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Banks Peninsula TC 15 March 2020 - R 1 - Chair, Mr R G McKenzie

Created on 18 March 2020

RMcKenzie (chair)
Mrs J J A Young-Grant - Licensed Open Driver
Mr P Williams - Stipendiary Steward
Information Number
Failed to take all reasonable steps to return horse to proper gait at earliest opportunity

Following the running of Race 1, D R Britton Limited Trot, an information was filed by Stipendiary Steward, Mr P Williams, against Licensed Open Driver, Mrs J J A Young-Grant, alleging that, as the driver of LITTLE MISS in the race, she “allowed her horse to pace for a considerable distance after 300 metres and in doing so she failed to take all reasonable steps to return the horse to its proper gait at the earliest opportunity”.

Mrs Young-Grant had signed the Statement by the Respondent on the information form indicating that she admitted the breach and she confirmed this at the hearing at which she was present.

Rule 870 provides as follows:

(1) When any horse breaks from its gait in any race its driver shall immediately take all reasonable steps to return it to its proper gait and where clearance exists immediately take such horse clear of the field.

(2) The following shall be a breach of sub-rule (1) hereof:-

(b) failure to take all reasonable steps to return the horse to its proper gait.

Mr Williams showed video replays of the relevant part of the race, a 2170 metres standing start for trotters. He pointed out LITTLE MISS, driven by Mrs Young-Grant, drawn barrier position 7 on the front row. After trotting for a few strides, the horse went into a gallop. After approximately 300 metres, the horse settled down pacing and, Stewards estimated, continued on in a pace for approximately 600 metres. Mrs Young-Grant had failed to take all reasonable steps to return LITTLE MISS to her proper gait, Mr Williams said. Mrs Young-Grant accepted that LITTLE MISS had been in a pace for that portion of the race.

The Committee observed that, racing into the back straight, Mrs Young-Grant could be seen on the replay to look down on a couple of occasions and then ease the horse out of the race before the horse galloped shortly after.

Mrs Young-Grant told the Committee that LITTLE MISS was a “very unusual trotter”. It had been vet-checked at the start because the vet thought it may have been sore. It was difficult to tell that it had been pacing as it did not pace like a traditional pacer, but its action was more of a “shuffle”. It had previously raced as a pacer, she said.


Mrs Young-Grant having admitted the breach, the charge was found proved.

Submission For Penalty:

Mr Williams said that Mrs Young-Grant has had 116 drives this season and, last season, had 163 drives. She has a clear record. She had admitted the breach at the first opportunity and had cooperated with Stewards, Mr Williams said.

The Penalty Guide starting point is an 8-drives suspension or a $400 fine. Stewards believed that a fine is an appropriate penalty, Mr Williams said. He referred the Committee to a penalty of a $250 fine imposed on a driver at Westport TC on 6 March last for a breach of the rule, the circumstances of which were very similar to this case, he said.

Mrs Young-Grant expressed a preference for a fine rather than a suspension.

Reasons For Penalty:

The Committee agrees with Mr Williams that a suspension is not called for in this case. The Penalty Guide starting point for a fine is $400. Accepting Mrs Young-Grant’s explanation and having regard to her good record and frank admission of the breach, the Committee fixes the amount of the fine at $250. We are satisfied that this penalty is consistent with the Westport fine to which Mr Williams referred and with an earlier penalty at Nelson in January.


Mrs Young-Grant is fined the sum of $250.

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