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Non Raceday Inquiry HRNZ v D J Butcher 9 March 2010 - decision



869.4

HRNZ v DAVID BUTCHER

NON RACEDAY HEARING

HELD AT PUKEKOHE PARK RACECOURSE

ON TUESDAY THE 9TH OF MARCH 2010

JUDICIAL COMMITTEE: Mr BJ Scott Chairman,  Mr JN Holloway

PRESENT:   Mr John Muirhead, Stipendary Steward
                       Mr David Butcher

DECISION OF JUDICIAL COMMITTEE

9th March 2010


1. NATURE OF THE CHARGE

1.1 This is an adjourned Hearing into a charge under Rule 869(4) against Mr Butcher.   The charge was first laid at the Auckland Trotting Club Meeting on the 26th of February 2010 and as a result of the absence of a witness was adjourned ultimately to the evening of the 9th of March 2010.   This is following the conclusion of the Franklin Trotting Club’s Meeting at Pukekohe Park Racecourse on that day.

 



HRNZ v DAVID BUTCHER

NON RACEDAY HEARING

HELD AT PUKEKOHE PARK RACECOURSE

ON TUESDAY THE 9TH OF MARCH 2010

JUDICIAL COMMITTEE: Mr BJ Scott Chairman,  Mr JN Holloway

PRESENT:   Mr John Muirhead, Stipendary Steward
                       Mr David Butcher

DECISION OF JUDICIAL COMMITTEE

9th March 2010


1. NATURE OF THE CHARGE

1.1 This is an adjourned Hearing into a charge under Rule 869(4) against Mr Butcher.   The charge was first laid at the Auckland Trotting Club Meeting on the 26th of February 2010 and as a result of the absence of a witness was adjourned ultimately to the evening of the 9th of March 2010.   This is following the conclusion of the Franklin Trotting Club’s Meeting at Pukekohe Park Racecourse on that day.

1.2 The Information arose out of Race 10 at the Auckland Trotting Club’s Meeting and alleged that Mr Butcher as the Horseman of The Oyster Bar allowed his horse to move outwards resulting in his sulky wheel coming into contact with the front legs of Arjayem (Driver Mr G Wolfenden) causing interference to that horse.

1.3 Mr Butcher did not admit the breach and was present at both the initial Hearing and today at the adjourned Hearing.

1.4 Rule 869(4) states:

 “No Horseman shall during any race do anything which interferes or is likely to interfere with his own horse and/or any other horse or its progress.”

 The Rule was read to Mr Butcher and he acknowledged that he understood it.

2 JM MUIRHEAD EVIDENCE

2.1 Mr Muirhead advised that the Information had been lodged following the protest on race night into the placing of The Oyster Bar in Race 10.   Mr Muirhead provided to the Committee a copy of the Decision relating to the protest.

2.2 The films of the incident were then shown and the Committee had the benefit of being able to look at the incident from several different angles.   Mr Muirhead pointed out the positions of Mr Butcher’s horse, Mr Wolfenden’s horse and Mr Herlihy’s horse on the outside.   He showed the outward movement from Mr Butcher as the horses came into the home straight and showed how Mr Butcher’s horse continued to move outwards and at about the time that Mr Butcher pulled the earhood his horse came out further and made contact with the front legs of Mr Wolfenden’s horse and caused that horse to break.

2.3 Mr Muirhead pointed out that at the time Mr Butcher pulled the earhood his horse, which had been drifting outwards, moved out further.   He also said that Mr Herlihy, who was on the outside of Mr Wolfenden, had been improving but was behind Mr Wolfenden and Mr Herlihy, did not cause any interference.   Mr Muirhead said that Mr Butcher was in front of Mr Wolfenden and he was controlling the line and as a result of his continued outwards movement the contact subsequently happened and interference occurred.

2.4 Mr Butcher was given the opportunity to question Mr Muirhead and he firstly said that his horse had a Murphy Blind on and also a Pole and this was to stop him running in.   He said that he expected his horse to run in rather than run out.   He asked Mr Muirhead if he thought that he (Mr Butcher) was trying to steer his horse and not allow him to drift out.   In answer Mr Muirhead said that he didn’t try hard enough and he thinks that Mr Butcher may have miscalculated.

3. G WOLFENDEN EVIDENCE

3.1 Mr Wolfenden was called by Mr Muirhead to give evidence.   He confirmed that he was the Driver of Arjayem in Race 10 at the Auckland Trotting Club Meeting on the 26th of February 2010.

3.2 Mr Wolfenden confirmed that his horse broke approximately 200 metres from home and he said that this was caused by the horse coming out from the inside and that its wheel disk hit his horse’s front legs and caused it to break.

3.3 Mr Wolfenden said that his horse didn’t regain its gait after that but he didn’t think it was going to finish in the first three.

3.4 In answer to a question from Mr Butcher about the effect of the Murphy Blind, Mr Wolfenden said that he thought it should stop a horse from running out.   Mr Butcher also asked Mr Wolfenden if he thought that he (Mr Butcher) was trying to steer his horse.   Mr Wolfenden said that it continued to drift outwards and Mr Butcher’s sulky wheel came into contact with the front legs of Mr Wolfenden’s horse.

3.5 Mr Wolfenden in answer to a question from Mr Muirhead confirmed that Mr Butcher’s wheel was right in underneath his (Mr Wolfenden’s) horse prior to contact and he thought that contact happened a stride or two before Mr Butcher pulled the earhood.

3.6 Mr Wolfenden also confirmed that Mr Herlihy, on the outside, had not caused any interference to him and that the interference was from the inside.

4. DJ BUTCHER EVIDENCE

4.1 Mr Butcher said that he initially pushed Mr Wolfenden out.   He said that Mr Wolfenden had been leaning in on him for approximately 200 metres and he suggested that once Mr Wolfenden moved out that his horse then naturally moved out into the gap.

4.2 Mr Butcher said that horses are animals and not cars and sometimes they do run around in a race.

4.3 Mr Butcher used the films and took sometime to point out to the Committee that although his horse was drifting out he was trying to steer him and that despite his efforts his horse continued to drift out.   Mr Butcher said that his horse had a Murphy Blind and a Pole to stop him running in and he expected that when he was in clear space in the Home Straight that the horse would run in and he was surprised that it moved outwards.

4.4 Mr Butcher said again that he was trying to steer his horse throughout the incident and he said he had his right hand down to try and keep his horse running straight.

4.5 Mr Butcher said that he did not purposely cause interference to Mr Wolfenden and whilst there was contact it was not his fault because of the efforts he was making trying to steer his horse.   He said that when he was in the straight he was trying to steer his horse and to activate the gear which was pulling on the earhood and that he had not simply allowed his horse to run out.   He said “I didn’t drop the lines” to let him run out.

4.6 In answer to a question from Mr Muirhead, Mr Butcher again said that he was driving an animal and not a car and that horses do run around a bit.   He said that Mr Wolfenden had leaned in on him all around the corner.   He also again pointed out that he was trying to steer his horse and was doing everything that he could.

4.7 Mr Butcher said that his horse drifted out before he pulled the hood but that when the horse had drifted he had tried to steer him.  

4.8 Mr Butcher said that he didn’t feel that he had drifted that much and that he wasn’t simply careless.

4.9 The parties had, in giving evidence and in cross examination, covered every aspect of the charge and accordingly they both agreed that they did not need to sum up.

5. DECISION

5.1 In coming to a decision this Committee has listened to the evidence presented to it and statements akin to submissions made by each of the parties.

5.2 The Committee spent some time reviewing the films of the incident and looked at those films from all of the different angles.

5.3 In viewing the films the Committee noted that firstly that there was no clear evidence of Mr Wolfenden’s horse leaning in on Mr Butcher’s horse for 200 metres, secondly that the outwards movement of The Oyster Bar was over a distance of approximately 35-40 metres, thirdly that there were no obvious signs of Mr Butcher trying to stop his horse drifting out (we particularly looked at Mr Butcher’s use of the reins at the time) and fourthly that despite Mr Butcher’s horse drifting out onto Mr Wolfenden’s horse he (Mr Butcher) still pulled the earhood and at that time his horse moved out further.

5.4 In the Committee’s view The Oyster Bar was always on an outwards line to Mr Wolfenden’s horse and came into contact with it and caused interference to it.   This was not a sudden movement.

5.5 The Committee is satisfied the charge has been proven and accordingly this Committee upholds the charge.

6. PENALTY SUBMISSIONS

6.1 Mr Muirhead said that the Stipendary Stewards were asking for a fine.   He pointed out that the JCA Guidelines provide for a fine of $400.00 and he also pointed out that the interference resulted in Mr Butcher’s horse being relegated from its placing on Race Day.

6.2 Mr Muirhead said that there were some mitigating factors.

6.3 Mr Butcher again said that he was trying to steer his horse and that he had not done anything on purpose and as far as he was concerned this matter was at the bottom end of the scale.

7. PENALTY

7.1 This Committee has taken all of the evidence into account and has pointed out to Mr Butcher that he is a Senior Horseman and one of our very best Horsemen and that the Committee expected him to do more in this situation to prevent contact happening and interference resulting.  

 The Committee noted the penalty provisions in the JCA Guidelines and also checked the Schedule of Current Penalties which is available to it.

7.2 Mr Butcher has an excellent driving record and he is a very busy Driver which gives more weight to his record.   He is given credit for that.

7.3 The Committee has accordingly taken all of the above matters into account and imposes a fine of $300.00 on Mr Butcher.

7.4 There is no order as to costs because this matter was heard following a Race Meeting.


           
BJ Scott                JN Holloway
Chairman             Committee

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