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Avondale JC 25 April 2014 - R 8

Created on 29 April 2014

RSeabrook (chair)
Mr L Innes - Class A rider
Mr J Oatham - Senior Stipendiary Steward
Miss D Johnson - Rider of CLOSE DE TART
Mr M Williamson - Stipendiary Steward
Information Number
Careless Riding

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

Following race 8, Battersby Funeral Directors 1400, an information was filed pursuant to rule 638 (1) (d). The Informant, Mr Williamson, alleged that Mr L Innes permitted his mount KATIE’S COVE to shift inwards when not sufficiently clear of CLOS DE TART which was checked near the 350 metres.

Submission For Decision:

Mr Williamson commenced the hearing by saying he wished to call 2 witnesses, Mr J Oatham and Miss D Johnson, rider of CLOS DE TART. He asked Mr Oatham to demonstrate the video films. Mr Oatham pointed out KATIE’S COVE (Mr L Innes) racing in a 4 to 5 wide position on the point of the turn and with approximately 400 metres to run. He said that it was at this point Miss Johnson was looking for clear running and he conceded she did move out slightly making contact with KATIE’S COVE. However he said this movement was of no relevance to the present charge against Mr Innes. Mr Oatham submitted that soon after this and with approximately 350 metres to run Mr Innes allowed his mount to move in approximately one horse width and into the line of CLOS DE TART when not the required distance clear. This necessitated Miss Johnson to check her mount causing her to lose momentum and lose her rightful line of running. The inward movement of CLOS DE TART after being checked resulted in her making contact with TANGO TERRIFIC on her inside. Mr Oatham completed his submissions by saying the check received by Miss Johnson could well have had a bearing on the final result of the race.

Mr Williamson did not have any questions to ask of Mr Oatham.

Mr Innes, in cross examination of Mr Oatham, asked him if CLOS DE TART was racing behind TANGO TERRIFIC at the 400 metres to which Mr Oatham replied in the affirmative.

Miss Johnson was then called by Mr Williamson to give evidence. She told the hearing she had been inside Mr Innes and admitted coming out initially to gain a better run which she described as competitive riding. She said just after this, Mr Innes came past her quickly, shaving her mount. Miss Johnson said her mount was not going well and over reacted slightly when being checked.

Mr Innes in cross examining Miss Johnson asked her how far in front of her was his mount when he moved in. She replied “½ a length but when the horses touched, her mount had over reacted”.

The chairman asked Miss Johnson if she had to check her mount as a result of Mr Innes’ inward movement to which she replied “yes”.

Mr Innes started his submissions by saying at the 400 metres Miss Johnson was racing behind TANGO TERRIFIC and she has come out making contact with him. He conceded he had then moved in himself ½ a horse width at the 350 metres but believed CLOS DE TART had over reacted. He added he believed he was entitled to be where he was as he was only moving back into his rightful line of running.

In answer to a question from the committee as to how clear he was of Miss Johnson when moving in his only reply was that he had moved in a ½ horse width.

Mr Williamson in summing up said evidence from both Mr Oatham and Miss Johnson confirmed that Mr Innes has moved in at the point of the race in question when not the required distance clear. He said there was no dispute that KATIE’S COVE made contact with CLOS DE TART although the reaction of CLOS DE TART was poor. Mr Williamson concluded by saying CLOS DE TART finished the race in a reasonable fashion and there were short margins between 2nd and 4th.

Mr Innes, when given the opportunity to sum up, reiterated he should be entitled to be where he was in moving in as it was his original line of running.

Reasons For Decision:

The committee spent a lot of time in considering all evidence and reviewing the video films. The main thrust of Mr Innes’ submissions was the initial outward movement by Miss Johnson (400 metres) and the resultant contact between his mount and hers. The committee has disregarded this as the charge only relates to the inward movement by Mr Innes at the 350 metres. The committee is satisfied that Mr Innes directed his mount inwards taking the rightful line of running of Miss Johnson’s mount when not the required distance clear, a margin we estimate to be half a length. The back on film in particular, clearly shows there was a gap available for Miss Johnson but that was closed by Mr Innes moving in. He clearly failed in his obligation to keep his mount straight. Mr Innes failed to exercise the degree of care and attention that a reasonable and prudent jockey would exercise in the circumstances.


The committee notes that interference is defined as: a horse crossing another horse without being at least its own length and one other clear length in front of such other horse at the time of crossing.

Accordingly for the reasons specified above we find the charge proved.

Submission For Penalty:

Mr Williamson said Mr Innes had a reasonable record for a leading rider with 3 suspensions in the last 12 months. He conceded CLOS DE TART may have over reacted but she did finish well for her 4th placing. Mr Williamson submitted Mr Innes’ carelessness to be in the low range.

Mr Innes told the committee he was riding everywhere in the near future and had an engagement for ROCK DIVA in a group 2 race in Brisbane on 3rd May. He added that he intended going to Riverton to ride horses for Mr Kennedy on the 1st May.

At this point the Chairman asked Mr Innes to get Mr Kennedy on the phone to communicate directly regarding mounts for Mr Innes at Riverton. His immediate response to the chairman was “I would like Mr Innes to ride my horses at Riverton, yes.” The committee did not regard this response as a confirmation of upcoming engagements.

Mr Innes was told that committees need to test firmly the evidence of riders in respect of where they will be riding and if they are to claim South Island meetings they must have a recent history of having ridden there. This procedure as per JCA Newsletter, December 2011 is consistently adopted for all riders in the region.

Reasons For Penalty:

The committee carefully considered all penalty submissions. Before imposing a penalty the committee referred to a judicial report arising from a careless riding charge at Ellerslie on 1 March involving Mr Innes. At that hearing Mr Innes submitted that in the past he has been disadvantaged by not having a history of riding in the South Island. As a result of this and a decision on 26 February 2014 he said he was undertaking steps to ride more regularly in the South Island outside the two major carnivals. At the same hearing on 1 March the committee firmly advised Mr Innes that his submission regarding his intention to ride more regularly in the South Island on industry days was a serious credibility issue. He was told that judicial committees would expect to see some form of evidence of this happening in the near future. Mr Innes acknowledged his credibility was at stake. However today’s committee is aware that Mr Innes has still not ridden in the South Island since the Riccarton carnival last November. There is no record and therefore no history of Mr Innes riding in the South Island on industry days. To that end, at the 1 March hearing earlier referred to, chief stipendiary steward Mr Neal told the committee the stewards regard Mr Innes as a North Island rider.

For all these reasons above we reject Mr Innes’ request for this committee to take into account the forthcoming South Island race days.

As far as today’s breach is concerned the committee finds the level of carelessness displayed by Mr Innes to be mid range. He clearly directed his mount in when only half a length clear of CLOS DE TART which received a notable check and lost momentum. The committee is not satisfied that the submission CLOS DE TART may have over reacted played a part in the interference. We have also considered Mr Innes’ record which we would describe as average.


After taking all the above into account we suspend Mr Innes from riding in races which is to start after racing on 28 April and conclude after racing on 8 May 2014 (5 days).

That period of suspension encompasses meetings at Avondale April 30, Otaki May 2, Gold Coast May 3, Matamata May 7 and Wanganui May 8.

The Committee notes that rider declarations for 28 April had closed and Mr Innes was not engaged to ride any horses. We also note the meeting scheduled for May 5 at Te Awamutu is for apprentice riders only.

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