Waikouaiti HRC 27 February 2022 – R3 – Ben Hope
Waikouaiti Trotting Club
Oamaru Racecourse - Highway 1, Oamaru North, Oamaru, 9494
Penalty: Junior Driver Ben Hope - suspended 3 days
Miss Haley alleged that Mr Hope drove carelessly in the early stages of Race 3 checking inside runners SWEET AND SOUR and KALI B.
Mr Munro, Stipendiary Steward, demonstrated on the videos that the Respondent had come across too quickly shortly after the start and into the path of Ms Tomlinson (SWEET AND SOUR). She had to check her horse, which broke. Mr Munro said that the Stewards did not believe there had been contact but it had just become too tight. He also demonstrated that Mr Close (KALI B) had also had to take hold briefly. Mr Close had told the Stewards that this was due to pressure from his outside. Miss Haley added that the Respondent had endeavoured to relieve the pressure but was too late.
Mr Dunn, who assisted Mr Hope, said that Mr Hope was just about past Ms Tomlinson when he shifted. He said SWEET AND SOUR had a bad record of breaking. He accepted that Ms Tomlinson had had to take hold for 2 or 3 strides and her horse had galloped but there was no contact. Mr Hope said Mr Dunn had summed it up well and added when Ms Tomlinson yelled, he had taken evasive action but accepted he was too late.
As the Respondent has admitted the charge it is found to be proved.
Miss Haley produced Mr Hope’s record. He has had 1196 lifetime drives, 81 this season, and 515 the last. She said an aggravating factor was that the Respondent had been suspended for 3 days on 23 January. When questioned by the Adjudicative Committee as to the number of drives Mr Hope had had since that suspension, she replied 44. Miss Haley submitted a 4-day suspension was appropriate as a horse had lost its chance due to Mr Hope’s carelessness and another horse was checked briefly.
Mr Dunn reiterated there was no contact with SWEET AND SOUR and that Mr Hope was almost past Ms Tomlinson when he shifted ground. Both Mr Dunn and the Respondent commented that the previous 3-day suspension would have only been only 2 days but for the fact that one of the days for which Mr Hope was suspended, he was only driving in a Junior Drivers’ race.
The starting point for a second breach within 6 months is a 3-day suspension. The aggravating factor is that SWEET AND SOUR lost its chance in the race due to the tightening. It is accepted there was no contact and that SWEET AND SOUR has galloped previously in its races. The interference to KALI B was minimal. However, a one-day uplift is appropriate.
Mr Hope is a busy Junior Driver and has had 44 drives since his previous breach. Miss Haley has confirmed that his prior record under this Rule was very good. Mr Hope said that recently he has been driving 5 or 6 horses at a meeting.
After having regard to the circumstances of the breach, record, admission, and Junior Driver status, the appropriate penalty is a 3-day suspension. Mr Hope is suspended from the conclusion of racing today up to and including 6 March 2022.
Decision Date: 27/02/2022
Publish Date: 02/03/2022