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Otago RC 9 April 2015 - R 6 (request for a ruling)

Created on 14 April 2015

Rules:
902(1)
Committee:
DJackson (chair)
PKnowles
Stipendiary Steward(s):
Mr M Davidson - Stipendiary Steward
Name(s):
Mr D Lawrence - Otago RC President, Mr T Kennedy - Trainers' Representative, Messrs T Moseley and C Johnson and Ms K Williams - Senior Jockeys, Mr W Stevens - Track Manager, Wingatui
Information Number:
A3888
Evidence:

Following the running of race # 6 the MORE FM DUNEDIN RATING 85, Stipendiary Steward Mr Davidson lodged an information under Rule 902 (1) requesting a Ruling as to “Whether the meeting be abandoned due to the state of the track after a horse slipped at the 800m”.

Submission For Decision:

A video was played showing the slip. The video shows that at or near the 800m mark A Bob Short, the mount of Courtney Barnes, visibly slipped in the running when being steadied racing into the bend.

As a result of that slip, the stewards engaged a track inspection process involving various affected parties including representatives of the club, the track manager, stewards themselves and senior riders.

As a result of that inspection the stewards are of the view that it would be unsafe to continue with this meeting and that the meeting ought to be abandoned. Mr Davidson for the stewards described finding evidence of a slip on the track near the 800m mark. Mr Davidson confirmed that as a result of the track inspection and the discussions which followed (in which this Committee played no part) there was no agreement amongst the affected parties to abandon and that accordingly the decision ought to be referred to this Committee.

Mr Moseley spoke on behalf of the riders and indicated that whilst the majority of the riders had no problem with the track per se, there was some doubt amongst their ranks as to whether or not it was safe to continue and he indicated that that issue had caused a divide between the riders.

Mr Moseley himself observed one slip mark during the track inspection which he described as a being a sideways slip. No-one during the hearing disagreed with Mr Moseley’s assessment of that slip as being a sideways slip, which is a significant factor to which we shall return later.

Mr Johnson also indicated that there was doubt amongst the jockeys as to whether the meeting ought to be abandoned but did express the view that the track had otherwise been in good order throughout the day with five prior races being run without incident.

Mr Wayne Stevens, track manager, raised two matters. Firstly, the evidence of the slip and the minor extent of the slip mark identified, and secondly a question of whether or not the minor nature of the slip truly raised a safety issue or whether in fact this slip was attributable to the actions of Ms Barnes as rider of A Bob Short and/or the horse itself.

At this point the committee heard from Miss Williams who submitted that it did not matter during which part of the card a slip occurs, the fact that the slip has occurred is the critical consideration. She submitted a horse should not slip as this horse did. The jockeys present were agreed on this observation.

Mr Lawrence, the president of the club also spoke and made a number of submissions as to the first class order of the track, the confidence that he had that it was 99% safe, and that it was not necessarily clear that this was a track issue. Rather, Mr Lawrence submitted that a slip such as this was not evidence of a fault with the track and was either attributable to the actions of horse and rider or simply formed part of the vicissitudes of racing.

Mr Kennedy made similar observations to Mr Lawrence and said the track was safe to ride.

Reasons For Decision:

In our view this was a slip which was clear to see on the video and which is not demonstrably the fault of either horse or rider. The slip left a mark which in Mr Moseley’s undisputed assessment was a sideways slip. The Committee is aware that only last month a meeting was abandoned at this race course following a fall and a similar request for ruling. There is reference made in that Committee’s decision to abandon to the danger of sideways movement.

Accordingly, two key considerations have informed this Committee’s decision to abandon:

(i) the undisputed evidence of a sideways slip; and

(ii) the evidence of riders that a horse being restrained should never slip as this horse did.

Clearly the riders are in some doubt as to whether the meeting should continue and while we accept there has only been one slip today, we are satisfied that the stewards' concerns and those of the jockeys regarding health and safety are genuine and supported by the evidence. Accordingly we have determined to abandon the meeting.

Decision(s):

We rule that the meeting be abandoned.

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