NZ Metro TC 13 October 2023 – R9 (heard 23 October 2023 at Ashburton) – Matthew Williamson
LOVE N THE PORT
Ashburton Trotting Club
Ashburton Racecourse - Racecourse Road, Ashburton, 7700
Penalty: Driver, Matthew Williamson suspended for 3 days
This was an adjourned hearing heard at the Ashburton Trotting Clubs meeting on Monday 23 October 2023.
Following the running of Race 9, the Respondent, Driver, Matthew Williamson, denied a breach of Rule 869 (3)(b); namely that when driving LOVE N THE PORT he drove carelessly by shifting inwards in the run home checking MIDNIGHT DASH.
The Respondent, Mr Williamson, endorsed the Information ‘I do not admit the breach of the Rule’ and confirmed he understood the Rule and the nature of the charge.
Rule 869 (3)(b) provides:
No driver in any race shall drive carelessly.
Using available video footage Chief Stipendiary Steward, Nigel McIntyre identified the horses involved in the incident namely, LOVE N THE PORT, driven by Mr Williamson, racing in the one off position with MIDNIGHT DASH driven by Tim Williams racing in the passing lane, approaching the 150m. Mr McIntyre said that Mr Williamson allowed his horse to shift inwards into the running line of MIDNIGHT DASH, placing that horse in restricted room and as a result MIDNIGHT DASH had to be checked.
Mr Williamson stated that he shifted ground to avoid the breaking horse of Mr May’s which was ahead of him at the time. He added that the camera angles used by the Stewards were not a true representation of the incident as the back straight camera was not directly across the track which gave a false view. He said that it was the slightest of checks and did not affect the chances of MIDNIGHT DASH.
Mr Williamson called Tim Williams who stated that, the check was very minor and he only had to take hold for 2 steps. He conceded that Mr Williamson was not quite clear when shifting down into his line and that was the reason he checked his horse.
After careful consideration of the evidence presented, the Adjudicative Committee was satisfied that Mr Williamson was not clear when shifting down in front of MIDNIGHT DASH, driven by Mr Williams, when that horse was improving through on the passing lane near the 150m. The Adjudicative Committee was further satisfied that that Mr Williams had to take hold and check his horse, albeit momentarily, for approximately 2 strides, before rebalancing and changing ground to improve on the outside of Mr Williamson. This Adjudicative Committee is therefore satisfied that Mr Williamson has driven carelessly on this occasion and find the charge proved..
Submission for Penalty:
Mr McIntyre produced the Respondent’s record, which indicated a clear record. Mr Williamson, he said, drove on 851 occasions last season with 585 so far this season.
Mr McIntyre stated that the Penalty Guide provided a 5 day starting point for a mid range breach in a Group or Listed race with this particular breach in the low to mid range. He submitted that a 3 day suspension be considered as penalty in this case.
The Respondent stated that a 3 day suspension was harsh considering the low level and low consequences on the chances of MIDNIGHT DASH.
Mr Williamson requested a deferment of suspension until after racing at Winton on 26 October 2023.
Reasons for Penalty:
The Penalty Guide provides a mid range penalty starting point of a 5 day suspension in a Group or Listed Race.
The Adjudicative Committee assessed this breach as low range and accordingly adopted a 4 day starting point. Mr Williamson’s excellent record is a mitigating factor and warrants a discount which was set at 1 day.
After evaluating all of the factors the Adjudicative Committee determined a 3 day suspension to be an appropriate penalty in the circumstances of this case.
Mr Williamson’s request for a deferment until after racing on 26 October 2023 was granted
The Respondent, Mr Williamson was suspended from the conclusion of racing 26 October 2023 up to and including 30 October 2023. Relevant meetings encompassed in this period of suspension were Methven 27 October, Kaikoura 29 October, and Kaikoura 30 October 2023.
Decision Date: 23/10/2023
Publish Date: 25/10/2023