Matamata RC 20 September 2023 – R8 – Hamish McNeill
Matamata Racing Club
Matamata Racecourse - 7555 State Highway 27, R D 3, Matamata, 3440
Penalty: Apprentice Jockey Hamish McNeill is suspended for two weeks
Following the decision to disqualify the horse INNOCENT VICTIM from 4th placing in Race 8, the Stewards brought a charge under Rule 647(1) against Rider Hamish McNeill for failing to weigh in.
Mr McNeill admitted a breach of Rule 647(1) in that being the Rider of INNOCENT VICTIM, which was placed 4th in Race 8, he failed to weigh in as required following the race.
The facts are as outlined in the related Ruling.
As Mr McNeill has admitted the breach, it is found to be proved.
Submissions as to Penalty
Mr Dooley emphasised the breach impacted upon the integrity of Racing and the penalty had to reflect this fact.
While breaches of the Rule were rare, he was able to refer the Adjudicative Committee to a number of previous cases. The most recent being 20 March 2023, where a 5 and a half week suspension had been imposed on a Rider where the horse had been disqualified from first because the Rider had not weighed in. There were also a number of more historical cases dating back to 2010. There were two cases where a 4 week suspension had been imposed where the horse had run 2nd and a 3 week suspension where a horse had run 4th.
Mr Dooley stated that while there was no starting point under the Penalty Guide for Rule 647(1), (each case to be determined on its merits) the Stewards considered that the Penalty Guide under Rule 636(1)(d) “Failing to ride out to the end of the race” was relevant and may provide some guidance. The starting point in the Penalty Guide under this Rule for a Rider whose horse may have run 4th, is a 2 week suspension.
The Stewards recommended that the Mr McNeill’s Licence to ride in races be suspended for two weeks.
Mr Dooley also submitted that Mr McNeill’s riding fee should be forfeited under Rule 331(2) which provides
“ Where a horse is disqualified from a race by reason of the fault or misconduct of the rider the applicable riding fee shall not be paid provided , however, that if the Adjudicative Committee is satisfied the disqualification is due to inexperience or inadvertence it may direct that the rider be paid the applicable fee”
Mr McNeill, assisted by Mr Harris, submitted that it was a mistake on his part, he had a clean record and had been riding in New Zealand for 10 years. He did not comment on the proposed penalty.
Reasons for Penalty
A breach of this Rule is rare and Mr McNeill’s failure to weigh in is a serious error on his part. The Adjudicative Committee accepts that it was simply a mistake and there was no malice involved.
The penalties imposed for a breach of this Rule vary as to whether or not the horse is disqualified from a dividend bearing placing. Where a horse placed in the first four has been disqualified, this naturally requires a greater penalty the higher the placing may have been.
The disqualification of the horse INNOCENT VICTIM from 4th place, resulted in a direct loss to all punters who had invested on the horse to run 4th in the Pick 4 bet type, in addition it cost the owner of the horse $925 in stake money and the Trainer his percentage.
After considering all the evidence and submissions from the parties, the Adjudicative Committee considered a suspension at the level of 2 weeks, as submitted by Mr Dooley, is appropriate and that Mr McNeill’s riding fee should also be forfeited.
Mr McNeill sought a deferment until after racing at Rotorua on Sunday 24 September. The Adjudicative Committee approved this request, therefore, Mr McNeill’s 2 week suspension will be from Monday 25 September until Sunday 8 October (inclusive). Mr McNeill’s riding fee is also forfeited.
Decision Date: 20/09/2023
Publish Date: 21/09/2023