HEARING OF A CHARGE ISSUED UNDER AR175A AGAINST TRAINING PARTNERSHIP GAI WATERHOUSE & ADRIAN BOTT IN RESPCT TO THE BREAKFAST WITH THE STARS CONDUCTED AT ROYAL RANDWICK ON 4 APRIL 2017.
Date: Thursday 27 April 2017
Location: RNSW Offices, Druitt Street Sydney
Stewards: M F Van Gestel (Chairman) P C Dingwall T J Vassallo
On Tuesday 11 April 2017, the Stewards opened an inquiry into the circumstances whereby three horses trained by the Gai Waterhouse & Adrian Bott training partnership (the partnership) completed trackwork at the Breakfast With The Stars conducted at Royal Randwick on Tuesday 4 April 2017, when not nominated or authorised to do so.
The Stewards, after considering all of the evidence, issued a charge against the partnership under AR175A, of conduct prejudicial to the image and/or interests of racing. The details of the charge being that the partnership worked Fabrizio, Sort After and Stampede during the Breakfast With The Stars on the morning of Tuesday 4 April 2017 in place of, and in the colours and assigned sponsors saddle cloths of, the horses nominated and approved and, as a consequence, persons who had observed the trackwork sessions or viewed social media were misled into believing that English, Serena Bay and Debonairly had completed trackwork during the Breakfast With The Stars session when they had not.
The hearing of the charge was conducted by Racing NSW Stewards today, whereby a not guilty plea was entered by the partnership. The partnership was assisted by Mr Marcus Pesman SC, instructed by solicitor Mr Phillip Beazley.
Hearing of the Charge
Mr Pesman SC made submissions on behalf of the partnership addressing the following five matters:
1. Elements of AR175A – Mr Pesman submitted that it was a requirement of AR175A that the relevant conduct does have the outcome of being prejudicial to the image and/or interests of racing and that, in this case, it did not.
2. The Stewards were required to consider all of the circumstances including that the partnership was acting on welfare grounds by not working the three horses approved to completed trackwork during the Breakfast With The Stars session, being English, Serena Bay and Debonairly.
3. There was no intent on behalf of the partnership to breach the Rules of Racing or engage in conduct prejudicial to the image and/or interests of racing. It was assisting the Australian Turf Club in providing horses to work during a marketing event.
4. The partnership was faced with three choices. First, to gallop the approved horses English, Serena Bay and Debonairly when they were not suitable to do so. Second, to not gallop any horses in place of those three horses, meaning that there would be less horses galloped in the ATC’s marketing event. Third, to replace the approved horses English, Serena Bay and Debonairly with fit horses.
5. It was accepted by the partnership that it made the wrong choice to replace the approved horses but that wrong choice was not sufficiently serious to warrant a finding of conduct prejudicial to the image and/or interests of racing.
In considering this matter, the Stewards had regard to the findings of the Racing NSW Appeals Panel in the matter of Zerafa (6 November 2015) where it found that the relevant conduct did not need to be of a special kind, such as “dishonest, corrupt, intentionally misleading” and that the charge is proven if a reasonable person, if apprised of the facts, would have a suspicion that is prejudicial to the image and/or interests of racing.
The Stewards, having regard to the submissions and all of the circumstances are satisfied, to the requisite standard, that a reasonable person, when apprised of the facts, would regard that conduct as prejudicial to the image and/or interests of racing.
Further, the conduct of the partnership as detailed above was blameworthy as described by Young CJ in Eq in the NSW Supreme Court in the case of Mr Robert Waterhouse (concerning “extravagant odds” offered to Mr Peter McCoy).
Accordingly, the Stewards find the partnership guilty of the charge of conduct prejudicial to the image and/or interests of racing, being the conduct detailed above, when considered in its entirety.
Having regard to the submissions made on penalty the Stewards issued a fine of $5000 against the partnership. In determining penalty, the Stewards considered the following matters:
1. Neither Mrs Waterhouse or Mr Bott (individually or as the partnership) had any prior breaches of the conduct related rules.
2. Consideration of precedent penalties.
3. Seriousness of the breach of the rule, having regard to what effect the breach has on the interests and/or image of racing.
The partnership was advised of its rights of appeal.