Banks Peninsula TC 24 September 2023 – R10 – Blair Orange
Banks Peninsula Trotting Club
Motukarara Racecourse - 43 Duck Pond Road, Motukarara, 7672
Penalty: Driver Blair Orange is suspended for 2 days
Following the running of Race 10, Driver Mr Blair Orange denied a breach of the Careless Driving Rule. Mr Orange stated he was conversant with the Rule, the Charge and he confirmed he did not admit the alleged breach.
Mr Williams played the video of the final 300m, to identify Mr Orange leading the race one out from the running rail. He pointed to Mr Orange activate ear plugs at approximately 250m. He said approaching the 200m, Mr Orange’s horse has shifted inwards into the running line of HAYLEY’S MEDDLE (J Dunn), which was making a run on the rail. He said it was the Stewards’ contention that Mr Orange has continued to drive his horse forward and had done too little too late to mitigate the ensuing interference.
Mr Orange used both the front and side videos, pointed to his horse, and said he has just ducked in straight to the fence. He said he has done the best he could, but it was the horse’s action, not himself, that is at fault. He said his horse was hard on the outside line, tended to get down the track wherever he is, and he wasn’t sure what else he could have done. He said he hasn’t allowed STRAIGHT FLUSH to drift down the track, he tried to get him out, but he hasn’t come out and therefore I haven’t driven carelessly he said.
Mr Williams summed up, stating Mr Orange could have and should have, made a better attempt to keep his horse in a straight line.
REASONS FOR DECISION:
The Adjudicative Committee considered all the evidence and video replays carefully. It’s observation of the front on video was the shift by STRAIGHT FLUSH into the running line of HAYLEY’S MEDDLE, happened within 6 or 7 strides. Accepting Mr Orange’s evidence, “I had a strong hold of the outside rein”, the horse has shifted to the rail with its head perfectly straight. When it was necessary to avoid running into the rail, Mr Orange turned his horse’s head out with apparent ease and straightened its line.
Had this action been taken 3 strides earlier, two likely scenarios may have evolved.
1, It would have been obvious that Mr Orange had done his very best to straighten his horse.
2, STRAIGHT FLUSH may have lost momentum and given the margins, not finished in front at the finishing post.
Mr Orange’s instincts have fended off the opposition at the line, but he, in this case, is unable to defend the charge brought by Mr Williams.
The charge was found to be proved.
SUBMISSIONS FOR PENALTY:
Mr Williams stated that Mr Orange has had 678 drives this season and 1244 in the last and has a clear record. He said the Guidelines for a breach involving a relegation, has a starting point of a 4-day suspension. He said the Stewards would recommend a 3-day suspension as an appropriate Penalty in Mr Orange’s case.
Mr Orange stated 3 days suspension was hardly fair and reasonable for what transpired on the track and for the resulting impact on his business.
Mr Orange wished to defer any proposed suspension until after racing on 29 September 2023.
REASONS FOR PENALTY:
The Penalty Guidelines provide a starting point penalty of 4 days suspension when a breach causes a relegation or disqualification.
There is a major mitigating factor for Mr Orange, his exceptional record. From January 2020 up until this race day, he has driven in 4098 races, incurring only one 2-day suspension (16 April 2022), in any person’s terms, remarkable.
Mr Orange is the busiest Driver in the country, his horse has issues, and while not a mitigating factor, the Adjudicative Committee is cognisant of these facts.
The Adjudicative Committee, in considering all factors, finds a 2-day suspension in the circumstances of this case, is the appropriate penalty.
Deferment is granted and Mr Orange’s Licence to drive in races is suspended from the conclusion of racing on 29 September 2023, up to and including 5 October 2023.
Decision Date: 24/09/2023
Publish Date: 25/09/2023