NZ Metro TC 14 November 2023 – R11 – Brad Williamson
NZ Metropolitan Trotting Club Inc
Addington Raceway - 75 Jack Hinton Drive, Addington, Christchurch, 8024
Addington Raceway, Christchurch
Penalty: Open Driver, Brad Williamson, suspended 4 days
Following the running of Race 11, IRT New Zealand Trotting Cup (Group 1), Open Driver Brad Williamson, denied a charge of careless driving in that, as the Driver of ONE CHANGE in the race, he “drove carelessly near the 2000 metres when easing the pace in an abrupt manner resulting in trailing runners being checked to varying degrees”.
Rule 896 provides as follows:
(3) No driver in any race shall drive:-
Chief Stipendiary Steward, Nigel McIntyre, had Stipendiary Steward, Shane Renault, show the available video replays of the incident with approximately 2000 metres to run. Mr Renault pointed out ONE CHANGE, driven by the Respondent, improving 3-wide passing the 2200 metres. He improved to the parked position outside the leader as the field turned into the back straight. As soon as he crossed to the parked position, the Respondent took a hold of his horse, in an abrupt manner, resulting in an easing of the pace causing a “concertina effect” with the last horse, OLD TOWN ROAD (Zachary Butcher), receiving the worst check, running into the back of HEZA SPORT (Colin DeFilippi) and being forced to race wider on the track, Mr Renault said.
Mr Renault pointed out Ricky May, driving BEACH BALL, which at that stage was 3-back in the one-out line following KRUG (Carter Dalgety), having to take a hold of that horse when the Respondent came around and hampered his runner, the effect of which went back through the entire field, Mr Renault alleged.
Mr McIntyre said that it was the Stewards’ case that the Respondent’s actions in easing as he did were significant enough to cause a disruption back through the field, resulting in a number of runners being hampered. He accepted that, at the time, Mr Butcher may have been “reining up” to get onto the back of HEZA SPORT, which may have made the interference appear worse than it was.
The Respondent submitted that his movement had been “very, very gradual” and he had come back only half a length on the leader over a distance of 100 metres. He submitted that BEACH BALL had been pulling and overracing at the time when there was a “slight movement” back through the field. This had contributed, he submitted and, in the case of OLD TOWN ROAD, Mr Butcher had driven straight into the wheel of HEZA SPORT, and checked his own horse. He conceded that there had been a very minor check back through the field.
The Respondent explained that he had been urging his horse forward with the whip and, as he got outside the leader, SWAYZEE had come around and he had gradually eased to hand up to that horse. He disputed that there had been any sudden easing movement on his part.
The charge was found proved.
REASONS FOR DECISION:
The Adjudicative Committee finds that the Respondent, driving ONE CHANGE, having been caught 3-wide from the start of the race, eventually got to the position outside the leader passing the 2100 metres. SWAYZEE had followed on its back from the 1400 metres and was searching for the lead and took the lead from the then leader, MACANDREW AVIATOR (Matthew Williamson) at the 1900 metres.
Having got from a 3-wide position to be in the parked position and wishing SWAYZEE to go, the Adjudicative Committees finds, the Respondent has eased his runner in quite an abrupt manner, resulting in the following runners in the one-out line being checked, as alleged in the information, “to varying degrees”, right back to the last runner, OLD TOWN ROAD. The Respondent admitted that there had been an easing of the pace and, the Adjudicative Committee finds, the extent of that easing was greater than suggested by the Respondent, as was clear from the video replays.
The Adjudicative Committee was satisfied that, in easing the pace in the manner that he did, the Respondent has driven carelessly.
SUBMISSIONS FOR PENALTY:
Mr McIntyre said that the Respondent has a clear record under the careless driving record. He referred to the Penalty Guide starting point for careless driving in a Group or Listed Race of a 5-days suspension. Stewards saw the breach as being in the low-to-mid range, he said. He submitted that a 4-days suspension would be an appropriate penalty.
The Respondent sought a deferment until after racing at Winton HRC on 19 November at which he had engagements.
REASONS FOR PENALTY:
The RIB Harness Racing Penalty Guide (February 2023) provides a starting point for penalty for a first careless driving breach in a Group or Listed Race of a 5-days suspension. That is for a mid-range breach.
The Respondent has a clear record. The Adjudicative Committee notes that he has had 225 drives in the current season and, in the 2022 season, 301 drives. He is therefore a busy Driver.
The Adjudicative Committee believes that the breach is below mid-level and, for that factor, and for the Respondent’s good record, which it acknowledges, he is entitled to a discount from the 5-days starting point. The Adjudicative Committee fixes the discount at 1 day.
The Respondent, Open Driver Brad Williamson, is suspended from after the close of racing on 19 November 2023, up to and including 26 November 2023 – 4 days.
Decision Date: 14/11/2023
Publish Date: 17/11/2023