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Non Raceday Inquiry L Latta hrd 14 March 09 at Trentham



411.2

IN THE MATTER OF THE NEW ZEALAND RULES OF RACING

HEARING: Saturday 14th March  2009 at Trentham

Information number 173 alleging a breach of Rule 411 (2) was lodged by Stipendiary Steward Mr R.Neal.  A letter signed by the Chief Executive of New Zealand Thoroughbred Racing dated 9 March 2009 confirmed the authority to prosecute.

The charge against Ms Latta read as follows:

THAT you, Lisa Marie Latta presented the incorrect horse to race at two trial meetings conducted by the Manawatu Owners and Trainers Association in February and March 2009. These being meetings conducted at the Foxton racecourse on Friday 13th February and Woodville racecourse on Tuesday 3rd March 2009.

 



IN THE MATTER OF THE NEW ZEALAND RULES OF RACING


BETWEEN Mr R. Neal, Stipendiary Steward
 New Zealand Thoroughbred Racing
 Informant

AND Ms L Latta
 Defendant

HEARING: Saturday 14th March  2009 at Trentham

JUDICIAL COMMITTEE: N.Moffatt (Chairman)
 Tom Castles
IN ATTENDANCE: Ms L Latta
 Mr R.Neal

 

Information number 173 alleging a breach of Rule 411 (2) was lodged by Stipendiary Steward Mr R.Neal.  A letter signed by the Chief Executive of New Zealand Thoroughbred Racing dated 9 March 2009 confirmed the authority to prosecute.

The charge against Ms Latta read as follows:

THAT you, Lisa Marie Latta presented the incorrect horse to race at two trial meetings conducted by the Manawatu Owners and Trainers Association in February and March 2009. These being meetings conducted at the Foxton racecourse on Friday 13th February and Woodville racecourse on Tuesday 3rd March 2009.

Particulars are that;
1. On the Friday 13th February 2009 you entered and ran, at the Manawatu Owners and Trainers Association trials, a 3 year old colt described as being by ELUSIVE CITY from FLORETTE when in fact the horse was a 3 year old colt by KEEPER from MULOZZA.

2. On the Tuesday 3rd March 2009 you entered at the Manawatu Owners and Trainers Association trials a 3 year old colt described as being by ELUSIVE CITY from FLORETTE when in fact the horse was a 3 year old colt by KEEPER from MULOZZA.

Rule 411 (2) reads:

“Where any horse has, or is deemed to have, been accepted for a race at a particular racecourse and some other horse is brought to that racecourse for the purpose of racing there as such first-mentioned horse every person who, in the opinion of the Judicial Committee, was responsible for the horse having been brought to the racecourse for that purpose commits a breach of these Rules. The Judicial Committee may, in its discretion, adjudge or declare such breach to be a serious racing offence.”

Ms. Latta admitted the breach.


SUMMARY OF FACTS

Mr Neal told the committee that the two horses had been bought at the yearling sales, one by Ms Latta and one by Mr S.Marsh. Both horses were subsequently sent to the property of Ms Kim Clapperton, for agistment, arriving on the same day.
 The mix up occurred when they were collected from her property to go to the respective trainers.  Ms. Latta ended up with the horse that Mr Marsh bought and Mr Marsh received the horse that Ms. Latta had bought.  The switch went undetected for two years until Ms Latta took her horse to the trials.

She first presented the horse to the trials at Foxton in February but the mistake went undetected due to a separate incident which occurred on that day.  Mr. Jonathon Riddell had a serious fall from a horse he was riding and the Steward in charge became involved in dealing with his injuries.  As a consequence the normal procedure of checking brands was not followed and Ms Latta’s horse was not screened.

The horse then went to the trials at Woodville where the mistaken identity was detected during normal checking procedures however there had been anomalies the week before with brands.  Due to these anomalies the Stewards were not absolutely certain that there was a mix-up so they allowed the horse to run in the trial.  Further investigations confirmed the switched horses and Ms Latta was charged with presenting the incorrect horse to the trials.

Ms Latta said that both horses were almost identical and that the switch went undetected for so long because both she and Mr Marsh owned the horses themselves.  Because there were no other owners there had been no urgency to fill out the relevant paperwork.
If ownership papers had been filed then the mistake would have been picked up by NZTR.
Mr Neal explained the robust procedures in place at NZTR for checking horse identities and said that if the paperwork had been completed then this would never have occurred.


PENALTY SUBMISSIONS

Mr Neal said that previous breaches of this rule had attracted monetary penalties of between $400 and $2000.00. The upper end penalties had been for horses that actually made it to the races before being detected.  Ms Latta had been entirely cooperative with the authorities.
In this case he said that the Stewards considered a fine of between $400.00 and $600.00 appropriate and did not seek costs.

Ms Latta said that the horse that she had been training, and believed she owned, had won a trial.  She explained that there were ongoing and difficult problems caused by the switch which were taking a long time to sort out.  She requested leniency as she was still suffering the consequences of the mistake and trying to work out a suitable solution to the dilemma.


PENALTY

In coming to a decision on penalty the committee had careful consideration to all of the submissions.
We accept that the switching of the horses was an honest mistake and that a series of unusual circumstances lead to it going unnoticed for two years.
We did not consider the matter to be a serious racing offence.  The horses were mixed up prior to arrival at the Latta stable although it is the responsibility of the trainer to check the identification of every horse in their care.
We have taken into account recent penalties and find that this breach is at the lower end.

Ms Latta is fined the sum of $500.00

As this matter was heard on a race day and the Stewards did not seek costs there are none imposed.

 

N Moffatt, Chair
T Castles
173

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