NZ Metro TC 9 June 2022 – R5 – Philippa Wakelin
NZ Metropolitan Trotting Club Inc
Addington Raceway - 75 Jack Hinton Drive, Addington, Christchurch, 8024
Addington Raceway, Christchurch
Penalty: Driver, Philippa Wakelin, suspended 4 days
Following the running oƒ Race 5, Garrards Handicap Trot, the Respondent admitted a breach of Rule 869(3)(b) – careless driving. The particulars of the charge are that, as the Driver of MUSCLYNN in the race, she shifted inwards on the first bend contacting MADELEINE STOWE (Peter Davis) which broke.
The Respondent endorsed the Information “I do not admit a breach of the rule” and confirmed she understood the Rule and the nature of the charge.
Rule 869(3) provides:
(b) No driver in any race shall drive carelessly.
Stipendiary Steward, Shane Renault, showed a video replay of the incident, approximately 250 metres after the start of the 2600 standing start race. He pointed out the runners involved. He pointed out MUSCLYNN, driven by the Respondent, racing in 4th position and one-off the markers and MADELEINE STOWE, driven by Peter Davis, behind that runner and improving along the markers.
Racing into the first bend, Mr Renault said, the Respondent could be seen to take a hold of her horse attempting to get onto the back of BROTHER LOVE (Gavin Smith) on the markers. MADELEINE STOWE broke as a result of contacting the wheel of the Respondent’s runner. Stewards were alleging that the Respondent has shifted ground inwards when insufficiently clear of MADELEINE STOWE, which was racing to its inside.
Mr Renault pointed out that Mr Davis had taken a hold of his runner, attempting to pull back but the Respondent had shifted in when not sufficiently clear of him.
Mr Davis said that he could see what was happening and attempted to take a hold of his horse. He had been improving quickly, he said, and Ms Wakelin was almost clear. He confirmed that contact had been made. Asked by the Adjudicative Committee, Mr Davis said that he was attempting to improve quickly onto the the back of BROTHER LOVE, and was entitled to do so. He said that there was “nothing in it”, but he confirmed that his horse had galloped and lost a lot of ground. Mr Smith may have contributed by easing his runner and causing a chain reaction, he said.
Ms Wakelin said that her tyre did not deflate, so it was not heavy contact. She had to take a hold of her own horse to get onto the back of Mr Smith and she did look to her inside, she said. There was no runner to her inside at that stage, and that is why she continued to go for the gap. She accepted that Mr Davis was entitled to be where he was but he was travelling “real quick”.
The charge was found proved.
REASONS FOR DECISION:
It is well-established that the onus is on a Driver shifting ground to ensure that the move can be made with safety. The present case is one in which the facts speak for themselves. The Respondent has been racing in the one-out line, leaving the straight for the first time. By her own admission, she had been easing to get into the marker line onto the back of BROTHER LOVE. Her evidence was that she looked to her inside before making this shift and, at that time, there was no other runner on her inside. She has failed to see Mr Davis improving at speed on her inside. Mr Davis said that it was his intention to get onto the back of BROTHER LOVE and he was perfectly entitled to do so. The Respondent seemed to suggest that some blame could be attributed to Mr Davis. No blame can be attributed to Mr Davis although he did try, in giving his evidence, to minimise the Respondent’s carelessness.
The Respondent has misjudged the space on her inside. Unfortunately for her, when she did shift in, Mr Davis’ horse had improved to the inside of her wheel. Contact was made and Mr Davis’ runner broke and lost a large slice of ground, clearly affecting his chances. The Respondent’s move was a slight misjudgement, but the consequences to MADELEINE STOWE (3/4 in the order of betting) were that it, effectively, lost its chance.
The Respondent has shifted in, as alleged, when not sufficiently clear of MADELEINE STOWE, resulting in contacting the leg of that runner, causing it to break and lose a lot of ground. The Adjudicative Committee is clearly satisfied that, in doing so, the Respondent has driven carelessly.
SUBMISSIONS FOR PENALTY:
Mr Renault said that the Respondent has had 40 drives this season and 79 drives last season. Her record under the Careless Driving Rule is clear. The starting point for penalty for careless driving is a 10-drives suspension. Ms Wakelin has two drives at this evening’s meeting which, Mr Renault said, is about average. On that basis, Stewards were seeking a 4-5 days suspension, Mr Renault said.
REASONS FOR PENALTY:
The Penalty Guide suggests a starting point for careless driving of a 10-drives suspension. The carelessness was mid-range so there is no need for an adjustment to that starting point, either up or down.
The Adjudicative Committee notes that Ms Wakelin has an excellent record and is able to afford her a discount for that mitigating factor. The discount is fixed at 2 drives. On the basis of Mr Renault’s submission that the Respondent averages 2-3 drives per day, say, 2 days, the term of suspension will be 4 days/meetings.
The Respondent, Driver Philippa Wakelin, is suspended for 4 days commencing on 10 June 2022 and concluding on 26 June 2022, both dates inclusive. The meetings intended to be encompassed by the period of suspension are the four meetings of NZ Metropolitan TC during that period.
Decision Date: 09/06/2022
Publish Date: 13/06/2022