the outset of the hearing Ms Collett confirmed that she did not admit the breach.

 

Submissions for Decision:
Mr Goodwin said the incident occurred soon after the start and he asked Mr Balcombe to show the films and identify the runners involved. BLOODSTREAM (A Collett) started from barrier 8 and SLY ROMANCE (J Riddell) from barrier no 4. Mr Goodwin showed Mr Riddell’s mount in a position one off the fence with the Te Akau horse on his inside on the rail. Ms Collett came across and made heavy contact with SLY ROMANCE, the resultant interference going on for several strides.

 

Mr Goodwin called Mr Riddell as a witness for the RIU. Mr Riddell said that soon after the start he was tightened up as a result of pressure coming from his outside. He identified Ms Collett as being the rider of the horse that moved in and said she was looking to move into the position (one off the fence) that he was in. Unfortunately there was a horse to his inside so he held his ground and Ms Collett “lent all over him” for a few strides. Mr Goodwin asked Mr Riddell if the contact between the two horses was mild, severe or midrange. Mr Riddell described it as midrange saying he called out to Ms Collett but it took her a while to move off him. Mr Riddell was not aware of any runner to the outside of Ms Collett that may have caused her to move inwards.

 

Ms Collett asked Mr Riddell if the impact between the two horses had had any effect on how he went in the race. He replied that he while he didn’t have to check his mount the interference did not help him either.

 

In response to a question from Mr Goodwin, Mr Riddell agreed that although SLY ROMANCE made a tardy beginning and then received interference, the incident did not affect the rest of the race and he was happy with his position in the field at that stage of the running.
 

Ms Collett told the committee that the incident occurred at the start of a 3200m race where every runner is trying to find their position in the race. She said her horse was out of control for the whole race, pulling and reefing and was not an easy ride for her. In all its previous races it has had space around it. She said it was never her intention to get into a position one off the fence especially in a 3200m race. She was in a three wide position when her horse “wobbled a little” and made what she described as “a little bit of contact” with Mr Riddell’s mount. From that point her horse became unbalanced. Ms Collett said the blinkers did not help and her horse over- raced and over reacted to the situation. While she tried to pull its head out, the incident was made to look worse due to the overreaction of her mount. Ms Collett said the effect on Mr Riddell was not severe, he was never forced to check his mount and there was no shifting of ground by the Te Akau horse on the fence. Ms Collett made reference to BLOODSTREAM racing ungenerously at later stages of the race, a point that the Stewards concurred with. Finally Ms Collett said that prior to the incident she was racing in a three wide position and following the contact with Mr Riddell she was back out again three wide.

 

In response to a question from the Committee Ms Collett said she did not hear Mr Riddell call out to her.

 

Mr Goodwin summed up saying that Ms Collett had made an attempt to get a run closer to the rail but was unable to do so due to Mr Riddell holding his ground. She made hard contact with SLY ROMANCE with the interference lasting for several strides. Mr Riddell did not have to check his mount but had been inconvenienced unnecessarily for several strides.

 

Ms Collett said she had no intention of moving in and there were only three strides where contact was made when her horse had become unbalanced. The effect on SLY ROMANCE was not serious as it did not make any contact with the Te Akau horse on the rail.

 

Ms Collett finished by requesting the committee take action on other incidents in the same race where riders had made contact with other horses. She wanted to highlight similar situations to hers but where no action was taken against the riders. We explained to Ms Collett that the JCA was only responsible for adjudicating on charges placed before us and we were not responsible for the laying of charges.

 

This was an issue she should raise with the RIU.

 

Reasons for Decision:
The Committee looked very carefully at all the films and had regard to all of the submissions. Careless riding simply means that a rider has not displayed a duty of care expected of riders in a similar situation. The essence of Ms Collett’s defence was that she never intended moving from her three wide position to the one off position and that the racing manners of BLOODSTREAM were the reason for her inward movement. It is our opinion that while Ms Collett may not have made a deliberate decision to angle her mount in towards SLY ROMANCE she nevertheless allowed it to do so. We accept that, for various reasons, horses do move about during races but riders have an obligation to straighten their mounts and not cause interference to other runners. Mr Riddell stated that it “took a while” for Ms Collett to move off his mount. In regard to the racing manners of BLOODSTREAM, we could see no specific evidence on the two films shown during the hearing to suggest that Ms Collett’s mount was racing ungenerously at the stage of the race where the incident occurred.

 

Decision:

Accordingly the charge of careless riding was found proved.

 

Submissions for Penalty:
Mr Goodwin advised the hearing that Ms Collett’s record for careless riding was not a good one with four suspensions incurred in the last 12 months:
5/3/16 - Ellerslie 3 days + $1000
24/8/16 - Matamata 5 days
15/9/16 - Wanganui 5 days
2/12/16 - Riccarton 4 days

 

He said this was a Group 3 race, the degree of carelessness was in the midrange and the Stewards’ submission was for a 5-6 day suspension. On behalf of the RIU, Mr Goodwin requested that any suspension be retrospectively applied to the day of the incident (Saturday 21st January).

 

In reply Ms Collett said she believed her level of carelessness was lower than midrange. She advised the Committee of riding engagements through until next Sunday and said she rode extensively throughout the country. The stewards concurred that she rode often throughout both North and South Islands.

 

Reasons for Penalty:
The Judicial Committee Penalty Guide provides that the starting point for penalties imposed for careless riding is a five day suspension. Aggravating factors were the Group 3 status of the race and Ms Collett’s record for which we applied an uplift of one day.

 

It was the opinion of the committee that the level of carelessness sat below midrange. The incident occurred early in the race and affected only one runner. Mr Riddell did not have to check his mount nor did he lose any ground and while safety of horse and rider is always paramount there were no consequential effects to the remainder of the running of the race. We allowed a discount of one day for the degree and consequences of Ms Collett’s carelessness

 

Penalty:
Accordingly Ms Collett is suspended from riding from the close of racing on Sunday January 29th up to and including racing on Saturday February 4th.
 

This will encompass meetings on:

30/1/17 - Whakatane
1/2/17 - Hastings
2/2/17 - Gore
3/2/17 - Auckland
4/2/17 - Waikato/Otago

Addendum
Following the delivering of this decision the Committee was made aware of a deferment of the Auckland race meeting (3/2/17) to February 8th. Accordingly we amend the penalty to include Monday February 6th in Ms Collett’s suspension as a substitute.

30/1/17  - Whakatane
1/2/17 - Hastings
2/2/17 - Gore
4/2/17 - Waikato/Otago
6/2/17 - Wairarapa

 

 

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