Racing NSW Stewards today continued an inquiry opened into licensed jockey Leigh Roche’s riding of Zatopaz in Race 6 (TAB Handicap, 2400m) at the Australian Turf Club's race meeting conducted at Royal Randwick on Saturday, 14 January 2017.
Evidence today was taken from Leigh Roche and trainer of Zatopaz, Bjorn Baker. Stewards also considered a report on the wagering of the event submitted by Racing NSW Betting Analyst, Mitchell Reid, which revealed no unusual activity or integrity concerns.
Licensed jockey Leigh Roche was found guilty of a charge under AR135(b), which states:
AR135. (b) The rider of every horse shall take all reasonable and permissible measures throughout the race to ensure that his horse is given full opportunity to win or to obtain the best possible place in the field.
(c) Any person who in the opinion of the Stewards has breached, or was a party to breaching, any portion of this rule may be penalised, and the horse concerned may be disqualified.
The details of the charge being that when he rode Zatopaz in Race 6 (TAB Handicap, 2400m) at the Australian Turf Club's race meeting conducted at Randwick Racecourse on Saturday, 14 January 2017, he failed to take all reasonable and permissible measures on that gelding throughout the said race to ensure that Zatopaz was given full opportunity to win or obtain the best possible place in the field in that by reason of all or part of the following particulars;
1) That after being slow to begin and riding his mount along vigorously and obtaining a position behind Burning Energy near the 2200m, he continued to pressure his mount resulting in Zatopaz being caught three wide with no cover in the early stages, when it was reasonable and permissible for him to remain racing behind Burning Energy in the early stages, whilst still maintaining a forward position.
2) From near the 2000m until near the 1700m whilst racing in a three wide position without cover and when the early tempo of the race was fast, he continued to ride aggressively when at all relevant times during this period of the race it was reasonable and permissible for him to ease and shift in behind Burning Energy and obtain cover, to avoid covering additional ground whilst still maintaining a forward position.
3) From near the 1600m until near the 1400m whilst the tempo of the race remained fast, he placed his mount under sustained pressure throughout this period of the race when it was reasonable and permissible for him to ease and shift in behind Burning Energy and obtain cover, whilst still maintaining a forward position.
4) After crossing Burning Energy near the 1200m and racing to the outside of Thewayweare near the 1100m he rode his mount along aggressively until near the 800m when it was reasonable and permissible for him to desist from riding with such vigour and provide his mount with the opportunity to travel at reasonable pace whilst trailing Thewayweare.
5) His actions in respect to particulars 1,2,3 & 4 resulted in Zatopaz not finishing in the best possible placing in the field in that it; a. was not given the opportunity to travel at a reasonable tempo during the specified periods of the race b. had too much use made of it throughout the specified periods of the race, c. was forced to cover additional ground.
Having regard to relevant factors in respect to penalty, including this was Leigh Roche’s first charge under this rule, his licence to ride in races was suspended for a period of 5 weeks to commence on Sunday, 5 February 2017 and to expire on Sunday, 12 March 2017 on which day he may ride.
Jockey Roche was advised of his rights of appeal.