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Auckland RC 28 February 2015 - R 9 (heard on 7 March 2015 at Ellerslie)



Adjourned Hearing from 28 February until 7 March 2015. ADMITTED

Informant: Mr R Neal- Co Chief Stipendiary Steward

Respondent: Mr L Innes - Licensed Rider

Information No: A4367

Meeting: Auckland RC

Date: 28 February 2015

Venue: Ellerslie

Rule No: 638(1) (d)

Race: 9

Judicial Committee: A Dooley, Chairman - G Jones, Committee Member

Plea: Admitted

Person's Present: Mr J Oatham – Senior Stipendiary Steward


Careless Riding


Following the running of race 9, TV 3 New Zealand Derby (Group 1), an Information was filed pursuant to Rule 638 (1) (d). The Informant, Mr Neal, alleged that rider Mr Innes (VAVASOUR) shifted inwards near the 1500 metres when not clear of GIANT TURTLE (M Hills) which was checked.

Mr Innes acknowledged that he understood the nature of the charge, the Rule and confirmed his admission of the breach.

Rule 638(1) (d) provides: A Rider shall not ride a horse in a manner which the Judicial Committee considers to be careless.

Mr Oatham identified on the video films that near the 1,500 metres Mr Innes allowed his mount VAVASOUR to shift in when only ½ to ¾ of a length clear of GIANT TURTLE. He said this resulted in GIANT TURTLE going off stride and losing ground.

Mr Innes told the Committee that VAVASOUR was racing keen in the blinkers and he conceded that his mount touched GIANT TURTLE. He said he had no intention to do so and he believed GIANT TURTLE over – reacted to the check.


As Mr Innes admitted the breach we find the charge proved.

Submissions For Penalty

Mr Neal produced Mr Innes’ record which showed 2 previous breaches under this Rule in the last 12 months, the most recent being on 24 April 2014 at Avondale which attracted a 5 day suspension. He said this was a very good record for a busy North Island rider. He said Mr Hills was entitled to his line of running and noted GIANT TURTLE became unbalanced when contacting the running rail. He said the race was broadcast internationally and riders need to portray an acceptable standard of riding. Mr Neal said the normal starting point for a suspension would be 5 days but submitted a quantum uplift was necessary given the Group 1 status of the race and the stake of $750,000. Mr Neal completed his submissions by saying he would leave it up to the Committee to determine penalty.

Mr Innes said he believed GIANT TURTLE over – reacted to the incident. Mr Innes said he was a national rider who recently rode at Omakau and he rides at all the big South Island meetings when there is an increase in prize money. Mr Innes submitted his record was excellent and told the Committee that any proposed suspension could start immediately after racing today.

In response to a question from the Committee, Mr Neal assessed Mr Innes as a North Island rider who attends South Island meetings infrequently.

A further charge arising from the NZ Derby was also filed against Mr Innes. This charge was part heard and adjourned until the start of racing on 7 March to enable a penalty to be affixed taking into account both charges.

Reasons For Penalty

The Committee carefully considered all the evidence and submissions presented. We have adopted 5 riding days as the starting point in considering the term of suspension for this careless riding charge. We have given Mr Innes credit for mitigating factors including his admission of the breach and his good record under this Rule.

The Committee has factored into our decision the requirements of Rule 920 (2) which provides that on finding a breach proved the Judicial Committee may impose any penalty provided by these Rules. In imposing a penalty the Judicial Committee have regard to such matters as it considers appropriate including:

(a) the status of the Race;
(b) the stake payable in respect of the Race;
(c) any consequential effects upon any person or horse as a result of the breach of the Rule;
(d) the need to maintain integrity and public confidence in racing.

Accordingly, the Committee has noted that this breach occurred in a Group 1 race worth $750,000. A consequence of this breach is that GIANT TURTLE was tightened up and clearly had to change stride due to Mr Innes being only ¾ of a length clear when shifting in. We assess the level of careless in the low to mid – range.

The Committee considers Mr Innes to be predominately a North Island rider who rides at Christchurch in August and November at their premier meetings. Mr Innes certainly has no history of riding in the South Island on industry days. When tested by the Committee Mr Innes acknowledged that he had no intention of riding at the upcoming South Island meetings that were read aloud to him.

After taking into account all the above factors the Committee considers an appropriate penalty is a 6 day suspension.


Accordingly, Mr Innes had his license to ride in races suspended for a period to commence after racing on 7 March and conclude after racing on 18 March 2015 (6 North Island days).

The penalty did not include any South Island meetings as Mr Innes confirmed that he did not intend riding there in the near future.

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