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Feilding JC 4 November 2017 - R 4 - Chair, Mrs N Moffatt

Created on 07 November 2017

NMoffatt (chair)
Mr M Hills - Licensed Rider
Mr D Balcombe - Stipendiary Steward
Mr N Goodwin - Stipendiary Steward
Information Number
Careless Riding

An information was lodged by Mr N Goodwin alleging a breach of Rule 638(1) (d) in that jockey M Hills allowed his mount OCEAN EMPORER to shift ground when not sufficiently clear dictating LORD SIBFORD inwards onto ZAMBEZI WARRIOR which was checked passing the 150m.

At the outset of the hearing Mr Hills confirmed he understood the nature of the charge and that he did not admit the breach.

Submission For Decision:

Mr Goodwin had Mr Balcombe identify all the runners concerned. Using the head-on, rear and side- on films Mr Goodwin explained that there was a run available on the rail for Mr Lammas (ZAMBEZI WARRIOR), to the inside of LORD SIBFORD (S Weatherley). He further stated that Mr Lammas had no trouble establishing himself into the gap between Mr Weatherley and the fence.

The next sequence of events occurred as Mr Hills made a run between LORD SIBFORD (on his inside) and HEAVENS KEEP (on his outside). Mr Goodwin stated Mr Hills was entitled to take this line of running. At this point there was a slight inward movement from HEAVENS KEEP (T Johnson) but, in the Stewards opinion, this had no effect on Mr Hills' further inward movement. Mr Hills continued to push his mount forward while shifting inwards, dictating LORD SIBFORD inwards which caused ZAMBEZI WARRIOR (C Lammas) to run out of room on the rail. As a result Mr Lammas was checked and forced to angle his mount outwards. Mr Goodwin said ZAMBEZI WARRIOR was denied a run on the fence due to the inward movement of Mr Hills.

In response to questions from the Committee Mr Goodwin said that Mr Hills was only ½ - ¾ length ahead of LORD SIBFORD when he shifted inwards and his movement across was approximately 1 ½ horse widths.

Mr Hills asked the question of Mr Goodwin; “If, at any stage, has Sam Weatherley’s horse moved in prior to me shifting?” Mr Goodwin replied that there might have been some inward movement but at the point of interference he (Mr Weatherley) was keeping a straight line. Mr Hills then asked “did Mr Johnson’s horse move in prior to me coming through the gap”? Mr Goodwin replied “no”. There had been some movement earlier but not at the time of the interference.

Mr Goodwin called Mr Lammas (ZAMBEZI WARRIOR) as a witness. Mr Lammas confirmed there was a legitimate run for him on the fence and that he was at least a neck into the gap when he was forced to check off the outside horse’s heels. He said the gap was a 50/50 run because Sam Weatherley’s mount was “zig-zagging” down the straight. Following further questioning from Mr Goodwin, Mr Lammas said Sam Weatherley had moved inwards due to pressure from his outside. Mr Lammas also confirmed that prior to receiving the interference he was in a competitive position in the race. He wouldn’t have won the race, but he probably would have finished closer.

Mr Hills asked Mr Lammas “Are you saying that Sam Weatherley’s horse rolled inwards on you without contact/pressure from me”? Mr Lammas said he believed Mr Weatherley started rolling in before he received pressure from Mr Hills.

In defending his case Mr Hills said that he did not believe he was the sole contributor to the incident. He said Mr Weatherley’s mount was zig-zagging prior to the interference, rolling in and out prior to him putting any pressure on him. He said Mr Lammas was going for a marginal gap with his horse not really able to establish himself in that position. Mr Hills was firmly of the belief that his horse moved in off the back of Mr Johnson’s mount’s heels and that Mr Lammas could not establish his horse in the gap due to Mr Weatherley’s inward movement.

Mr Goodwin summed up saying that while there had been some slight inward movement from Mr Johnson’s mount the Stewards did not believe that it had a bearing on the interference. In addition, although Mr Weatherley did move in earlier in the home straight, there was a run available on the fence for Mr Lammas.

Reasons For Decision:

The Committee assessed all three films and had careful regard to all submissions. We found that near the 150m Mr Hills allowed his mount to shift in when not clear of Mr Weatherley’s mount who in turn shifted down onto Mr Lammas’ mount who ran out of room and was checked. The rear-view film in particular showed an adequate gap available for Mr Lammas on the fence.

We were not satisfied that Mr Johnson or Mr Weatherley contributed to the interference that occurred at the 150m. We did accept that there was some movement by these runners prior to the incident but this was not the cause of the check to Mr Lammas.


Accordingly the charge of careless riding was found proved.

Submission For Penalty:

Mr Goodwin said Mr Hills had an exceptional record and his degree of carelessness in today’s incident was at the low end.

Mr Hills confirmed his excellent record saying he was surprised to be charged and it was very rare that he appeared before the Stewards. He estimated that he has approximately 500-600 rides per season and advised of riding commitments through until Tuesday next week.

Reasons For Penalty:

Mr Hills' initial movement into the gap between HEAVENS KEEP and LORD SIBFORD was problem free, but he erred when allowing his mount to move in slightly further dictating LORD SIBFORD onto ZAMBEZI WARRIOR. Mr Lammas, who finished in 5th place, said he may have finished in a higher placing if he had received a clear run but the consequences are difficult to actually quantify.

Looking at the totality of the incident we assessed Mr Hills' carelessness, on this occasion, to sit in the low range. We adopted a starting point of 6 days suspension. There were no aggravating factors.

For Mr Hills' excellent record we have allowed a reduction of one day.



Accordingly Mr Hills is suspended from the close of racing on Tuesday November 7th up to and including racing on Sunday November 12th.

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