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Auckland RC 24 April 2021 - R 5 (request for ruling) - Chair, G Jones

Created on 28 April 2021

Rules:
902(1)
Committee:
GJones (chair)
ASmith
Stipendiary Steward(s):
Mr M Williamson - Senior Stipendiary Steward
Name(s):
Mr G Rogerson, Mr A Forsman, Mr A Calder - Licensed Rider, Ms D Johnson - Licensed Rider, Ms S Collett - Licensed Rider, Mr C Grylls - Licensed Rider, Mrs L Allpress - Licensed Rider, Ms L Satherley - Licensed Rider, Mr M McNab - Licensed Rider, Miss S Spratt - Licensed Rider
Information Number:
A13399
Evidence:

Following the running of race 5, the Staphandos By Deep Impact Champagne Stakes (Listed race) Mr Williamson lodged an Information requesting a Ruling from the Judicial Committee pursuant to Rule 902(1) as whether Race 5 should be null and void (abandoned) or selected runners scratched due to track staff standing on the track near the 600 metres.

For expediency and due to significant time constraints, all riders and two trainers were assembled by Stewards and their opinion sought as to what the impact was on their mounts arising from the track staff allegedly impeding the running of the race near the 600 metres. Although an Information had not been filed at this stage the Judicial Committee sat in as non-participating observers to avoid having to reassemble all participants should the need later arise.

Having heard from each of the participants Mr Williamson then filed an Information and sought a Ruling from the Committee, the particulars of which are outlined in the Information.

The provisional placings were:
1st - No 8 LADY MAROAL (M McNab)
2nd - No 1 ATULLIBIGEAL (A Calder)
3rd - No 2 NEST EGG (D Johnson)
4th - No 6 SAMARKAND (L Allpress)
5th - No 3 TE POROPITI (S Collett)
6th - No 5 DAARIO (C Grylls)
7th - No 9 INVIALO (S Spratt)
8th - No 7 SONGGONG SUCCESS (L Satherley)
The margins were a head, 3 ¼ L, ½ L and a head.

Submission For Decision:

Using the available Race films Mr Williamson identified two Racing Club staff on the track near the 600 metres. They were approximately a metre inside the course proper and appeared to be carrying out repairs on the inside of the track. They appeared unaware the Race was being run and as the field approached, they eventually removed themselves from the track. As a result, several horses took evasive action. In doing so those horses most affected had to be angled wider on the track and were forced over extra ground.

The evidence of the riders was as follows:

The rider of the first placed horse, LADY MAROAL (M McNab) said that the incident had little effect on his final placing.

The rider of the second placed horse, ATULLIBIGEAL (A Calder) said that the incident forced his mount off the rail but had little bearing on his final placing.

The rider of the third placed horse, NEST EGG (D Johnson) said that her mount was affected by being forced wider on the track.

The rider of the fourth placed horse SAMARKAND (L Allpress) said she had to move out wider on the track, but it did not have a major bearing on her final placing.

The rider of the fifth placed horse, TE POROPITI (S Collett) said that the incident definitely affected her horses’ chances of finishing in a better place. In addition, the co-trainer Mr G Rogerson expressed serious concerns about the incident, particularly the safety of the horses and riders. He submitted the race should be declared null and void.

The rider of the sixth placed horse, DAARIO (C Grylls) said the incident had no effect on his horses’ chances.

The rider of the 7th placed horse, INVIALO (S Spratt) said her mount was briefly hampered when taking evasive action.

The rider of 8th placed SONGGONG SUCCESS (L Satherley) said the incident had no impact on her final placing.

Reasons For Decision:

From the outset we make the point that it is not a function of this Committee to determine or pass judgement as to why the incident occurred; or for what reason the track staff found it necessary to be on the track whilst the race was in progress. Nor is it our role to consider whether the relevant Safety Plan or communication measures were available or activated. These are wider questions to be answered by the Racing Club when they undertake their Health and Safety investigation into the incident.

Rule 902 (2) provides that it is a function of a Judicial Committee to:
(i) hear all matters of a judicial nature which arise during and in relation to that day of racing and are submitted to it; and
(ii) declare a Race null and void and if it thinks expedient order that such Race be run again.

Furthermore, by virtue of Rule 902 (1) the Judicial Committee shall have jurisdiction to hear and determine all proceedings commenced pursuant to these Rules, which are not expressly stated by any of these Rules to be within the jurisdiction of any other person or body.

The Committee adopted a three-step decision making process to reach a suitable ruling. The steps included identifying our ‘aim’, followed by considerable of the various ‘factors’ and lastly our contemplation of the ‘courses open’ to us. In this regard we determined that our primary aim was to make a pragmatic decision that considered the wider interests of all stakeholders within a framework that satisfied the rules of racing whilst also maintaining the trust and confidence of all participants. The factors that we considered included:
a) That race was a ‘Black Type’ (Listed) race with stakemoney of $50,000.
b) That the status of the race may have valuable breeding ramifications for the placegetters.
c) That the effect incident had on the outcome of the race.
d) The complexion of the race after the incident and the margins at the finish.
e) That whether any of the horses were seriously disadvantaged or advantaged by the incident.

The courses open that we considered most relevant were to (a) do nothing; (b) declare the race null and void; (c) re-run the race; or (d) declare one or more of the horses’ non-runners (scratchings).

After carefully considering the submissions and reviewing the race films we determined that doing nothing was not an option. Considering the impact that the interference had on the horses and the wider interests of all parties we decided against declaring the race null and void. It was clear to the Committee that at least half the field were affected to some degree with Mr Rogerson’s horse (TE POROPITI) being the worst affected due to being pushed the widest of all runners on the track.

Whereas we do not think the incident necessarily advantaged or disadvantaged other runners to any great degree, the same cannot be said for TE POROPITI who potentially had its chances of finishing in a better place extinguished. This is particularly so given the margin between 4th and 5th was a head. Therefore, after taking all matters into account the Committee declared TE POROPITI a non-runner (scratched).

Decision(s):

The Committee ‘s ruling is that TE POROPITI is declared a non-runner (scratched) and authorised payment pf dividends and stakemoney in accordance with our decision.  

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