Auckland RC 22 January 2022 – R 6 (Heard at Waikato RC on 19 January 2022) – Request for a Ruling – Shaun Clotworthy

ID: RIB7040

Respondent(s):
Grant Cooksley - Trainer

Applicant:
Mr Shaun Clotworthy

Adjudicators:
Mr G R Jones

Persons Present:
Mr M Hashizume – Apprentice Rider, Mr G Cooksley (via telephone) – Co Trainer of YES WE KHAN and employer of Mr Hashizume, Mr Clotworthy – Co Trainer of SEVEN TWENTY, Mr Clotworthy (junior) – as an observer

Information Number:
A16331

Decision Type:
Request for Ruling

Rule(s):
r330 (1) and (2) - Riding Engagement Disputed

Request for Ruling:
To determine whether Jockey M Hashizume had an engagement to ride SEVEN TWENTY

Animal Name:
SEVEN TWENTY

Code:
Thoroughbred

Race Date:
22/01/2022

Race Club:
Auckland Racing Club

Race Location:
Ellerslie Racecourse - 100 Ascot Ave, Ellerslie, Auckland, 1050

Race Number:
R6

Hearing Date:
19/01/2022

Hearing Location:
Te Rapa racecourse

Outcome: Not Proved

Penalty: Under the provisions of Rule 330(1) and (2) the Adjudicative Committee is unable to confirm whether Apprentice Rider M Hashizume had a confirmed engagement to ride SEVEN TWENTY in the Karaka Million Classic on 22 January 2022.

Evidence

This Request for a Ruling was heard at the Waikato RC meeting on 19 January 2022.  The Applicant Mr S Clotworthy sought a Ruling pursuant to r330(2) as to whether Apprentice Jockey M Hashizume had an engagement to ride SEVEN TWENTY in the Karaka Million 3YO Classic (Race 6) at the Auckland RC on 22 January 2022.

All parties except Mr Cooksley were present at the hearing.  Mr Cooksley presented his submission via phone and was in phone contact throughout the hearing.

The Rules

The Rules relevant to this Request for a Ruling are as follows:

Rule 330 (1) provides: “An Apprentice Jockey may only be engaged to ride a horse at a Race Meeting with the prior permission of his employer or his employer’s Rider’s Agent”.

Rule 330(2) provides: “Any dispute with reference to the engagement or engagements of a Rider to ride at a particular Race Meeting or Race Meetings shall be determined by a Judicial Committee at the request of a Stipendiary Steward or any of the parties to the dispute.”

Rule 330 (3) provides: A Rider shall not: (a) wilfully or without reasonable cause break a riding engagement; or (b) permit himself to be engaged for more than one horse accepted or deemed to have been accepted for the same Race;

(5) The provisions of sub-Rule (2), (3) and (4) of this Rule shall extend and apply to Apprentice Jockeys engaged as is authorised pursuant to Rule 336 and to sub-Rule (1) of this Rule.

Rule 330 (6) provides: An employer of an Apprentice Jockey (or that employer’s Rider’s Agent, in the case of an Apprentice Jockey), and every Rider’s Agent, shall not: (a) permit the Apprentice Jockey or Rider to be engaged to ride more than one horse accepted or deemed to have been accepted for the same Race; or (b) without reasonable cause, break an engagement for his Apprentice Jockey or Rider to ride a horse in a Race.

Rule 336 provides: A Rider’s Agent may only engage, or assist in engaging, a Rider to ride a horse in a Race if he has first obtained written approval from NZTR to represent that Rider or, in the case of an Apprentice Jockey, that Apprentice Jockey’s employer.

At the commencement of the hearing Mr Williamson read aloud the provisions of Rules 330(1) and 330(2).

Note: In circumstances where there is a riding engagement dispute the Adjudicative Committee’s Finding and Ruling is limited to which engagement holds precedence, as opposed to making an Order that a Rider shall ride any particular horse.  This was conveyed to the participants at the commencement of the hearing.

Submissions for Decision

Mr Clotworthy submitted that his horse, SEVEN TWENTY, raced at Ellerslie two weeks ago (9 January 2022), and after the race its Rider Mr Hashizume confirmed he would ride the horse in the Karaka Million Classic. He said that he spoke to Mr Cooksley the following Wednesday (12 January 2022) about another matter involving a riding engagement and advised him that he had booked Mr Hashizume to ride his horse and it was said by Mr Cooksley that he had stood down Mr Hashizume’s because of recent behaviour issues and ‘his attitude was bad’.  Mr Clotworthy said he reiterated to Mr Cooksley that he had engaged Mr Hashizume to ride his horse in the Karaka Million and that Mr Cooksley is said to have replied – that would be fine if his attitude improved.  It was on that basis that Mr Clotworthy believed that the engagement was confirmed – i.e., ‘if his attitude improved’.  Mr Clotworthy said that he later contacted Mr Hashizume who told him that he had been released from the stand down.

Mr Clotworthy said that he had further grounds to believe the engagement was confirmed following a TXT message he received from Mr Hashizume on the following Monday (Mr Clotworthy read the contents of the message – which was a communication between Mr Hashizume and Mr Cooksley).  Mr Clotworthy said no mention was made in the message suggesting Mr Hashizume would not be able to fulfil the riding engagement.

Mr Clotworthy added that Mr Cooksley scratched his horse (YES WE KHAN) from today’s meeting, a rating 65 Race, and accepted for the Karaka Million Classic, and has engaged Mr Hashizume.  He said there are three matters he believes supports his claim that he engaged Mr Hashizume.  First, the conversation he had with Mr Hashizume after the horse raced on 9 January 2022.  Second, his conversation with Mr Cooksley; and third the text message which made no mention of the fact that Mr Hashizume could not ride his horse in the Karaka Million race.

Mr Clotworthy concluded his submission by stating that Mr Hashizume is in fact indentured to Mr B Wallace, not Mr Cooksley, notwithstanding they are a training partnership.

Mr Cooksley submitted that he did speak with Mr Clotworthy (on Friday 14 January 2022) who asked him about Mr Hashizume riding his horse.  Mr Cooksley said he told Mr Clotworthy that he knew nothing about the proposed engagement.  He said that Mr Clotworthy told him that he had asked Mr Hashizume to ride his horse.  Mr Cooksley said that he had told Mr Hashizume that he was to ride his horse (YES WE KHAN) if he made the field for the Karaka Million race.  Mr Cooksley concluded his submission by stating that “under the Rule Mr Clotworthy did not contact him to confirm the riding engagement” and any suggestion that he did was “total rubbish”.

Following Mr Cooksley’s submission, the Adjudicative Committee asked him to confirm whether or not he gave permission for Mr Hashizume to accept the mount and he replied “I never gave permission – not one iota”. 

Via the Adjudicative Committee Mr Clotworthy was permitted to ask Mr Cooksley why his horse was nominated to race today at Te Rapa if it was always his intention to race in the Karaka Million.  In response Mr Cooksley said that Trainers often nominate for several races, but in this case YES WE KHAN was nominated and accepted to race today (and scratched) in case it did not make the field for the Karaka Million race.

Mr Hashizume submitted that he rode SEVEN TWENTY on 9 January 2022 at Ellerslie and after the race asked Mr Clotworthy (and the Bloodstock Agent representing the connections) if he could ride the horse in the Karaka Million.  He said that he then told Mr Cooksley that he had been asked to ride Mr Clotworthy’s horse in the Karaka Million race (Mr Cooksley disputed this). He said that he was subsequently ‘stood down’ by his employer (Mr Cooksley – apparently for disciplinary reasons). He said that Mr Cooksley told him he was going to scratch YES WE KHAN from today’s meeting and instead race in the Karaka Million on Saturday and would have to ride his horse.  Mr Hashizume said that he told Mr Cooksley that he would prefer to ride Mr Clotworthy’s horse.

In response to a further question from the Adjudicative Committee Mr Cooksley said that he approved all Mr Hashizume’s riding engagements.

Mr Williamson was invited to make a submission from the Stewards’ perspective.  He said matters of this nature are never easy and he would leave it to the Adjudicative Committee to decide.

Reasons for Decision

The Adjudicative Committee gave careful consideration to all of the evidence and submissions presented. The matters to be decided were two-fold, firstly did Mr Clotworthy engage Apprentice Jockey Mr Hashizume to ride SEVEN TWENTY in the Karaka Million Classic. Secondly, if so, due to Mr Hashizume’s status as an Apprentice Jockey were the requirements of r330 (1) met; i.e., was the prior permission of his employer or his employer’s Rider’s Agent sought or given at the time the engagement was confirmed.

There is a direct conflict between the evidence of Mr Clotworthy and Mr Cooksley as to whether there was a firm riding engagement.  Mr Clotworthy is adamant that Mr Cooksley gave permission for his Apprentice to ride SEVEN TWENTY, whereas Mr Cooksley was equally adamant there was no confirmation of an engagement.

On the evidence it is understandable that Mr Clotworthy had a reasonable expectation that he had secured the riding services of Mr Hashizume to ride his horse in the Karaka Million Classic.  On the other hand, Mr Cooksley believes he did not give the required permission.  On balance it appears, at best, that Mr Cooksley may have given his ‘provisional conditional approval’ based on the comment that Mr Hashizume may be engaged to ride SEVEN TWENTY if his attitude changed (according to Mr Clotworthy).  The evidence of Mr Hashizume is treated as being neutral in that he gives some weight to the assertions of both Mr Clotworthy and Mr Cooksley, although it was said by Mr Hashizume that he told Mr Cooksley that he had been engaged to ride SEVEN TWENTY.

Ultimately the relevant Rule [330(1)] requires that Mr Cooksley’s prior permission be given and whether he previously did give such permission and has now recanted cannot be confirmed or negated.  On that basis the Adjudicative Committee has to Rule that the requirements of r330 (1) have not been sufficiently satisfied, despite the various claims,  therefore it cannot be established to the requisite standard that Mr Cooksley gave his prior permission for Mr Hashizume to ride SEVEN TWENTY.

It is noted that Rider declarations for racing at Ellerslie closed at 1 pm on today’s date and Apprentice Rider M Hashizume is the declared Rider for the Wallace and Cooksley runner YES WE KHAN.

Decision

Under the provisions of Rule 330(1) and (2) the Adjudicative Committee is unable to confirm whether Apprentice Rider M Hashizume had a confirmed engagement to ride SEVEN TWENTY in the Karaka Million Classic on 22 January 2022.

Decision Date: 19/01/2022

Publish Date: 20/01/2022