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Canterbury R 12 November 2016 - R 10 - Chair, Mr R McKenzie

Created on 15 November 2016

RMcKenzie (chair)
R Cuneen
Licensed Apprentice Jockey (Class B)
W Harnett
Apprentice Jockey Mentor
J P Oatham
Chief Stipendiary Steward
Information Number
Careless Riding

Following the running of Race 10, Laming Racing Premier, an information was filed by Chief Stipendiary Steward, Mr J P Oatham, against Licensed Apprentice Jockey (Class B), Mr R Cuneen, alleging that Mr Cuneen, as the rider of MULBERRY in the race, “allowed his mount to shift out causing severe interference to PINZALOT (L G Innes) near the 50 metres”.

Mr Cuneen was present at the hearing of the information and he indicated that he admitted the breach. He was assisted at the hearing by Apprentice Jockey Mentor, Mr W Harnett.

Rule 638 provides as follows:

(1) A Rider shall not ride a horse in a manner which the Judicial Committee considers to be:
    (d) careless

Mr Oatham had Manager of Stewards, Mr N G McIntyre, show head-on and side-on video replays of the final 200 metres of the race. He pointed out the relevant runners, PINZALOT, ridden by L G Innes, in 2nd position racing inside the 100 metres, and Mr Cuneen’s mount, MULBERRY, improving from behind and to the inside of Mr Innes’ mount.

Mr Cuneen’s mount was shifting ground outwards, Mr McIntyre said. Mr Cuneen then changed his whip from his left hand into his right hand in an attempt to straighten it. However, his mount continued to shift out and, as the runners got to the 60 metres, it made heavy contact with PINZALOT, stopping that runner’s momentum and causing it to run out of room. Mr Cuneen had continued to ride his mount out throughout, Mr McIntyre submitted.

Mr Cuneen said that the damage had been done prior to his attempting to straighten his mount and ease the pressure. In a recent start, the horse had done a similar thing when shying at the large screen on the inside of the track. He had attempted to straighten his mount by changing hands with his whip. He had been “going with momentum” and had thought that he was going to win the race.

Mr Harnett said that he was aware that MULBERRY had shown a similar tendency in some of her previous races. He also suggested that the winner, TIARA CONCERTO (M Du Plessis) had “rolled in” slightly near the finish, which contributed to the interference. He emphasised that Mr Cuneen had made an effort to arrest his mount’s outward movement. The final movement had been quite sharp, Mr Harnett submitted.


Mr Cuneen having admitted the charge, the charge was found proved.

Submission For Penalty:

Mr Oatham informed the Committee that Mr Cuneen had one breach of the careless riding Rule on his record – on 30 January 2016 at Canterbury (suspended 5 days in a Listed Race). It could still be said that Mr Cuneen had a good record. Mr Oatham submitted that the present breach was at the higher end of the scale. Mr Cuneen was aware of the horse’s tendency to run about and, apart from changing hands with the whip, he had made little effort to prevent it. Furthermore, the shift had gone on for some time and the interference was quite severe. He had created quite a dangerous situation, Mr Oatham submitted. It was a minor mitigating factor that the winner had shifted in slightly close to the finish.

Mr Harnett submitted that the erratic tendencies that the mare had made it difficult for her rider. This took the breach out the high range of seriousness into the mid-range, he submitted.

Mr Cuneen told the Committee that he did not wish to seek a deferment of any suspension. It was agreed that Mr Cuneen is classified as a “South Island rider” for the purposes of the Penalty Guide.

Reasons For Penalty:

In deciding on penalty, the Committee adopted the starting point for a South Island rider of a 3-days’ suspension. The Committee then factored in the aggravating and mitigating factors of the breach.

The sole aggravating factor was the high-end degree of carelessness on Mr Cuneen’s part. He continued to ride his mount forward while it continued to shift out and his actions resulted in quite severe interference to Mr Innes’ mount. Fortunately for Mr Cuneen, the consequences were not serious. The Committee decided that this factor warranted an uplift of 1 day in the Penalty Guide starting point of a 3-days’ suspension.

Against that, mitigating factors were Mr Cuneen’s record under the Rule, which the Committee considered to be a good one, and his frank admission of the breach. These factors together warranted a discount from the 4-days’ point reached and we assessed the appropriate discount at 1 day.


Mr Cuneen’s Apprentice Jockey’s (Class B) licence is suspended from after the close of racing on 12 November 2016 up to and including 2 December 2016 – 3 riding days. The race meetings intended to be encompassed by that period of suspension are Southland at Winton on 17 November, Otago at Cromwell on 27 November and Canterbury Racing on 2 December 2016.

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