Northern Southern TC 12 March 2022 – R6 – Ben Hope

ID: RIB7996

Respondent(s):
Ben Hope - Junior Driver

Applicant:
Mr Vinny Munro - Stipendiary Steward

Adjudicators:
Mr N Skelt

Persons Present:
Mr Steve Mulcay - Stipendiary Steward, Mr B Burke - Stipendiary Assistant, Mr C Barron - Trainer assisting Mr Hope

Information Number:
A16045

Decision Type:
Adjudicative Decision

Charge:
Careless Driving

Rule(s):
Rule 869(3)(b)

Plea:
Admitted

Animal Name:
MOSSDALE BEN

Code:
Harness

Race Date:
12/03/2022

Race Club:
Northern Southland Trotting Club

Race Location:
Ascot Park Raceway - 29 Findlay Road, Ascot, Invercargill, 9810

Race Number:
R6

Hearing Date:
12/03/2022

Hearing Location:
Ascot Park Racecourse Invercargill

Outcome: Proved

Penalty: Junior Driver Ben Hope was suspended for 4 national driving days

EVIDENCE

At the conclusion of Race 6 the Alabar Supremacy Stakes (Heat 3) Mobile Pace, an Information was lodged by Stipendiary Steward Mr Vinny Munro alleging that Junior Driver Mr Ben Hope drove carelessly by allowing his horse MOSSDALE GLEN to shift inwards approaching the 100 metre mark which resulted in CANTFINDABETTERMAN (M Williamson) being checked.

Mr Hope was present at the hearing and was supported by Trainer Mr Clark Barron. Mr Hope admitted the breach and confirmed he understood the Rule.

The Rule reads: No drivers in any race shall drive carelessly.

Stipendary Steward Mr Munro demonstrated on the videos that Mr Hope has simply shifted inwards when not sufficiently clear of CANTFINDABETTERMAN with Mr Williamson having to take a hold of his horse when it was checked and looing ground.

Mr Munro has stated also that Mr Hope has done “too little too late” and that the incident happened very quickly.

Mr Hope has agreed with Mr Munro’s summation of the events and said that he might have to put a pole on his horse in the future as he races erratically at times. Mr Hope did reinforce the the incident happened very quickly.

Mr Barron, in supporting Mr Hope confirmed that the pressure had come from the outside onto Mr Williamson and Mr Hope simply needed to react quicker.

DECISION

As the Respondent has admitted the charge, it is found to be proved.

SUBMISSIONS ON PENALTY

Mr Munro produced Mr Hope’s driving record. He has had 1205 lifetime drives, 90 this season and 515 last season over an extended period.

Mr Munro said an aggravating factor was that this is now Mr Hope’s third suspension within a 7 week period. He believed that the range of carelessness in this instance was low-mid range and also confirmed that it had been 8 drives since Mr Hope’s previous suspension.

Mr Munro submitted that a 4 day suspension may be appropriate and he did confirm that Mr Williamson’s horse was not travelling particularly well at the time of the incident so the check that he received had no bearing on the outcome of the race.

Mr Munro confirmed a starting point for a third breach within 6 months is a 3 day suspension. Mr Munro confirmed also that Mr Hope was driving up to 5 horses most race days.

Mr Hope said he was a busy Junior Driver and could he possibly have a suspension and a fine, and reduce his suspension days in the near future as he had some bigger driving commitments in the near future.

Mr Hope also stated that it was better for him to be out on the track driving which was also confirmed by Mr Barron.

REASONS FOR PENALTY

After having regard to the circumstances of the breach, record, admission, and Junior Driver status, the appropriate starting point day for penalty is a 5 day suspension. The fact that this is Mr Hope’s third suspension within 7 weeks is not ideal and is now progressing to a poor record under this Rule.

CONCLUSION

Mr Hope however is a very busy, successful Junior Driver and to his credit, on this occasion he has admitted the breach at the earliest point. A fine was not considered appropriate in this instance given the circumstances and as a result Mr Hope is suspended for 4 days from the conclusion of racing on 18/3/2022 to the conclusion of racing on 23/3/22.

Decision Date: 12/03/2022

Publish Date: 14/03/2022