The Stewards today inquired into a report forwarded to them by Dr P Curl, Executive Manager, Veterinary Regulation regarding the racehorse FOUR FOUR FIVE (P445). Prior to being retired from racing in Hong Kong on 26 October 2017, FOUR FOUR FIVE was at the relevant time trained by Mr D Cruz.
Evidence was today taken from Mr Cruz, Dr Curl and Dr J O’Shea, Veterinary Surgeon allocated to Mr Cruz’s stable for the current 2017/2018 season. Reports were also tendered by Dr C M Riggs, Head of Veterinary Clinical Services, and Dr B D Stewart, Head of Veterinary Regulation and Biosecurity Policy.
Mr Cruz pleaded guilty to a breach of Rule 50(6) in that he failed to comply with his responsibility to report an injury to a racehorse under his care, the particulars of the charge being that he did fail to report, as soon as practicable, a right fore tendon injury sustained by FOUR FOUR FIVE on or about 13 September 2017 to either a Veterinary Surgeon or a Veterinary Officer with that horse not being presented to a Veterinary Surgeon until 17 October 2017 following the initial injury being exacerbated after the horse was subjected to track work.
In assessing penalty, the Stewards took into consideration that Mr Cruz’s failure to report the injury sustained by FOUR FOUR FIVE presented a welfare issue but also that Mr Cruz had been forthright in his evidence, had pleaded guilty to the charge at the earliest available opportunity and had not previously come before the Stewards regarding a horse welfare issue in his career as a professional racehorse trainer in Hong Kong. In the circumstances, the Stewards believed the appropriate penalty was for Mr Cruz to be fined the sum of $75,000.