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Canterbury R 26 June 2021 - R 6 - Chair, Mr R McKenzie

Created on 30 June 2021

Rules:
649(3)
Committee:
RMcKenzie (chair)
DAnderson
Name(s):
K Asano
Licensed Apprentice Jockey (Class B)
M R Pitman
Licensed Trainer (Class A)
D M Walsh
Apprentice Jockey mentor
G Rowland
Clerk of the Scales
Informant
J P Oatham
Chief Stipendiary Steward
Information Number
A14077
Plea:
Admitted
Charge:
Weighing In Underweight
Evidence:

Following the running of Race 6, Smiths Hire Open Handicap, an Information was filed by Chief Stipendiary Steward, Mr J P Oatham, against Licensed Apprentice Jockey (Class B), Mr K Asano, alleging a breach of Rule 649 (3) in that he “weighed in 0.75 kg underweight on his mount SABER which was subsequently disqualified from 4th placing”.

Mr Asano was present at the hearing of the Information and he indicated that he understood the charge and that he admitted the breach. He was assisted at the hearing by Licensed Trainer (Class A), Mr M R Pitman, Trainer of SABER. Apprentice Jockey Mentor, Mr D M Walsh, was also present at the hearing.

Rule 638 provides as follows:

(3) A Rider must not weigh-in at a weight that exceeds or is less than the proper weight as is defined in and with the allowance permitted by Rule 648 (3).

Mr Oatham recapped on the facts presented at the earlier request for a ruling hearing.

He said that when it was put to Mr Asano that he had weighed in light, he said “60.5”, as though that was the weight the horse should have carried.

Mr Oatham said that the Clerk of the Scales weigh sheet shows Mr Asano as having been weighed out at the correct weight of 61.5 kg and the Clerk of the Scales maintains that that was the case.

Mr Pitman, co-Trainer of SABER, said that after the race, he entered the Stewards’ Room. Mr Asano was there questioned as to the gear he had weighed out in which had not changed. There had obviously been an error by Mr Asano and the Clerk of the Scales, Mr Pitman said. He said that Mr Asano must have weighed out at 60.5 kg and not 61.5 kg, if there had been no change to any of the gear after weighing out. He accepted that the ultimate responsibility rested with Mr Asano but some blame must lie with the Clerk of the Scales, he submitted.

Mr Oatham accepted that such situations were always “difficult” because it is impossible to know the exact reason for what had happened. So many things can occur, he said. Mr Asano had been straight up from the start and all his gear had been present. It was always the Jockey’s responsibility to ensure that he weighs out at the correct weight, Mr Oatham said.

Decision:

Mr Asano has admitted the breach and, accordingly, the charge is found proved.

Submission For Penalty:

Mr Oatham said that, fortunately, an incident such as this do not occur often. He pointed out the 4th stake was $1,625, which had been lost to the owner of SABER. The race was a First 4 jackpot with a not insignificant pool of $12,838. The original dividend declared for the First 4 was $1,600 approximately (8.92 winning units). After SABER was disqualified, the number of winning units dropped to 3.11 at $4,128. Some punters had faced a significant loss and someone had to be accountable, Mr Oatham said.

Mr Oatham then referred to a number of recent penalties for breaches of the Rule. He submitted that the Committee should consider a “reasonably significant” fine of between $1,000 and $2,000.

Mr Pitman submitted that there were mitigating circumstances. Mr Asano had made a frank admission of responsibility. Any fine should be in the region of $500-750, he submitted. He urged the Committee not to impose a suspension.

Mr Walsh said that he could not help but feel that there had obviously been some confusion at the scales and that the Clerk of the Scales must have made some contribution to what happened. Mr Asano, as an Apprentice, received only half of any prize money and, on that basis, any fine that the Committee was considering should be reduced by 50 per cent.

The Clerk of the Scales, Mr G Rowland, was summoned and given the opportunity to give his explanation. He said that Mr Asano would have weighed out at 61.5 kg. He did not accept that Mr Asano had weighed out a full kilogram light at 60.5 kg. He accepted that he could perhaps have made a mistake, but this was unlikely as he “double checks every time” as he cannot afford to make a mistake.

Reasons For Penalty:

The Committee took as a starting point for penalty a fine of $1,500, being the middle of the range submitted by Mr Oatham. The Committee did not feel that a term of suspension was appropriate. That starting point has regard to the consequences of Mr Asano’s error on the horse’s owner and punters and the need to maintain integrity and public confidence in racing – Rule 920 (2) (d) & (c).

There are relevant mitigating factors to be taken into account. Firstly, Mr Asano’s admission of the breach, although inevitable. Secondly, Mr Asano, while a successful one, is nevertheless an Apprentice Jockey with a limited earning capacity and, finally, the Committee cannot completely disregard that there may have been an error in the weigh out process. The Committee cannot say for sure how Mr Asano came to weigh in light.

Those mitigating factors, combined, warrant a discount which we have fixed in this case at $500.

Penalty:

Mr Asano is fined the sum of $1,000.

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