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Nelson HRC 8 January 2021 - R 2 - Chair, Mr S Ching

Created on 10 January 2021

SChing (chair)
Mr M Bryers - Licensed Graduation Driver
Mr J Muirhead -Senior Stipendiary Steward
Information Number
Improper driving

Following the running of Race 2, the Town & Country Vets Trot, an Information was filed by Stipendiary Steward, Mr J Muirhead, against Graduation Driver, Mr M Bryers, alleging a breach of Rule 869(3)(f) in that when driving KENNY KEKO, he drove improperly near the 1500m by allowing his horse to shift into the passing lane and improve his position.

Mr Bryers had endorsed the Information that this breach of the Rules was not admitted which he confirmed at the hearing. Mr Bryers also confirmed that he understood the Rrule he was being charged with.

Rule 869(3)(f) reads as follows;
(3) No driver in any race shall drive:-
(f) improperly;

Relevant Passing Lane Regulation
Except after entering the home straight for the last time in any race, no horse may use the expanded inside lane in an attempt to pass any other horse or horses or improve its position. Any horse which does so may be disqualified, or relegated under Rule 869A and the driver shall be in breach of Rule 869(3)(f).

Submission For Decision:

Mr Muirhead gave evidence and used video coverage to show that at the 1650m Mr Bryers driving KENNY KEKO was racing on the pylons, 3 deep and trailing TUSCAN SUN, driven by Miss H Clarke at the top of the straight for the first time. He pointed out Mr Bryers shift to the inside of Miss Clarke near the 1500m and improve on her inner using part of the passing lane which is in breach of the Passing Lane Regulations.

Mr Muirhead showed on the films that when the passing lane ended past the winning post Mr Bryers was positioned inside Miss Clarke with her now racing 2-wide and Mr Anderson driving ISLAS SON on her outer. He said shortly after the passing lane ended, Miss Clarke was squeezed and checked out of her position due to Mr Bryers having taken up her position on the pylons and Mr Anderson holding his rightful line being in the 2-wide position. Mr Muirhead stated that Mr Bryers has used the passing lane to improve his position in breach of the Passing Lane Regulations which in turn has caused Miss Clarke to lose her rightful position on the pylons.

Mr Bryers stated that his actions were not intentional. He said he was keeping his line with the front horse and as far as he was concerned all the other horses came out and left a run for him. He asked why did the field move out and then come back down on the bend out of the straight.

Mr Bryers stated that he may have shifted into the passing lane by a metre but this was not intentional. He stated that all the other drivers drove badly by allowing their respective horses to shift out in the straight when they should have been trailing correctly.

Reasons For Decision:

We carefully considered the evidence and submissions presented by both Mr Muirhead and Mr Bryers. We were satisfied that Mr Bryers was in a position on the pylons in the trail of Miss Clarke as the field entered the straight by the 1650m. We were also satisfied that Mr Bryers shifted down encroaching into the passing lane and improved on the inside of Miss Clarke. We are further satisfied that the reason Miss Clarke ran out of room and had to check when the passing lane ended was due to Mr Bryers actions in taking a position he was not entitled to by using the passing lane. We therefore find the charge of improper driving proved.


The charge was found proved.

Submission For Penalty:

Mr Muirhead stated that the JCA Penalty Guide provides a 25-drive suspension as a starting point for a breach of this Rule. He said that Mr Bryers was clear in regard to this Rule. His driving statistics showed 8 drives this season to date, 3 drives last season, 14 drives the year before and 16 drives the year before that.

Mr Muirhead stated that the breach was low-level and submitted that a combined penalty be considered as penalty due to the difficulty of imposing a meaningful suspension with Mr Byers history of drives as noted above. He submitted that a 3 month suspension combined with a fine of $300 be considered as penalty in this case.

Mr Bryers sought a deferral of penalty until after racing at Blenheim on 15 January. He added that he thought that he should not have had the charge found proved against him and made no helpful submissions in regard to penalty.

Reasons For Penalty:

The JCA Penalty Guide provides a 25-drive suspension starting point for a mid-range breach of this Rule. We agree with Mr Muirhead that this breach is at the lower end of the scale. We also agreed with Mr Muirhead that to impose a meaningful penalty a combined penalty should be considered due to the number of drives Mr Bryers has on average. This Committee determined that a period of suspension and in addition a fine was an appropriate penalty. We therefore determined that a 3 month suspension and $400 fine be imposed.

Mr Bryers’ application for a deferment until after racing on 15 January at Blenheim is granted.


Mr Bryers is suspended from the conclusion of racing 15 January up to and including 15 April 2021. In addition Mr Bryers is fined the sum of $400.

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