NZ Metro TC 22 September 2022 – R4 – Nathan Williamson
NZ Metropolitan Trotting Club Inc
Addington Raceway - 75 Jack Hinton Drive, Addington, Christchurch, 8024
Addington Raceway, Christchurch
Penalty: Driver, Nathan Williamson, fined $600
Following the running of Race 4, Canterbury Spa & Pool Sires’ Stakes Classique Mobile Trot, the Respondent, Open Driver Nathan Williamson, admitted a breach of Rule 869(4) and the Passing Lanes, False Rails and Home Straight Regulations in that, as the Driver of HIDDEN TALENT in the race, he failed to maintain a straight course in the run home resulting in PARAMOUNT EMPRESS (Mark Purdon) being hampered.
The Respondent endorsed the Information “I do admit the breach of the Rule’” and he confirmed this at the hearing.
Rule 869(4) provides:
No driver shall during any race do anything which interferes or is likely to interfere with his own horse and/or any other horse or its progress.
The Passing Lanes, False Rails and Home Straight Regulations, paragraph 7, provides that “every horse shall upon entering the home straight prior to the finish maintain as straight a course as possible to the finish line”.
Stipendiary Steward, Paul Williams, had Stipendiary Steward, Shane Renault, show video replays of the final 200 metres of the race. Mr Renault pointed out HIDDEN TALENT, driven by the Respondent, the widest runner on the track as the field turned into the final straight. He then pointed out that, in the straight, as the Respondent drove the horse out, it commenced to shift in and continued to shift in and, just prior to the finishing line, Stewards were alleging, Mark Purdon, driving PARAMOUNT EXPRESS, was crowded for room and had to take a hold of his runner. Mr Purdon was spoken to and confirmed that, but said that his runner had received every chance and did not believe that it would have finished in a higher placing.
The Respondent said that he did not deny that he had shifted in and had continued to drive his filly out. However, at the same time, he said he believed that he was clear of Mr Purdon, and had not forced him to check his runner. He also said he believed that runners to his inside and, in particular, PARAMOUNT EXPRESS as the lead horse into the straight had “rolled out considerably” in the straight. He demonstrated this on the head-on video replay and submitted that PARAMOUNT EXPRESS had moved out at least two cart-widths in the straight. Finally, he submitted, he considered it safer to allow his filly to shift in, rather than check her and risk losing the race (HIDDEN TALENT won the race by 3/4 length).
The charge is admitted by the Respondent and is therefore deemed proved.
SUBMISSIONS FOR PENALTY:
Stipendiary Steward, Paul Williams began by stating that the race was a Group 3 Race, for which the Penalty Guide suggests a starting point for penalty of a 15-drives suspension or a fine of $750.
The Respondent had had 268 drives this season and, last season, had 621 drives. He has a clear record under the Rule, Mr Williams said. Stewards maintained that Mr Purdon had been forced to restrain his horse.
Stewards believed that a suspension is an appropriate penalty, being a Group 3 Race, and this should be 3 days, Mr Williams submitted. Stewards did not support a combined penalty of a suspension and a fine, he said.
The Respondent said that any suspension and, particularly, a 3-days suspension would be very harsh for him. He submitted that a fine was a more appropriate penalty, having regard to the low-level nature of the breach. He repeated that the chances of Mr Purdon’s runner had not been affected.
The Adjudicative Committee asked Mr Williams what his penalty submission would be were the Adjudicative Committee to consider a fine. Mr Williams referred to the Penalty Guide fine starting point of $750. Mr Williamson had a clear record and had admitted the breach and was entitled to credit for those two factors. Stewards would be seeking a fine of $600 in the circumstances, he said.
REASONS FOR PENALTY:
The Respondent has, quite properly, admitted that he failed to maintain a straight course in the home straight, but has questioned the extent to which he has inconvenienced PARAMOUNT EMPRESS. The Adjudicative Committee finds that any effect on that runner was minimal and Mr Purdon reported to the Stewards that, while he did have to ease near the finish, he did not believe that his chances were affected. That is significant, placing the breach in the low-level range, as the Adjudicative Committee sees it.
The Penalty Guide provides a starting point for a breach of Rule 869(4) of a 15-drives suspension or a $750 fine in a “major race” (a race with stakes of $40,000 or more). In the view of the Adjudicative Committee, any period of suspension is not warranted for this low-level breach. The Penalty Guide allows for a monetary penalty.
The Respondent has admitted the breach and has a clear record under the Rule. These factors entitle him to a discount from any starting point. The Adjudicative Committee adopts a starting point of a fine of $750, as per the Penalty Guide, and fixes the discount for the factors referred to at $150.
Driver, Nathan Williamson, is fined $600.
Decision Date: 22/09/2022
Publish Date: 27/09/2022