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Auckland TC 9 August 2019 – R 4 – Chair, Mr G Jones

Created on 12 August 2019

GJones (chair)
Mr T Mitchell - Licensed Open Horseman
Mr J Muirhead - Senior Stipendiary Steward
Information Number
Careless driving

Following the running of Race 4, the Ngaire’s Got it Under Control Handicap Trot 2700m, an information was filed by Senior Stipendiary Steward Mr Muirhead alleging Open Horseman Mr T Mitchell, breached Rule 869 (3)(b) when he contacted the wheel of the sulky of SOL INVICTUS causing his own drive MATUA TANA to gallop.

Mr Mitchell 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 (3)(b) provides:

No horseman in any race shall drive carelessly.

Using available video footage Mr Muirhead identified the horses involved in the incident namely, MATUA TANA (T Mitchell) and SOL INVICTUS (J Abernethy). Mr Muirhead said that approaching the 350 metre mark SOL INVICTUS shifted outwards off the running line and at the same time MATUA TANA moved to the inside of SOL INVICTUS. In doing so MATUA TANA struck the sulky wheel of SOL INVICTUS. As a consequence MATUA TANA broke, galloped and finished in last place. SOL INVICTUS finished in 9th place.

Mr Muirhead said that although Mr Mitchell was careless the poor weather conditions were a factor in that it was raining quite heavily at the time and the track was 'slushy'.

In response Mr Mitchell told the Committee that he freely acknowledged the breach but agreed with Mr Muirhead that the weather had an impact on his vision because his “glasses were full of slush”.


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

Submission For Penalty:

Mr Muirhead submitted Mr Mitchell has an excellent record and he should be given credit for admitting the breach at the first opportunity. He added that the breach is low end and due to the mitigating circumstances, that is the prevailing weather conditions, a fine between $200 and $250 would be an appropriate penalty.

Mr Mitchell asked the Committee to take into account his good record and the fact that the weather had an impact on his visibility.

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.

After taking into account the submissions of both the Informant and Respondent and noting the race film and that the resultant impact on the affected runner, SOL INVICTUS was minimal, we determined the breach to be at the low end. We accept that the inclement weather was a mitigating factor and that there are no particular aggravating factors.

After affording Mr Mitchell credit for his very good record, admission of the breach and the mitigating factor we determined that a $200 fine is an appropriate penalty in the circumstances of this case.


Accordingly, Mr Mitchell was fined the sum of $200.

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