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Wellington RC 19 March 2016 - R 8 (instigating a protest) - Chair, Mrs N Moffatt

Created on 21 March 2016

Rules:
642(1)
Committee:
NMoffatt (chair)
NMcCutcheon
Respondent(s):
Mr S Marsh - Trainer of SOFIA ROSA
Informant:
Mr M Hills - Rider of FANATIC
Information Number:
A3527
Horse Name:
SOFIA ROSA
Persons present:
Mrs D Sweeney - Co-Trainer of FANATIC
Mrs J Ritchie - Supporting Mrs Sweeney
Ms D Johnson - Rider of SOFIA ROSA
Mr B Perry - Racing Manager of SOFIA ROSA
Mr J Oatham - Senior Stipendiary Steward
Mr R Neal - Co Chief Stipendiary Steward
Members of the press/Trackside
Evidence:

Following Race 8, Wellfield New Zealand Oaks Group 1, a protest was lodged pursuant to Rule 642(1) by Mr M Hills alleging that horse number 2 (SOFIA ROSA) or its rider placed 1st by the Judge interfered with the chances of horse number 13 (FANATIC), placed 2nd by the Judge.

The information alleged interference over the final stages.

Judges placings were:
1st - SOFIA ROSA (2)
2nd -  FANATIC (13)
3rd - STRADA CAVALLO (4)
4th - MIME (1)
5th - PROMISE TO REIGN (3)

The official margin between 1st and 2nd was a nose.

Submissions For Decision:

Prior to any evidence being given the Stewards played the head-on, side-on, and rear view films of the incident identifying the two runners concerned in the protest.

Mr Hills said he came out for a run and his filly (FANATIC) was running straight to the line until the point where SOFIA ROSA moved outwards and made contact with him. He said SOFIA ROSA impeded his progress when she pushed him off his line. Mr Hills said, considering the nose margin at the finish, the interference definitely cost him the race. In addition, if Ms Johnson had stopped riding to correct her mount, there would have been no interference and he would have won the race.

Mrs Sweeney agreed with Mr Hills and said the interference definitely cost FANATIC the race. She said FANATIC was running straight until SOFIA ROSA ran outwards causing a loss of momentum to her runner.

Mr Marsh, the trainer of SOFIA ROSA, used the head-on film to show the final stages of the race. He said Mr Hills never had to stop riding FANATIC and it was only in the last two strides before the post that contact was made. Mr Marsh said up until that point FANATIC was running away from SOFIA ROSA and at no stage had she ever headed his runner. He said no-one was inconvenienced and the best horse won the race.

Ms Johnson said that both she and Mr Hills were able to ride out to the finish, they bumped only a couple of strides short of the line, and if the race was re-run the best horse would have won again.

Mr Perry showed the side-on film and said that when SOFIA ROSA saw FANATIC coming alongside she fought back and was easily holding her position for the last 50 metres.

For the Stewards Mr Neal showed where SOFIA ROSA commenced to shift out down the home straight with FANATIC moving outwards simultaneously, away from SOFIA ROSA. FANATIC was making ground on SOFIA ROSA when three strides prior to the post there was contact between the two runners and FANATIC was shifted considerably wider on the track.

Reasons For Decision:

Rule 642(1) states:
If a placed horse or its Rider causes interference within the meaning of this Rule 642 to another placed horse, and the Judicial Committee is of the opinion that the horse so interfered with would have finished ahead of the first mentioned horse had such interference not occurred, they may place the first mentioned horse immediately after the horse interfered with.

The head-on and rear-view films were very clear in depicting the degree of outward movement by SOFIA ROSA over the final stages. It was observed that the horse, when being ridden with vigour with the whip, moved out no less than 5 horse widths forcing FANATIC over this amount of extra ground. It was also observed that SOFIA ROSA made contact with FANATIC with three to four strides to travel. The side-on view clearly showed that FANATIC was finishing the race off strongly in spite of suffering interference and losing momentum. Taking into account the margin of a nose, the degree of interference and the manner in which FANATIC was finishing the Committee was satisfied that had the interference not occurred FANATIC would have finished ahead of SOFIA ROSA.

Decision:

Accordingly the protest was upheld and amended placings were:
1st - FANATIC (13)
2nd - D SOFIA ROSA (2)
3rd - STRADA CAVALLO (4)
4th - MIME (1)
5th - PROMISE TO REIGN (3)

Dividends were directed to be paid accordingly.

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