Racing NSW stewards' have suspended jockey Kathy O'Hara for three months after the senior jockey was found guilty of using her mobile phone in the jockey's room 65 times over the past 12 months.
The stewards opened an inquiry into her possession of her mobile telephone in the jockey's room at Kembla Grange of 8 August 2019.
In 2016 O'Hara, 34, was suspended for two weeks and fined $1000 for using her phone in the jockeys' rooms at Kembla Grange and Warwick Farm.
O'Hara commenced this season with one metropolitan winner and seven placings. The suspension effectively takes O'Hara out of riding for the major spring races in Sydney and Melbourne with the suspension dates from September 20th to December 20th.O’Hara said she would appeal against the decision.
O’Hara’s partner, and Chris Waller’s racing manager, Charlie Duckworth was also fined $2000 for his part in O’Hara breaching the rules of racing.
Duckworth, a licensed participant, was found to have contacted O’Hara on the phone 30 times in 12 months on race day.
Duckworth will also appeal.
Kathy O'Hara, picture Sportpix.com.auThe full stewards' report:
Racing NSW Stewards today continued an inquiry opened at the Kembla Grange race meeting conducted on Thursday, 8 August 2019, in respect to Licensed Jockey Ms Kathy O’Hara being in the possession of and using her mobile telephone whilst in the jockey’s room.
Stewards, acting under the provisions of AR218(5), took possession of Ms O’Hara’s telephone for the purpose of having it forensically imaged.
The forensic image of Ms O’Hara’s mobile phone established that Ms O’Hara had used her mobile phone on numerous occasions whilst present in the jockey’s room, which included significant communication between Ms O’Hara and licensed foreperson Mr Charlie Duckworth.
Stewards were satisfied that upon review of the data from the past 12 months that the content of the communication had not comprised the integrity of any races.
Ms Kathy O’Hara
The details of the charge being that licensed jockey, Kathy O’Hara did have her mobile telephone in her possession in the jockey’s room at the Goulburn race meeting conducted on Sunday, 28 April 2019 and at the Gosford race meeting conducted on Thursday, 30 May 2019.
The details of the charge being that licensed jockey, Kathy O’Hara did use her mobile telephone whilst in the jockey’s room on a total of 65 occasions between 11 August 2018 and 8 August 2019.
Penalty: Licensed suspended to ride in races for a period of three (3) months, to commence on Friday, 20 September 2019 and to expire on Friday, 20 December 2019, on which day she may ride.
In arriving at this decision, Stewards considered Jockey O’Hara’s guilty plea, forthright evidence and upcoming feature riding engagements during the Spring Carnival however, were mindful of her poor record for the same offence, this being the 5th occasion in which she had been penalised under this rule and the frequency upon which Ms O’Hara had used her phone during the preceding 12 months whilst in the jockey’s room.
Mr Charlie Duckworth
Mr Duckworth pleaded guilty to a charge under AR227 in that he was a party to Licensed Jockey Ms Kathy O’Hara breaching AR218(4)(c) at 29 race meetings when Ms O’Hara was present in the jockey’s room by engaging in telephone communication with Ms O’Hara on these occasions.
Penalty: Fined the sum of $2000.
In arriving at this decision, Stewards considered Mr Duckworth’s guilty plea, forthright evidence and his unblemished record over a number of years in the industry, however, were mindful that he breached an important rule which regulates the conduct of jockeys whilst undertaking their duties and one which serves to neutralise any negative perception that might arise due to riders having access to a mobile telephone whilst in the jockeys' room.
Ms O’Hara and Mr Duckworth were advised of their rights of appeals.
AR218 No transmission of certain information in certain areas at racecourses
(4) Without the permission of the Stewards, a person (including but not limited to a jockey) must not:
(a) bring into the jockeys’ room;
(b) have in that person’s possession in the jockeys’ room;
(c) use in the jockeys’ room,
any mobile telephone, tablet, radio transmitter, radio transceiver or any other appliance, apparatus, instrument or equipment capable of receiving or transmitting information.
(5) The Stewards may take possession of and retain in their possession (including for the purpose of examining) any appliance, apparatus, instrument or equipment that is used by any person in contravention of this rule.
AR227 Breaches of the Rules
Without limiting any other powers, a PRA or the Stewards may penalise any person who:
(b) attempts to commit, aids, abets, counsels, procures, connives at, conspires with another person to commit, or is a party to another person who commits, a breach of the Rules.