Otaki-Maori RC 6 May 2022 – R6 (heard at Cambridge 1 June 2022) – Wiremu Pinn
Otaki-Maori Racing Club
Otaki Racecourse - Te Roto Road, Otaki, 5512
Penalty: Apprentice Jockey Wiremu Pinn is suspended for 5 months
DECISION OF ADJUDICATIVE COMMITTEE
Dated this 1st day of June 2022
1.1. Mr Wiremu Pinn is a Class B Apprentice Jockey. He is charged that on the 6th of May this year at the Otaki-Maori Racing Club meeting at Otaki he breached Rule 638(3)(e) in that it is alleged he used the whip in an improper manner on two occasions just prior to the finish line. Mr Pinn was riding a horse Posh Porotene. Mr Pinn had ridden this horse on five previous occasions and on three of those occasions the horse had won its race.
1.2. Mr Pinn denies the charge and the Adjudicative Committee has today heard evidence from Mr Oatham, the Chief Stipendiary Steward and from Mr Pinn and his employer Mr Daniel Miller Licensed Trainer based in Matamata.
2. THE EVIDENCE
2.1. The Adjudicative Committee has seen films of the race: from front view, rear view and side view. It has also seen the whole of the race which was run over 2,200 metres. The films demonstrate that the horse was very slow away from the gates some 10 lengths behind the second to last horse. The horse hung out throughout the race although she did corner around the 400 metre mark without particular difficulty. Turning into the straight the horse began to move out again from the running rail. It was Mr Pinn’s evidence that the Jockey immediately to his outside Mr Lemmy Douglas was, to quote Mr Pinn ‘screaming at me’. The film shows that the horses were in fact some distance apart. Posh Porotene was continuing to move out towards the centre of the track. The essential allegation is that the horse had no prospect of winning the race and actually finished 9 of 11 starters some 12 lengths behind the winner and that just prior to the finishing line Mr Pinn hit the horse with force on two occasions and that the nature of this amounted to improper use of the whip.
2.2. Mr Pinn said that the position he found himself in was that he believed that the horse might not go around the corner following the winning post. He said that his left arm was very tired from trying to keep the horse straight throughout the race and that he used the whip in order to try and ensure that the horse did not run out further or run off the track.
2.3. The films demonstrate very graphically that the two blows that were struck by Mr Pinn were hard and were aimed to hit the horse on the neck particularly the first hit which was close to the horse’s head. The second hit was somewhat lower nearer the shoulder.
2.4. The Adjudicative Committee was told that there was subsequently a veterinary examination. Nothing was found to be amiss and Mr Pinn told the Adjudicative Committee that there were no welt marks found on the horse.
3.1. While it is clear that Posh Porotene was a difficult ride on the day the Adjudicative Committee is troubled by the strength of the blows struck by Mr Pinn. He had earlier tapped the horse behind the saddle but the two blows which give rise to the allegations at issue were entirely different. They were delivered with significant force. Mr Pinn took the reins into one hand and struck these blows with his right arm.
3.2. It is the Adjudicative Committee’s view that notwithstanding the difficulty in riding Posh Porotene the two blows struck were much more forceful than could be justified. They have the appearance of the Jockey somehow intending to punish the horse. The whip could have been used with much less force than was demonstrated in the films.
3.3. The Adjudicative Committee is persuaded on the evidence that it has seen and on the explanations given by Mr Oatham and Mr Pinn that what occurred was inexcusable and did amount to an improper use of the whip.
3.4. It follows from what has just been said that the Adjudicative Committee finds that the allegation made against Mr Pinn has been established and the charge is proven.
4.1. The Adjudicative Committee has heard submissions on penalty from both Mr Oatham and Mr Pinn.
4.2. Mr Oatham points to Mr Pinn’s record. This is most unattractive. Mr Pinn has previous convictions which relate to animal welfare. One of these involved a charge of improper riding in 2021 when he was suspended for three weeks. In October 2021 he was convicted of improper use of the whip. That involved turning the whip and hitting the horse with the handle. The initial period of suspension was for three months. That was reduced on Appeal to two months. Mr Pinn has been employed by various stables and Trainers throughout his career since 2018. He worked at Te Akau Stables, then for the leading Taranaki Trainer Alan Sharrock, thereafter for the Ken Kelso Stable in Matamata and more recently with Mr Miller in Matamata since October 2020. It is Mr Oatham’s submission that the offending on this occasion was more serious than that involving the improper use of the whip in October 2021 for which there was a two month suspension.
4.3. Mr Pinn says in mitigation that this was a difficult ride. The Adjudicative Committee recognises that. Mr Pinn says further that he endeavoured to straighten the horse with a tap behind the saddle earlier in the straight but that that was not effective and it was his position that the only way that he could keep the horse from running further towards the centre of the track or off the track or perhaps not around the corner was to strike it in front of the saddle. As observed earlier the Adjudicative Committee is particularly troubled by the strength of the blows which were struck and where they hit the horse.
4.4. Mr Oatham contends that a significant period of suspension is appropriate and that it should be for a period longer than that which was imposed for the improper use of the whip earlier referred to. He points to this being the third Rule breached by Mr Pinn which involves animal welfare. These breaches have occurred over a relatively short period of time. Mr Pinn is 23 years old. His conduct towards horses is of real concern to the Adjudicative Committee.
4.5. In mitigation the Adjudicative Committee does acknowledge that Posh Porotene was a difficult ride on this day. Against that however the Adjudicative Committee must recognise Mr Pinn’s very unattractive record with particular reference to animal welfare issues. The film demonstrates as earlier remarked the strength of the blows that were struck. The Adjudicative Committee has reached the view that even making appropriate allowance for the difficulty of the ride a significant period of suspension must be imposed and that will be for five months. We now need to hear from the parties as to when that suspension should commence.
4.6. Mr Pinn advises that he has obligations today at Cambridge and at Waverley on the 9th of June. The suspension will commence thereafter from the conclusion of racing of the 9th of June 2022. That will take the period of suspension to the conclusion of racing on the 9th of November 2022.
5.1. It is the usual practice where a breach of the Rules is proven is for an Adjudicative Committee to award some costs in favour of the RIB and for the Licence Holder to make some contribution towards the costs incurred with assembling the Adjudicative Committee.
5.2. This hearing has been held on a raceday at Cambridge. Mr Oatham has had to travel from the South Island but that is not something for which Mr Pinn should be penalised. The Adjudicative Committee is of the view that given the extensive period of suspension that has been imposed which will obviously impact upon Mr Pinn’s income no costs should be awarded in those circumstances either in favour of the RIB or in respect of the costs incurred by assembling the Adjudicative Committee.
6.1. Following the hearing and before the decision had been typed up an email was received from Mr Mason Stevens. Mr Stevens trains in partnership with Mr Miller. The email from Mr Stevens advises that he had been unable to attend the hearing as he had to travel to Awapuni for racing at that venue on 2nd June. Further that Mr Pinn had commitments at the Ruakaka race meeting on Saturday the 11th of June for the Marsh stable. He advised that Mr Pinn was not aware of those rides. Mr Stevens sought to have the period of suspension commence following racing on the 11th of June. The Adjudicative Committee has considered the request made by Mr Stevens. A period of deferment has already been granted until the conclusion of racing on the 9th of June. Further the events which led to the serious charge against Mr Pinn occurred as long ago as the 6th of May. Moreover there is ample time for the Marsh stable to obtain a replacement Jockey of Jockeys for Mr Pinn on the 11th of this month. It follows from what has just been said that the deferment request is not granted and the Adjudicative Committee reaffirms that the suspension will commence following the conclusion of racing on the 9th of June.
DATED this 1st day of June 2022
Signed pursuant to Rule 1007(5)
Decision Date: 01/06/2022
Publish Date: 04/06/2022