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Nelson HRC 8 January 2021 - R 1 - Chair, Mr S Ching

Created on 10 January 2021

SChing (chair)
Mr J Cox - Licensed Open Driver
Mr J Muirhead - Senior Stipendiary Steward
Information Number
Careless driving

Following the running of Race 1, the BMTT Design Art Mobile Pace, an Information was filed by Stipendiary Steward, Mr J Muirhead, against Open Horseman, Mr J Cox, alleging a breach of Rule 869(3)(b) in that when driving ARTS BETTOR SECRET, he drove carelessly approximately 200m after the start by shifting ground inwards checking DIDJASEEMYSHADOW driven by Mr T Chmiel and NADIRA FRANCO driven by Miss H Clarke.

Mr Cox had endorsed the Information that this breach of the Rules was not admitted which he confirmed at the hearing. Mr Cox 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:

Submission For Decision:

Mr Muirhead gave evidence and used video coverage to show that shortly after the start Mr Cox driving ARTS BETTOR SECRET was racing wider on the track with DIDJASEEMYSHADOW, driven by Mr Chmiel and NADIRA FRANCO, driven by Miss H Clarke racing on his inner. Mr Muirhead pointed out Mr Cox angle his horse inwards and dictate Mr Chmiel which in turn shifted him into the running line of NADIRA FRANCO who struck a wheel and broke.

Miss Clarke gave evidence to say that she had pressure from the outside being DIDJASEEMYSHADOW, driven by Mr Chmiel, then ran out of racing room and made contact with the sulky wheel of Mr Chimel’s horse which caused her horse to break losing all chance.

Mr Chmiel gave evidence to say that his horse may have contributed by overreacting when he was trying to ease back to get out of the way which did not help the situation. He added that he did not feel any contact from Miss Clarke’s horse but that there was tightening from the outside.

Mr Cox, in defence, stated that there was doubt whether contact was made by Miss Clarke’s horse to the sulky wheel of Mr Chmiel's, as Mr Chmiel had stated. He said that Miss Clarke should have anticipated the shift down of the outside runners and eased as a prudent driver would do. Mr Cox added that there was room for Miss Clarke to shift down as the horse on her inside driven by Mr DeFilippi was no longer on her inner at that point and had her opportunity to ease away from the shift down by the outside horses.

Reasons For Decision:

We carefully considered the evidence and submissions presented. We were satisfied that Mr Cox angled his horse down the track and in doing so dictated Mr Chmiel inwards into the rightful running line of Miss Clarke whose horse made contact with the sulky wheel of Mr Chmiel’s horse causing her horse to break and lose all chance.

We therefore find that the actions of Mr Cox in this incident by dictating Mr Chmiel down into the running line of Miss Clarke were careless and we accordingly find the charge proved.


The charge was found proved.

Submission For Penalty:

Mr Muirhead stated that the JCA Penalty Guide provides a 3-day suspension for a 2nd breach of this Rule within a 6-month period. He stated that this was Mr Cox’s 3rd breach with his record showing 8 November 2020 at Ashburton a $250 fine and 13 November 2020 at Addington where he received a 3-day suspension. Mr Muirhead stated that an uplift be considering due to the aggravating factors being Mr Cox’s record and the consequences of his actions as noted above.

Mr Cox sought a deferral of penalty until after racing at Ashburton on 12 January 2021.

Reasons For Penalty:

The JCA Penalty Guide provides a 3-day suspension starting point for a 2nd breach of this Rule within a 6-month period. The aggravating factors were Mr Cox’s record, this being his 3rd offence since November 2020 and the consequences of his carelessness with Miss Clarke’s horse breaking and losing all chance. In adopting the 3-day starting point the aggravating factors warranted an uplift in penalty which we set at 1 day. There were no mitigating factors to consider, therefore we determined that a 4-day suspension was an appropriate penalty in this case.

Mr Cox’s application for a deferment until after racing on 12 January at Ashburton is granted.


Mr Cox is suspended from the conclusion of racing 12 January up to and including 20 January 2021. Relevant meetings encompassed in this period of suspension are Invercargill 13 January, Blenheim 15 and 17 January and Winton on 20 January 2021.

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