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Auckland RC 5 June 2021 - R 1 - Chair, Prof G Hall

Created on 09 June 2021

Rules:
638(1)(d)
Committee:
GHall (chair)
BScott
Name(s):
Mr S Weatherley - Jockey Class A
Mr B Jones - Stipendiary Steward
Informant
Mr M Williamson - Senior Stipendiary Steward
Information Number
A14358
Plea:
Denied
Charge:
Carless Riding
Evidence:

Mr Williamson alleged a breach of r 638(1)(d) in that Mr Weatherley in Race 1 allowed his mount QUEEN OF SOUL to shift in when not sufficiently clear of ILLUMINATION which was checked, having to shift outwards to avoid heels forcing KING KHAN and SIDE EYE wider near the 1350 metres.

Submission For Decision:

Mr Jones demonstrated on the videos that approaching the 1350-metre mark Mr Weatherley was positioned 5 wide and was urging his horse forward and was shifting in and, in so doing, into a line directly in front of Mr McNab, in order to get a position adjacent to the running rail. The side-on angle showed that the Respondent was not his length and another clear. Mr Jones believed it was a length, to a length and a quarter. Mr McNab had to check his mount and, as there were horses to his inside, he shifted outwards and, in so doing, inconvenienced those horses to his outside.

Mr Jones acknowledged there were two mitigating factors. Mr McNab’s horse was racing keenly and although Mr McNab did attempt to take hold, his horse over-reacted. Secondly, Mr Weatherley’s horse appeared to ease when Mr Weatherley shifted across. However, he emphasised Mr Weatherley was not his required distance clear of Mr McNab.

Mr Weatherley questioned Mr Jones as to whether ILLUMINATION was racing erratically. Mr Jones said in his view it was over-racing.

Mr McNab gave evidence. He said he was happy to trail Mr Weatherley and he had started to restrain his horse accordingly. However, the more he did, the more fiercely his horse raced. He said he was close to the horse in front and had come out to give himself some room and to avoid the heels of QUEEN OF SOUL. He said on looking at the videos he could see Mr Weatherley was a length to one and a quarter lengths clear of him. At time he had felt quite comfortable when Mr Weatherley crossed. When he had tried to take hold of ILLUMINATION he had got “zero response”. It was the first time the horse had raced in blinkers.

Mr Weatherley said it was always his intention to lead with QUEEN OF SOUL. He looked in on a number of occasions before coming across. He thought 3 or 4 times.

Mr Weatherley pointed out on the video that his horse had pricked its ears as he crossed Mr McNab and he believed it had stopped “quite suddenly”. It was like a “handbrake”. He was going to go 2 lengths clear. He accepted he was not 2 lengths clear, and he believed his horse had been distracted by the hurdle fence to the inside of the course. He said QUEEN OF SOUL had “shied”. He had not purposely checked Mr McNab, who had said he had had no control of his horse. When he looked, he did not see that Mr McNab was having difficulty with his horse. Had his horse not stopped, he would have been clear of Mr McNab.

Mr Weatherley concluded his defence by stating if his horse had not been green and if Mr McNab’s horse was racing kindly, there would have been no issue.

In summing up, Mr Williamson said the Stewards accepted that ILLUMINATION had been over-racing throughout and this continued when Mr McNab took hold. The Stewards also accepted that QUEEN OF SOUL had pulled up to some degree. However, Mr Weatherley had never been the required 2 lengths clear of Mr McNab. He added that if Jockeys cut down margins they did so at their own risk. They had an obligation to stay out and allow sufficient racing room. Mr Weatherley had not done so.

Mr Weatherley reiterated that his horse was green, and he was not aware at the time that Mr McNab was in trouble. There had been no call.

Reasons For Decision:

We accept there are mitigating factors in relation to the Respondent’s horse easing when he came across and with Mr McNab having a difficult ride, but the Rules require a Jockey to be a length and another length clear when shifting ground. Mr Weatherley was not, and he acknowledged this to the Committee. As Mr Williamson submitted, Mr Weatherley was not the required distance clear when he commenced his move, nor was he when he finally crossed Mr McNab. The result was that Mr McNab had to check and shift his mount outwards to avoid Mr Weatherley’s heels. In so doing, he inconvenienced two horses on his outside.

Decision:

We find the charge of careless riding proved. 

Submission For Penalty:

Mr Weatherley’s riding record was put before us. He has had only one suspension in the last 12 months. Mr Williamson said that in the context of Mr Weatherley’s workload, this was a very good record.

Mr Williamson described the breach as low range. ILLUMINATION was over-racing and QUEEN OF SOUL had eased. Mr Weatherley agreed with this. The Committee concurs.

Mr Weatherley asked for a deferment of his penalty until after 12 June. The Stewards did not object to this.

Reasons For Penalty:

The breach is low-range for the reasons outlined. The NZTR revised penalty guidelines for careless riding provide a 4-day suspension and a $250 fine as starting point for a low-range careless riding charge.

There are no aggravating factors. In setting penalty, mitigating factors are the circumstances of the breach and Mr Weatherley’s excellent recent riding record. We impose a 4-day suspension. To give effect to the mitigating factors, we do not impose a fine.

Penalty:

Mr Weatherley’s Licence is suspended from the close of racing 12 June up to and including 18 June 2021.

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