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Auckland RC 29 May 2021 – R 9 – Chair, Mr G Jones

Created on 30 May 2021

Rules:
649(1)(a)
Committee:
GJones (chair)
ASmith
Name(s):
Mr S Ralph – Trainer and Part Owner of TAHUROA HEIGHT
Informant
Mr M Williamson - Senior Stipendiary Steward
Information Number
A14357
Plea:
Admitted
Charge:
Omitted towel when saddling.
Evidence:

This charge arises following the running of Race 9, the Auckland Co-Op Taxis 1400 metres. The Informant, Senior Stipendiary Steward, Mr M Williamson, alleged that Mr Ralph omitted a towel when saddling TAHUROA HEIGHT which was subsequently scratched at the barrier.

Rule 614(2) provides that:
A person must not be neglectful or careless in saddling a horse.

Mr Williamson advised the Committee that 1 minute prior to the start of race 9 the Rider of TAHUROA HEIGHT (M Hashizume) advised Officials at the barrier that he believed his saddle had shifted on-route to the barrier. Upon investigation it was established that his towel was missing. As a result, due to a combination of time constraints and an inability to rectify the issue immediately, Stewards declared TAHUROA HEIGHT a late scratching. Mr Williamson said it was simply untenable for TAHUROA HEIGHT to have been permitted to race knowing that a vital piece of equipment was missing.

Mr Williamson said that once the issue was investigated it was established that the towel had been left off when saddling. The towel in question was subsequently recovered.

In explanation Mr Ralph said that a new stable employee having only his second day at a race meeting with his stable picked up the horses gear after Mr Hashizume had weighed out. He said that he was responsible for saddling the horse but assumed he had been given all the correct saddling gear for that purpose and the omission of the towel was a mistake.

Decision:

The charge is admitted and is therefore proved.

Submission For Penalty:

Mr Williamson advised that Mr Ralph has previously breached this Rule on three other occasions. The first two were some-time ago (2011 and 2012). The most recent was on 26 September 2018 and resulted in a $300 fine. He submitted that given this breach is the fourth in 10 years a fine in the vicinity of $500 be an appropriate penalty.

Mr Williamson added that the betting figures for the race were affected due to the late scratching. He highlighted the fact that there would have been impacts on the market as well as a loss to the Racing Club.

Mr Ralph freely admitted the breach and said that it was embarrassing. He said that he would tighten up on his saddling procedures as a result.

Reasons For Penalty:

The Penalty Guide for Judicial Committees provides a starting point of a $750 fine where there is neglect in saddling when there are consequences for the betting public and owners.

Careful consideration was given to the evidence and submissions that were presented. The Committee weighed up the following factors: (1) Mr Ralphs culpability including the fact that despite an employee’s failure he is ultimately vicariously liable for ensuring correct saddling; (2) the financial loss to the club (3) the financial costs to all concerned albeit Mr Ralph is a part-owner; (4) the betting public who may have bet on TAHUROA HEIGHT, who would have been reimbursed for win and place, and some exotics, but not for all bet types such as treble and Quaddies; and (5) Mr Ralph's admission of the breach and the fact he was genuinely embarrassed by the oversight.  However, given his new employees lack of experience he should have been all the more careful.  

It is also a factor that breaches of this Rule are relativity rare, but this is Mr Ralph's fourth breach within a 10-year period. Because breaches are rare cases are generally determined a fact dependant basis. In a more recent case of similar circumstances, RIU v K M Reuelu, Mr Reuelu the owner and trainer of a 3rd placed horse he received an $800 fine. In that case Mr Reuelu had no previous history under the Rule and his horse was disqualified.

It is also worthy of note that Rider, M Hashizume had the foresight to detect a potential problem and he took the correct action in bringing the matter to the attention of a Stipendiary Steward who was stationed at the barrier.

Taking these factors into account the Committee determined a fine of $700 to be appropriate under the circumstances.

Penalty:

Mr Ralph is fined $700.

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