NZ Metro TC 1 October 2021 – R1 – John Versteeg

ID: RIB4994

Respondent(s):
John Versteeg - Driver

Applicant:
Shane Renault, Stipendiary Steward

Adjudicators:
Russell McKenzie (Chair) and Olivia Jarvis

Persons Present:
Vinnie Munro, Stipendiary Steward

Information Number:
A16120

Decision Type:
Adjudicative Decision

Charge:
Careless Driving Striking Wheel

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

Plea:
Admitted

Animal Name:
Bourbon On The Rocks

Code:
Harness

Race Date:
01/10/2021

Race Club:
NZ Metropolitan Trotting Club Inc

Race Location:
Addington Raceway - 75 Jack Hinton Drive, Addington, Christchurch, 8024

Race Number:
R1

Hearing Date:
01/10/2021

Hearing Location:
Addington Raceway, Christchurch

Outcome: Proved

Penalty: Driver John Versteeg fined the sum of $300

SUMMARY OF FACTS:

Mr Versteeg was charged that, as the Driver of BOURBON ON THE ROCKS in Race 1, Avon City Ford Trot, he drove carelessly shortly after the start by allowing his runner to make contact with the sulky wheel of BRIAN BORU (John Dunn), losing all chance as a consequence.

EVIDENCE:

Mr Renault had Stipendiary Steward, Mr Munro, show a video replay of the start of the race, a 2600 metres standing start trot. He pointed out BOURBON ON THE ROCKS, driven by Mr Versteeg, drawn barrier position 5 on the front line and  BRIAN BORU, drawn barrier 4.

Shortly after the start, BOURBON ON THE ROCKS could be seen to strike the outside sulky wheel of BRIAN BORU as Mr Versteeg looked to ease back in behind that runner. The horse broke for some distance and lost all chance (the Committee noted that it finished last, 89 lengths from the winner).

Mr Versteeg told the Committee that he possibly had the horse’s head a little lower than usual which may have contributed, but he would “work on” that, he said.

REASON FOR DECISION:

Mr Versteeg has admitted the charge which is found proved accordingly.

SUBMISSION FOR PENALTY:

Mr Renault said that Mr Versteeg has had 37 drives this season and, last  season, had 27 drives. He pointed out the starting point for penalty of a 6-drives suspension or a $300 fine. It was an aggravating factor that the horse had lost all chance but mitigating factors were Mr Versteeg’s  good record and his admission of the breach, he said. An uplift from the starting point is appropriate, Mr Renault submitted, for the aggravating factor but the Committee should also take into account the mitigating factors, he said. He submitted that a fine in the range of $350-400 was appropriate.

REASON FOR PENALTY:

The relevant Penalty Guide starting point is a $300 fine. The sole aggravating factor is that BOURBON ON THE ROCKS, as a consequence of striking the wheel, galloped and lost all chance in the race. The Committee noted that the horse was one of the outsiders of the field. No other runner was affected in the incident.

Mitigating factors were Mr Versteeg’ s good record and his frank admission of the breach.

The aggravating factor referred to warrants an uplift from the starting point fine, which we have fixed at $50. The mitigating factors warrant a discount from the uplifted starting point and we assess that discount at $50.

CONCLUSIONS:

Driver John Versteeg is fined the sum of $300.

Decision Date: 01/10/2021

Publish Date: 04/10/2021