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Canterbury JC 6 June 2018 - R 4 - Chair, Mr R McKenzie

Created on 11 June 2018

RMcKenzie (chair)
Mr CW Johnson - Licensed Jockey (Class A)
Mr BM Murray - Licensed Apprentice Jockey (Class B)
Mr DM Wadley - Stipendiary Steward
Mr JM Muirhead - Stipediary Steward
Information Number
Careless Riding

Following the running of Race 4, NZ Cup Hospitality Packages – Book Now Rating 75, an Information was filed by Stipendiary Steward, Mr JM McLaughlin, against Licensed Jockey (Class A), Mr CW Johnson, alleging a breach of Rule 638(1)(d) in that Mr Johnson “allowed his mount MILK IT to shift out crowding and checking WHAT’S UP ALF (B M Murray) passing the 130 metres”.

Mr Johnson had signed the Statement by the Respondent on the Information form indicating that he denied the breach. He was present at the hearing of the Information and he confirmed that he denied the breach.

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.

Submission For Decision:

Mr McLaughlin had Stipendiary Steward, Mr DM Wadley, show side-on and head-on video replays of the incident, approximately 130 metres from the finish of the race. Mr Wadley pointed out MILK IT, ridden by Mr Johnson, taking a gap three horses out from the rail in the 5-horse field. WHAT’S UP ALF, ridden by Mr Murray, was racing outside of Mr Johnson.

Mr McLaughlin showed on the replay that prior the 200 metres, Mr Murray’s mount had come in and made brief contact with Mr Johnson’s mount on a couple of occasions, tightening it. Shortly thereafter, near the 130 metres, Mr Murray had to take a hold of his mount as Mr Johnson came across his line. At that point Mr Johnson had been careless, Mr McLaughlin submitted, in continuing to “drive through”, shifting ground outwards, forcing Mr Murray to take hold.

Mr Murray was called by Mr McLaughlin to give evidence to the hearing. He was asked why, after the initial bumping outside the 200 metres, he had to take a hold of WHAT’S UP ALF. He replied that he was only “battling” but he had to take a hold of his mount because it got “a bit tight”. He agreed with Mr McLaughlin that, at that point, the nose of his mount was almost on the rump of Mr Johnson’s mount. Mr Johnson was only a bare length clear, Mr Murray said. He agreed with Mr McLaughlin that Mr Johnson had “cut him short”.

Mr Johnson had no questions of Mr Murray.

Mr Johnson said that, after viewing the replays, he accepted that his mount had “shifted out slightly” and that he may have “inconvenienced” Mr Murray for a stride.

He did not believe that Mr Murray had lost any ground as a result. There had been some “bumping” earlier in the home straight but, when his mount took the gap, he put a length on Mr Murray. He did drift across in front of Mr Murray who then had to switch to the inside, Mr Johnson said, but Mr Murray did not have to check and did not lose ground.

When questioned by the Committee, Mr Johnson said that he was “definitely not” his own length and another length clear when he crossed in front of Mr Murray – only “a length and a bit” clear. 

Reasons For Decision:

The Committee found that there had been some bumping earlier in the run home in which, it is probably fair to say, Mr Johnson’s mount, MILK IT, was the worst affected. Mr Johnson, after being held up for some distance, then secured a run 3-out from the rail between WHAT’S UP ALF on his outer and SPIDER LILY (ST Collett) on his inside. Shortly thereafter, WHAT’S UP ALF drifted in while SPIDER LILY drifted out, “sandwiching” Mr Johnson’s mount for a few strides. Mr Johnson then secured racing room and a few strides later took the lead.

It was from that point that the charge of careless riding arose. The Committee finds that, once taking the lead, Mr Johnson urged his mount forward but allowed it shift outwards, possibly, 2-3 horse widths across the running line of WHAT’S UP ALF, crossing that runner when, the Committee is satisfied, barely his own length clear forcing Mr Murray to take a hold of his mount and switch to the inside, after which it finished on to finish in 3rd place, a long neck and a head from the winner, MILK IT.

Mr Johnson admitted to the Committee that he was not the required distance clear and Mr Murray, a rather reluctant witness, gave evidence that Mr Johnson was a bare length clear. Mr Johnson did not question Mr Murray regarding that evidence.

The Committee is more than satisfied that the charge of careless riding is proved.


The charge was found proved.

Submission For Penalty:

Mr McLaughlin told the hearing that Mr Johnson had received five terms of suspension for careless riding in the last 12 months – Counties on 21 June 2017 (4 days), 31 October at South Canterbury (4 and 5 days for two breaches), 15 October 2017 at Winton (8 days for causing another runner to lose its rider) and on 24 February at Otaki-Maori (6 days for low-mid range breach).

Mr McLaughlin submitted that the present breach was in the low-to-mid range. Mr Johnson had continued to ride his mount out and has gone on to win the race., which was an aggravating factor. He left the term of the suspension to the Committee.

Mr Johnson told the Committee that he had rides for the weekend of 9 and 10 June. He did not seek any deferment beyond the weekend. 

Reasons For Penalty:

In determining penalty, the Committee had regard to the Penalty Guide starting points for breaches of the careless riding Rule. The starting point is to be assessed according to the level of carelessness.

In this case, the Committee adopts a starting point of 7 national riding days. The starting point for a “low range” breach is 6 days and for a “medium range” breach is 8 days. Looking at the degree of carelessness in this case, the actual degree of carelessness was in the low-to-mid range and in this respect the Committee agrees with Mr McLaughlin’s assessment.

Aggravating factors were, firstly, that Mr Johnson went on to win the race and, secondly, that Mr Murray’s mount may have finished in 2nd placing in the race, from the Committee’s observation of the video replay of the final stages, and the margin between 2nd and 3rd at the finish of a head. The Committee considers that an uplift of 1 day is warranted for those factors.

From the adjusted starting point of 8 days so reached, the Committee gives Mr Johnson a discount of 1 day for his record which, for a very busy national rider, it considers to be good – one suspension for a low-mid breach, the Committee was told, in the last 8 months.

Mr McLaughlin had accepted that this was a good record.The penalty arrived at, therefore, is a suspension for 7 national riding days.

Riders have been declared for the weekend meetings, so Mr Johnson is granted a deferment until after racing on 10 June, to enable him to fulfil riding engagements at Wellington on 9 June and Waimate on 10 June.


Mr Johnson’s Jockey’s Licence (Class A) is suspended for the period commencing from after the conclusion of racing on Sunday, 10 June 2018, up to and including Thursday, 21 June 2018 – 7 national riding days.

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