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Trainer John Sharah - Suspended for Breach of Covid-19 Policy

Racing NSW Stewards have concluded an inquiry opened into Warwick Farm trainer Mr John Sharah breaching Racing NSW COVID-19 protocols and policies when in attendance at Warwick Farm racecourse on Thursday 29 July 2021 and Friday 30 July 2021.

Evidence today was taken from Mr Sharah who also provided submissions to the Stewards in relation to the allegations.

The evidence established the following.

  1. On Thursday 29 July 2021 Mr Sharah obtained a COVID-19 test as;
    • he had displayed COVID-19 like symptoms the day prior.
    • his horses were located in the Campbelltown LGA that had been placed into restricted lockdown the day prior.
  2. On the morning of Friday 30 July 2021, Mr Sharah attended Warwick Farm racecourse for trackwork.
  3. On or around midday on Friday 30 July 2021, Mr Sharah was advised by NSW Health that his COVID-19 test had returned positive to COVID-19.
  4. Mr Sharah immediately contacted Racing NSW to advise of the test result and identified racing industry participants with whom he had been in close contact.

Charges

  1. AR228(a) – Conduct prejudicial to the interests or racing.

Mr Sharah pleaded guilty to a charge under AR228(a) in that he did engage in conduct that was prejudicial to the interests of racing as;

  • he breached Racing NSW COVID-10 protocols and policies by attending Warwick Farm racecourse on Thursday 29 July 2021 having displayed COVID-19 like symptoms the day prior and by attending Warwick Farm racecourse on Friday 30 July 2021 after being tested for COVID-19 when he was required to self-isolate and wait for his test result.
  • he breached the requirement of the NSW Government that persons that have COVID-19 like symptoms are to immediately undertake a COVID-19 test and to self-isolate until they receive a negative test result.

Such conduct detailed above having the potential to compromise the continuance of the NSW thoroughbred racing industry during the pandemic and increasing the risk of endangering the health and safety of all NSW Thoroughbred Racing Industry participants that he came into contact on those days.

  1. AR233(a) – Breach of Racing NSW Policy

Mr Sharah pleaded guilty to a charge under AR233(a) of having breached the Racing NSW COVID-19 protocols and policies by attending Warwick Farm racecourse on Thursday 29 July 2021 having displayed COVID-19 like symptoms the day prior and by attending Warwick Farm racecourse on Friday 30 July 2021 after being tested for COVID-19 when he was required to self-isolate and wait for his test result.

Penalty

In assessing penalty Stewards considered the following matters.

  1. Guilty plea.
  2. Forthright evidence provided by Mr Sharah and cooperation in identifying his close contacts.
  3. His good record.
  4. Seriousness of the breach and the potential of his conduct to compromise continuance of the NSW thoroughbred racing during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Mr Sharah’s trainers’ licence was suspended for a period or 12 months on both charges to be served concurrently. Having regard to his guilty plea and other abovementioned mitigating factors, the period of suspension was reduced to 9 months, to commence on 16 August 2021 and to expire on 16 May 2022.

Relevant Rule

 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.

AR 233 Other misconduct offences

A person must not:

(a) breach a policy, regulation or code of practice published by Racing Australia or a PRA;

 

 M F Van Gestel

Chairman of Stewards

General Manager - Integrity

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