Avondale JC 25 May 2022 – R5 – Tayla Mitchell
Avondale Jockey Club Inc
Avondale Racecourse - Ash Street, Avondale, Auckland, 1026
Penalty: Apprentice Rider, Tayla Mitchell fined $250
Following the running of Race 5, the Respondent, Apprentice Rider Tayla Mitchell admitted a charge alleging excessive whip use prior to the 100 metres.
Ms Mitchell indicated on the Information that she admitted the breach and she confirmed her plea to the Adjudicative Committee. Mr Harris assisted Ms Mitchell during the hearing.
Rule 638(3)(g)(i) provides that in a Flat Race a Rider must not:
(i) strike a horse with a whip more than 5 times prior to the 100-metre mark (other than in a slapping motion down the shoulder with the whip hand remaining on the reins); or
Using the available Race films Stipendiary Steward, Mrs Selvakumaran demonstrated that the Respondent struck her mount 7 times from just prior to the straight entrance to 100-metre mark.
Ms Mitchell had nothing to further to add.
Mr Harris said that Ms Mitchell has only been riding for a short time and has had 12 raceday mounts.
As Ms Mitchell admitted the breach the Adjudicative Committee finds the breach proved.
Submissions For Penalty
Mrs Selvakumaran advised that this is Ms Mitchell’s first breach of the Rule. She said that the Guidelines which came into force on 1 March 2022 provide for a $250 fine for breach involving 2 strikes over the permissible 5. She added that there were no aggravating factors.
On behalf of Ms Mitchell, Mr Harris referred to a recent email (*from NZTR) which he said identified that there have been a number of inconsistent decisions relating to penalties imposed on Apprentice Riders. He said that a recent penalty decision imposed by an Adjudicative Committee allowed for an Apprentice Rider who had limited race riding experience to receive a 50% penalty reduction. He said that this demonstrates that Adjudicators have discretion when assessing penalty and he sought a penalty reduction on behalf of Ms Mitchell.
In response Mr Harris was told that the only discretion referred to in the Penalty Guide related to fines imposed on Apprentice Riders for careless riding breaches. Had the lawmakers (in this case NZTR) intended that Apprentice Riders receive a penalty reduction for whip breaches they would have included it in their Penalty Guide, as they did with regards to careless riding fines. I would speculate that their reason for the distinction is due to the fact that animal welfare is at the forefront of thinking in terms of penalties for whip breaches not whether the transgressor is a Senior or Apprentice Rider.
Reasons For Penalty
The Penalty Guide starting point for a breach of this nature is a $250 fine. As highlighted in the above paragraph, with regards to Apprentice Riders the Penalty Guide does not differentiate between Senior and Apprentice Riders. There are a number of categories of Riders who have limited raceday riding opportunities and/or limited means to pay fines, for example Class D Riders. Therefore, if limited earning capacity, i.e., means testing, was to be a factor it would most likely complicate matters and could lead to inconsistencies. But if this is an issue as suggested by Mr Harris it is something that he should take up with NZTR.
After considering the film evidence, the submissions and having due regard for the number and frequency of strikes; the Adjudicative Committee determined there are no compelling reasons to depart from the starting point set out in the Penalty Guide.
Ms Mitchell is fined $250.
Decision Date: 25/05/2022
Publish Date: 26/05/2022