Waikato BOP H 29 December 2021 – R7 – Protest – WAITFOREVER
Waikato BOP Harness Racing Inc
Cambridge Raceway - 1 Taylor Street, Cambridge, 3434
Outcome: Protest Dismissed
Immediately after the finish of Race 7, Mr Mulcay instigated a protest pursuant to Rule 869A(2) in that Mr T Mitchell, driver of WAITFOREVER ‘shifted in over the final stages locking sulky stays with SKY DELIGHT’.
The Judges initial placings were :
1st – WAITFOREVER (Mr T Mitchell)
2nd – SKY DELIGHT (Mr D Butcher)
3rd – LOUIE THE PUNTER (Mr M McKendry)
The margins were : 1/2head, neck, Head.
Mr Mitchell indicated on the Information that he wished to contest the protest.
Rule 869A(2) states :
‘ When a placed horse or its driver causes interference to another placed horse or its driver and the Adjudicative Committee is satisfied that the horse interfered with would have finished ahead of the horse that, or whose driver caused the interference the Adjudicative Committee must, in addition to any other penalty that may be imposed, place the horse that, or whose driver, caused the interference immediately after the horse interfered with.’
Mr Mulcay, who was the informant, identified the horses WAITFOREVER and SKY DELIGHT as the field entered the home straight. WAITFOREVER was leading and SKY DELIGHT was in the trail. At the passing lane SKY DELIGHT began to challenge hard on the inside of WAITFOREVER. At about the 50m mark Mr Mulcay alleged that WAITFOREVER shifted down under pressure, and at about the 25m mark there was contact between sulky wheels of the two horses. SKY DELIGHT had been making ground on WAITFOREVER but had not got past it. He said that both horses were ‘under drives’ and the margin at the finish was 1/2 head. Mr Mulcay said that the interference between the horses, if there was any, was at the low end of the scale.
Mr Butcher said that his horse had been running out a little at the time of the contact between SKY DELIGHT and WAITFOREVER. He said that the sulky stays had not locked and that he did not have to stop driving his horse out. Mr Butcher said that if his momentum had been stopped at all it had not been enough to stop him getting past Mr Mitchell’s horse.
In reply to questions from the Committee, Mr Butcher confirmed that his horse had moved out a ‘little’, and that it was a hard question as to whether he would have beaten Mr Mitchell anyway. He said that it was ‘possible’.
Mr Mitchell said that while there had been minor contact between the wheels of the horses he did not believe he had interfered with Mr Butcher’s chances. He added that the contact was brief and their sulkys had not locked.
In summary Mr Mulcay said that the Stewards had been ‘in two minds’ as to whether to proceed with a protest.
The Rule calls for interference to have occurred; and for the Committee to be satisfied the horse interfered with would have beaten the horse which caused that interference. The Information alleges that ‘ WAITFOREVER shifted in over the final stages locking sulky stays with SKY DELIGHT’. Both drivers involves stated at the hearing that their sulky stays had not locked.
The incident occurred close to the finish. The margin between the horses was 1/2 head. Both were shifting about under pressure. Mr Butcher told the Committee it was ‘possible’ he would have beaten Mr Mitchell, although he conceded he had not needed to stop driving his horse out.
The protest fails on two counts:
(a) The Committee is not convinced there was ‘ interference’ between the two horses, and
(b) Even if it is accepted there was interference the Committee is not convinced SKY DELIGHT would have beaten WAITFOREVER.
In the interests of integrity it was appropriate that this incident was bought before the Committee as there was a short margin involved, and there was some contact between the horses just short of the finish.
The Protest is dismissed.
Stakemoney and dividends are payable as per the Judges original call.
Decision Date: 29/12/2021
Publish Date: 02/01/2022