Harness Racing Victoria (HRV) Stewards today completed an inquiry into the tactics adopted by driver Shayne Cramp on Philtra Phella during the first race at the Ouyen at Mildura race meeting held on 13 June 2014.
The inquiry was adjourned on the day of the race meeting after taking considerable evidence from Mr Cramp.
At the resumption of the inquiry today, Mr Cramp was issued with a charge under Australian Rule of Harness Racing (ARHR) 149(1) which states that ‘a driver shall take all reasonable and permissible measures during the course of a race to ensure that the horse driven by that driver is given full opportunity to win or obtain the best possible placing in the field’.
The particulars of the charge were (1) that at the 1400m, when the pace had been slow in the early stages of the race, Mr Cramp remained in a position three-back on the marker pegs, allowing Philtra Phella to be covered by other horses when it was both reasonable and permissible for Mr Cramp to shift into the running line at that stage; and (2) racing to the 400m Mr Cramp failed to persist in a three-wide move around the field which would have been a reasonable option given the minimal use made of Philtra Phella to that point and allowed Philtra Phella a clear and uninterrupted run to the finish, instead Mr Cramp moved back to a position inside Bella Hotshot and behind Fergus Mactavish which led to Mr Cramp forcing a passage between those two horses causing interference to Bella Hotshot and Philtra Phella subsequently galloping.
Mr Cramp pleaded not guilty to the charge, however presented no further evidence. After considering all the evidence adduced including the explanation of Mr Cramp; the available replays; the early sectional times which incorporated a lead time three seconds slower than average and a first quarter of 33.3 seconds; the exposed form of Philtra Phella and the limited amount of work done by Philtra Phella in the early stages it was determined that the charge could be sustained.
When assessing penalty it was considered that this was Mr Cramp’s third offence under this rule in the preceding 16 months balanced alongside the frequency with which he drives. It was also determined that the level of culpability was in the high range due to Mr Cramp’s experience and ability as a reinsman, taking into account the details of the two reasonable opportunities during the race and also that Philtra Phella carried the weight of public money as a well supported favourite.
At the completion of the inquiry Mr Cramp had his licence to drive in races suspended for a period of eight (8) weeks which will commence at midnight on 5 July 2014.
Stewards Report Kevin Croghan
Stewards Panel: M Barbosa, N Torpey, K Wolsey
Racing Queensland (RQ) Stewards today conducted an inquiry into a piece of equipment that was confiscated from the racing stables of licenced trainer Mr Kevin Croghan, during a stable inspection attended by the Integrity Regulation Unit (IRU) officers Mr John Hackett and Ms Robyn McCrae on 27 March 2014.
After considering all the evidence tendered, Stewards charged Mr Croghan pursuant to Australian Harness Racing Rule 213 (b) which reads:
A person shall not have in his possession any harness, gear, equipment, device, substance or any other thing capable of inflicting suffering on a horse.
The particulars of the charge being that during a stable inspection of Mr Croghan’s stables on 27 March 2014, a piece of equipment capable of inflicting suffering on a horse, namely a thirty-five centimetre piece of barbed wire that can be attached to the gear of a horse, was found in his possession.
Mr Croghan pleaded guilty to the charge.
When assessing the matter of penalty, Stewards gave consideration to the seriousness of the offence and the need for a penalty to serve as a deterrent, however were also mindful of Mr Croghan’s guilty plea and his good record spanning many years.
In all the circumstances Stewards determined the appropriate penalty be a fine of $1,000. Stewards further directed that Mr Croghan be allowed a period of three months to pay the fine.
Stewards Report Justin Abbott
25 June 2014
Racing Queensland Stewards yesterday issued eight (8) charges pursuant to the Australian Harness Racing Rules against licensed harness trainer Mr Justin Abbott. These charges arose from an inquiry that was commenced following the improved performance of FOLDEM at Albion Park on Monday 17 March 2014. Mr Abbott was stood down by Stewards under Australian Harness Rule 183 (d) on 21 March 2014 on the basis of evidence gathered during the Stewards investigations.
The charges and their particulars are as follows:
Charge 1 is under Rule 44(1) which reads:
A driver or 1 or more of the connections of a horse intending to adopt during a race tactics contrary to the horse’s usual racing pattern shall, as soon as practicable, so notify the Stewards.
The specifics of the charge being that Mr Justin Abbott, as the trainer of FOLDEM when it raced in Race 6 at Albion Park on Monday, 17 March 2014, failed to notify Stewards of your intention to adopt tactics contrary to its usual racing pattern in that FOLDEM showed gate speed and was driven forward from barrier 6 on the front row and led which was in contrast to the manner in which the horse was driven on Monday, 10 March 2014 from barrier 1 on the front row and was positioned three back on the marker pegs.
Charge 2 is under Rule 273(5) which reads:
A person shall not without the approval of the Stewards change the registered gear of a horse.
The specifics of the charge being that Mr Justin Abbott, as the trainer of FOLDEM when it raced in Race 6 at Albion Park on Monday, 10 March 2014, changed the registered gear of that horse without the approval of the Stewards, namely by presenting the horse to race in an open bridle when its registered gear indicated the horse should race in blinkers (block).
Charge 3 is also under Rule 273(5), the specifics being that Mr Justin Abbott, as the trainer of FOLDEM when it raced in Race 6 at Albion Park on Monday, 17 March 2014, changed the registered gear of that horse without the approval of the Stewards, namely by presenting the horse to race in blinkers (hood) when its registered gear indicated the horse should race in blinkers (block).
Charge 4 is under Rule 235A(1) which reads:
A trainer must not lay any horse that is either under his care, control or supervision or has been in the preceding 21 days.
The specifics of the charge being that Mr Justin Abbott, as the trainer of OHOKA BOSTON when it raced in Race 1 at Redcliffe on Wednesday, 19 February 2014, did lay that horse via his Betfair account when it had been under his care, control and supervision, and as a result of the horse not placing, received $235.00.
Charge 5 is also under Rule 235A(1), the specifics being that Mr Justin Abbott, as the trainer of ALTA MARIO when it raced in Race 4 at Albion Park on Monday, 10 March 2014, did lay that horse via his Betfair account when it had been under his care, control and supervision, and as a result of the horse not placing, received $97.55.
Charge 6 is also under Rule 235A(1), the specifics being that Mr Justin Abbott, as the trainer of FOLDEM when it raced in Race 6 at Albion Park on Monday, 10 March 2014, did lay that horse via his Betfair account when it had been under his care, control and supervision, and as a result of the horse not winning, received $811.00.
Charge 7 is under Rule 243 which reads:
A person employed, engaged or participating in the harness racing industry shall not behave in a way which is prejudicial or detrimental to the industry.
The specifics of the charge being, that Mr Justin Abbott, as the trainer of FOLDEM, engaged in the following behaviour in respect of that horse between 9 March 2014 and 18 March 2014:
- Mr Abbott presented FOLDEM to race in Race 6 at Albion Park on Monday, 10 March 2014 in gear which had not been approved by Stewards, namely an open bridle. FOLDEM was the odds-on favourite at $1.80 on Tattsbet. The horse performed below expectation based on its Victorian form, placing sixth.
- Mr Abbott layed FOLDEM that day and received $811.00 as a result of the horse not winning.
- Following this, FOLDEM raced in Race 6 at Albion Park on Monday, 17 March 2014. Mr Abbott failed to notify Stewards of a change in driving tactics and further failed to seek approval to change the registered gear of the horse, namely that it was presented in blinkers (hood). FOLDEM’s performance was improved on this occasion and it won the race paying $2.40 on Tattsbet.
- Mr Abbott placed two bets on FOLDEM to win via his Betfair account and profited in the amount of $810.00.
- An associate of Mr Abbotts, namely Mr Saverio (Sam) Treccase, and his brother Mr Robert Treccase, also layed FOLDEM on 10 March 2014 and backed it to win on 17 March 2014.
This conduct was prejudicial and detrimental to the industry in that a reasonable person would likely perceive Mr Abbott’s behaviour on the whole as undermining the integrity of the harness racing industry and the very act of a trainer laying his own horse and profiting from such creates the suspicion that Mr Abbott, and others associated with Mr Abbott, gained an unfair advantage as a result.
Charge 8 is under Rule 247 which reads:
A person attending before the Controlling Body its members or employees, the Stewards, officials, or at any proceeding under these rules, shall not speak or behave in a malicious, intimidatory or otherwise improper manner.
The specifics of the charge being that on 3 April 2014 when RQ Stewards David Farquharson, Norm Torpey and John Hackett were in attendance at Mr Abbott’s stables and residence exercising powers under the Australian Harness Racing Rules, Mr Abbott stated to the Stewards words that, in the circumstances of the ongoing inquiry, were intimidatory and otherwise improper in that they were designed to intimidate, and undermine the Stewards and to influence the Stewards’ conduct of the inquiry.
Mr Abbot has been given until Monday 7 July 2014 to respond to the charges.
HARNESS RACING AUSTRALIA