Hororata TC 12 February 2023 – R5 – John Morrison
Hororata Trotting Club
Methven Racecourse - 47 Mount Hutt Station Road, Methven, 7782
Mt Harding Racecourse, Methven
Penalty: Driver, John Morrison, fined $300
Following the running of Race 5, UPL NZ Limited Trot, the Respondent, Open Driver John Morrison, as the Driver of PHOEBE K in the race, denied a charge that he drove carelessly in striking the wheel of SLAINTE (Tim Williams) near the 200 metres and breaking.
THE Respondent endorsed the Information “I do not admit a breach of the Rule” and he confirmed he understood the Rule and the nature of the charge.
Rule 869 provides:
(3) (b) No driver in any race shall drive carelessly.
Stipendiary Steward, Shane Renault, showed video replays of the incident shortly after the field turned into the final straight. He pointed out PHOEBE K, driven by the Respondent, which had been racing four places back on the markers. The Respondent was able to ease off the markers and improve to the inside of SLAINTE near the 200 metres. He then attempted to take a gap between SLAINTE and TAKE NOTICE (Justin Smith) and, as he eased out, his horse’s near-side foot struck the sulky wheel of SLAINTE and galloped, losing any chance.
The Respondent said that his horse had been pulling throughout the race. He had come out at the top of the straight to follow Mr Williams. He said he had wanted to get onto the back of Mr Williams to hold a line. Because his horse had been pulling, he could not go to the inside between SLAINTE and SPELLS OF LOVE (John Dunn), which was stopping, so he attempted to get onto the back of Mr Williams.
The horse is not an easy horse to drive and it has broken in its last two starts, the Respondent said. He carries no whip to help in getting the horse round safely.
The charge is found proved.
REASONS FOR DECISION:
The Adjudicative Committee listened to the evidence and submissions of the parties and carefully viewed the available video replays of the incident.
The Adjudicative Committee finds that PHOEBE K was full of running and looking for racing room at the 200 metres. There was a possible gap between SLAINTE and SPELLS OF LOVE, but the Respondent decided it was not prudent to attempt that gap so, instead, he decided to get onto the back of the former, presumably anticipating a run to the outside of that runner. However, in getting onto Mr Williams’ back, his mare has struck the sulky wheel of SLAINTE, breaking and losing its chance. The horse may have been pulling and proving not an easy drive for the Respondent but, notwithstanding, he had an obligation to ensure that it did not strike Mr Williams’ sulky wheel.
SUBMISSIONS FOR PENALTY:
Mr Williams said that the Respondent had 700 drives last season and has had 96 drives this season. He has a breach of the Careless Driving Rule at Methven on 29 January 2023 for shifting ground outwards (suspended 2 days). This charge relates specifically to striking a wheel which is a separate category of careless driving, for which the Penalty Guide starting point is a $300 fine, which is appropriate in this case, Mr Williams submitted.
REASONS FOR PENALTY:
The RIB Penalty Guide (effective 1 February 2023) provides for a starting point for penalty of a fine of $300 for careless driving striking a wheel. There are no relevant aggravating or mitigating factors.
The Respondent, Driver John Morrison, is fined $300.
Decision Date: 12/02/2023
Publish Date: 14/02/2023