Canterbury JC 16 September 2023 – R5 (heard 30 September at Riccarton) – Yogesh Atchmah
TAKE THE DEEL
Canterbury Jockey Club
Riccarton Park - 165 Racecourse Road, Christchurch,
Penalty: Apprentice Jockey Yogesh Atchmah is fined $400
This hearing was an adjourned charge from the Canterbury Meeting on 16 September 2023 and heard today at the Canterbury Meeting on 30 September 2023.
Following the running of Race 5, the Respondent Class B Rider, Yogesh Atchmah, admitted a charge in that “he did misconduct himself by failing to notify Stewards of a lead bag found in his gear and then misleading Stewards as to the said lead bag”.
The Respondent acknowledged he understood the Rule and confirmed his admission of the breach. Apprentice Mentors Noel Harris and Jason Laking were present to assist.
Rule 340 provides: A Licensed Person, Owner, lessee, Racing Manager, Official or other person bound by these Rules must not misconduct himself in any matter relating to the conduct of Races or racing.
Racing Investigator Simon Irving provided an accepted Summary of Facts as follows;
1. The Respondent, Yogesh Atchamah is the holder of a Class B (Apprentice Jockey) Licence issued by New Zealand Thoroughbred Racing (NZTR). He is 28 years old and is indentured to Bruce Tapper at Timaru.
2. Mr Atchamah is a 3kg claimer with a riding weight of 53.5kg and NZTR records detail that he commenced race day riding in the 2020/21 season and has had 215 rides for 13 wins.
3. In race 5 (2.04pm) of the CJC meeting at Riccarton on Saturday 16 September 2023, Mr Atchamah was riding ‘Take The Deel’ (#9), one of two Leonard Stewart runners and finished 12th of 15.The other Leonard Stewart runner was ‘Vague’ (#13), ridden by Tina Comignaghi and finished 4th.
4. Following the running of the race, Ms Comignaghi weighed in .9kg below the required weight and upon inspection of her gear, it was discovered that the lead bag was not present. Mr Atchamah weighed in at the correct weight.
5. ‘Vague’ was subsequently disqualified from 4th placing.
6. A short time after the race Stewards reviewed the race footage to see if the lead bag could have become dislodged from ‘Vague’ and checked Mr Atchamah’s riding gear to establish if he had incorrectly carried the weight.
7. When spoken to, Mr Atchamah stated that he had seen a lead bag lying on the grass in the birdcage as he was walking to the weigh in room immediately after the race. A search of the birdcage could not find the lead bag.
8. Approximately 20 minutes after the race when Ms Comignaghi was weighing out for race 7, she found her lead bag on the floor of the weighing room, between the table and a pillar and brought this to the attention of the Stewards.
9. Mr Atchamah was then spoken to a second time by Stewards and when asked to show where exactly in the birdcage he had seen the lead bag, he was somewhat vague and unsure in his answer.
10. A review of the post-race Trackside footage showed Mr Atchamah dismount in the birdcage and walk nowhere near where he stated he had seen the lead bag.
11. When challenged with this discrepancy, Mr Atchamah admitted he had not told the truth and that he had discovered the lead bag when handing in his number and as he knew that he was not supposed to be carrying weight, placed the led bag on the table near the scales before weighing in. He added that he had not told anyone at all about this.12. With this knowledge, it became apparent that the two Leonard Stewart runners had been incorrectly saddled with ‘Take The Deel’ carrying the additional .9kg instead of ‘Vague’. Trainer L Stewart was also charged with neglect in saddling.
13. In explanation, Mr Atchamah stated that he was scared and confused when he found the lead bag and panicked, thinking that he would be overweight and therefore he would be in trouble.
14. It is the position of the RIB that Mr Atchamah has misconducted himself by failing to notify Stewards upon discovery of the incorrectly carried lead bag and then has initially provided false information in relation to the investigation.
15. Mr Atchamah has no previous NRI charges.
In response, the Respondent, with the assistance of Mr Harris, stated that he panicked when he observed that he had a lead bag with his gear when unsaddling in the birdcage after the race. He knew he did not weigh out with a lead bag and could not understand where it had come from. He then decided to leave it on the table in the weighing room prior to weighing in, in an attempt to keep himself out of trouble as he thought by weighing in too heavy he would be charged. Following the investigation by Mr Irving, he said he finally admitted that he had started a sequence of events that led him to try and deceive the Stewards.
As the Respondent admitted the breach, the Adjudicative Committee finds the breach proved.
Submissions for Penalty:
Mr Irving stated that there were no historic penalties for Misconduct where there were similar circumstances to this offence. He said that a $500 fine appeared to be a penalty for Misconduct where abusive language was used and more serious charges, where assault was present, dealt with by higher fines increasing up from a $900 fine.
Taking all factors into consideration, Mr Irving submitted that a $500 fine be considered as penalty in this case.
Mr Atchmah elected to make no submissions, apart from agreeing that a fine would be preferable to him as penalty.
Reasons for Penalty:
In determining penalty, the Adjudicative Committee has taken into consideration all evidence and submissions submitted at the hearing. Mr Irving submitted that a fine of $500 be considered as penalty. Historic penalties for Misconduct start at $500 fines for abusive language used, with more serious charges with assault being a factor, higher fines imposed from $900 upwards.
After consideration, this Adjudicative Committee determined that a starting point for this particular breach be set at $500. It assessed there were no aggravating factors in this case to warrant an uplift in penalty. There were, however, mitigating factors to consider being Mr Atchmah’s status as an Apprentice Rider, with to date approximately 215 life time rides, his genuine remorse and his frank admission of the charge.
A combined discount is warranted, which is set at $100.
The Adjudicative Committee therefore determined that a $400 fine was an appropriate penalty in this case.
Mr Atchmah is fined the sum of $400.
Decision Date: 30/09/2023
Publish Date: 02/10/2023