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NZ Metro TC 19 February 2021 - R 8 - Chair, Mr S Ching

Created on 23 February 2021

SChing (chair)
Mr R Close - Licensed Open Driver
N Ydgren- Chief Stipendiary Steward
Information Number
Careless driving

Following the running of Race 8, the Dakins Handicap Trot, an Information was filed by Chief Stipendiary Steward, Mr N Ydgren, against Open Driver Mr R Close, alleging a breach of Rule 869(3) (b) in that when driving DOFF YOUR CAP, he drove carelessly in the early stages of the home straight by shifting ground inwards, resulting in his horse making contact with the sulky wheel of MISSALYSSA.

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 Ydgren gave evidence and used video coverage to show that racing into the final bend and approaching the passing lane, Mr Close, driving DOFF YOUR CAP, was racing in the trail of the lead horse, MISSALYSSA, driven by Mr A Faulks. Mr Ydgren showed on the films and explained that DOFF YOUR CAP was full of running with MISSALYSSA not travelling quite as well at this point. He explained that as the opportunity to utilise the passing lane was made available for DOFF YOUR CAP, Mr Close shifted inwards and in that manoeuvre his horse’s foreleg struck the sulky wheel of MISSALYSSA. Mr Ydgren added that as a result of that contact, DOFF YOUR CAP went rough for several strides, having to be re-balanced and losing momentum, which in turn, he submitted, affected the horse's chances of finishing in a better position. DOFF YOUR CAP finished in 4th place, a margin of a neck from the 3rd placed runner. Mr Ydgren stated that the tyre on the sulky wheel of MISSALYSSA did not puncture and deflate.

Mr Close elected to make no submissions in regard to the incident.


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

Submission For Penalty:

Mr Ydgren stated that the JCA Penalty Guide provides a 6-drive suspension or $300 fine as a starting point for a breach of this Rule where striking a wheel is involved. He said that Mr Close's record showed a breach on 8 January 2021 at Nelson where he received a 2-day suspension. Mr Ydgren added that Mr Close had had 93 drives since that breach. He assessed the carelessness of this breach as low level with the consequences being mid-range, due to the consequential effects on DOFF YOUR CAP. He stated that normally a fine would be considered in this situation but due to Mr Close's record of a previous breach within the prior 6 months and the mid-range consequences of his actions, a suspension of 2 to 3 days be considered as penalty.

Mr Close elected to provide no submissions on penalty apart from informing the Committee that he did not seek a deferral of penalty.

Reasons For Penalty:

The JCA Penalty Guide provides a $300 fine or 6-drive suspension starting point for a breach of this Rule. This Committee also assessed the breach as low level with consequences being mid-range. The mitigating factor was Mr Close's frank admission of the breach. Against this was the aggravating factor of the consequences of his actions, as noted above. Another aggravating factor was Mr Close's record showing a previous breach at Nelson in January. Taking all factors into consideration, this Committee determined that a 2-day suspension was an appropriate penalty in this case.


Mr Close is suspended from the conclusion of racing 20 February up to and including 25 February 2021. Relevant meetings encompassed in this period of suspension are the meetings at Invercargill on 24 February and Addington 25 February 2021.

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