NZ Metro TC 2 April 2023 – R5 (heard 8 April 2023 at Addington) – Jason Ford
TEST THE BOUNDARIES
Cheviot Harness Racing Club
Addington Raceway - 75 Jack Hinton Drive, Addington, Christchurch, 8024
Addington Raceway, Christchurch.
Penalty: Driver Jason Ford is suspended for 10 days.
Following the running of Race 5, Stipendiary Steward Mr Shane Renault presented an Information alleging a breach of Rule 868(2) by Driver Mr Jason Ford.
The Information was opened and adjourned on 2 April 2023 and heard 8 April 2023 at Addington Raceway.
Mr Ford acknowledged he understood the Rule and the Charge and confirmed his admission of the breach.
Rule 868(2) states: every Driver shall take all reasonable and permissible measures at all times during the race to ensure that his/her horse is given full opportunity to win the race or to obtain the best possible position and/or finishing place.
Mr Renault played the relevant videos of the race and identified Mr Ford (TEST THE BOUNDARIES) racing 4 back on the pylons passing the 300m. He pointed to Mr Ford shift outwards to be one off the rail as the field entered the straight. Mr Renault said at this juncture, Mr Ford has sought a run inside the leader of the race KOWHAI SUNDOWN (S Ottley), which was never there, when there was a gap of 2 to 3 sulky widths available to him on the outside of Ms Ottley.
Mr Renault said as Mr Ford has persisted in gaining a run to the inside, which didn’t appear, he has finished the race under a hold with no racing room.
Mr Ford said he believed it wasn’t such a bad drive and to say so, was an “over the top call”. He asked Mr Renault if PAIGE (S Tomlinson), was established in the gap to the outside of Ms Ottley.
Mr Renault said Mr Ford always had an advantage over PAIGE and was “travelling” compared to PAIGE, who was “battling”. He said there was no question TEST THE BOUNDARIES could have and should have, taken the gap.
The Respondent, having admitted the breach, the charge was deemed to be proved.
SUBMISSIONS FOR PENALTY:
Mr Renault said Mr Ford has had 219 lifetime drives, 61 last season, 14 this season. He said he had breached this Rule 3 drives ago and received a one month suspension plus a $500 fine.
Mr Renault said the aggravating factor is that this was Mr Ford’s 3rd drive back from suspension and the Stewards had concerns that when interviewed on the night, Mr Ford stated he didn’t see the opportunity out wider.
Mr Ford declined any deferment of Penalty and went on to say he would be considering finishing his driving career.
REASONS FOR PENALTY:
The Penalty Guidelines provides a 10-day suspension for a second breach of this Rule.
The Adjudicative Committee agree with the Stewards that the 3-drive separation of this breach from Mr Ford’s previous one, demands an uplift from the starting point.
Mr Ford’s admission has afforded him some mitigation.
Any breach of this Rule has regard for the need to protect the interest of punters and the integrity of Harness Racing. The focus of the Rule is the quality or otherwise of the drive. That is to say if the Driver fails, given the circumstances of the race, to take all reasonable and permissible measures throughout the race to ensure that his horse is given full opportunity to win or obtain the best possible place in the field, then he is in breach of the Rule and liable to penalty.
Mr Ford’s drive can be described as unreasonable and was simply not good enough under the Rules. The Adjudicative Committee, in considering all factors, finds a 10 day suspension as an appropriate Penalty in this case.
Driver Mr Jason Ford’s Licence to drive in races is suspended from after racing on Monday 10 April, up to and including racing on 12 May 2023.
Decision Date: 08/04/2023
Publish Date: 11/04/2023