R Rotorua 16 November 2021 – R9 – Opie Bosson

ID: RIB5902

Respondent(s):
Opie Bosson - Jockey

Applicant:
Mr M Davidson - Stipendiary Steward

Adjudicators:
Hon J W Gendall QC

Persons Present:
Mr M Davidson, Mr O Bosson, Ms V Algar - Stipendiary Steward

Information Number:
A15637

Decision Type:
Adjudicative Decision

Charge:
Used whip in consecutive strides over concluding stages

Rule(s):
638(3)(g)(ii)

Plea:
Admitted

Code:
Thoroughbred

Race Date:
16/11/2021

Race Club:
Rotorua Racing Club

Race Location:
Arawa Park Racecourse - 274 - 287 Fenton Street, Glenhome, Rotorua, 3010

Race Number:
R9

Hearing Date:
16/11/2021

Hearing Location:
Rotorua

Outcome: Proved

Penalty: Jockey Opie Bosson suspended for 5 National Riding Days

SUMMARY OF FACTS:

Following the running of Race 9, the Macmillan Accountants 1950, Mr Davidson presented an Information charging Mr Bosson, the Rider of REGAL LION with a breach of Rule 638(g)(ii)in that he struck his mount with the whip in consecutive strides when close to the finish line.

Rule 638(3)(g)(ii) provides that: a Rider must not “strike a horse with a whip in consecutive strides at any stage of the race.”

SUBMISSIONS:

Mr Davidson illustrated the breach by reference to the race films (head and side on) which showed that when REGAL LION was in front and very close to the finish, Mr Bosson struck it with the whip during two consecutive strides.  REGAL LION finished first by a relatively narrow margin.  Mr Davidson said that the breach involved only 2 consecutive strikes but could have been seen to enable the horse to retain its position.

Mr Bosson made no submission other than to query why the New Zealand Rule is more rigid than that operating in Australia where race stakes are much higher.  Nevertheless, he accepted he was bound by the governing NZTR Rules.

REASON FOR DECISION:

As Mr Bosson admitted the breach, it was deemed proved.

SUBMISSION FOR PENALTY:

Mr Davidson advised that Mr Bosson has had 2 previous breaches of the Whip Rule 638(2)(g) over the past 3 months.  He was fined $250 at Te Rapa on 2 November 2021 (under subclause (i), with 6 strikes before the 100 metre mark) and fined $4,500 at Riccarton on 15 November 2021, for a similar breach in a Group 1 Race that his mount won.  Mr Bosson is also facing a suspension of 5 riding days for careless riding in the same race (plus a stern fine).  That suspension is to commence at the conclusion of racing this Saturday 20 November 2021 to conclude at the end of racing on 2 December 2021.

Mr Bosson advised that any further suspension for a significant period will have a profound effect on his likely earnings as he had the opportunity to ride in the Group 1 Captain Cook Stakes and Group 2 Wakefield Challenge Stakes, at Trentham on 4 December 2021.

REASON FOR PENALTY:

Whilst the Committee is mindful of the NZTR “Guidelines” issued for penalties for improper whip use offences, as they are now framed they seem to apply “starting points” for separate breaches under Rule 638(g).  So they appear to refer to prior offences separately under subclause (i) [excessive strikes before the 150m mark] and subclause (ii) [use of the whip in consecutive strides].  The Guide does not appear to address situations where the prior offences include both types of behaviour which comprised breaches of both limbs of Rule 638(g).  So, for that situation, there is not formulated guide.  It is something that the NZTR might care to look at to assist Committees if it thinks necessary.

So, in this case, as with usual “sentencing” process, we have to fix an appropriate starting (and ultimately end) point where there have been 2 previous offences for breach of the overarching “Whip Rule” under Rule 638(g).  A “starting point” has to reflect all the circumstances which in this case include:

(a) The level of seriousness of the breach – which was not high.

(b) This is the third offence by Mr Bosson of improper whip use under Rule 638(g) i the past 2 weeks.

(c) Mr Bosson has been fined a total of $4,750 for breaches.

(d) Despite that, he has offend again within less than a week.

A term of suspension is required so as to try to deter Mr Bosson from continued breaches.  He must appreciate that such breaches of the Rule cannot continue.

A starting point of 4 National Riding Days is taken.  An aggravating feature is that he is facing a suspension of 7 days albeit for careless riding, in the same Group 1 Race in which the Saturday offence of breach of Whip Rule occurred.  An uplift of 1 day is required so that the ultimate suspension term reflects the fact that he offended when knowing he was facing a long suspension imposed last Saturday.

Whilst the period of suspension now imposed, (5 National Riding Days) will mean that Mr Bosson will be unable to ride (on expected favourite horses) – the Group 1 Captain Cook Stakes and the Group 2 Wakefield Stakes at Trentham, which deprives him of a “chance” of earning significant reward, that is an inevitable consequence of the judicial process.  But, as Mr Davidson fairly acknowledged that means any additional sanction by monetary penalty is not required.

CONCLUSIONS:

Accordingly, Mr Bosson  is suspended from riding, after the conclusion of his pending suspension for 5 National Riding Days from the conclusion of racing on 2 December 2021 until the conclusion of racing on 10 December 2021.

Decision Date: 16/11/2021

Publish Date: 19/11/2021