Natalie Rasmussen - fined and suspended in the Hunter Cup on Saturday night. Photo: Trish Dunell.
Natalie Rasmussen will be unable to drive in the Miracle Mile or Ladyship Mile at Menangle on February 24 after being suspended by Victorian Stewards on Saturday night.
After driving Heaven Rocks in the Group 1 A G Hunter Cup at Melton, Rasmussen was fined A$1,500 and suspended from driving for three weeks after pleaded guilty to a charge brought against her.
According to Harness Racing Victoria’s Chairman of Stewards, Nick Murray, Rasmussen was charged because she allowed Heaven Rocks to move in to the three-wide line without improving, meaning two trailing runners were impeded.
Heaven Rocks moved out with just under a lap to go, but stayed ‘stagnant’ until the end of the back straight, when he got cover and commenced a run.
“Under the rule, a driver shall not allow his or her horse to shift out from the running line unless it commences a forward move or attempts to improve its position,” said Murray.
“For a significant distance, Rasmussen trailed on the outside wheel of Bling It On in a three-wide position, but failed to commence a forward move through that portion.
“It resulted in Moonrock and San Carlo being impeded and unable to improve their position.
“As a result, she was suspended for three weeks from midnight on Saturday night, and fined $1,500 due the Group 1 status of the race.”
In further bad news for the camp, Heaven Rocks was removed from the barrier draw for his immediate racing after displaying unacceptable behavior in the pre-race formation.
The enigmatic pacer had his first start back in the draw in the Ballarat Cup last month and, while he scored up perfectly and held the lead from barrier one, he was issued a warning by Stewards.
“He was placed on his last chance at Ballarat on January 20 because he required the assistance of the clerk of the course to initially score-up.”
The same thing happened again on Saturday night and stewards banished him back to the unruly.
This will mean he has to start from there if he lines up in a Miracle Mile qualifier at Menangle on February 17 and the Miracle Mile a week later, if he qualifies.
Rasmussen won’t be there to drive him in either race, nor will she be able to drive either Piccadilly Princess or Partyon in the Ladyship Mile on the same night.