Ashburton TC 11 January 2022 – R6 – Lawrence McCormick

ID: RIB6980

Respondent(s):
Lawrence McCormick - Driver

Applicant:
Nigel McIntyre, Manager of Stewards

Adjudicators:
Russell McKenzie

Information Number:
A16741

Decision Type:
Adjudicative Decision

Charge:
Failing to maintain straight course in run home

Rule(s):
869(4) and Passing Lanes, False Rails and Home Straight Regulations

Plea:
Admitted

Animal Name:
Missmollygoodgolly

Code:
Harness

Race Date:
11/01/2022

Race Club:
Ashburton Trotting Club

Race Location:
Ashburton Racecourse - Racecourse Road, Ashburton, 7700

Race Number:
R6

Hearing Date:
11/01/2022

Hearing Location:
Ashburton Raceway, Ashburton

Outcome: Proved

Penalty: Driver Lawrence McCormick fined $200

SUMMARY OF FACTS:

Following the running of Race 6, Majestic Horse Floats Pace, the Respondent, Lawrence McCormick, admitted a breach of Rule 869(4) and the Passing Lanes, False Rails and Home Straight Regulations in that he failed to maintain a straight course in the run home when driving MISSMOLLYGOODGOLLY inwards near the 100 metres.

Rule 869 provides:

(4) No driver shall during any race do anything which interferes or is likely to interfere with his own horse and/or any other horse or it’s progress.

The Passing Lanes, False Rails and Home Straight Regulations provides:

(7) Except where a driver is making a move pursuant to Rule 869 (7) and subject to the preceding provisions of this regulation where applicable, every horse shall upon entering the home straight prior to the finish maintain as straight a course as possible to the finish line. 

(8) Failure to comply with . . . Clause 7 hereof shall be deemed a breach of Rule 869 (4) of the NZ Rules of Harness Racing in respect of which Rules 1003 and 869A apply.

Mr McIntyre pointed out MISSMOLLYGOODGOLLY, driven by Mr McCormick, racing three places back on the markers and being held up. Mr McCormick then directed his horse into the passing lane. From that point, he was required to maintain a straight course to the finishing line, Mr McIntyre said. Directly behind him was SOMEDREAMSOMEWHERE, driven by Tim Williams. Mr McCormick then urged his horse to the lead and Mr McIntyre pointed out the horse’s head being directed inwards.

Stewards enquired of Mr Williams whether his chances had been affected to the extent that he wished to lodge a protest. Mr Williams confirmed that his chances had not been affected and he had not had to stop driving his runner out. Stewards did not believe that a protest was warranted, Mr McIntyre said.

Mr McIntyre then showed the head-on video replay. Although Mr Williams still had a clear run to the finish after Mr McCormick directed his runner inwards, it was still Mr McCormick’s obligation to keep a straight course to the finish, which he had not done, he said.

In response, the Respondent advised the Adjudicative Committee that his runner had hung out initially when he entered the passing lane. It is a difficult horse to drive, he claimed. He had the mare’s head round the whole way up the straight, he said, and when he realised that she had reacted and corrected,  he steered her back out. There was plenty of room for Mr Williams’ runner, he said.

DECISION:

The charge is admitted and therefore proved.

SUBMISSIONS FOR PENALTY:

Mr McCormick has had 1,116 drives (52 wins). In the current season (since 1 January) he has had 5 drives and, in the extended 2020/2021 season, he had 87 drives. He has a clear record and there was no actual interference, as confirmed by Mr Williams, Mr McIntyre said.

Mr McIntyre referred to the Penalty Guide starting point for a breach of Rule 869(4) of a 6-drives suspension or a $300 fine.

Stewards were seeking a fine of $200 on this occasion, Mr McIntyre said

REASONS FOR PENALTY:

The Penalty Guide provides a penalty starting point of 6 drives or a fine of $300.

After taking into account the submissions of both the Applicant and Respondent, noting the video replay and there being no consequential effects, the Adjudicative Committee assessed the breach as low. Adopting the starting point of a $250 fine for a low-level breach, the Respondent is given credit for his good record and admission of the breach, resulting in a reduction of $50 from that starting point.

After evaluating all of the factors, the Adjudicative Committee determined a fine of $200 to be the appropriate penalty in the circumstances of the case.

CONCLUSION:

Mr McCormick is fined $200.

Decision Date: 11/01/2022

Publish Date: 13/01/2022