Waverley RC 9 July 2021 – R1 (heard 15 July 2021 at Wanganui) – Adam Scott

ID: RIB3424

Respondent(s):
Adam Scott - Other (Amateur Jockey)

Applicant:
Mr Neil Goodwin - Senior Stipendiary Steward

Adjudicators:
Hon J W Gendall QC

Persons Present:
Mr N Goodwin - Applicant, Mr A Scott - Respondent, Mr A Lacey - Lay Representative for Mr A Scott

Information Number:
A14566

Decision Type:
Adjudicative Decision

Charge:
Failed to take all reasonable and permissible measures to ensure horse was given full opportunity to win or obtain best possible finishing position

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

Plea:
Not Admitted

Code:
Thoroughbred

Race Date:
09/07/2021

Race Club:
Waverley Race Club

Race Location:
Waverley Racecourse - Ihupuku Road, Waverley, 4510

Race Number:
R1

Hearing Date:
15/07/2021

Hearing Location:
Wanganui

Outcome: Proved

Penalty: Amateur Jockey Adam Scott is suspended for 5 weeks

EVIDENCE:

1. Following the running of Race 1 at the Waverley Racing Club meeting on 9 July 2021 an Amateur Riders’ Race over 2200 metres, Mr Goodwin presented an  Information  alleging that Mr Scott committed a breach of Rule 636(1)(b) in that he failed to take all reasonable and permissible measures to ensure his horse, SPEED CALL, was given full opportunity to win the race or obtain the best possible finishing place.

2. The Information was adjourned to be heard today, 15 July 2021, at Wanganui.  Mr Scott denied the breach alleged.

3. At the conclusion of the hearing and after considering all the evidence, race films and submissions by the RIB, Mr Lacey and Mr Scott, the Committee found the Information to be proved, summarised the reasons, which are now recorded in expanded terms.

4.Rule 636(1)(b) provides that a Rider “…… must take all reasonable and permissible measures throughout the race to ensure his [or her] horse is given full opportunity to win the race or to obtain the best possible finishing place”.

5. The general penalty Rule 803 applies, namely liability to disqualification or suspension for up to 12 months, and/or a fine of up to $20,000. It needs to be kept in mind that the Rule:

  • applies to the “Rider”
  • requires “ALL” reasonable and permissible steps to be taken
  • “throughout” the race.

SUBMISSIONS:

7.  SPEED CALL was 4th favourite in the race, which was over 2200 metres, and finished last in the field of 13.

8.  Evidence was presented in the form of:

  • The raceday films of the race.
  • Mr Goodwin’s interpretation, as an experienced Stipendiary Steward, of the facts evident on the film, and his opinion as to the manner in which Mr Scott rode his mount.
  • Mr Scott as to his instructions on how he should ride the horse; his past experience with the horse in a similar race at Wellington when he rode it he said in a somewhat similar fashion to ride the horse “cold” in the rear and then tag on the back of the rest and let it race forward; but that he got a “bit further back” on this occasion.
  • Mr Lacey as to his opinion that Mr Scott followed instructions; was unbalanced at the start by the horse’s awkward beginning; if the similar ride at Wellington did not result in a change, this race did not warrant this and it was “hard” for an Amateur Rider to be charged in this case.
  • Ms Bambry presented an oral (by telephone) statement to the effect that Mr Scott rode the horse in work, was familiar with its needs, and that she had told him to ride it as at Wellington – that is, ride “cold”, tag on the back and well forward around the field.  She did not mind him being 4-5 lengths off the field initially and that the RIB can’t “expect the world of young Amateur Riders”.

REASON FOR DECISION:

9.  The film, and opinion evidence of Mr Goodwin which is accepted, showed that whilst SPEED CALL was awkward on leaving the starting stalls, it was soon firmly restrained by Mr Scott to such a degree that, after 300 metres, it fell behind the second last horse by at least 20 lengths.  From the 1900 metres to 1200 metres the horse remained a long distant last and no obvious effort was made by the Rider for it to improve.  Eventually at about the 1200 metre mark the horse made contact with the rest of the field.  Mr Scott then sent his mount on a continued and quick run, 3-4 wide, around the rest of the field, to reach the equal lead by the 1000 metre mark.  It competed for the sole lead until the home turn where it stopped quickly in the straight and finished last – just behind a 14 year old horse.

10.  There has to be a nexus (cause) between the failure to take reasonable, permissible measures and the horse not achieving a better place.  That is, were reasonable measures not taken, so as to enable the horse the opportunity to finish closer.  The obligation is to ensure the “throughout” the whole race, such measures be taken. It they are not, and as a result the “full opportunity” is not made available to the horse, there is a breach.   The obligation is that of the Rider and whatever a Trainer’s instructions may be, they cannot excuse a Rider’s failing to meet the obligations imposed upon him by the Rule.

11.  In any event Ms Bambry said she was content with the horse only being 4-5 lengths behind the horses initially.  Mr Scott, because of his inexperience believed mistakenly, that he only had to ride SPEED CALL in the same manner as he had earlier at Wellington.  But he failed to appreciate that:
–  It was a much heavier track.
–  Run at a very much slower time – so that the initial gap behind the field was considerably less.
–  With this being run at a quicker tempo, to catch the field from a huge distance behind, and then continue to loop the 12 runners in a quick move from well out at the 1200 metre point

all of which led to the horse being left with no energy by the home straight.  Mr Scott had the obligation as the Rider to make sure he  rode the horse in the circumstances of this race, and not to automatically apply what he thought ought follow from a different race under different conditions.  The failure to maintain some reasonable contact with the field and not fall a very considerable distance behind was a lapse of judgment and a breach of the Rule as that, together with the failure to give  the horse some respite, resulted in it being unable to finish closer than last, because its energy resources were being used up.

12.  It was open to Mr Scott to be “cold” behind the field at the times he was, but it was not reasonable for him to have been so far behind the field for so long, and then to keep the field at speed as he did.  The Committee found it proved by a wide margin that the lapse of judgment amounted to a failure to take all reasonable, permissible, measures to ensure the horse had full opportunity to obtain the best place possible.

SUBMISSION FOR PENALTY:

13.  A period of suspension was necessary for this breach. The RIB Guide provides that a starting point of 6 weeks exists.  That however is only a guide and not an absolute Rule.  There are a number of cases over 10 years where suspensions followed (RIU v Bradley 20.10.12 – 5 weeks; RIU v Studd 25.8.18 – 5 weeks; RIU v B Grylls 1.1.19 – 4 weeks; RIU v Gribbin 11.1.13 – 4 weeks).  In Gribbin, the Rider did not maintain contact with the field from the start to the 900m mark, and got 20 lengths behind at one stage and admitted the breach.  In RIU v W Pinn (24.5.21) a Judicial Committee said that the “Penalty imposed should be a deterrent. International viewers [as well as those in New Zealand] are investing on races in New Zealand” and if a Rider’s action or lack of judgment which fall well below what is expected of a Jockey, the reputation of the Code is significantly harmed.

REASON FOR PENALTY:

14.  From a starting point of 6 weeks there are no aggravating features that require an uplift.  It is mitigating that Mr Scott is young and naturally very inexperienced having had only a few rides.  Further he may have wrongly interpreted what the Trainer said to him, and wrongly thought that what he did (but to a lesser extent) in another race, with a different field on a different surface, at a different speed, could be his guide.

CONCLUSIONS:

15.  He has a commitment to ride in a race at Hastings on 22 July 2021.  Accordingly his suspension will not take effect until after that.  His licence is suspended for 5 weeks commencing at the end of racing on 22 July 2021, to until the end of racing on 26 August 2021 – the actual effect being 3 Amateur Rides on 1, 11, 22 August 2021.

Decision Date: 15/07/2021

Publish Date: 20/07/2021