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Hawkes Bay RI 1 September 2012 - R 9

Created on 05 September 2012

NMoffatt (chair)
Mr J Riddell - Licensed Rider
Mr N Goodwin - Stipendiary Steward
Mr R Neal - Stipendiary Steward
Information Number

Careless Riding


Following the running of Race 9, an information was lodged by Mr R Neal alleging a breach of Rule 638(1) (d). The information alleged that passing the 1250m J Riddell the rider of MAKEBA permitted his mount to shift in when not clear of BOLT ACTION which was checked.

Mr Neal read out the careless riding rule and Mr Riddell acknowledged he understood the nature of the charge. He also confirmed to the committee he did not admit the breach.

Submission For Decision:

Mr Neal asked Mr Goodwin to explain the incident using the available films. Mr Riddell jumped out of the starting gates from an outside position and moved across to be closer to the running rail. As he did so he crossed in front of BOLT ACTION who was racing keenly, ridden by apprentice rider Ms Dravitzki. BOLT ACTION clipped the heels of Mr Riddell’s horse, stumbled and nearly fell.

The side-on view confirmed the distance between the two horses and showed Mr Riddell was never the required distance clear when he crossed. Ms Dravitzki was having some trouble controlling her mount but was entitled to her line of running. Mr Goodwin said there was no movement from any other runner.

Mr Riddell asked Mr Goodwin the following question "if Ms Dravitzki’s horse had not been over-racing would the incident have happened?" Mr Goodwin replied that BOLT ACTION had to be checked due to Mr Riddell taking its line of running. If he hadn’t shifted in the incident would not have happened.

Mr Neal called Ms Dravitzki as a witness. She told the committee that soon after the start her horse was racing "really hard" but she was established in a position to the inside of Mr Riddell. When she received the check Mr Riddell was only one length clear.

Mr Riddell questioned Ms Dravitzki as to her position in the race three to four strides prior to the incident. She said initially Mr Riddell was clear of her but as he crossed in front her horse raced up really fast. She said her horse was "trucking" and would not "come back to her".

Mr Neal summed up saying Mr Riddell was attempting to improve his position closer to the running rail but Ms Dravitzki was established in a position to his inside. Mr Riddell continued to move inward when not clear until Ms Dravitzki clipped heels. There were no other horses involved.

Mr Riddell in putting his case to the committee said the angles of the films did not really help and were basically irrelevant in assessing distance between runners. He said he had followed a natural course across the field from a wide barrier and was merely following the Zimmerman horse. At no stage did he make a sudden move inwards. Ms Dravitzki had been having trouble with BOLT ACTION right from the barrier and had got tired of holding it. In his opinion she was always going to run up the heels of another horse, it was just unfortunate it was him and he was made to be the scapegoat. He also suggested that a horse on the rail may have moved outwards slightly and contributed to the general bunching of the field.

Reasons For Decision:

The committee had careful regard to all of the submissions. We believed this was a clear cut case. Mr Riddell came across from a wide barrier draw when not the required distance clear of BOLT ACTION. The films and the evidence from Ms Dravitzki confirm he was only approximately one length clear. Mr Riddell made much of the fact that BOLT ACTION was over-racing and the fault lay with Ms Dravitzki being unable to steady her mount. We believed this was largely irrelevant as Ms Dravitzki was entitled to a clear line of running and if Mr Riddell had been the required two lengths clear of her she would not have clipped heels. It is not uncommon for horses to over race which is why it is critical to maintain the two length safety buffer.


The committee accordingly found the charge of careless riding proved.

Submission For Penalty:

Mr Neal and Mr Riddell were invited to make submissions on penalty. Mr Riddell has had two suspensions in the past 12 months. Mr Neal placed the degree of carelessness as above mid-range and submitted that a period of suspension was appropriate. He asked the committee to consider that this was a premier race day.

Mr Riddell did not believe the breach was at a high level. After speaking with his riding agent he advised the committee that he did not have any riding engagements within the next seven days and if any suspension was to be imposed it could start immediately.

Reasons For Penalty:

In coming to a decision on penalty the committee considered all of the submissions. We adopted as a starting point a suspension of 5 days. We took into account Mr Riddell’s record which we acknowledge is very good and in other circumstances may have led to a reduction in penalty however this was offset today by other factors. It was our opinion that this instance of careless riding lay above mid-range. We based this on the fact that Mr Riddell did not at any stage take corrective action to straighten his mount. We also had regard to the consequences of the interference. The head-on film showed the degree to which BOLT ACTION was affected. Ms Dravitzki was lucky to stay on and the horse fortunate it did not fall as it stumbled and dipped sharply after clipping heels. The committee did not consider the premier status of the race day to be an aggravating factor.


Taking in to account all of these factors Mr Riddell is suspended from the close of racing today, Saturday September 1st, up to and including racing on Monday September 10th – in effect 5 days.

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