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03 Sep 2020
Auckland-Tc - R7

Auckland TC 3 September 2020 – R 7 – Chair, Mr G Jones

Created on 04 September 2020

GJones (chair)
Mr D Balle - Licensed Open Horseman
Mr J Muirhead - Senior Stipendiary Steward
Information Number
Breach of the push-out rule

This charge arises from the running of Race 7, the Speeding Spur Tender 23 Oct Handicap Trot 2700m. An Information was filed by Senior Stipendiary Steward Mr Muirhead alleging Licensed Open Horseman; Mr Balle breached Rule 869(6)(c) in that he “shifted from the running line with KIMKAR DASH following INVICTUS resulting in the HULK being forced to race from a 2-wide position to a 3-wide position with approximately 2000m to run”.

The ‘Pushout Rule’ (r689) provides that:

(6) Subject to sub-rule (4) hereof:

(a) horseman are permitted to move ground inwards or outwards at any stage of the race to improve their racing position;

(b) a horse making a forward movement during any race shall not be forced to race wider on the track;

(c) a horse during a race shall not move ground outwards once the nose of the wider runner coming forward is in line with or past its sulky wheel and until the wider runner going forward is fully past.

(7) Sub-rule (6)(b) and (c) of this Rule shall apply until 1000 metres from the finish of the race. From this point all horsemen shall be expected to make moves, with safety, to ensure the horse obtains the best possible place in the field.

Mr Balle admitted the breach and endorsed the information accordingly. He was present at the hearing.

Senior Stipendiary Steward Mr Muirhead used available video footage to demonstrate the breach. He identified the horses and drivers relevant to the breach, namely KIMKAR DASH (D Balle), THE HULK (J Abernethy) and INVICTUS (A DRAKE). Mr Muirhead said that with approximately 2000 metres to run THE HULK was racing one out in a 2-wide position without cover. He said that INVICTUS shifted out, with KIMKAR DASH racing directly behind and was intent on following that runner out. In doing so, Mr Muirhead said that KIMKAR DASH forced THE HULK from its rightful 2-wide position to a 3-wide position and as a consequence Mr Balle's actions were in breach of the 'push-out' rule.  

In response Mr Balle advised the Committee that he agreed with the Stewards' interpretation and had nothing further to add. 


The charge is admitted and is therefore proved.

Submission For Penalty:

Mr Muirhead said that Mr Balle has a clear record with no previous breaches of any rule within the reset period. He said that breaches of this rule, in similar circumstances, generally attract a fine in the vicinity of $200 to $250.  

Mr Muirhead said that the breach is at the low end of culpability with no particular aggravating factors to be considered. He further submitted that due to Mr Balle’s very good record and admission of the breach he should be afforded a $50 penalty reduction from the $250 JCA Guide starting point.

Mr Balle submitted that a $200 fine would be a fair penalty under the circumstances. He said that he is driving less often at the moment and has had 6 drives during the current (2020/2021) season. 

Reasons For Penalty:

The JCA Penalty Guide provides for a 5-drive suspension or $250 fine as a starting point for a breach of the ‘push out’ rule. After reviewing the race films and reflecting on the submissions the Committee adopted the $250 fine as the most appropriate starting point.

In consideration of Mr Balle’s good record and his admission of the breach the Committee afforded him a $50 penalty reduction from the starting point. Further consideration was also given to the fact that the ‘push out’ occurred with 2000 metres to run and on that basis the impact on the affected runners was minimal. There were no particular aggravating factors associated with this breach.


The Committee fined Mr Balle $200. 

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