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NZ Metro TC 31 January 2020 - R 3 - Chair, Mr S Ching

Created on 03 February 2020

SChing (chair)
Mr J Alford - Junior Horseman
Mr P Williams - Stipendiary Steward
Mr N Ydgren - Chief Stipendiary Steward
Information Number
Careless driving

Following the running of Race 3, an information was filed by Chief Stipendiary Steward, Mr N Ydgren, against Junior Horseman Mr J Alford, alleging a breach of Rule 869(3) (b) in that he drove carelessly approaching the first bend by shifting ground inwards abruptly making heavy contact with ELO LOUISE resulting in HELD TO RANSOM breaking.

Mr Alford had endorsed the Information that this breach of the Rules was admitted. Mr Alford made application to the Committee requesting that he be excused from the hearing as his partner had just had their first child.

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

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

Mr Ydgren, with the assistance of Stipendiary Steward, Mr P Williams, gave evidence and used video coverage to show that shortly after the start, Mr Alford, driving HELD TO RANSOM, who had drawn the 9 position at the mobile start was shifting down the track to take up a position nearer the pylons with ELO LOUISE, driven by Mr M Hurrell, who had drawn 10 on the second line, racing on the pylons. Mr Williams pointed out Mr Alford who continued to shift down and make solid contact with ELO LOUISE, and as a result HELD TO RANSOM broke and galloped for several strides.


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

Submission For Penalty:

Mr Ydgren stated that the JCA Penalty Guide provides a 10-drive suspension or a $500 fine as a starting point for a breach of this rule. He said that Mr Alford’s driving statistics showed that he had 72 lifetime drives with 19 so far this season and was not considered an experienced Junior Driver. Mr Ydgren stated that Mr Alford's record showed a suspension 3 drives ago on 6 January 2020 at Wyndham where he received a 2-day suspension. He stated that the level of carelessness was mid-range with the consequences to the affected horses being low to mid. He submitted that a 3 to 4-day suspension, an uplift on the previous 2-day suspension, be considered as penalty.

Mr Alford did not seek a deferment of penalty.

Reasons For Penalty:

The JCA Penalty Guide provides a $500 fine or a 10-drive suspension starting point for a breach of this rule. The aggravating factors were Mr Alford’s record which showed a 2-day suspension only 3 drives prior as well as the consequences which we agree were at a low to mid-level. The mitigating factor was Mr Alford’s frank admission of the breach. Taking all factors into consideration, including Mr Alford’s relative inexperience, we determined that a 4-day suspension was an appropriate penalty in this case.


Mr Alford is suspended from the conclusion of racing 31 January up to and including 20 February 2020. Relevant meetings encompassed in this period of suspension were Amberley-6 February, Methven-9 February, Oamaru-15 February and Addington 20 February 2020.

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