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NZ Metropolitan TC 22 April 2021 - R 6 - Chair, Mr R McKenzie

Created on 26 April 2021

Rules:
869(7A)(c)
Committee:
RMcKenzie (chair)
Name(s):
Ms NC Rasmussen - Licensed Open Driver
Mr NG McIntyre - Manager of Stewards
Informant
Mr P Williams - Stipendiary Steward
Information Number
A13298
Plea:
Admitted
Charge:
Forcing Runner Inside Marker Line
Evidence:

Following the running of Race 6, Garrards Sires’ Stakes 2YO C & G (Heat 3) Mobile Pace, an Information was filed by Stipendiary Steward, Mr P Williams, against Licensed Open Driver, Ms NC Rasmussen, alleging that Ms Rasmussen, as the Driver of WILLOW BAY in the race, “shifted inwards near the 180 metres forcing CELTIC SPIRIT (BT Hope) inwards onto MOSSDALE BEN (RT May) resulting in MOSSDALE BEN racing further inside the marker line”.

Ms Rasmussen had signed the Statement by the Respondent on the information form indicating that she admitted the charge and she confirmed at the hearing, at which she was present.

Rule 869 provides as follows:
(7A) Every driver who moves inwards shall ensure:
       (c) that the movement does not cause any other driver, horse or sulky to contact any track marker or protrude inside the marker line.

Mr Williams had Manager of Stewards, Mr NG McIntyre, show available video replays of the final 250 metres of the race. Mr McIntyre pointed out CELTIC SPIRIT, driven by Mr Hope, go for a run on the inside of the leader, MR IBIZA, approaching the passing lane. Behind that runner was MOSSDALE BEN, driven by Mr May. The latter runner shifted in resulting in two runners racing out, resulting in Ms Rasmussen, who had been held up, shifting in and contacting Mr Hope’s wheel, forcing Mr Hope down onto Mr May and forcing Mr May further inside the markers. There had been clear room for two runners in the passing lane, although only a marginal run for Mr May’s runner, Mr McIntyre said. Mr May actually shifted inside a track marker prior to any pressure being placed on him by Ms Rasmussen shifting in, he said.

Ms Rasmussen was never clear to shift the inside runners in but continued her inwards movement, Mr McIntyre said. In effect, three horses finished up in a gap where there was only room for two, he said.

Ms Rasmussen said that her runner, a 2-year-old, was “really travelling strong”. Mr Hope’s runner was not going forward and she had anticipated a run becoming available for her runner. Although she was steering her runner down, she said, she was not driving it forward and the horse took the gap stronger than she had expected. It was travelling that well, she said. She pointed out on the video replay that she was still holding her horse.

Decision:

Ms Rasmussen having admitted the breach, the charge is found proved.

Submission For Penalty:

Mr Williams said that Ms Rasmussen has a clear record under the Rule, but received a suspension on 27 March last for careless driving for forcing an inside runner over track markers.

Mr Williams said that the starting point for a mid-range breach of the Rule is a 6-drive suspension or a $300 fine. He said that Ms Rasmussen had admitted the breach at the first opportunity. However, Stewards were of the view that she had secured a run to which she was not entitled, enabling her horse to run 2nd. This was an aggravating factor, he submitted. The breach was mid-range and a fine of $350-400 was an appropriate penalty, he submitted.

Ms Rasmussen asked the Committee to take into account the circumstances of the breach that she had explained, and to impose a fine rather than a suspension.

Reasons For Penalty:

In deciding penalty, the Committee had regard to the Penalty Guide starting point, as pointed out by Mr Williams. The Committee proceeded from that point on the basis that the breach could be dealt with by way of a fine.

The breach was mid-range. The Committee was satisfied that the chances of CELTIC SPIRIT and MOSSDALE BEN had not been affected and, in any event, this had not been alleged by Mr Williams. However, the Committee agreed that Ms Rasmussen had gained an advantage by forcing a run that was not fully available to her – an aggravating factor. At the same time, the Committee does accept that Ms Rasmussen’s runner, a 2-year-old having only its second start, did contribute to the incident – a mitigating factor.

In further mitigation, Ms Rasmussen has frankly admitted the breach. The Committee decided not to take into account the recent breach to which Mr Williams referred, the circumstances of that breach being somewhat different and under a different Rule. So, Ms Rasmussen’s record is a good one.

For the aggravating factor, the Committee has uplifted the starting point to $400 and has given Ms Rasmussen a discount of $50 for her record and admission of the breach.

Penalty:

Ms Rasmussen is fined the sum of $350.

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