Ashburton TC 23 October 2023 – R6 – Craig Ferguson
Ashburton Trotting Club
Ashburton Racecourse - Racecourse Road, Ashburton, 7700
Penalty: Driver, Craig Ferguson suspended for 4 days
Following the running of Race 6, the Respondent, Driver, Craig Ferguson denied a breach of Rule 869 (3)(b); namely that when driving TREACHEROUS GALL he drove carelessly near the 300m when shifting ground outwards checking MILOU which broke.
The Respondent, Mr Ferguson, endorsed the Information ‘I do not admit the breach of the Rule’ and confirmed he understood the Rule and the nature of the charge.
Rule 869 (3)(b) provides:
No driver in any race shall drive carelessly.
Using available video footage, Chief Stipendiary Steward, Nigel McIntyre identified the horses involved in the incident namely, TREACHEROUS GALL, driven by Mr Ferguson, racing 2 wide rounding the final bend with MILOU, driven by Kyle Cameron, racing 3 wide, positioned outside Mr Ferguson. Mr McIntyre said that approaching the 300m, Mr Ferguson attempted to shift MILOU out in order to gain a run, which he was entitled to do, as he held the advantage and was improving. Mr McIntyre showed Mr Cameron conceding his position but during this shift Mr Ferguson has allowed his horse’s sulky wheel to strike the hind leg of MILOU who then broke and lost all chance.
Kyle Cameron was made available to the hearing via mobile phone and he stated that he was conceding his position to Mr Ferguson at the time of the incident but that Mr Ferguson had come out sharper than his horse could manage, resulting in the contact between the sulky wheel and hind leg of his horse.
Mr Ferguson stated that he had not come out sharply and had gradually shifted Mr Cameron wider on the track. He argued that Mr Cameron did not concede his position readily and that he gave him plenty of time to shift out of the way. He added that Mr Cameron should have conceded more readily, therefore contributed to the incident.
After consideration of the evidence presented this Adjudicative Committee was satisfied that when Mr Ferguson was attempting to shift MILOU, driven by Mr Cameron, wider on the track near the 300m, his sulky wheel has made contact with the hind leg of MILOU causing that horse to break and lose all chance. We found that although Mr Ferguson was entitled to shift Mr Cameron wider on the track and Mr Cameron was conceding his position at the time, Mr Ferguson did not afford Mr Cameron the ability to concede in time, as his horse was subjected to a sharper move out than the horse could manage. This Committee therefore found that Mr Ferguson has driven carelessly on this occasion and find the charge proved.
Submission for Penalty:
Chief Stipendiary Steward, Mr McIntyre produced the Respondent’s record which indicated a previous breach on 23 September 2023 where he received a 2 day suspension.
Mr McIntyre added that Stewards assessed the breach as mid range with the aggravating factor being the consequences to MILOU who lost all chance at the 300m.
The Respondent stated that the breach was low end and it was only a touch to the leg that caused MILOU to break. Deferment was discussed, with Mr Ferguson requesting that any suspension begin as soon as possible.
Reasons for Penalty:
The Penalty Guide provides a mid range penalty starting point of a 4 day suspension for a second breach of this Rule.
After evaluating all of the factors the Adjudicative Committee determined a 4 day suspension to be an appropriate penalty in the circumstances of this case.
The Respondent, Mr Ferguson was suspended from the conclusion of racing today, 23 October 2023 up to and including 30 October 2023. Relevant meetings encompassed in this period of suspension were Winton 26 October, Methven 27 October, Kaikoura 29 October and Kaikoura 30 October 2023.
Decision Date: 23/10/2023
Publish Date: 24/10/2023