NZ Metro TC 12 June 2022 – R1 – Megan Swain
NZ Metropolitan Trotting Club Inc
Addington Raceway - 75 Jack Hinton Drive, Addington, Christchurch, 8024
Addington Raceway, Christchurch
Penalty: Amateur Driver, Megan Swain, suspended 10 weeks
Following the running of Race 1, Woodlands Stud (Amateur Drivers) Mobile Pace, the Respondent admitted a breach of Rule 869(4), namely that as the Driver of FRIENDLY EYRE in the race, she caused interference to to her own runner when failing to concede her position when required to do so.
Rule 869(4) provides:
”No driver shall during any race do anything which interferes or is likely to interfere with any other horse or its progress”.
The Shifting Ground Regulation provides:
Where a horse does not have a clear passage during a race the driver shall be permitted to shift ground:
1. Inwards and ease another runner down the track provided such driver is in a position to do so by having sufficient advantage over the horse about to be shifted inwards and that horse is clear of other runners to its inside so it can be moved in.
Where interference occurs or a driver fails to concede when not in a position to maintain his/her place the provisions of Rules 869(3) and 869(4) shall apply.
Stipendiary Steward, Paul Williams, showed side-on and head-on video replays of the first 200 metres of the 1980 metres mobile start race. He pointed out FRIENDLY EYRE (drawn 2 on the second row), driven by the Respondent and WILL HE ROCK (drawn 4 on the second row), driven by Andrew Fitzgerald, both racing amongst the rear runners. The Respondent was racing one-horse off the markers with Mr Fitzgerald on her outside. Mr Fitzgerald then shifted down and the wheels of the two sulkies made contact, with the Respondent’s horse going off stride.
Mr Williams said that Stewards were alleging that the Respondent had room on her inside and was not entitled to maintain her position, as Mr Fitzgerald had an advantage over her. As a result of not conceding her position, the contact of her wheel with Mr Fitzgerald’s runner had caused her horse to break and lose considerable ground.
The Respondent did not wish to comment on the incident.
The charge is admitted by the Respondent and is therefore deemed proved.
SUBMISSIONS FOR PENALTY:
Stipendiary Steward, Mr Williams, said that the Penalty Guide prescribes a starting point for penalty for a breach of Rule 869(4) of a 6-drives suspension. The Respondent has a clear record under the Rule, he said, but her actions had resulted in her horse breaking and losing its chance. Stewards believed that a 6-drives suspension would be an appropriate penalty which, in the case of an Amateur Driver, would be a 3 months suspension.
The Respondent told the Adjudicative Committee that amateur driving was not her “passion” but, rather, she wished to train on her own account and would be concentrating on achieving that rather then driving as an Amateur. She would prefer a suspension to a fine, she said.
REASONS FOR PENALTY:
The Adjudicative Committee noted the provisions of the Penalty Guide and also the Respondent’s submissions concerning her future intentions in Harness Racing. Whilst it did note her intentions, the Adjudicative Committee has approached penalty on the basis that the Respondent will be free to continue to drive in Amateur races should she so wish. A penalty of a suspension is called for.
The Penalty Guide starting point is a 6-drives suspension, or 3 months on the usual basis of one driving opportunity per fortnight for Amateur Drivers. That the Respondent’s horse, FRIENDLY EYRE, lost its chance in the race is an aggravating factor. Mitigating factors to be considered are the Respondent’s clear record and her admission of the breach. The net result is a discount of one drive, or two weeks, from the starting point point of 6 drives/3 months.
Licensed Advanced Amateur Driver, Megan Swain, is suspended for 10 weeks commencing on 13 June 2022 and concluding on 21 August 2022, both dates inclusive.
Decision Date: 12/06/2022
Publish Date: 13/06/2022