Non Raceday Inquiry – Decision dated 28 September 2021 – Darren Keast
Addington Raceway, Christchurch
Penalty: Junior Driver Darren Keast is fined the sum of $350
SUMMARY OF FACTS:
Mr Keast is charged that, at the meeting of NZ Metropolitan TC held at Addington Raceway on 28th May 2021, as the Driver of EASTWOOD ISABELLA in Race 3, Harrison Bloy (Junior Drivers) Pace, he drove carelessly near the 900 metres by striking the wheel of ART COLLECTOR (John Morrison) resulting in his horse breaking and checking trailing runners.
Mr Renault produced an Authority to Charge dated 30th July 2021 pursuant to Rule 1108 (2), signed by Mike Clement, Chief Executive of the RIB.
It is recorded that the reason for the delay between the race meeting and the service of the Information is that the Respondent left the course on race night before the Stewards had the opportunity to speak to him, and has not attended another race meeting in the interim. The Respondent has attended a number of trials meetings, but an Information was not able to be served on him until 22nd September. The Adjudicator accepts that both parties had contributed to the delay in this matter.
Mr Keast waived assistance from a Senior Driver.
Mr Renault showed a video replay of the incident with approximately 900 metres to run. He pointed out EASTWOOD ISABELLA, driven by Mr Keast, racing three places back in the one-out line. At that point, ART COLLECTOR (John Morrison) was improving leading the 3-wide line. ART COLLECTOR went past Mr Keast who then tried to ease out onto the back of that runner, forcing STAC (Tom Bamford) wider on the track. EASTWOOD ISABELLA made contact with wheel of ART COLLECTOR and broke as a result, locked wheels with STAC and caused some interference to trailing runners.
Mr Keast said that, as Mr Morrison improved around him, his runner got a little keen and attempted to run out which made it look a lot worse. His horse was wearing a boring pole, he said.
REASON FOR DECISION:
Mr Keast has admitted the charge which is found proved accordingly.
SUBMISSIONS FOR PENALTY:
Mr Renault said that this was Mr Keast’s first drive for the season, having been licensed for this drive, and having been previously been licensed as a Trainer only.
The Penalty Guide provides for a fine of $300 or a 6-drives suspension. Since Mr Keast has not driven since that drive, a suspension was not appropriate, Mr Renault said. He submitted that an uplift from the starting point of a $300 fine for at least four other runners being checked. Against that, Mr Renault said, Mr Keast is a Junior Driver with a good record (although he has not been driving recently) and has admitted the charge at the first opportunity. He submitted that a fine in the vicinity of $350-400 would be appropriate.
Mr Keast said that there is some financial strain on himself and his partner at the present time. He is a full-time Trainer currently working three horses, two of which are ready to go to the races, he said. Any financial penalty will hurt, he said. He pointed out that his record is a good one. He said that he has driven in “a couple of hundred” races (in fact, 389) and, according to Mr Renault, his only previous breach was in 2019.
REASON FOR PENALTY:
The Adjudicator noted the penalty guide starting point referred to by Mr Renault. A fine is a preferable penalty in this case given that Mr Keast is, for all intents and purposes, not driving at the present time. From the starting point of $300, an uplift is required for the aggravating factor of affecting the chances of the race favourite, STAC, and several other runners, and that uplift is fixed at $100.
Mr Keast is entitled to a discount for his admission of the breach, although inevitable, and taking into account his Junior Driver status. An appropriate discount for those factors is $50. Mr Keast’s record is not taken into account since he has had only 20 drives since the end of the 2019 season.
Mr Keast is fined the sum of $350.
Decision Date: 28/09/2021
Publish Date: 30/09/2021