Racing NSW Stewards on Monday conducted an inquiry into an alleged breach of the Racing NSW COVID-19 policy by trainer Mr Bjorn Baker and jockey Mr Glyn Schofield following the running of race 9 at Royal Randwick on Saturday 1 August 2020.
Evidence was taken from Mr Baker and Mr Schofield by video conference. The inquiry established that following;
1. Off Shaw trained by Mr Baker and ridden by Mr Schofield won race 9.
2. Following the race Mr Baker was filming Mr Schofield’s post-race comments, when Mr Baker suggested the pair take a “selfie” during the video, which resulted in Mr Baker and Mr Schofield placing their arms around each other’s shoulders.
3. Mr Baker’s racing manager then took a photograph of the “selfie” being taken and then sent the photograph for posting on the Bjorn Baker Racing Twitter page.
4. After being displayed for approximately 30 minutes, Mr Baker was contacted by an owner who inform him of the potential breach and Mr Baker then arranged for the photograph to be removed.
Mr Baker and Mr Schofield pleaded guilty to separate charges under AR233(a) of having breach the Racing NSW COVID-19 policy, in that they failed to remain 1.5 metres apart and embraced each other whilst being photographed, following the running of race 9.
In considering penalty the Stewards took into account:
1. The requirement for strict adherence to the Racing NSW COVID-19 policy and the effects a breach of such policy could have on the NSW thoroughbred racing industry.
2. Significance of the breach with a jockey and trainer making contact with each other, in breach of the strict raceday protocols.
3. The posting of the photograph on social media, albeit it was taken down after approximately 30 minutes.
4. The purpose of penalties being issued as a protection for the sport and what message is to be sent to any person who may breach the policy in future.
5. Mr Baker gave evidence that he had instigated the contact between he and Mr Schofield.
6. Mr Baker’s awareness of the importance of adhering to the Racing NSW COVID-19 having regard to a show cause hearing soon to be conducted by Racing NSW.
7. Guilty pleas.
8. Precedent penalties.
Mr Baker was fined the sum of $4000. Mr Baker was also informed that his conduct, the subject of this Stewards Report, will also now be considered as part of the show cause hearing to be conducted by Racing NSW in respect to Mr Baker’s failure to report to Racing NSW in respect of two staff members, one who had attended a hotel identified by the NSW Department of Health as having a positive COVID-19 case and another who was a close contact of a person that attended the same venue.
Mr Schofield was fined the sum of $2000.
Both Mr Baker and Mr Schofield were required to obtain a COVID-19 test and have been directed not to attend a racecourse or licensed premises until the results of both tests have been provided to Racing NSW Stewards.
AR 233 Other misconduct offences
A person must not:
(a) breach a policy, regulation or code of practice published by Racing Australia or a PRA;
M F Van Gestel (Chairman)
W R Birch