Suspension: 6 weeks for a Driving Error

Driver of Auckland Reactor Mark Purdon was suspended six weeks for his drive of the pacer last week.

Chairman of stewards Martin Knibbs said Purdon was charged under rule 149.1, which states : "a driver shall take all reasonable and permissible measures. . . to ensure that the horse is given full opportunity to win or obtain the best possible placing in the field".

In our piece below we looked at how chalk is driven here from time to time, and I think we should open the lines of communication between drivers, judges and the public. And I would like to see it done only when the driver makes no effort to win. However, six weeks for this is way too excessive. This driver at least got his horse to the outside, was probably outdriven in a new land (he says so himself), and he succumbed to the vagaries of harness racing. On any given night in North America and elsewhere you can see a horse driven like this as a favourite, mistake or not.

What do you think?

Details on the hearing itself here.


Anonymous said...

It appears as though the driver made a tactical error; you could see the horse twist and turn as the first horse went around him 3 wide. At that point, he wanted to go but couldn't. It looks like he made a mistake, not a stiff job. That being said, I'm good with the judges penalty. Wanna bet next time he doesn't get pocketed? At least in that country they do everything possible to protect the public and appear to protect the integrity of the sport. I would love to see a driver suspended for staying on the rail in the second leg of a series in which he was a first leg winner. What bothers me the most is that here, tactics like that are accepted. It's okay to save your horse for the final and just send him out for a little exercise. They should make all multi-leg series non-wagering events until the finals. And suspend drivers and trainers who blatantly make no effort to win when it's obvious that they have a very good chance on paper.

Anonymous said...

Excessive by NA standards for sure and judges here would not even bat an eye. Which one is worse? In my opinion the latter.

The time given seems excessive but it is a good thing that time was given. Maybe it gets reduced in an appeal. Could you imagine if this happened in the US, lawyers would be on their private jets before the ink was dry on the decision salivating at the prospect of a law suit.

Maybe this is just the way their rules are set up down under in light of their bookie industry? i have no idea.

I wish the heck the judges had the stones to give Gingras a smack like this after the disgrace he perpetuated last week with Darlins Delight though. Now that was a complete disgrace, doesn't come first up after a 56.4 half, pahleassee! Bubba Miller waited forever it seemed for his cover and then just went on without him and wins the race. Complete and utter disrespect for the owners, bettors, fans, industry in my opinion. I know if it was my horse, he does not get the drive ever again ( and generally I don't feel that way unless a driver were to abuse one of ours, as noted in your piece you have to account for vagaries of the game) How did he make it out of NJ unscathed that night?? It is beyond me.

Sears drive was unacceptable too but atleast he could argue the horse was up in class and the half fractions were fast ( plus 3 hole is not as bad as 4 hole)

As noted above, the driver of Reactor most likely can just be accused of bad judgement not brain dead Gingrasitis.

Anonymous said...

You know though.... In a way Mark Purdon and the connections are a victim of their own hype machine., ran by co-owner of the horse John Curtin, talks the horse up to be the second coming.

But I do agree that it is excessive. But on the other hand it's a huge lobsided win for the horseplayer...... and they never win.

Anonymous said...

True, if the horse was not Auckland Reactor, such a bonehead move would never have been noticed. The same way Paul McDonnell's trip with SBSW was heavily criticized (not by me) in the Meadowlands Pace, it would not have caused a stir in a nw3 race.

It does lead to an interesting question. Many times a driver loses due to a tactical error made during the race. 99.9% of the time it is just racing and part of the game. Yet many times people will say the race was fixed. Short of unusual betting patterns or someone gets caught on a wire, there is no way to know if it was an error or fixed. How do you combat such perceptions? You really can't and that is the problem. When someone else looses due to a bad move it is racing luck. When they loose due to a bad move it must have been a fix.

Anonymous said...

6 weeks is a joke.

He half left to be parked and 2nd over on the outside. He got screwed when being blind-switched very early in the race which seemed totally unexpected that could happen there. After the shuffle he took his medicine and hoped he could outsprint them all home with a good-horse burst. He did that and passed all but one.

What was he supoosed to do early, panic and run into somebody?

Anonymous said...

To Anonymous (3rd comment), while we don't deny we do talk the horse up, it's only because we genuinely believe he is a great horse.

And to be fair although we do try to cover as much international news as possible, we're all New Zealander's and would obviously like to see a New Zealand horse win the Interdom's.

In the story PTP linked to above, you'll note the fairly negative comments we've allowed up, so we're not trying to silence any debate. And the Auckland Reactor stories are by far the most popular on Harnesslink, so we're only giving the people what they want :)

Pull the Pocket said...

Auckland Reactor sucks!

Damn I suck as a troll. I can't even do that well :)

Anonymous said...

I saw nothing egregious in Purdon's drive, yet a 6 week suspension??

If those same judges ever sat in judgemet on a WEG race, all hell would explode. Clearly, most of the WEG drivers would not only be suspended but several would be banned for life. It's only with the acquiecense (spelling?) of the current ORC judges that the driving shenanigans that currently exist continue to exist. A WEG bettor can do nothing about the lack of a competitive driving colony except stop betting. And that is pitiful.


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