Auckland TC 1 September 2022 – R8 – Zev Meredith
CYCLONE LUCKY LINDA
Auckland Trotting Club
Alexandra Park - Cnr Greenlane West & Manukau Road Greenlane, Auckland, 1051
Penalty: Junior Driver Zev Meredith suspended 3 Northern days
Summary of Facts:
Following the running of Race 8, the Respondent Zev Meredith defended a charge in relation to a breach of Rule 869(3)(b); namely that he drove carelessly approaching the 2200m, shifting ground when not sufficiently clear resulting in interference to I SEE FIRE which broke losing considerable ground.
The Respondent endorsed the Information ‘I do not admit the breach of the rule’ and confirmed he understood the Rule and the nature of the charge. The Respondent was supported at the hearing by V Blanchard.
Rule 869(3)(b) provides:
No Driver in any race shall drive carelessly.
Mr Mulcay opened proceedings by interviewing the Driver T Hanara, who was driving I SEE FIRE.
Ms Hanara confirmed that her horse suffered interference as a result of Mr Meredith crossing down to the lead and his sulky wheel making contact with her horse’s leg, causing it to break.
In response to questions from Mr Mulcay she said, that her horse had not contributed to the incident and she thought her horse’s leg had hit the right sulky wheel of Mr Meredith’s horse. She said she was in the process of handing up to Mr Meredith when he came down and his sulky contacted her horse’s leg.
Stipendiary Steward Mr Mulcay then showed the films identifying the horses involved in the incident namely, CYCLONE LUCKY LINDA driven by Zev Meredith and I SEE FIRE driven by T Hanara. He showed all available angles of the incident.
Mr Meredith put to Ms Hanara that he had crossed down prior to her horse breaking. Ms Hanara never wavered in her assessment of the incident and was adamant that the interference had occurred due to Mr Meredith crossing to the markers when not clear. Mr Mulcay further added that the right hand tyre on Mr Meredith’s sulky punctured, coming away from the rim and he had to retire his horse from the race as a result.
In explanation, the Respondent with the support of Mr Blanchard, put forward that the contact to the sulky wheel of Mr Meredith came from the off fore of I SEE FIRE, and in that respect contended that Mr Meredith had crossed safely. Mr Blanchard said in that regard, Ms Henara should have taken a hold of her drive to avoid the interference.
Mr Meredith said his interpretation of the video was that he had crossed down to the rail when Ms Hanara’s horse galloped. He believed that Ms Hanara was going to hand up to him but had noticed a runner wider on the track “who was becoming a challenge”. Mr Blanchard suggested on behalf of Mr Meredith that perhaps Ms Hanara, had panicked and as a result did not take a hold of her horse, allowing it to run up onto the sulky wheel of Mr Meredith’s horse.
In summing up, Mr Mulcay said that Ms Hanara confirmed she was in the process of handing up to Mr Meredith when he crossed down to the marker line when not sufficiently clear, causing Ms Hanara’s horse to contact the wheel of Mr Meredith’s horse which resulted in it breaking. He said the onus is on the Driver shifting ground to make those movements with safety, and the Stewards’ opinion was that Mr Meredith had not been clear during the entire movement.
Mr Meredith summed up by saying, he had never defended a charge previously and only did so as he believed he had crossed to the marker line before Ms Hanara’s drive had contacted his wheel. He said it was his opinion that he had performed the movement both gradually and safely and the Adjudicative Committee should make their own assessment based on the videos available.
Decision and Reasons
The standard of proof for a charge of this nature is on the balance of probabilities. Having assessed the evidence and after reviewing the available films, the Adjudicative Committee is satisfied that it is more likely than not, Mr Meredith’s downward shift resulted in interference to I SEE RED which constitutes careless driving.
The video evidence clearly showed that contact had occurred between a front leg of I SEE FIRE and the right sulky wheel of CYCLONE LUCKY LINDA. In the opinion of the Adjudicative Committee, Mr Meredith had not established his drive in front of Ms Hanara prior to the interference, and was still moving down to the markers when the interference occurred.
Submission for Penalty:
Stipendiary Steward Mr Mulcay advised Mr Meredith had a clear record under this Rule. He said that the starting point for a breach of this nature was a $500 fine or a 10 drive suspension and in this case the Stewards would be seeking a suspension. Mr Mulcay said that the consequential effects of the carelessness resulted in I SEE FIRE losing considerable ground and CYCLONE LUCKY LINDA having to be retired from the race.
The Respondent submitted that he was not seeking a deferment to any proposed suspension.
It was agreed that Mr Meredith’s recent driving record would equate to 3-4 drives per night.
Reasons for Penalty:
The Penalty Guide provides a penalty starting point of a $500 fine or 10 drives.
After taking into account the submissions of both the Applicant and Respondent; noting the race film and the resultant impact on the affected runner(s), the Adjudicative Committee assessed the breach as a low- medium breach and adopted a 3 day suspension as the starting point.
In Mr Meredith’s favour was his very good record.
Aggravating factors were that 2 runners had their chances materially affected as a result of the interference.
Having balanced all factors, the Adjudicative Committee determined an appropriate penalty would be a suspension of 3 days.
The Respondent had his driving license suspended commencing after racing on 1st September up to and including racing on the 23rd of September 2022.
Decision Date: 01/09/2022
Publish Date: 05/09/2022