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Result of an Appeal (C. Hardie) heard by the Disciplinary Panel on Thursday 8 July 2021
                                             

Result of an Appeal (C. Hardie) heard by the Disciplinary Panel on Thursday 8 July 2021


14/07/2021 @ 11:00:00

Cam Hardie

The independent Disciplinary Panel of the British Horseracing Authority convened on Thursday 8 July 2021 to hear an Appeal brought by Cam Hardie, a licensed jockey, against the finding of the Stewards at Newcastle racecourse finding him in breach of the Rules of Racing prohibiting Improper Riding and imposing a penalty of a suspension of 4 days.

1.  The Race : This was the William Hill Best Odds Guaranteed Handicap Stakes run on the 26th June over 6 furlongs at Newcastle racecourse. The Appellant rode MONDAMMEJ which horse was placed 2nd. There was no issue as to placings. Other horses which were significantly involved in exchanges before us were WOVEN ridden by Connor Beasley and MAJOR JUMBO. The case against Mr Hardie before the Stewards and before us was that he had caused interference to Mr Beasley on WOVEN by shifting left and thereby creating a gap which would not otherwise have been there.  The case for Mr Hardie was that whereas he was admittedly in breach as to careless riding based on misjudgement, his error/misjudgement did not amount to improper riding in that he rode into a perceived/emerging gap between WOVEN and MAJOR JUMBO. The Stewards concluded that this was improper riding and imposed a penalty of 4 days suspension. The Appeal was presented against both the finding of improper riding and the penalty imposed.

2. The hearing before us : Ms Charlotte Davison appeared for the BHA and Mr Rory Mac Neice represented Mr Hardie. There was no objection to the constitution of the Panel. The hearing followed the appropriate procedure; we viewed the video footage many times from all angles at all speeds. We heard evidence from Mr Hardie who was appropriately cross examined and we heard opening and closing submissions on both sides.

3. The Rules and Guidance: Improper Riding is defined as that which causes interference by some manoeuvre where he knew or ought reasonably to have known that interference would result...; Careless riding is defined as a failure to take reasonable steps to avoid causing interference or causing interference. It might be thought that the simple difference between the two is the taking of a deliberate manoeuvre as opposed to for example allowing a horse to drift and interfere without taking proper steps to correct the course. But with reference to clause d) of the guidance careless riding may include circumstances where “a rider changes direction causing interference due to misjudgement."

4. The Issue: Taking into account 3 above the issue before us was a discrete and comparatively narrow one : on the balance of probabilities was this careless riding or improper riding? We then had to consider the penalty dependent on our primary finding. As is often the case video footage is significant evidence. On the balance of probabilities and with reference to the definitions we find that there was some interference but we find this to be a case of misjudgement as opposed to improper riding.  In particular, there is no doubt that Mr Hardie made an assessment in a necessarily limited timescale that MAJOR JUMBO was drifting right thus potentially creating a gap albeit that that horse straightened at a crucial stage. MAJOR JUMBO was drifting right before that and it is clear that Mr Hardie should have made allowance for correction. That he did not do so we judge to be careless and short of improper.

5. We allow the appeal against the finding of improper riding and find Mr Hardie to be in breach as to careless riding as he has accepted. As to the penalty we apply the guidance. The degree of interference is not in dispute and we have some regard to Mr Beasley’s account in the Stewards Enquiry. He was not called before us, a decision which we respect. We cautioned Mr Hardie. Given that he has always accepted careless riding and our ultimate judgement the deposit is returned. This case has been decided on its own particular facts as we found them on the evidence before us and it should not be regarded as a precedent.
 

Notes to Editors:

 
1. The Panel for the Appeal was: HH James O'Mahony, Alison Royston, Austin Allison. 

Please note, the BHA Judicial Panel is an independent body which encompasses the Disciplinary Panel, Appeal Board and Licensing Committee. It receives administrative support from the BHA via the Judicial Panel Secretary. 
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