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12 Jan 2020
Nelson-Hrc - R7

Nelson HRC 12 January 2020 - R 7 - Chair, Mr T Utikere

Created on 12 January 2020

TUtikere (chair)
Mr G Smith - Senior Horseman
Mrs C Tibbs - Stipendiary Steward
Mr S Renault - Stipendiary Steward
Information Number
Failing to Keep straight

Following the running of Race 7 (Fasttrack $2,500 Added Stake Handicap Trot 2400m), Information A13117 was filed with the Judicial Committee. It alleged a breach of Rule 869(4) and the Home Straight Regulations in that "G Smith (GREAT THINGS HAPPEN) failed to maintain a straight course in the run home".

Mr Smith confirmed that he understood the Rule and Regulations and that he admitted the breach.

Using the Head-on film, Mrs Tibb identified GREAT THINGS HAPPEN (Mr Smith) as the lead horse on an outwards movement in the home straight. Passing the 400 metres he was observed to be trotting a little roughly.  GREAT THINGS HAPPEN was positioned 2 and 1/2 cart widths wide on the track after rounding the bend and had shifted further up the track whilst driven by Mr Smith. The gelding continued to shift upwards and whilst the horse had been checked by the eventual winner prior to the finish, he had moved some seven to eight cart widths outwards in the run home. The side-on film indicated Mr Smith had made no attempt to mitigate his movement and that no other horses were affected, except for his own.

Mr Smith said that he did not deny that the movement happended and that he genuinely thought that the Rule only applied to the leader who had to maintain a straight line. He also said that previously in similar circumstances he had corrected and the horse had hit its hind shin and galloped as a result. As such, he simply let him roll out as straightening him would likely have caused him to break.  


As the charge is admitted, the Committee deem it to be proved.

Submission For Penalty:

Mr Renault identified that the Respondent had 165 drives this season and 442 last season. He identified a breach of the Rule at Reefton on 30 December 2019 for which he recieved a $250 fine. The JCA Penalty Guidelines identify a starting point of a six drive suspension or a $300 fine. As this was his second breach within a two week period, Mr Renault submitted an uplift with a fine at a level above the starting point as appropriate.

Mr Smith advised his preference for a fine, but identified that in the event a suspension was imposed, he had commitments at the second day at Blenheim. He reiterated that he was unaware that the Rule applied to non-leading runners and that he was trying to give his horse the best chance without fighting him. He did not think it was a severe breach as he had not caused interference to any other runners.

In response to a question from the Committee he confirmed that the recent breach at Reefton involved a different horse.

Reasons For Penalty:

It is clear that Mr Smith has moved from a position closer to the running rail to one that is some eight cart widths wider. It is fortunate that no impact to other runners has ocurred on this ocassion. He had an obligation to maintain a straight line down the home straight and has failed to discharge that obligation.

We consider a fine as the appropriate penalty and adopt the starting point of $300. We apply Mr Smith's admission in mitigation, but an aggravating factor is his record; specifically the fact that he has breached this Rule less than two weeks ago. Whilst he thought that the Rule only applied to leading runners, such ignorance of the Rule is no defence, and difficult to accept given his recent Reefton breach.


Mr Smith is fined $400.

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