Westport TC 28 December 2021 – R8 – Neil Burton

ID: RIB6675

Respondent(s):
Neil Burton - Driver

Applicant:
Mr Paul Williams, Stipendiary Steward

Adjudicators:
Olivia Jarvis

Persons Present:
Mr Williams, Mr Burton

Information Number:
A16735

Decision Type:
Adjudicative Decision

Charge:
Diminishing chances

Rule(s):
869(3)(g) - Diminishing chances

Plea:
Admitted

Code:
Harness

Race Date:
28/12/2021

Race Club:
Westport Trotting Club

Race Location:
Westport Racecourse - 15 Derby Street, Westport, 7825

Race Number:
R8

Hearing Date:
28/12/2021

Hearing Location:
Westport TC

Outcome: Proved

Penalty: Driver, Mr Burton fined $450

Summary of Facts:

Following the running of Race 8, the Respondent, Mr Burton, admitted a breach of Rule 869(3)g).  The particulars of the information were that he drove ‘CANARDLY REMEMBER’ in a manner which diminished its chances by miscounting the rounds.

The Respondent endorsed the Information ‘I do 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 in any manner capable of diminishing the chances of his horse winning.

Using available video footage Stipendiary Steward, Mr Williams identified Mr Burton with one lap to go approach the home straight. Due to the track conditions and the fence being very wet the field was running wider on the track which left the inside run open.  Mr Burton took advantage of this and drove his horse up the inside of the field with one lap to go. Mr Williams pointed to Mr Burton and showed that he had activated his gear, was utilising his whip and driving with vigour. Mr Williams then showed Mr Burton pull his horse out. The footage then showed Mr Newman yelling out to Mr Burton, who in turn pulls his horse back down.

When asked about the breach the Respondent stated he simply miscounted the rounds.

Decision:

The charge is admitted by the Respondent and is therefore deemed proved.

Submission for Penalty:

Stipendiary Steward, Mr Williams produced the Respondent’s record which indicated a clear record.  The Respondent has had 58 drives in the extended season. Mr Williams submitted that given Mr Burton is not a busy driver any suspension would have to be for a lengthy period of time which would not be appropriate, therefore, a fine was appropriate.

Mr Williams submitted that the Respondent admitted the breach and combined with his good driving record should be afforded credit. Furthermore, Mr Williams submitted that credit could be given in light of the state of the track. Mr Williams assessed the circumstances as unusual in this case. Taking these factors into account, Mr Williams submitted that a fine between $450 and $500 would be an appropriate penalty.

The Respondent submitted that his preference would be for a fine as he has a horse in work and wishes to be able drive it.

Reasons for Penalty:

The Penalty Guide provides a penalty starting point of a 15 drive suspension or $750 fine.

After taking into account the submissions of both the Applicant and Respondent; noting the race film and the resultant impact on the affected runner, the Adjudicative Committee agreed that this breach could be appropriately dealt with by way of a fine. In reaching this point the Committee accepted this particular breach as unusual given the way the race was run which included the two false starts behind the mobile, the moving start with the Clerk of the Course and the state of the track.

The Respondent was given credit for his good record and admission of the breach resulting in a reduction from the starting point. Consideration was then given to the track conditions which in this particular case given the circumstances can attract a further discount.

After evaluating all of the factors the Adjudicative Committee determined a fine of $450 is the appropriate penalty in the circumstances of this case.

Penalty:

The Respondent was fined the sum of $450.

Decision Date: 28/12/2021

Publish Date: 02/01/2022