Day At The Track

"Turf Digest" drivers get it wrong again

02:41 PM 15 Dec 2015 NZDT
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Tim Williams - Outed for twelve racedays for staying in on Have Faith In Me
Tim Williams - Outed for twelve racedays

Since last Friday night and the Summer Cup at Alexandra Park, there has been a cacophony of abuse and vitriol directed at young reinsman Tim Williams for his drive on Have Faith In Me in that race.

Plenty of journalists, bloggers and media people have got stuck in and demanded blood.

Just about all of the people leading the charge are noted serious punters and in our view it calls into question their objectivity when they are gambling on the races they are commenting and writing on.

Gambling losses are known to distort one's viewpoint and in our view that has driven a lot of the vitriol in this case.

We like to think of them as "Turf Digest" drivers and treat their views accordingly.

The stewards laid a charge under rule 868(2) and the JCA agreed with the stewards.

The following extract from the stewards report explains the situation.

An information was lodged alleging that driver T. Williams was in breach of Rule 868(2) in that he failed to take all reasonable and permissible measures between 1400 metres and 1100 metres to ensure that HAVE FAITH IN ME was given full opportunity to win the race or to obtain the best possible position and/or finishing place by failing to shift out from the marker line before being covered by BETTOR DREAM.

After hearing the relative evidence and viewing the replays the J.C.A. upheld the charge and imposed a suspension of Mr William's driver's licence up to and including 31st December 2015.

So when you take all of this into account, the JCA and the stewards are saying a driver must move off the inner if able to do so, if he is to give his horse every chance to win the race

Tim had an opportunity for 300 metres to come out and sit parked but he decided he had  more chance of winning the race by staying where he was.

The stable had stated several times pre race in both the print media and on Trackside that Have Faith In Me was liable to end up three back on the inner and if that happened, he would be driven for luck as it was his first run for a month

Tim was driving a horse who had run a half in 52.5 at Ashburton off a soft trip so chose the short way home because he believed that still gave Have Faith In Me a winning chance.

Would he have won the race sitting parked?

Highly debatable when you have a talent such as Hughie Green having a charmed run in front. 

Hughie Green brushed home in 55.8 and 26.9 without being seriously asked for an effort so Have Faith In Me would have had to produce a career best performance to get close from the parked out position.

As it was, Have Faith In Me got a half gap on the inner which would have made the race very interesting but the gap shut just as quickly as it opened.

Would Tim have still been charged if that gap had stayed open and Have Faith In Me had roared home late?

In our opinion there is no way that Tim would have been charged if he had got that gap

What that decision from Friday night should do is create a huge rod for the stewards back.

Following the logic of the decision by the JCA, every well supported horse is now obliged to come off the marker line as soon as possible and a failure to do so should result in the driver getting a holiday.

Will that happen - NO

So the stewards have chosen to target Tim Williams for not coming off the marker line but have turned a blind eye to the numerous other times it happens at every meeting in New Zealand.

And then don't start us on the inconsistencies of the penalties handed out in New Zealand.

Zac Butcher gets fined $800 for deliberately breaking the rules and ruining Mossdale Conner's winning chance in the Group 1 $250,000 New Zealand Free For All and Tim Williams gets stood down for 12 racing days for not coming off the marker line.

The monetary loss to Tim Williams here is huge and seems completely over the top in our opinion.

The only disappointing thing for us is Tim after consultation with Mark and Natalie has decided not to appeal

For the RIU- JCA system to work, the people working in the industry must have faith that the two bodies overseeing them are competent and independent.

When members of the JCA state in decisions that draging a flat tyre for 250 metres doesn't affect a horse's performance as they did in the NZFFA case, their competence is immediately called into question.

Now we have them trying to second guess the best way to drive a horse.  

The whole judicial system looks fragmented and disjointed from the outside but the good ship JCA Titanic sails on regardless.

Harnesslink Media

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