Day At The Track

Justice disillusioned with "powers to be"

09:02 AM 01 Oct 2014 NZDT
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Lance Justice
Smoken Up
Im Barney Rubble
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Despite his disillusioned state, harness racing trainer Lance Justice has decided not to disappoint Smoken Up’s fans.

Annoyed by the suspensions he received at Tabcorp Park Melton last Friday night, Justice aired his frustrations on Facebook, during which time he stated he is no longer willing to promote the industry until the “powers to be...get in the real world”.

Justice had previously agreed to take Smoken Up to Ballarat for Friday night’s Laser Electrical Lightning Mile.

As the defending champion and track record holder, Smoken Up was set to lead the field onto the track for the $30,000 feature.

A long time critic to what he believes is a lack of industry promotion, Justice cancelled Smoken Up’s appearance only to realise he was focusing his frustration in the wrong direction.

Justice has often aired his believe the industry falls short in promoting its champions – both equine and human - unlike the thoroughbreds, which constantly pushes its stars into the limelight.

“No more... I have decided I will not do anymore for harness racing, sorry Ballarat, Trigger and I won't be there,” Justice wrote.

“After Friday night’s display by the powers to be I just can't be bothered anymore it’s hard enough to make ends meet without being told you are not allowed to drive for five weeks.

“Have a look at the replays and tell me where anybody was interfered with or lost their chance to get the best result.

He says to the powers to be “Get in the real world. I bet if I told you no pay for five weeks you would not be smiling.”

Although he has since confirmed Smoken Up will make an appearance at Ballarat, Justice remains adamant a revamp of penalties is required in Victoria.

“The stewards are too heavy handed,” Justice declared. “There is no defining difference between light, medium or heavy interference, and as such, it’s just bang...this is the sentence.

“It’s mandatory sentencing gone mad.

“Imagine we start pointing out the mistakes the stewards and staff make and say no pay.

“HRV have done plenty wrong, but they don’t lose their wages.”

Justice’s Facebook post received 215 likes and 63 comments of support, with four people sharing the post.

Julija Brosnan’s remark echoed Justice’s opinion by posing the question: “How many professions do you know that penalise a misdemeanour by taking away a person’s livelihood?”

Justice received three weeks for tightening when driving Im Barney Rubble two victory and two weeks for interference when partnering Machin Out to third behind Mark Dennis.

Im Barney Rubble

Machin Out

The stewards’ report reads:

Driver Lance Justice was found guilty of a charge under Rule 163(1)(a) which deals with causing interference in that shortly after the start he shifted Im Barney Rubble NZ down the track when not sufficiently clear of Asoka NZ (Alison Chisholm), tightening that gelding and causing it to shift down onto Cut For An Ace (Geoff Webster), that was tightened onto Alchemy NZ (Jason Hackett) and resulted in Onedin Hustler NZ (Greg Sugars) also being tightened, contacting the near-side wheel of Alchemy NZ and racing roughly.

After considering submissions on penalty that included Mr Justice’s record, his driving frequency and the interference caused, Mr Justice had his license to drive in race suspended for a period of three weeks to commence at a time to be fixed.

Driver Lance Justice was found guilty of a charge under Rule 163(1)(a) which deals with causing interference in that racing around the home turn he shifted Machin Out up the track when not clear of Artoc NZ (Chris Alford) causing that horse to be checked by its driver and The Baggy Green (Laura Crossland), which was racing to the outside of Artoc, to also be checked by its driver.

After considering submissions on penalty that included Mr Justice’s offence record, driving frequency and the level of interference, Mr Justice had his license to drive in race suspended for a period of two weeks that was deemed to be cumulative to the suspension incurred in Race 5 and to commence at a time to be fixed.

  • PAUL COURTS

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