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Appeal JL Waddell v NZTR - 15 March 2010 (withdrawn 15 March 2010)




BEFORE AN APPEALS TRIBUNAL
HELD AT WELLINGTON

IN THE MATTER of the Rules of Racing of the New Zealand Thoroughbred Racing Incorporated


BETWEEN JASON LEE WADDELL
of Cambridge, Jockey

 Appellant


 AND NEW ZEALAND THOROUGHBRED RACING INCORPORATED

 Respondent


Appeals Tribunal: 

Mr Bruce Squire QC – Chairman
Ms Nicola Moffatt

Present were:

Mr Jason Waddell – Appellant
Mr Cameron George – Chief Stipendiary Steward for NZTR

 

Date:  15 March 2010

 

DECISION OF THE APPEALS TRIBUNAL

 

1 Introduction

1.1  This hearing of the Tribunal was convened to consider an Application by the Appellant Jason Waddell for a stay of a suspension imposed upon him to enable him to meet a commitment to ride the horse Keep the Peace in the Wellfield New Zealand Oaks to be run at Trentham next Saturday 20 March 2010.  In order to give the Application context it is necessary to briefly traverse the events which have led to the application and the reasons for it.

 



BEFORE AN APPEALS TRIBUNAL
HELD AT WELLINGTON

IN THE MATTER of the Rules of Racing of the New Zealand Thoroughbred Racing Incorporated


BETWEEN JASON LEE WADDELL
of Cambridge, Jockey

 Appellant

 AND NEW ZEALAND THOROUGHBRED RACING INCORPORATED

 Respondent


Appeals Tribunal: 

Mr Bruce Squire QC – Chairman
Ms Nicola Moffatt

Present were:

Mr Jason Waddell – Appellant
Mr Cameron George – Chief Stipendiary Steward for NZTR

 

Date:  15 March 2010

 

DECISION OF THE APPEALS TRIBUNAL

 

1 Introduction

1.1  This hearing of the Tribunal was convened to consider an Application by the Appellant Jason Waddell for a stay of a suspension imposed upon him to enable him to meet a commitment to ride the horse Keep the Peace in the Wellfield New Zealand Oaks to be run at Trentham next Saturday 20 March 2010.  In order to give the Application context it is necessary to briefly traverse the events which have led to the application and the reasons for it.

1.2 On Wednesday 10 March 2010 Mr Waddell appeared before a Judicial Committee at the Auckland Racing club's meeting at Ellerslie that day.  He was charged with a breach of R.638 (1) (d) of the Rules of Racing (hereafter "the Rules") arising from an incident which occurred in Race 1 when it was alleged he permitted his mount to shift inwards during the race when it was not sufficiently clear of another horse.  Mr Waddell denied the charge but after a hearing the Judicial Committee found the charge proven and imposed a suspension on Mr Waddell from riding for five days to commence on 13 March 2010 and conclude on 24 March 2010.

1.3 Mr Waddell had previously been engaged to ride the horse Keep the Peace in the Oaks to be run in Wellington this Saturday 20 March 2010 and has applied to the Tribunal for a stay of the suspension imposed on him to enable him to do so.  The Appeal itself is set down for hearing on Thursday 18 March 2010.

2. The Submissions

2.1 Mr Waddell told the Tribunal that in December 2009 he had entered into a longstanding arrangement with the owners of Keep the Peace to ride the horse at meetings with a view later in the year to riding the horse in races in the United States.  He explained that in the event he was unable to ride the horse in the Oaks next Saturday, and it was successfully ridden by another rider in that race, his opportunity to ride the horse in the United States later in the year might well be lost.  He confirmed the owners of Keep the Peace were aware of the suspension imposed on him by the Judicial Committee on 10 March 2010 but said that he was not sure whether they had arranged for another rider for Keep the Peace for the Oaks next Saturday.  He also made the point the Oaks was a Group 1 race of some profile and that his inability to ride in it because of the suspension imposed on him would have adverse effects for him generally as a jockey apart from the other matter just referred to.

2.2 Mr Cameron George the Chief Stipendiary Steward of the NZTR appeared to oppose the Application for a stay.  His opposition was essentially based on the proposition Mr Waddell's appeal against the finding of the Judicial Committee and the penalty it imposed was without merit and that the Application for a stay was accordingly brought for reasons of convenience although he did not formulate his submissions in those precise terms.

3. Decision

3.1 The imposition of a suspension by a Judicial Committee is a punishment for a breach of the Rules to which a person has either pleaded guilty or been found guilty by the committee.  The imposition of the punishment and its length and terms (including the date of its commencement) are matters considered by the Judicial Committee on the basis of a range of factors including information put before it at the hearing at which the suspension is imposed.   Rule 1106 enables the Judicial Committee to take account of a riders current and forward engagements in fixing the commencement date of a suspension imposed at a Race Meeting by providing that where a rider has such engagements during the seven days following the imposition of the suspension, the suspension is to take effect from the earlier of the completion of the engagements within the seven day period or at the completion of the seven day period itself.  That provision and the seven day period encompassed within it is implicit recognition of the fact that generally where a rider has engagements outside the seven day period following the imposition of a suspension, there will be sufficient time for the rider and the connections of any horse he/she has been engaged to ride to make arrangements to replace the suspended rider.  Rule 1108 then reserves to the Appeal Tribunal or its Chairman the power to further stay the suspension where appropriate and sufficient grounds are made out.  Within that framework it seems clear the intent of the Rules is that the punishment of a suspension is intended to encompass not only the direct effect of the suspension, that is an inability to ride during the term of the suspension, but also indirect effects which might also, in a racing context, be regarded as flowing from the effect of the suspension.

3.2 Looked at in that light it follows that in order to maintain the integrity and purpose of the sanctioning regime provided for in the Rules, Applications for stays of suspension imposed after a hearing before a Judicial Committee in which a riders engagements have been taken account of in fixing the commencement date of the suspension, should only be granted in circumstances where a clear case for a stay has been made out. Although it is unwise for a Judicial body to completely rule out Applications for a stay on any particular basis in advance the rationale behind the sanctioning regime contained in the Rules and the fact provision is made for rider's current and forward engagements to be taken account of in fixing the commencement date of a suspension, means it is unlikely stays of suspension will ever be granted merely for reasons of convenience.

3.3 In the present case the stay sought by Mr Waddell was really for no reason other than the convenience of himself and the owners of the horse who wished him to ride Keep the Peace in the Oaks next Saturday, allied with his perception that if he did not ride the horse in that race his prospects of later riding it in the United States would be significantly comprised.  In the light of the foregoing we do not regard those reasons as sufficiently compelling to justify the granting of the stay of suspension sought by Mr Waddell.  Further, despite his protestations to the contrary we think it is unlikely that Mr Waddell's prospects of riding the horse later in the year in the United States will be compromised by his inability to ride the horse in the Oaks next Saturday.  The granting of a stay of suspension on the grounds advanced in this case would simply amount to an unacceptable and improper undermining of the purpose and intent of the sanctioning regime contained in the Rules under which the suspension was imposed.

3.4 In the result, the Application for a stay of suspension sought by Mr Waddell is refused. 

 

Bruce Squire QC – Chairman
Ms Nicola Moffatt

Per:

 

__________________________
Bruce Squire QC
Chairman

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