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Oamaru HRC 20 September 2020 - R 3 - Chair, Prof G Hall

Created on 22 September 2020

GHall (chair)
Mr C Ferguson - Open Driver
Mr S Renault - Stipendiary Steward
Miss R Haley - Stipendiary Steward
Information Number
Careless Driving

Miss Haley, Stipendiary Steward, alleged that Mr Ferguson (VON ART) drove carelessly past the 400 metres in race 3 when striking the leg of ROCKNROLL MAMA (R Anderson) causing that horse to break.

Mr Renault, Stipendiary Steward, demonstrated the alleged breach on the videos. He pointed out Mr Ferguson who was racing one-off just back of mid-field. He said Mr Ferguson was trying to shift in to follow Mr O’Reilly who was on the pylons. There was a horse to his inside, ROCKNROLL MAMA, driven by Mr Anderson, and Mr Ferguson made contact with that horse. ROCKNROLL MAMA was checked and broke.

Mr Ferguson said he was “second guessing” himself at the time of the incident as to how good the trailing horse was travelling. He should have shifted earlier. He had had the opportunity but had hesitated. He did not realise that Mr Anderson had made ground and that the legs of ROCKNROLL MAMA were to his inside. He accepted he had made contact. He added VON ART was a difficult horse to drive and he had had his hands full.


Mr Ferguson has admitted the breach. It is found to be proved.

Submission For Penalty:

Miss Haley produced Mr Ferguson’s record. It was clear this season. She described the breach as low to mid-range and asked for a 2 to 3-day suspension.

Mr Ferguson requested that the penalty be as low as possible. He said he had misread the way the race was going and thought he had had more room than he did. He believed his breach was at the low end of careless driving.

Reasons For Penalty:

Mr Ferguson has shifted inwards from a one-out position in an attempt to follow Mr O’Reilly who was racing on the markers. In so doing he has made contact with the legs of ROCKNROLL MAMA, which broke. That horse was under pressure prior to the incident and its chances on running a dividend bearing position were unlikely to have been affected by the Respondent’s actions. Mr Ferguson should have seen that Mr Anderson was to his inside when he shifted inwards. He did not and, as a consequence, he was careless.

The starting point in the Penalty Guide is a 10-day suspension. Mr Ferguson’s record is very good with his last breach of this Rule being in early 2018. He averages 4 drives per meeting. Taking into account the gravity of the breach and its consequences, and giving a discount for admission and record, we believe a suspension of 2 days is appropriate.


Mr Ferguson is suspended from the end of racing today up to and including 1 October. This is 2 days.

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