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Manawatu HRC 19 November 2020 - R 3 - Chair, Mr N McCutcheon

Created on 22 November 2020

NMcCutcheon (chair)
Mr A Pyers - Driver of I SAID IMRACIN
Mr M Wrigley - assisting Mr Pyers
Mr J Muirhead - Senior Stipendiary Steward
Information Number
Improper Driving

Following the running of Race 3 (Manawatu Mobile Pace 2500m), Information A10289 was filed with the Judicial Committee. It was alleged by the Informant that Mr Pyers drove incompetently approaching the 1150m by improving his gelding along the passing lane when not permitted to do so, which resulted in I SAID IMRACIN, racing inside the marker line for a considerable distance.

Mr Pyers said that he understood the Rule, the Charge and confirmed that he did not admit the breach.

Mr Pyers requested that due to the serious nature of the charge that he have Mr Wrigley to assist him. This request was granted by the Chair.

The process that the hearing would follow and Mr Pyer’s rights in a defended hearing were advised to him prior to any evidence being taken.

Submission For Decision:

Mr Muirhead said that it was a 2500m race, with Mr Pyers placed on the outside of the front line. He said that Mr Pyers horse (I SAID IMRACIN) galloped early on and lost a lot of ground. He said that with two rounds to travel he was in arrears of the field by 60-70m.

He said that Mr Pyers then caught the field at the 1150m, making up the lost ground in one round. He said that he hunted up from behind and improved up quickly, then grabbed hold of his horse, then encouraged his horse to go forward and shifted into the passing lane. Then at the 950m the passing lane ended and he went inside the marker line. He said that it was a dangerous position to be in and that he remained in that position (inside markers) until the final bend then pulled his horse across wheels. Mr Muirhead said that it was a dangerous position and that “the picture tells the story”.

Mr Muirhead then showed the film replays, identified Mr Pyers and his drive and during the course of the films being shown made the following comments:
1. In catching the field in one round Mr Pyers was imprudent
2. The Passing Lane Regulations state not to use inside lane until final round. He said that that would be improper driving, but that he believed this (Mr Pyers' drive) to be of a higher level than improper.
3. That the particular drive was not of an acceptable standard.
4. Went inside markers in the back straight (last round).
5. Then Mr Pyers drove his horse forward in the final straight.
6. It was not a prudent drive.
7. The horse has issues with its racing manners which Mr Pyers knew about and should have been more careful.

Cross Examination:
Mr Pyers asked Mr Muirhead that at any stage did he turn his whip around?

Mr Muirhead replied that he did not and that he only slapped the horse.

Mr Pyers asked why he was imprudent?

Mr Muirhead said that you still encouraged your horse to run (final straight).

Mr Pyers said that the race was run slowly and he produced evidence that showed that the standing start trotting race (Race 1) had a mile rate of 2:06:2, with his race, which was a mobile start pace, having a mile rate of 2:05:5.

In explaining his drive Mr Pyers said that he caught them up quickly and grabbed a hold of him otherwise he would have run over them. He said that his horse wanted to race over them and that it was good horsemanship to control him. He said that he did catch them up quickly and that the momentum took him there. Mr Pyers said that he did not hunt the horse up and that he was surprised how quickly he caught them and that he had no intention to go to the passing lane, but that he just took off and that he could not hold him and that he defied anyone to hold him. He said that he just grabbed hold of the bit and that they were going very slow in front.

Mr Wrigley said that the Commentator said that it was an extremely slow pace and that that was evident the way that he caught the field. He said that it was a prudent decision to go up the inside to avoid danger to other drivers. He added that Mr Pyers did not turn his whip around.

Mr Muirhead put it to Mr Pyers that he had misjudged the speed in front at the 1150m.

Mr Pyers said that he was surprised at how slow they were going, and that his horse caught them on his own really and that if he could have pulled him back, he would have. He concluded by saying that he was just a passenger and that his horse was hanging out and pulling and that it was not a nice place to be.

Reasons For Decision:

The Committee gave careful consideration to all of the evidence put forward by both parties.

Mr Muirhead stated his opinion of the drive by Mr Pyers and then showed the film replays of the race. Mr Muirhead believed that Mr Pyers was incompetent in that after being 60-70m behind the field he allowed his horse to catch the field in one round, and then pushed up inside the field until such time as he ran out of room and then shifted into the passing lane with approximately 1150m to run. Then when in the back straight the final time Mr Pyers ended up inside the markers and continued in that position around the bend. Mr Muirhead said that once in the final straight Mr Pyers continued to urge his horse forward.

Mr Pyers for his part said that his horse caught the field very easily due to the slow pace. He said that he did not intend to go where he did and that he had little or no control of his horse and that he was only a passenger. Mr Pyers concluded by saying that his horse was hanging and pulling.

The Committee found that after losing 60-70m at the start, Mr Pyers allowed his drive to catch the field very quickly at a relatively high speed. After catching the field he continued to speed through on the inside and then had to take abrupt evasive action to avoid the horse racing immediately ahead and ended up in the passing lane. He remained in the passing lane until it ended near the 900m, then ran out of room and raced inside the marker line down the back straight and around the bend the final time.
At that time Mr Pyers’ horse was in reality out of the contest. However once in final straight, instead of being eased down, Mr Pyers urged his mount on. At intervals during the running, I SAID IMRACIN was pulling and hanging, however this may have been contributed to by the manner in which it was driven.

When one stood back and looked objectively at Mr Pyers’ drive in its entirety, one cannot escape from the conclusion that his drive was incompetent and fell way short of what is expected of a professional driver.


The Charge of Incompetent Driving preferred under the provision of Rule 869(3)(a) was upheld.

Submission For Penalty:

Mr Muirhead referred to the JCA Penalty Guide for a breach of the Rule. He said that Mr Pyers had in total 461 career drives with only 12 this year and 16 the previous season. He said that there was some mitigation with the horse’s manners and submitted that a starting point of a 6 month suspension be considered by the Committee.

Mr Pyers said that the horse was the problem and that he was a victim of circumstances. He added that there was not any interference and that it was not his decision to go on the inside and if he had not, he would have run over the horse in front of him and that it was a safety issue. Mr Pyers considered that a 6 week suspension would be appropriate.

Reasons For Penalty:

The JCA Penalty Guide starting point is for 80-drives suspension or a fine of $4,000.
Taking into account the limited number of race drives Mr Pyers has the Committee adopted a starting point of a 6 month suspension. A mitigating feature was the racing manners of I SAID IMRACIN. Taking all matters into account in relation to penalty, the Committee determined that a Suspension of 5 months was a condign penalty.


Mr Pyers’ Drivers Licence was suspended from 19 November up to and including 19 April 2021.


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