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Waikato BOP H 6 September 2018 - R 4 - Chair, Mr BJ Scott

Created on 11 September 2018

BScott (chair)
Mr A Poutama - Open Horseman
Mr P Ferguson - Open Horseman
Mr R Green- Trainer of ABRAHAM
Mr S Wallis - Stipendiary Steward
Mr JM Muirhead - Senior Stipendiary Steward
Information Number
Careless Driving

Following the running of the SADDLERY WAREHOUSE MOBILE PACE, an Information was lodged by Senior Stipendiary Steward, Mr JM Muirhead against Open Horseman, Mr A Poutama alleging that Mr Poutama when driving ABRAHAM drove carelessly by shifting his horse down the track when not entitled to do so causing GEOFF'S LEGACY (Driver P Ferguson ) to steady and lose the trailing position.

Rule 869(3)(b) provides : No horseman in any race shall drive carelessly.

Mr Poutama was present at the Hearing and he advised the Committee that he did not admit the breach.

Stipendiary Steward, Mr S Wallis demonstrated the incident by use of the race films. He showed several angles of the  incident and showed where leaving the straight the first time Mr Ferguson was in the trail at least a length behind the leader and Mr Poutama was one out outside Mr Ferguson. He showed where Mr Poutama continued to move forward and then began to ease into the gap in front of Mr Ferguson's horse when in Mr Wallis' opinion he was not entitled to do so. He said that Mr Poutama's inwards movement put pressure on Mr Ferguson's horse and caused its sulky to go inside one of the track pylons . He said that as a result Mr Ferguson had to steady his horse and he lost his trailing position.

Mr Poutama then said that he looked down and he asked Mr Wallis " how can you say that I cut him off ". Mr Wallis in reply said that "when you eased down you put pressure on Mr Ferguson and he hit a pylon and had to steady'.

Mr Ferguson and Mr Green then joined the Hearing.

Mr Ferguson then gave evidence and said that he was on the rails about a length behind the leader and Mr Poutama was on his outside. He said that Mr Poutama squeezed into the gap in front of his horse . He said that his horses legs were inside Mr Poutama's sulky wheel and he said that he was holding his position. He then said that if he didn't pull back on his horse its legs would have hit Mr Poutama's wheel. He said that in pulling back his sulky went inside several pylons and he lost his position.

Mr Poutama was then invited to question Mr Ferguson and he declined to do so. He said he felt that the evidence was going against him even though when he was out on the track he felt he had enough room to move down.

The Committee asked Mr Poutama if Mr Ferguson had called out to him and he said that he hadn't. This was confirmed by Mr Ferguson.

The Committee then emphasised to Mr Poutama that he was entitled to defend himself but he said that the film evidence did not look good and that he now wished to change his plea and admit the charge.


The breach is admitted and therefore the charge is proved.

Submission For Penalty:

Mr Muirhead said that Mr Poutama had a clear record over the last 12 months. He also said that Mr Poutama had had 322 drives last season.

He said that the JCA Guidelines provided for a starting point penalty of a $500 fine or a suspension of License for 10 drives. He then said that it was the Stewards policy to ask for a suspension under this Rule and he submitted that a 2 day suspension was appropriate.

When asked by the Committee Mr Muirhead said that the incident was below medium in the level of seriousneess.

Mr Poutama said that he couldn't afford to take a suspension.

Reasons For Penalty:

The Committee viewed the films several times and looked at all available angles. This is not in our view a major incident and as far as we are concerned it was very low level with very little impact.  We have been told by Mr Ferguson that he had to restrain his horse but the films showed that just prior to the incident Mr Ferguson chased his horse up. We acknowledge that Mr Ferguson was entitled to hold his position but having said that he was some distance from the Leader and not making any ground on it. In our view Mr Ferguson did not help the situation and even though he lost the trailing position that was inevitable.

This incident in our view was at the very low level of seriousness.

Mr Poutama has defended this charge and he was perfectly entitled to do so. He has however to his credit admitted the breach during the Hearing even though it could be said that he had an arguable case. We have given him credit for this and also his very good record under this Rule.

We have taken the starting point Penalties in the JCA Guidelines into account and having taken all of the above matters into account we believe that dealing with this matter by way of a fine is appropriate. We also have the benefit of our JCA Penalty Schedule which shows us penalties imposed under this Rule by other Committees.

We also believe that taking all of the above mitigating factors into account any level of fine should be considerably less than the starting point penalty and we believe that a fine of $250 is appropriate.


This Committee imposes a fine of $250 on Mr Poutama.

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