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Non Raceday Inquiry RIU v R Oliver - Decision dated 2 October 2020 - Chair, Mr N McCutcheon

Created on 07 October 2020








Judicial Committee: Mr N McCutcheon (Chairman)

Parties: Mr M Williamson (The Informant)

Mr R Oliver (The Respondent)

Venue: Te Rapa Racecourse



1. Mr R Oliver, Licensed Jockey, was charged with a breach of Rule 802(1)(a) of the NZ Thoroughbred Rules of Racing.

2. Information No. A13385 was filed with the Judicial Committee.


Oliver, Richard William Class A Jockey that, you are charged that on 19 September 2020, in that you committed a racing offence within the meaning of Rule 802(1)(a) in that by being a holder of a Class A Jockey Licence, you:

a) Failed to comply with a directive given to you by Stipendiary Steward, Matthew Williamson by riding work at the Cambridge Jockey Club on the morning of 19 September 2020 after being given an instruction not to do so, until presenting a medical certificate for declaration of fitness.

4. Rule 802(1)(a) states: A person commits a breach of these Rules who: (a) acts in contravention of or fails to comply with any provision of these Rules or any Regulations made thereunder, or any policy, notice, direction, instruction, guideline, restriction, requirement or condition given, made or imposed under these Rules.

5. Mr Williamson outlined the action taken by the RIU following Mr Oliver riding trackwork on 19 September 2020 as follows.

On 23 September 2020 Mr Williamson and Mr Cruickshank (Senior Racecourse Investigator) interviewed Mr Oliver

On 25 September 2020 Mr Godber (RIU Operations Manager) gave permission for the charge to be preferred on Mr Oliver

On 29 September 2020 Information No. A13385 was served on Mr Oliver by Stipendiary Steward, Mr B Jones. Mr Oliver endorsed the Information that he admitted the breach


Events regarding R Oliver 19 September 2020 are as follows.

7.26 am - Received call from NRB to advise they had been contacted by R Oliver who told them he was unable to ride at Whangarei RC.

7.29 am - I tried to ring R Oliver by phone but was unsuccessful.

7.30 am - Sent following text to R Oliver. Can you ring me as soon as you get a chance please. Matthew Williamson. 027 444 1852

7.44 am - R Oliver phoned me. I inquired into the reasons he was not able to ride today to which he advised he had injured his back during trackwork that morning. I advised he needed to let connections of his engagements know he was not going to the meeting and then advised he would be also be required to provide a medical certificate prior to riding trackwork, trials or races.

7.45 am - Called Derek Collett (Cambridge track manager) to advise that Richard Oliver needed to provide a medical certificate before he would be permitted to ride trackwork again. He replied he thought he had seen R Oliver riding after 7.30 am.

7.51 am- Derek Collett called me to advise that Richard Oliver had then ridden a horse onto the trotting track. Derek took a photo (attached) of him at my request then asked him to cease from riding and further advised he was not permitted to ride trackwork until a medical clearance had been received.

21 September 2020 - R Oliver attempted to ride work at Cambridge JC prior to producing a medical certificate and was stopped by Derek Collett. He went back to his vehicle to get a medical certificate dated 19 September 2020 and was then permitted to ride track work.

Matthew Williamson

Senior Stipendiary Steward

6. In answer to questions from the Chair, Mr Oliver said that he agreed with the content of the Summary of Facts, understood the Rule, the Charge and confirmed that he admitted the breach.

7. Mr Williamson said that if something untoward had happened with Mr Oliver during trackwork, after being directed not to do so, there could have been serious consequences, particularly with Work and Safety NZ. He added that if that situation had have arisen it would have placed the Cambridge Jockey Club and NZTR in an awkward position.


8. As Mr Oliver agreed with the Summary of Facts and admitted the breach preferred under the provision of Rule 802(1)(a) of the NZ Thoroughbred Rules of Racing, the charge was found proved.


9. Mr Williamson said that Mr Oliver had been riding in New Zealand for approximately 8 months. During that period, he had breached the Careless Riding Rule and the Excessive Whip Rule. Mr Williamson added that this was Mr Oliver’s first breach of Rule 802(1)(a). Mr Williamson said that Mr Oliver did not adhere to a Stipendiary Steward’s directive and that the penalty should reflect the seriousness of the offence. Mr Williamson submitted that a significant fine and or suspension of his Jockey’s Licence be imposed.

Mr Oliver said that he did admit the breach, but that he was not aware of the breach of the Rule, particularly to the degree, nature or severity of it. He said that he rode two horses trackwork after being told not to, which proved he did not know the Rule. He said that he got paid $40 for riding the two horses, which was a small amount and that if he was aware of the Rule he would not have ridden work. He said that he was only fulfilling his job on that morning and that there was no malice, thinking that he would get one over the Stipendiary Stewards and that there was no naughtiness. Mr Oliver said that he went out of his way to get a medical clearance as soon as possible and was not aware of the significance of it all at the time. He said that he does not get many race rides and gets paid for riding trackwork, but does not have any other income. He added that any suspension or significant fine would make it difficult for him and his family.


10. The Committee found that the breach committed by Mr Oliver to be a serious breach of Rule 802(1)(a).

Subsequent to being directed by Senior Stipendiary Steward, Mr Williamson that he could not ride trackwork, trials or races until such time as he provided a Medical Certificate, Mr Oliver was observed riding trackwork.

Mr Williamson told Mr Oliver at approximately 7.44am on 19 September 2020 during a telephone conversation of the restrictions placed on him.

At approximately 7.51am on 19 September 2020 Mr Derek Collett (Cambridge Track Manager) advised Mr Williamson that Mr Oliver had ridden a horse onto the trotting track.

On 21 September 2020 Mr Oliver attempted to ride trackwork at the Cambridge Jockey Club prior to producing a Medical Certificate and was stopped from doing so by Mr Derek Collett. Mr Oliver then went to his vehicle, returned, and produced a Medical Certificate dated 19 September 2020 which cleared him from 20 September 2020.

All reasonable directives issued by a Stipendiary Steward must be complied with by participants in the industry.

It is a fundamental function and duty of Stipendiary Stewards to maintain the integrity of racing and this is done primarily through their observations and regulation of the Rules of Racing, including administrative policy and directives relating to racing.

For this process to operate, there is a strong reliance on Licence Holders to meet their obligations under the Rules and comply with the directions given.

Collaboration and compliance are imperative for this to occur.

On that basis when a Licenced Rider, as in this case, Mr Oliver, has flagrantly disregarded the Steward’s directive to not ride trackwork, trials or in races until a Medical Clearance is provided, a deterrent penalty is called for.

The JCA penalty guide does not provide a starting point for breaches of this nature. Instead, penalties are fact dependant and it is up to the Committee of the day to weigh up all of the facts and submissions in arriving at a fitting penalty.

In assessing penalty the Committee took into account mitigating features including Mr Oliver’s admission of the breach of a charge of this nature and his personal financial circumstances. The aggravating feature was that Mr Oliver could have put himself and others at risk by riding trackwork with an injury to his back and in particular after being directed not to do so by a Stipendiary Steward.

The Committee determined that a term of suspension and a fine was a condign sanction.


11. Mr Oliver’s Jockey’s Licence was suspended from 11 October up to 24 October 2020 inclusive (8 days) and fined $1,000.


12. Due to the charge being heard on a raceday there was no order as to costs.

N McCutcheon


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