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Methven TC 13 September 2020 - R 11 - Chair, Mr S Ching

Created on 15 September 2020

869 (3) (b)
SChing (chair)
R Close-Licensed Open Horseman
S Renault- Stipendiary Steward
Information Number
Careless driving

Following the running of Race 11, an Information was filed by Stipendiary Steward, Mr S Renault, against Open Horseman Mr R Close, alleging a breach of Rule 869(3) (b) in that when driving FUTURA EASTON, he drove carelessly near the 250m when shifting ground outwards checking MORNINGSTAR GOLD which broke.

Mr Close had endorsed the Information that this breach of the Rules was admitted which he confirmed at the hearing. Mr Close also confirmed that he understood the rule he was being charged with.

Rule 869(3)(b) reads as follows:

“(3) No horseman in any race shall drive:-

(b) carelessly:-

Mr Renault gave evidence and used video coverage to show that approaching the 300m, Mr Close, driving FUTURA EASTON, was racing 4 back on the pylons, with MORNINGSTAR GOLD, driven by Mr R Holmes to his outside. He said that near the 250m, Mr Close shifted out when looking for clear racing room and as a result his sulky wheel came into contact with the hind leg of MORNINGSTAR GOLD who broke, losing all chance. Mr Renault stated that Mr Close had made an error of judgement.

Mr Close accepted he had made an error of judgement.


As Mr Close had admitted the breach, the charge was found proved.

Submission For Penalty:

Mr Renault stated that the JCA penalty Guide provides a 10-drive suspension as a starting point for a breach of this rule where interference has occurred. He said that Mr Close's driving statistics showed 55 drives so far this season with 427 total drives last season. Mr Renault stated that Mr Close had a clear record in regard to this rule and submitted that after taking mitigating and aggravating factors into consideration, a 2- day suspension be considered as penalty. He added that Mr Close averaged 5 drives per race day at relevant meetings.

Mr Close sought a deferral of penalty until after racing at Addington on 17 September. He also asked that the Committee take into consideration the Auckland Meeting on 18 September as he was there for a family event and had been approached to drive at the meeting.

He also asked that the meeting at Winton be considered as he had been asked to drive for a stable there as well.

Reasons For Penalty:

The JCA Penalty Guide provides a 10-drive suspension starting point for a breach of this rule. The mitigating factors was Mr Close's frank admission of the breach and his good record. Against this was the aggravating factor of the interference to MORNINGSTAR GOLD and the fact that the horse’s chances were extinguished. We considered that Mr Close could have 5 drives at the Oamaru meeting but more than likely to have less at the Auckland and Winton meetings which we accepted he would be taking drives at. Taking all factors into consideration, we determined that a 3-day suspension was an appropriate penalty in this case.

Mr Close's application for a deferment until after racing on 17 September at Addington is granted.


Mr Close is suspended from the conclusion of racing 17 September up to and including 24 September 2020. Relevant meetings encompassed in this period of suspension are Auckland Trotting Club on 18 September, Oamaru on 20 September and Winton Harness on 4 September 2020.

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