Harness – Result of Steward Inquiry – Ms Courtney Burch
21 November, 2017
RWWA Harness Stewards concluded an inquiry on Friday 17th November involving trainer Ms Courtney Burch and the nomination and subsequent withdrawal of HEZ THE JAZZ MAN from Kalgoorlie on 27 October 2017.
The matter came to be investigated by the Stewards following this sequence of events:
- Nominations for Kalgoorlie were extended until Tuesday 24/10/17
- There were 7 horses nominated for the standing start race, two of which were trained by Ms C. Burch.
- C. Burch then nominated HEZ THE JAZZ MAN as a late nomination, making it the 8th horse into the race, which meant the race went ahead.
- Once fields were released, Ms Burch scratched HEZ THE JAZZ MAN citing transport difficulties.
After conducting investigations and interviewing several persons, Ms Burch acknowledged that HEZ THE JAZZ MAN was not in work and had not been in work since March 2017 and that she nominated the horse for the sole reason of ensuring the race would proceed. She further acknowledged providing false information to Stewards in the early stages of the investigation.
Ms Burch subsequently pleaded guilty to the following charges and was penalised as indicated.
- Charge under Rule 216 Fraudulent nomination – “A person whether alone or in association with others shall not fraudulently or improperly nominate or start a horse in a race” where the particulars of the charge were that Ms Burch had nominated HEZ THE JAZZ MAN improperly for the purpose of affecting the number of runners for the event.
Penalty: $1,500 fine.
- Charge under Rule 187 (2) – with the particulars being that when questioned by Stewards in regards to the nomination of HEZ THE JAZZ MAN, Ms Burch did provide false and misleading evidence.
Penalty: $1,000 fine.
In determining penalty the Stewards took into account:
- Ms Burch’s admissions and acknowledgements as reflected by her plea of guilty to both charges.
- Her record and past penalties under the relevant rules.
- The need to make it clear to all that such practices were not acceptable and would be investigated and dealt with accordingly.