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Appeal J Bullard v RIU - Decision dated 6 November 2013

Created on 08 November 2013

APPEALS HEARING : BULLARD v RIU

Heard at Riccarton Racecourse Christchurch

Tuesday 5th November 2013

APPEALS TRIBUNAL: Murray McKechnie, Chairman and Russell McKenzie

PRESENT: Jamie Bullard Licenced Jockey

Les Didham Trainer, Advocate for Jamie Bullard

Michael Zarb Stipendiary Steward

Nick Ydgren Registrar

DECISION OF APPEALS TRIBUNAL 5 NOVEMBER 2013

1. NATURE OF APPEAL

1.1 Mr Jamie Bullard appeals against a suspension imposed here at Riccarton Park on the 26th October this year. Following the running of Race 8, the Holloway Builders Stakes, Mr Bullard was charged under Rule 638(1)(d) with careless riding. It was said that he allowed his mount to shift inwards near the 1400m dictating the line of LIBETTO ridden by Mr Terry Moseley and that this caused interference to SILHOUETTE NOIRE (Ms Vanessa Johnston) which horse clipped heels and that this in turn caused TEDDY TWINKLETOES (Ms Ashley Frye) to be buffeted.

1.2 Mr Bullard admitted the charge. There were submissions made by the Stipendiary Steward Mr Zarb and by Mr Bullard. In its decision the Raceday Judicial Committee concluded that there should be a suspension for four (4) days. Mr Bullard told the Committee that he rode only in the South Island. The four day (4) suspension meant that Mr Bullard could not ride at Invercargill on 1st November, at Banks Peninsula on the 3rd November, at Dunedin today on the 5th November and at Riccarton this coming Saturday the 9th November.

1.3 Mr Bullard appeals against the term of suspension. He has been represented here today by the senior trainer Mr Les Didham.

1.4 The 26th October was an eventful day for Mr Bullard. He rode his 1000th winner on that day and then later in the day another winner. Set against that is this suspension which is now under appeal. Race 8 was a $70,000 listed event over 1600m. The status of the race is a relevant consideration to which we will later have reference.

2. THE APPROACH ON APPEAL AND DESCRIPTION OF THE RACE

2.1 Proceedings before Appeals Tribunals are by way of rehearing. While an Appeals Tribunal must have regard to the reasoning of the Raceday Judicial Committee it is required to reach its own independent assessment of the evidence and the penalty which has resulted.

2.2 The Raceday Judicial Committee on the 26th October at Riccarton was an experienced Committee and we have carefully read the decision which issued. It is important in cases of this kind for the Appeals Tribunal to carefully study the circumstances of the incident which led to the laying of the charge of careless riding. Both Mr Didham and Mr Zarb have taken the Tribunal through the film of the race, both head on and from the side angle.

2.3 Mr Bullard’s horse ATLANTE had drawn the outside gate. It began quickly and it is apparent that Mr Bullard wished to take up a prominent position as soon as possible. This led to his directing his horse towards the running rail. It is clear that after some 200m the horse on the immediate inside of ATLANTE, LIBETTO, moved inwards and this caused interference to SILHOUETTE NOIRE which clipped the heels of the horse in front of it. That resulted in SILHOUETTE NOIRE being significantly checked. There is reference in the decision to buffeting of TEDDY TWINKLETOES. A close study of the film does not warrant that description. In our judgment that horse does not seem to have been significantly affected. As for LIBETTO it was said that this horse’s line was dictated by Mr Bullard’s ride on ATLANTE. That is accurate up to a point, but it is clear in our judgment, that Mr Moseley was anxious to take a prominent position with LIBETTO and that his mount was not hindered in any way. In the result ATLANTE went to the lead and LIBETTO took up a trailing position. It seems clear to us that this is the position which Mr Moseley wished to take up with his mount.

3. SUBMISSIONS FOR MR BULLARD

3.1 Mr Didham, in support of the appeal, made detailed reference to the loss of income that Mr Bullard will suffer. The meeting which is to take place here at Riccarton on Saturday is at the highest level, particularly in terms of South Island racing, and there are substantial stakes on offer. In Mr Didham’s analysis something like $700,000 in stake money is on offer and that, in Mr Didham’s submission, was the equivalent of some ten (10) standard or ordinary race days. It is said for Mr Bullard that the inability to ride this Saturday is harsh when consideration is given to how much is at stake.

3.2 Mr Didham drew attention to a decision of a Raceday Judicial Committee in relation to careless riding by Mr Moseley at Ashburton on the 13th September this year. The Raceday Judicial Committee decision is dated the 21st September. That decision resulted in Mr Moseley being suspended for three (3) days. That decision in relation to Mr Moseley was not available to the Judicial Committee considering Mr Bullard’s case on the 26th October.

3.3 The circumstances of Mr Moseley’s riding at Ashburton on the 13th September and Mr Bullard’s riding on the 26th October do not bear meaningful comparison. The race at Ashburton did not involve a significant stake. The emphasis of Mr Didham’s submission was that the reasoning adopted by the Judicial Committee in relation to Mr Moseley was that a midrange breach would involve a starting point of some six (6) days suspension and then after taking account of mitigating circumstances the suspension would be reduced to three (3) days. Those mitigating circumstances which Mr Didham said had application here – as they did in relation to the Moseley case at Ashburton – were as follows:

(a) the rider’s good record;

(b) the immediate admission of responsibility;

(c) the fact that the jockey concerned was a South Island jockey who did not take engagements in the North Island.

3.4 Mr Didham contended that a proper discounting of the penalty that was arrived at would have led the Raceday Judicial Committee to start at five (5) days and discount two (2) days as a result of the matters set out above. It is appropriate to observe that Mr Bullard’s very good record is not in dispute. This was acknowledged by Mr Zarb at the hearing before the Raceday Judicial Committee and again before the Tribunal today.

4. SUBMISSIONS FOR RIU

4.1 Mr Zarb supported the decision of the Judicial Raceday Committee. He contended that the analysis of the Committee that the riding was in the mid-range of carelessness was correct. He drew attention to the fact that this was a listed race and that where interference as a result of careless riding takes place in a listed race a more significant penalty is appropriate. When asked by the Tribunal about the nature of the meeting on this coming Saturday the 9th November Mr Zarb acknowledged that the stakes were considerable and that this was one of a number of considerations which the Judicial Committee could rightly have considered.

5. DISCUSSION AND ANALYSIS

5.1 In the reasons given for the penalty the Raceday Judicial Committee records, in the penultimate sentence, as follows:

“Interference was suffered in various degrees by three (3) horses which occurred in the $70,000 listed race”.

In our judgment the passage just quoted does not accurately reflect what occurred. There was significant interference to SILHOUETTE NOIRE. There was very limited interference to TEDDY TWINKLETOES. That horse was on the rail. It was a first starter. As noted above it is not correct in our judgment to categorise the situation with TEDDY TWINKLETOES as “being buffeted”. As to the taking of the line of LIBETTO it is our view that this was of limited significance as LIBETTO seemed determined to be ridden in the line which it actually followed.

5.2 The Committee in its reasoning came to the view that the riding was in what was described as “the mid -range”. In our view that somewhat overstates the situation. There was not interference to three (3) horses. There was significant interference to one (1) horse SILHOUETTE NOIRE. Neither LIBETTO nor TEDDY TWINKLETOES had their chances materially affected.

5.3 Mr Bullard quite properly told the Judicial Committee that he did not ride outside the South Island. He has in the past but not in more recent times. The Committee recognised that circumstance. It also recognised that racing this Saturday the 9th November at Riccarton is a premier day. While giving recognition to that circumstance it is not clear from the decision just how that consideration weighed with the Judicial Committee in fixing the term of suspension.

5.4 The Tribunal has had regard to a number of decisions of the Appeals Tribunals in relation to careless riding penalties: in particular K W v NZTR, Riccarton May 2010, L I v RIU, 15th July 2011 and J McD v RIU, 20th January 2012.

5.5 The Tribunal raised with Mr Zarb whether or not there had been any discussion with the Judicial Committee about the imposition of a suspension together with a monetary penalty. Mr Zarb advised that this had been discussed amongst the Stipendiary Stewards but had not been raised with the Judicial Committee. That is consistent with the Judicial Committee decision which makes no reference to that alternative approach.

5.6 The consequences of Mr Bullard being suspended on the 9th November are very significant. As noted earlier this is a premier meeting. In our judgment when there is an analysis of the level of carelessness as set out above and recognition of the premier meeting to take place on the 9th November we consider that it would have been appropriate to consider a suspension together with a fine.

5.7 As can be seen from the preceding paragraph the Tribunal differs from the Raceday Judicial Committee, both in its assessment of the level of Mr Bullard’s conduct and also in relation to the consequences of a four (4) day suspension which includes to the 9th November. We consider that an appropriate course would have been for the Judicial Committee to have imposed a suspension of three (3) days together with a monetary penalty. We are reluctant to criticise the experienced Judicial Committee particularly in circumstances where the alternative which we are going to adopt was not raised before them on the 26th October.

5.8 In our judgment for the reasons set out above an appropriate penalty would have been a three (3) day suspension concluding today, the 5th November at Wingatui, together with a monetary penalty. That monetary penalty must be significant; first having regard to the fact that this was a listed race and secondly having regard to the level of carelessness which was found to exist and which we have analysed today. The decision of the Raceday Judicial Committee on the 26th October will be set aside. The four (4) day suspension will be replaced by a three (3) day suspension which concludes today the 5th November. This means that Mr Bullard will be free to ride at Riccarton on the 9th November. In addition to the three (3) day suspension Mr Bullard will pay a fine of $750.

5.9 It is usual in Appeals Tribunal hearings to make a costs award against the party who has failed in the appeal. Here Mr Bullard has succeeded in part. It would not be appropriate to award costs in addition to the fine of $750. As to the RIU there can be no criticism of its conduct. Mr Zarb’s submissions today were very fair and he acknowledged, as noted above, Mr Bullard’s good record over many years.

5.10 The Tribunal thanks all those who took part for their assistance.

DATED this 6 day of November 2013

Murray McKechnie

Chairman: Signed pursuant to Rule 1007(5)

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