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Auckland TC 19 February 2021 – R 6 – Chair, Mr G Jones

Created on 21 February 2021

GJones (chair)
Mr A Herlihy - Open Driver of AMERICAN BEAUTY
Mr S Mulcay - Senior Stipendiary Steward
Information Number
Breach of Shifting Ground Regulations.

Following the running of Race 6, the Crombie Lockwood Bloodstock Fillies Heat 3 Mobile Pace 1700m, an information was filed by Senior Stipendiary Steward, Mr Mulcay alleging Open Driver, Mr A Herlihy, breached Rule 869(4) in that he “drove in a manner which resulted in his own filly (AMERICAN BEAUTY) breaking near the 1200m when attempting to shift CHANTILLY (J Dickie) down from the one out position”.

Mr Herlihy endorsed the Information ‘I do admit the breach of the Rule’. At the commencement of the hearing, he confirmed his plea and that he understood the rule and the nature of the charge.

Rule 869 (4) provides:
(4) No driver shall during any race do anything which interferes or is likely to interfere with his own horse and/or any other horse or its progress.

The Shifting Ground Regulations provide:
Where a horse does not have clear passage during a race the driver shall be permitted to shift ground:
1. Inwards and ease another runner down the track provided such driver is in a position to do so by having sufficient advantage over the horse about to be shifted inwards and that horse is clear of other horses to its inside so it can be moved in.
2 Outwards and ease another runner up the track provided the horse to be shifted outwards is in a position to be moved out without causing interference to that or any other horse and that the movement complies with the requirements of Rule 869(6)(b) and (c) – the “push out” Rule.
For the avoidance of doubt, the following shall apply:
The onus shall be on the driver shifting ground to ensure the move is made with safety and does not cause interference by conducting it in a gradual and acceptable manner thereby enabling the driver of the runner being moved to be able to take the necessary action to accommodate the manoeuvre.
Where interference occurs or a driver fails to concede when not in a position to maintain his/her place, the provisions of Rules 869(3) and (4) shall apply.

Using available video footage Mr Mulcay identified the horses involved in the incident namely, AMERICAN BEAUTY (Mr A Herlihy) and CHANTILLY (Mr J Dickie). Mr Mulcay said that nearing the 1250 metre mark AMERICAN BEAUTY was racing in a three wide position with CHANTILLY racing on its inner. He said Mr Herlihy, eased and attempted to shift CHANTILLY down from its one out position in the running line. He said that Mr Herlihy eased to get on to the back of DANCE TILL DAWN (P Ferguson). In doing so AMERICAN BEAUTY broke near the 1150 metres and lost ground before quickly settling back into its gait.

Mr Herlihy freely acknowledged that he breached the Rule and in explanation said that thought he was sufficiently clear of CHANTILLY when he eased inward.


Pursuant to Rule 1111(1)(d) as Mr Herlihy admitted the breach the Committee found the charge proved.

Submission For Penalty:

Mr Mulcay submitted that Mr Herlihy is a busy Northern based Driver who has an exemplary driving record. He said his disciplinary record is clear with no breaches relevant to the present charge (or any other Rule) within the past 12 months. In mitigation he said that Mr Herlihy was forthright with Stewards and should be given credit for admitting the breach at the first opportunity. He added that the breach is low-end given that his drive recovered very quickly from the break and did not lose too much ground. He submitted a fine less than the $300 Penalty Guide starting point would be an appropriate penalty.

In his submission as to penalty Mr Herlihy asked the Committee to note that it was a low-level breach and suggested a fine would be appropriate. He said that he drives regularly at all Northern meetings and would prefer a fine as opposed to a suspension. No deferment was sought, should a suspension be considered by the Committee.

Reasons For Penalty:

The JCA Penalty Guide provides a starting point of a 6-drive suspension or a $300 fine for a breach of this Rule. The Committee has noted that similar recent breaches have incurred penalties ranging from fines between $200 to $500 and limited number of 2 to 3-day suspensions. Clearly each case is fact dependant.

After considering the submissions of both the Informant and Respondent; noting the race film and the resultant impact on the affected runner, AMERICAN BEAUTY, the Committee determined the level of breach to be low to mid-range.

After affording Mr Herlihy credit for his excellent record, admission of the breach and the nature of the breach a $50 reduction was applied to the $300 starting point.

In the final result a $250 fine was determined to be an appropriate penalty in the circumstances of this case.


Mr Herlihy was fined the sum of $250.

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