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Waikato RC 8 May 2021 – R 1 – Chair, Mr G Jones

Created on 10 May 2021

Rules:
638(4)
Committee:
GJones (chair)
BScott
Name(s):
Mr L Douglas - Rider of THE FOT
Mr M Williamson - Senior Stipendiary Steward
Informant
Mr B Jones - Stipendiary Steward
Information Number
A14035
Plea:
Admitted
Charge:
Unreasonably slowed the pace
Evidence:

This charge arises from the running of Race 1, the Pike Racing Punters Challenge Opener (2800 m maiden hurdle). Stipendiary Steward, Mr Jones filed an Information pursuant to Rule 638(4) alleging the rider of THE FOT (L Douglas) “unreasonably slowed the pace in the early stages with PRIZED PINS (H McNeill) which was following clipping a heel and blundering.”

Mr Douglas fell from his mount during the running of the race and was treated by the Course Doctor for a suspected broken collar bone. Despite this he was able to attend the hearing. He acknowledged that he understood the Rule and confirmed his admission of the breach.

Rule 638(4) provides:
A Rider shall not unreasonably slow, reduce or check the speed of his or her horse to a degree that interferes, either directly or indirectly, with any other horse in the race. [Amended 1 August 2017)

Using the available race films Senior Stipendiary Steward, Mr Williamson demonstrated the incident and identified the horses and riders concerned; namely THE FOT (L Douglas), PRIZED PINS (H McNeill), and SOUTHERN COOL (M Cropp).

Mr Williamson told the Committee that after jumping the first fence down the back straight THE FOT was racing 3-wide near the lead. After a further 150 to 200 metres (near the 2400 metres) Mr Douglas took a strong hold of his mount and slowed the pace. As a result, PRIZED PINS who was following behind THE FOT had to be checked and blundered after clipping that runner’s heel.

By way of explanation, Mr Douglas accepted that he slowed the pace but attributed some of the blame to the horse on his inside OLLIE (E Farr) who he claimed interfered with his progress.

Decision:

As Mr Douglas admitted the breach the Committee found the charge proved.

Submission For Penalty:

Mr Jones produced Mr Douglas’ riding record which indicated no previous breaches under the Rule in the last 12 months. He said that the Rule came into force 3 or 4 years ago and there have since been a limited number of charges. He advised that Class A Rider, L Hemi was charged with a breach of the Rule on 1 May 2021 and received a 3-day suspension. He said that the only aggravating factor is that as a result of the incident PRIZED PINS clipped heels and blundered. He added that due to the fact the ‘jumps’ Riders have limited riding opportunities a suspension in the vicinity of 1 to 2 days would be appropriate on this occasion.

Mr Douglas did not seek a deferment to any proposed suspension. He asked the Committee to take into account his clear record.

Reasons For Penalty:

After considering the submissions and reviewing the race film, the Committee determined Mr Douglas’ culpability to be in the mid-range.

The JCA Penalty Guide starting point for a breach of this Rule is 6 to 8 days.
In consideration of penalty, we have taken into account the following factors:
1. This Rule is part of the Careless Riding ‘family of offences’, and we are mindful that since this Rule came into force in 2017 there has been a reduction in penalties for careless riding.
2. We are mindful that jumps riders have limited riding opportunities compare to flat riders; and
3. For consistency we have noted the 3-day suspension imposed on rider L Hemi for a similar breach on 1 May 2021, albeit differing circumstances.

The race films clearly show that four horses jumped the first fence in unison and three including THE FOT who was 3-wide landed awkwardly. All three horses were squeezed and put off balance. THE FOT continued to race 3-wide for some distance before Mr Douglas took a strong hold and slowed the pace. As a result, PRIZED PINS who was directly behind clipped a heel and blundered.

After considering Mr Douglas’ admission of breach, his good record and the above factors the Committee deemed that an appropriate suspension was 2 (national jumps) days.

It is also of note that coincidental with this breach another rider in the race was also charged under the same rule (refer Information number 14034). Whilst the incidents were separate there was a lot going on after the leading horses jumped the first fence awkwardly.

Penalty:

Accordingly, Mr Douglas’ Licence to ride in races is suspended for a period of 2 days commencing after racing on 8 May 2021 and concluding after racing on 14 May 2021.

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