South Canterbury RC 8 October 2021 – R3 – Brett Murray

ID: RIB5090

Respondent(s):
Brett Murray - Jockey

Applicant:
Mark Davidson, Stipendiary Steward

Adjudicators:
Russell McKenzie

Persons Present:
Mark Davidson, Brett Murray, Mr Paul Harris (Licensed Trainer Class A) and Ainsley McLeod

Information Number:
A15863

Decision Type:
Adjudicative Decision

Charge:
Misconduct

Rule(s):
340

Plea:
Admitted

Animal Name:
Whippersnapper

Code:
Thoroughbred

Race Date:
08/10/2021

Race Club:
South Canterbury Racing Club

Race Location:
Phar Lap Raceway - State Highway 1, Washdyke, Timaru,

Race Number:
R3

Hearing Date:
08/10/2021

Hearing Location:
Phar Lap Raceway, Washdyke

Outcome: Proved

Penalty: Jockey Brett Murray is fined the sum of $350

SUMMARY OF FACTS:

Following Race 3, The Hanley Formula & Central Feeds Dash Maiden, Mr Murray was charged that he struck his mount in the birdcage following the event with his whip in an unacceptable manner.

Rule 340 provides:

“A Licensed Person, Owner, lessee, Racing manager, Official or other person bound by these Rules must not misconduct himself in any matter

relating to the conduct of Races or racing”.

SUBMISSIONS:

Mr Davidson said that Mr Murray’s mount, WHIPPERSNAPPER, had proved difficult to get to the start and had given Mr Murray a hard ride throughout the race. Mr Murray was obviously very frustrated with the horse. Mr Davidson went on to say that, when he went into the birdcage as the horses were returning, he saw Mr Murray give the horse “two decent cracks” with his whip, in front of several people. While he could understand Mr Murray’s frustration with the horse, he ought not to have taken that out on the horse, he said.

Mr Murray said that, when he came back to the birdcage, the horse was going sideways when he tried to stop for the handler. The horse then backed and he thought that it may be about to back into another horse, IFITHAPPENSAGAIN, and its attendants. It did not respond to his kicking and pushing it forward, so “gave it one” behind the saddle, he said. When asked, Mr Murray agreed that there had been two strikes.

Mr Harris, Trainer of WHIPPERSNAPPER, said that he had seen the incident but, from the time the horse entered the birdcage before going to the start until the time it returned it was “clearly agitated”. He put it down to the tongue-tie. He could understand how Mr Murray was frustrated with the horse, which had underperformed. Mr Harris added that he did not believe that there was any malice involved. He supported Mr Murray’s explanations for his actions.

REASON FOR DECISION:

Mr Murray has admitted the charges which is found proved accordingly.

SUBMISSIONS FOR PENALTY:

Mr Davidson said that it was difficult to submit what is an appropriate penalty for this breach. He referred to the penalty handed down to another Rider in November of last year at Southland – a fine of $500 – for striking his mount behind the barrier, once down the neck and twice behind the saddle. The incident was shown on the on-course and Trackside coverage. He did not dispute that Mr Murray’s mount was proving difficult to handle. There was not a large crowd on course.

REASONS FOR PENALTY:

The Penalty Guide provides that the starting point for penalty for misconduct is “fact dependent”. The Adjudicator had regard to the fine of $500 in the previous case referred to by Mr Davidson in his penalty submissions. The Adjudicator further noted that that particular case involved a second breach by the Jockey only 10 months after being fined $350 for slapping his mount on the side of the head when it became fractious in the barrier. That earlier breach was described as a “strong aggravating factor”  in the later charge. No doubt, the fact that the incident was shown on Trackside was also factored in as an aggravating factor in the later charge.

The Adjudicator has taken the $500 fine in the previous case as starting point for penalty in this case. Having regard to the absence of the two aggravating factors in the present case and giving some credit for Mr Murray’s explanation that his actions were for safety reasons, a fine of $350 for this breach is deemed appropriate.

It was of some concern to the Adjudicator that, though admitting the charge, Mr Murray did not express or show a lot of remorse for his actions. Such actions are not acceptable in any circumstances. Animal welfare is a serious consideration.

CONCLUSION:

Mr Murray is fined the sum of $350.

Decision Date: 08/10/2021

Publish Date: 11/10/2021