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NZ Metropolitan TC 3 June 2021 - R 1 - Chair, Mr R McKenzie

Created on 08 June 2021

Rules:
869(3)(b)
Committee:
RMcKenzie (chair)
Name(s):
Ms J Buckland-Stevens - Licensed Advanced Amateur Driver
Mr BR Negus - Licensed Public Trainer
Informant
Mr SP Renault – Stipendiary Steward
Information Number
A12678
Plea:
Denied
Charge:
Careless Driving
Evidence:

Following the running of Race 1, Garrards (Amateur Drivers) Mobile Pace, an Information was filed by Stipendiary Steward, Mr SP Renault, against Licensed Advanced Amateur Driver, Ms J Buckland-Stevens, alleging that, as the driver of SENORITA MARGARITA in the Race, she drove carelessly in that “on the first bend she shifted inwards when not sufficiently clear of FRANCO HOFFMAN (SL Wigg) who was crowded and had to be restrained”.

Ms Buckland-Stevens had signed the Statement by the Respondent on the Information form indicating that she denied the breach and she confirmed this at the hearing, at which she was present. She was assisted at the hearing by Licensed Public Trainer, Mr BR Negus.

Rule 869 provides as follows:
(3) No driver shall in any race drive:-
    (b) carelessly

Submission For Decision:

Mr Renault showed to the hearing the available video replays of the incident, shortly after the start of the 1980 metres mobile start race. He pointed out SENORITA MARGARITA, driven by Ms Buckland-Stevens, which had drawn barrier position 6 and FRANCO HOFFMAN, driven by Ms Wigg, which had started from barrier position 9. He showed SENORITA MARGARITA go forward with FRANCO HOFFMAN directly behind her. Shortly thereafter, Ms Wigg got to the inside of Ms Buckland-Stevens and had to take hold of her runner when Ms Buckland-Stevens shifted in and took the one-one position, to which she was not entitled and, in doing so, crowded Ms Wigg for room, Mr Renault said.

The concern of the Stewards was that, once Ms Wigg got to her inside, it was not Ms Buckland-Stevens run. She should have maintained her position in the 3-wide line. However, Ms Buckland-Stevens continued shifting down. Ms Wigg could be seen calling to her, Mr Renault said.

Mr Negus referred to the video replays. He asked the Committee to note that Ms Wigg had earlier crowded FOUR STARZZZ SHIRAZ (CP Negus) and taken her position. The horse racing in the trail, FLAMBOYANT (S Blake) had not at that point secured that position. He submitted that Ms Wigg had not got her horse fully into the gap behind HONOUR BEFORE GLORY (M McIntyre). The interference to Ms Wigg was not as bad as the interference that FOUR STARZZZ SHIRAZ had received 50 metres earlier, Mr Negus submitted.

By way of response, Mr Renault submitted that the incident referred to by Mr Negus was a separate one and not relevant to the present charge. Mr Negus had not addressed the alleged interference by Ms Buckland-Stevens. When asked by Mr Negus, Mr Renault said that he was not concerned that Ms Wigg had taken a gap that was big enough only for the legs of her horse.

Ms Buckland-Stevens said that she did not see another runner to her inside and, when she heard calling, she saw Ms Wigg behind her. She did not believe that there was a sufficient gap for Ms Wigg.

Reasons For Decision:

The information alleges that Ms Buckland-Stevens shifted inwards on the first bend when not sufficiently clear of FRANCO HOFFMAN, which was crowded and had to be restrained by its driver, Ms Wigg.

The Committee considered the submissions of Mr Renault and the very eloquent submissions of Mr Negus, on behalf of Ms Buckland-Stevens. The defence advanced on Ms Buckland-Stevens’ behalf by Mr Negus was, principally, that in his submission Ms Wigg, driver of FRANCO HOFFMAN, had earlier forced another driver to ease when she shifted in in front of that runner and was not established in her position when Ms Buckland-Stevens shifted in.

This charge, however, relates to the actions of Ms Buckland-Stevens in shifting in when she did and the Committee is only looking at that. The Committee finds that Ms Wigg was established in the one-one at the point at which Ms Buckland-Stevens shifted inwards. Ms Buckland-Stevens continued to shift inwards, with Ms Wigg established on her inside, as a consequence of which Ms Wigg was forced to restrain as Ms Buckland-Stevens took her position.

The Committee is satisfied that Ms Buckland-Stevens has driven carelessly.

Decision:

The charge was found proved.

Submission For Penalty:

Ms Buckland-Stevens has had 17 drives before this evening and last season, her first, she had 3 drives, Mr Renault said. Her record is a clear one.

The starting point for careless driving is a $500 fine or a 10-drive suspension. As always, for careless driving shifting ground Stewards were seeking a suspension, Mr Renault said. Because of the difficulty in fixing periods of suspension for amateur drivers, Stewards would have no objection to a period of suspension coupled with a fine. The careless driving was at the lower end but the issue was that Ms Buckland-Stevens had gained an advantage by gaining a position to which she was not entitled, Mr Renault said.

Ms Buckland-Stevens said she would prefer a fine, rather than not be able to drive.

Reasons For Penalty:

The Committee noted that the Penalty Guide starting point for careless driving is a $500 fine or a 10-drive suspension. The suggested combined penalty of a term of suspension and a fine has merit in this case. A 10-drive suspension for an amateur driver, applying the usual formula of one drive per fortnight, results in a suspension of some 5 months. The Committee noted Ms Buckland-Stevens' wish to be able to compete in Amateur Drivers’ races rather than sit on the sideline, and the Committee can understand that wish.

The breach is low-end and, having regard to that factor, Ms Buckland-Stevens’ good record and her status as an Amateur Driver, a combination of those matters calls for a discount, which the Committee fixes at 2 drives.

An 8-drive suspension, so arrived at, can be dealt with by a suspension of 3 drives (6 weeks) and a fine of $250, calculated on the basis of 5 drives at $50 each, as per the Penalty Guide.

Penalty:

Ms Buckland-Stevens’ Advanced Amateur Driver Licence is suspended for a period of 6 weeks from 4 June 2021 to 17 July 2021 both dates inclusive. In addition, she is fined the sum of $250.

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