Racing Queensland reports that stewards have carefully considered the submissions made on behalf of Mr. Stephen Fletcher in respect to penalty following Stewards finding him guilty of breaching AR135(c).
In doing so, stewards had regard for the manner in which Mr. Fletcher conducted himself during the inquiry hearings and co-operated with stewards during the course of the investigation.
Stewards considered that Mr. Fletcher had not been the subject of any disciplinary proceedings before the stewards previously and have regard for the fact that Mr. Fletcher is a professional punter who derives part of his livelihood from wagering on thoroughbred racing. However the offense found to have been committed by Mr. Fletcher on this occasion is a very serious one.
Similar to Mr. Fletcher, many other people derive their livelihood from the sport of thoroughbred racing. With this opportunity comes the responsibility to conduct oneself in a manner so as not to tarnish the good image of the sport. Racing relies heavily on the revenue stream flowing from wagering, and public confidence in the product must be maintained in order to safeguard this income.
Mr. Fletcher’s conduct has the capacity to deter those already involved in the sport from continuing their association, and may discourage individuals from becoming involved in, or wagering on the sport. It is with this in mind that the stewards form the opinion that the conduct Mr. Fletcher has been found to have engaged in must be viewed seriously and any penalty imposed should serve to reflect this. Stewards had regard for the fact that Mr. Fletcher was not the principal offender; however have considered that Mr. Fletcher was a significant financial beneficiary of the conduct of Jockey El-Issa.
In all the circumstances, stewards believe the appropriate penalty to be that Mr. Fletcher be disqualified for a period of twelve (12) months effective immediately.
Mr Fletcher was informed of the impositions of a disqualified person and advised of his appeal rights through his legal counsel.