NZ Metro TC 13 October 2023 – R10 – Carter Dalgety
CONEY ISLAND LOU
Addington Raceway, Christchurch
Outcome: Not Proved
Following the running of Race 8, Airpark Canterbury Flying Stakes (Group 1), Junior Driver, Carter Dalgety, denied a breach of Rule 869(4) in that, as the Driver of CONEY ISLAND LOU in the race, he “allowed his horse to shift outwards on the final bend and in the run home hampering a trailing runner”.
The Respondent, a Junior Driver, was assisted at the hearing by Open Driver, Matthew Williamson.
Rule 869 provides as follows:
(4) 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.
Chief Stipendiary Steward, Nigel McIntyre, showed video replays of the final 200-300 metres of the race. He pointed out CONEY ISLAND LOU, driven by the Respondent, the lead horse, as the field neared the home turn. The horse was racing adjacent to the pylons about half a cart off as is normal. Rounding the bend, the horse was being driven forward with the whip by the Respondent. At no stage was its head “dragged in” by the Respondent, Mr McIntyre alleged, and the Respondent allowed the horse to shift ground outwards. The horse in the trail, WAG STAR (Mark Hurrell) was forced wider than it should have had to – 3-wide, when it should have been 2-wide, Mr McIntyre alleged.
Working down the straight, the Respondent continued to drift up the track and, by the time the finishing line was reached, he was in a 3-wide position, as there was room for two horses inside him, regardless of the passing lane, Mr McIntyre alleged.
The lead horse is required to maintain a straight course in the home run, but the Respondent has allowed his runner to shift away from the marker line and the horse behind him being taken wider on the track. WAG STAR has finished in front of CONEY ISLAND LOU, (5th and 6th respectively) avoiding the possibility of a protest, Mr McIntyre said.
The Respondent, with the aid of the video replay, said that he had come round the bend about a half cart off. If Mr Hurrell had wished to take an easier run while the Respondent was drifting out, it would be logical for him to take an inside run, the Respondent said, and Mr Hurrell had taken no corrective action, his horse had not gone rough or contacted his sulky. He was travelling well and hence had come out. Mr Hurrell had not stopped driving his horse and was not forced to take corrective action, so how could it be said that he had been “hampered”, the Respondent said. In fact, no other horse had been forced wide or hampered in the home straight, he submitted. He submitted that he had taken corrective action rounding the bend and multiple times up the home straight. His left rein was tight the entire time.
Mr McIntyre disputed that the Respondent had the horse under a tight grip.
Mr Williamson said that it could be seen from the head-on video replay that the Respondent had made an effort to straighten his runner, after having come round the bend wide. From that point, the Respondent had not moved much wider, he submitted. Neither had any other runner or runners been checked.
The charge was dismissed.
REASONS FOR DECISION:
The Respondent is charged with driving in a manner causing or likely to cause interference to any other horse by allowing his runner, CONEY ISLAND LOU, to shift outwards on the final bend and then hamper another runner, WAG STAR (Mark Hurrell), in the run home.
The Rule requires that the Respondent has caused interference, or is likely to have caused interference, to WAG STAR.
The outwards movement by the Respondent’s runner, CONEY ISLAND LOU, we find, was not marked and the interference, if any, to WAG STAR was minimal. The information alleged that WAG STAR had been “hampered”. There was some outwards movement by CONEY ISLAND LOU, albeit gradual, but we find that Mr Hurrell has at no stage been denied the opportunity to fully drive out his runner. Neither was any interference caused to any other runner in the race and, indeed, it was not alleged by Stewards that this was the case. The allegation is that WAG STAR was “hampered” by any outwards movement of the Respondent’s runner.
“Hamper” is variously defined as “to prevent the progress or free movement of” or “to slow the movement, progress or action of”. Clearly, to hamper can fall short of actual interference in a Harness racing context.
The Rule requires there to be interference or likely interference to another horse or its progress. The Adjudicative Committee is not satisfied, to the standard of the balance of probabilities, that this has been proved in this case.
Decision Date: 13/10/2023
Publish Date: 18/10/2023