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Oamaru HRC 1 December 2018 - R 6 - Chair, Mr P Knowles

Created on 07 December 2018

869 (3) (b)
PKnowles (chair)
Mr S Abernethy - Open Horseman
Mr M Williamson - Open Horseman
Mr SP Renault - Stipendiary Steward
Mr S W Wallis - Stipendiary Steward
Information Number
Careless driving

Following the running of race 6 the Fat Sally’s Pub & Restaurant Drivers Series Mobile Pace Stewards charged Mr S Abernethy with a breach of r869 (3) (b) – careless driving – in that “…near the 750m he allowed SELENA FRANCO to strike the outside sulky wheel  of TRIROYALE BRIGADE which deflated.”

Rule 869 (3) (b) reads:

               No horseman in any race shall drive:


Mr Abernethy did not admit the breach and appeared at the hearing.

Mr Wallis, with the aid of the video replays pointed out the relevant positions of TRIROYALE BRIGADE and SELENA FRANCO as the field entered the back straight. He said TRIROYALE BRIGADE was improving three wide with SELENA FRANCO trailing. He alleged the incident took place as Mr Williamson shifted TRIROYALE BRIGADE into the one-out position about the 750m.

Submission For Decision:

Mr Renault stated that as Mr Williamson shifted down Mr Abernethy was trailing too close and as a result his horse struck the sulky wheel causing it to deflate. TRIROYALE BRIGADE’S chances of finishing in a better position were affected from that point onwards. TRIROYALE BRIGADE finished in fourth placing.

In giving evidence Mr Williamson stated that as he shifted to the one-out position he heard a tap and looked down at his outside wheel which went flat. Soon afterwards the tyre came off the wheel. He said when he shifted to the one-out position he did not ease the pace.

Mr Abernethy stated he felt that the pace had eased as TRIROYALE BRIGADE shifted into the one-out position. He said prior to the incident he had taped his horse up and did not know that any contact had been made. He did not believe he had driven carelessly. He also did not believe TRIROYALE BRIGADE’S chances had been affected.

In summary Mr Renault stated that Mr Abernethy was trailing too close and had been caught out. It was his responsibility to keep clear. He did not believe that an easing of the pace was a significant factor.

Mr Abernethy stated he did not believe he had driven carelessly.

Reasons For Decision:

Mr Abernethy was charged with a breach of careless driving in that he allowed his horse to strike the wheel of another runner. The onus is on the driver of a trailing horse to keep clear when improving their position. We find that Mr Abernethy was trailing too close in this instance and was in breach of the rule. 


The charge is upheld.

Submission For Penalty:

Mr Renault stated that Mr Abernethy had an excellent record under the rule with no similar charges in the past 12 months. He had driven 69 times so far this season and had 329 drives last season. The JCA Penalty Guide recommended a starting point of a $300 fine or a six drive suspension. Taking into account that TRIROYALE BRIGADE’S chances were affected he sought a fine of $350.

Mr Abernethy stated he would prefer a fine as opposed to a suspension. He doubted TRIROYALE BRIGADE would have finished in a better position.

Reasons For Penalty:

Mr Abernethy’s breach of the rule was at the lower end of careless. While it resulted in a punctured wheel we do not believe TRIROYALE BRIGADE’S chances were greatly affected by it. He has an excellent driving record and we give him credit for that. We take a starting point of $300 and with credit set a penalty of a $250 fine.


Mr Abernethy is fined $250.

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