R Tauranga 20 March 2022 – R2 – Kozzi Asano

ID: RIB8089

Respondent(s):
Kozzi Asano - Apprentice Jockey

Applicant:
Mr B Jones - Stipendiary Steward

Adjudicators:
Hon J W Gendall QC

Persons Present:
Mr B Jones, Mr K Asano assisted by Mr Harris, Mr M Williamson and Mrs L Selvakumaran - Stipendiary Stewards

Information Number:
A17186

Decision Type:
Adjudicative Decision

Charge:
Failed to take all reasonable and permissible measures in the final straight to obtain the best possible finishing position

Rule(s):
636(1)(b)

Plea:
Admitted

Animal Name:
HIGH CHOICE

Code:
Thoroughbred

Race Date:
20/03/2022

Race Club:
Racing Tauranga Inc

Race Location:
Tauranga Racecourse - 1383 Cameron Road, Greerton, Tauranga,

Race Number:
R2

Hearing Date:
20/03/2022

Hearing Location:
Tauranga Racecourse

Outcome: Proved

Penalty: Apprentice Jockey Kozzi Asano is suspended for 2 weeks

Evidence:

Following the running of Race 2, the Boyd Mitchell Memorial, Mr Jones presented an Information charging Mr Asano, the Rider of HIGH CHOICE with a breach of Rule 636(1)(b) in that he failed to take all reasonable and permissible measures in the final straight to obtain the best possible finishing position.

Rule 636(1)(b) states (where relevant to this charge):  that a Rider of a horse in a race:

“must take all reasonable and permissible measures throughout the race to ensure that his horse is given full opportunity …… to obtain the best possible finishing place.”

The race films, as demonstrated by Mr Jones disclosed that HIGH CHOICE, ridden by Mr Asano, was in second last position, on the rail, in the 12 horse field upon entering the home straight.  For the duration of the straight Mr Asano displayed no vigour in the manner of using hands and heels to encourage the horse and simply rode it “quietly”, allowing it to coast to the finish.  It improved to 6th but was overtaken by a wider runner so as to finish officially in 7th place.  His failure to ride with vigour and with hands and heels was clearly a breach of the Rule as such a manner of riding in the home straight, was not only reasonable, but required, and obviously permissible.  A veterinary examination of the horse after the race revealed no abnormalities in its post race condition.

Decision:

Mr Asano admitted the breach, which is proved.

Submissions for Penalty:

Mr Jones submitted that a suspension of licence was required as the horse was clearly not tired in any way.  He said this was an obvious perception of those watching the race.  After referring to other cases, he said a starting point should be a 3 week suspension, and after taking into account mitigating factors, a 2 week suspension was sought.

Mr Harris, on behalf of Mr Asano, said this amounted only to an error of judgment by an Apprentice (albeit an experienced Jockey).  He had been instructed to allow HIGH CHOICE to drift back from the start, and felt that the horse never travelled well, and he thought, on the turn, his “chances were gone”.

Reasons for Penalty:

Neither the Rule, nor the Stipendiary Stewards or Adjudicative Committees, require or expect Jockeys to use the whip if they choose not to do so.  This breach has nothing to do with not using the whip.  It is solely in failing to adopt the reasonable measure of riding with vigour in the straight.  It is unlikely that HIGH CHOICE would have finished as close as 4th or better, but the connections and observers will never know.  What is crucial is that they see that “the horse is fairly tried”.

The Adjudicative Committee accepts this was an error of judgment, by a very promising  Apprentice who has an otherwise good record.  His offence was not of deliberate intent, but simply a failure to comply with the “riding out” Rule.

It is relevant that the horse would not have finished in a dividend bearing place.  So no punter, nor the connections lost out.  And as all runners placed 5th to 10th earned $300 no financial consequence flowed to the connections.  But the perception, clearly evident to all watching, would be that the horse was not being fairly tried.  That harms the confidence in which many must have in the Racing Industry.

The Adjudicative Committee accepts the view of the Informant that a term of 2 weeks’ suspension is appropriate.

Conclusion:

As Mr Asano was, yesterday (19 March 2022) suspended for careless riding at Trentham for a period to commence after racing on 26 March 2022 and end after racing on 23 April 2022, this period of 2 weeks’ suspension shall commence after racing on 23 April 2022 and to conclude at the end of racing on 7 May 2022.

Decision Date: 20/03/2022

Publish Date: 21/03/2022