Racing NSW Stewards today (Tuesday, 27 July 2021) concluded an inquiry opened into an allegation that licensed jockeys Hugh Bowman and James McDonald had breached Queensland Government health directions by not self-isolating or quarantining on 1 July 2021 whilst located in North Queensland.
Evidence today was taken from Hugh Bowman and James McDonald.
The evidence established the following.
- Both jockeys were residents of a NSW Local Government Area (LGA) subject to NSW lockdown orders on or after 11 June 2021.
- On 23 June 2021 both rode at the Canterbury Park race meeting and flew to Queensland that evening.
- On 25 June 2021 both were advised by Racing Queensland that “anyone who has been in the NSW LGAs of Waverley, Woollahra, Randwick or City of Sydney since 11 June 2021 is no longer permitted on a licensed QLD [Queensland] training or racing venue” and “that anyone currently in QLD, who has visited any of the four LGAs since June 11, must follow the same. lockdown rules in NSW. With effect from 1am on June 26, 2021”. Whilst both jockeys acknowledged they received such message, both advised they did not read the message as at the time they were being provided with significant information from other parties which was conflicting.
- On the evening of 25 June 2021 and as permitted by Queensland health directions, both flew to Port Douglas North Queensland.
- Whilst in Port Douglas they did not make enquiries to ascertain if they were subject to any stay at home or quarantine directions.
- On the evening of 1 July 2021, both were present in Hemingways Brewery Port Douglas in breach of Interstate Places of Concern (Stay at Home Orders in Queensland) Direction (No 2) issued by the Queensland Government on 27 June 2021, that required they quarantine.
- After being interviewed by Queensland police on Saturday, 3 July 2021 and Tuesday, 6 July 2021 both subsequently adhered to the Queensland health directions after being issued with a warning by Queensland Police.
AR228(a) – Conduct prejudicial to the image and or interests or racing.
Hugh Bowman and James McDonald pleaded guilty to a charge under AR228(a) in that they did engage in conduct that was prejudicial to the image and or interests of racing as they failed to make reasonable enquiries to ascertain if they were subject to stay at home or quarantine orders whilst in North Queensland, such failure resulting in them breaching Interstate Places of Concern (Stay at Home Orders in Queensland) Direction (No 2) issued by the Queensland Government on 27 June 2021, that required both quarantine for 14 days after 23 June 2021.
In assessing penalty Stewards considered the following matters.
- Guilty plea and forthright evidence provided by both.
- The conduct was not intentional conduct to breach the health directions but rather failing to inform themselves of their requirements of the health directions.
- Whilst the conduct was deemed prejudicial to the image and interests of racing, it had not impacted upon the ongoing conduct of thoroughbred racing.
Both H Bowman and J McDonald were fined the sum of $1000.
AR 228 Conduct detrimental to the interests of racing
A person must not engage in:
(a) conduct prejudicial to the image, interests, integrity, or welfare of racing, whether or not that conduct takes place within a racecourse or elsewhere.
- Marc Van Gestel (Chairman of Stewards, General Manager - Integrity). Inquiry on Tuesday, 27 July 2021