Auckland TC 21 January 2022 – R3 – Zev Meredith

ID: RIB7110

Respondent(s):
Zev Meredith - Junior Driver

Applicant:
Steve Mulcay - Senior Stipendiary Steward

Adjudicators:
Bryan Scott - Chair, Ian McHardy

Persons Present:
Zev Meredith - Driver of Happy Place, Mr James Stormont - Senior Driver assisting Mr Meredith

Information Number:
A18416

Decision Type:
Adjudicative Decision

Charge:
Using the Whip with more than a wrist flicking motion.

Rule(s):
Rule 869(2) and the Whip and Rein Regulations

Plea:
Admitted

Animal Name:
HAPPY PLACE

Code:
Harness

Race Date:
21/01/2022

Race Club:
Auckland Trotting Club

Race Location:
Alexandra Park - Cnr Greenlane West & Manukau Road Greenlane, Auckland, 1051

Race Number:
R3

Hearing Date:
21/01/2022

Hearing Location:
Alexandra Park Auckland

Outcome: Proved

Penalty: Junior Driver Zev Meredith suspended for 2 Driving Days and fined $100

Summary of Facts:

Following the running of the HINCHCO BIRTHDAY MOBILE PACE an Information was lodged by Senior Stipendiary Mr S Mulcay against Junior Driver Mr Z Meredith alleging that Mr Meredith used his whip with more than a wrist flicking motion in the final stages of the run home when driving HAPPY PLACE.

Rule 869(2) provides: No driver shall during any race use a whip in a manner in contravention of the Use of the Whip Regulations made by the Board

The Whip and Rein Regulations provide under part 3.1: A driver may only apply the whip in a wrist only flicking motion whilst holding a rein in each hand with the tip of the whip pointed forward in an action which does not engage the shoulder.
Part 3.2 provides : for the purposes of clause 3.1 , “wrist only flicking motion” means :
3.2.1 Ensuring no force is generated by use of the elbow or shoulder when applying the whip.
3.2.2 The forearm is not raised beyond forty-five degrees relative to the racing surface
3.3.3 Not applying the whip with overt force

Mr Meredith was present at the hearing and he confirmed that he understood the Rule and he confirmed his admission of the breach. Senior Driver Mr James Stormont was present assisting Mr Meredith.

Mr Mulcay demonstrated the incident using the various race films available to us. He identified HAPPY PLACE and Mr Meredith . He showed where HAPPY PLACE was finishing strongly down the outside of the eventual winner HESASHORETHING and showed Mr Meredith using his whip in compliance with the Rules but he said that in the last 100 metres Mr Meredith used his whip 4 or 5 times in more than a wrist flicking motion. This was a breach of the Rule.

Mr Meredith said that he got excited towards the finish because he thought he had a chance of winning the race. The margin between first and second was a nose. He did say that he accepted Mr Mulcay’s evidence and he has admitted the breach.

Mr Stormont (using the race films) demonstrated where Mr Meredith was rocking forward in the sulky when he was using the whip and he thought that this contributed to the whip action for those strikes that were in breach of the Rule.

Decision:

The breach is admitted and therefore the charge is proved.

Penalty Submissions:

Mr Mulcay advised the Adjudicative Committee that Mr Meredith had a previous breach of this Rule at the Cambridge meeting on the 12th of August 2021 and he was fined $200.

This breach comes just inside the 6 month reset period. He said that for a second breach inside the 6 months period the Guidelines provide for a starting point penalty of a 3 to 5 day suspension. Mr Mulcay submitted that Mr Meredith was an inexperienced Junior Driver and he further submitted that the Adjudicative Committee could deal with this matter by a shorter period of suspension and a small fine.

Mr Meredith submitted that the offending strikes were not of great force. He also said that he was hoping to drive at the upcoming Hawera Harness meeting but that a 3 day suspension would rule him out of the first day of that meeting.

Mr Stormont submitted that a 2 day suspension and a small fine would be appropriate. He further said that the Hawera meeting was one where numerous Senior Drivers do not attend and this gives an opportunity for the lesser experienced Drivers to get opportunities. He further said that if Mr Meredith could not drive on the first day of that meeting then he would miss out on any drives for the second day. He said that it was tough for participants in the Industry at present and particularly tough for Junior Drivers who did not earn significant monies in Stables and struggled to get many drives. He asked the Adjudicative Committee to take all these factors into account when setting penalty.

Reasons for Penalty:

The Adjudicative Committee has had the benefit of several versions of the race films and these show the incident clearly. The Adjudicative Committee understands Mr Meredith’s excitement at the finish and whilst understandable it is not an excuse for departing from the Rules.
In mitigation however we note that Mr Meredith is an inexperienced Junior Driver and we further note that his previous offence was almost 5 and a half months ago. He was almost at the reset date and we give him credit for that.

We have listened to Mr Stormont and largely agree with his submissions. We are acutely aware of the need to maintain and encourage Junior Drivers (although they must comply with the Rules) and we are aware of the conditions that they face in this Industry.
It is for these reasons that we have decided not to follow the Guidelines exactly but to impose a penalty comprising both a suspension and a fine.
Mr Meredith was offered a deferment of his suspension but quite correctly he wants the suspension to commence immediately.

Conclusion:

This Adjudicative Committee imposes a 2 day suspension of Mr Meredith’s Driver’s Licence from the conclusion of racing today up to and including the conclusion of racing on the 3rd of February 2022 . This is 2 days, being Waikato-BOP on the 27th of January 2022 and Auckland Trotting Club on the 3rd of February 2022. In addition Mr Meredith is fined the sum of $100.

Decision Date: 21/01/2022

Publish Date: 25/01/2022