Day At The Track

Outlandish penalty for what?

10:00 AM 08 May 2019 NZST
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Shame.jpg
Shameful

Harness racing driver Simon Lawson has unfairly copped a two and a half year ban from the JCA for betting on another horse in a race he was driving in.

Originally in a reserved decision, Lawson was fined $8000 and given a suspension of 18 months for placing a $50EW Fixed Odds bet on Mr Natural in Race 10 at Alexandra Park on 25th May 2018, the “Book An ATC Bus to The Jewels” Mobile Trot while he drove My Royal Roxy into 5th place in the same race.

Details of the Reserved Decision can be read here.

That one and a half year ban has now been upgraded to two and a half years.

For a young driver whose life revolved around horses and harness racing, the ban will certainly impact his life in a major way.

Lawson himself could not believe the length of the term he was disqualified for.

"I am in shock" he told Harnesslink today.

"It has cost me my job and it is going to take me years to pay the fine.

"I am not saying I did not do anything wrong, because I did make a mistake.

"But I think the penalty is harsh and far outweighs the breach of rules," he said.

Earlier in the year Lawson was cleared of race fixing in the race he profited from after police interviewed some of the drivers in the race and found there was no race fixing involved.

Betting patterns that were analysed on the race in question also confirmed no illegal activity.

The two and a half year ban is extremely excessive. It is our belief the RIU appealed the original decision to have the term extended just to make Simon Lawson a scapegoat. Lawson has now been unfairly burdened with a penalty so far out of context with the rule breach it seems like a joke.

Granted the industry needs to protect its integrity but this over the top suspension in our eyes instead makes the industry a laughing stock and instead further damages the industry.

Many owners trainers and drivers we talked too are growing more and more disheartened at the decisions coming from this integrity unit. Something has got to be done and we think the heads at the RIU need to go as they are continuing to hurt all aspects of harness racing.

Harnesslink Media

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