Rangiora HRC 27 August 2023 – R2 – Jason Ford
Rangiora Harness Racing Club
Rangiora Racecourse - 312 Lehmans Road, Fernside, Rangiora, 7440
Penalty: Driver Jason Ford - 3 day suspension
Summary of Facts:
Following the running of Race 2, the Respondent, Jason Ford, denied a breach of Rule 869(3)(b); namely that when driving GOLD NUGGET he drove carelessly racing into the first bend by failing to concede his position when forced inwards by COURTNEY MAY, driven by Tim Williams.
The Respondent 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, Stipendiary Steward Shane Renault identified the horses involved in the incident namely, GOLD NUGGET, driven by Jason Ford racing in a 2 wide position, with COURTNEY MAY, driven by Tim Williams in a 3 wide position on the outside of GOLD NUGGET, when racing into the first bend. Mr Renault pointed out Mr Williams attempting to force Mr Ford down the track as he was entitled to do, as he held an advantage over Mr Ford, and there was a clear gap for Mr Ford to shift down into. As a result of Mr Ford failing to concede his position to Mr Williams, GOLD NUGGET broke and lost ground.
In defense, Mr Ford stated that Mr Williams did not have to force him down, as he could have improved forward and stayed wider on the track. He said there was no need for him to make that movement of attempting to force him down the track. He did not believe that his actions constituted careless driving, as the incident was caused by Mr Williams.
Reasons for Decision:
After careful consideration of all the evidence and submissions presented, the Adjudicative Committee was satisfied that when racing into the first bend, Mr Ford was positioned 2 wide, with a clear run to his inside. The Adjudicative Committee was also satisfied that Mr Williams, when racing 3 wide on the outside of Mr Ford, held an advantage on Mr Ford and was within his rights under the Rules to shift Mr Ford down the track. The Adjudicative Committee was further satisfied that Mr Ford failed to concede his position, and as a result, his horse broke.
The Adjudicative Committee therefore determined that Mr Ford has driven carelessly on this occasion and accordingly, found the charge proved.
Submissions for Penalty:
Stipendiary Steward Paul Williams produced the Respondent’s record, which indicated a clear record in regard to this Rule. The Respondent, he said, has had 35 drives so far this season, with 61 drives over the past season.
He stated that the Penalty Guide provided a starting point of a 3 day suspension for a mid range breach of this Rule.
The aggravating factor is that Mr Ford caused his own horse to break.
In mitigation, Mr Williams said that Mr Ford’s good driving record should be afforded credit.
Mr Williams added that Stewards assessed the breach as mid range and therefore a suspension of at least 3 days be considered as penalty.
The Respondent made no submissions in regard to penalty, apart from requesting any suspension begin as soon as possible
Reasons for Penalty:
The Penalty Guide provides a penalty starting point of a 3 day suspension for a mid range breach of this Rule.
The aggravating factor was the fact that Mr Ford broke his own horse up in this incident, with an uplift of 1 day applied.
In mitigation, Mr Ford’s good record, warranted a discount, which was set at 1 day.
Therefore, a 3 day suspension was deemed an appropriate penalty in this case.
Mr Ford was suspended from the conclusion of racing today, 27 August 2023 up to and including 8 September. Relevant meetings encompassed in this period are 1 September – Addington, 3 September – Ashburton and Addington on 8 September 2023.
Decision Date: 27/08/2023
Publish Date: 28/08/2023