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Otago RC 30 March 2012 - R 3

Created on 02 April 2012

GHall (chair)
Ms C Spittles - Licensed Jockey
Mr A Ray - Stipendiary Steward
Information Number

Careless riding.


Mr Ray, stipendiary steward, alleged that Ms Spittles allowed her mount to shift in after the start of race 3 crowding LA GEE across the running of AIBILEEN.

Submission For Decision:

Mr Ray commenced his case by acknowledging that Ms Spittles’ mount BELLISO MIST was a difficult horse to ride and was racing greenly at various times during the race. He demonstrated on the videos that shortly after the start BELLISO MIST shifted inwards crowding Mr Misbah (LA GEE) who in turn crowded AIBILEEN (Ms Direen). Mr Misbah had to check his mount as a consequence. He said LA GEE was reasonably tractable at the time and had had its line encroached upon by BELLISO MIST. Mr Ray alleged that BELLISO MIST and LA GEE clipped heels.

Mr Ray alleged that the respondent made no effort to relieve the pressure to Mr Misbah and that was why he regarded the incident as amounting to careless riding. He demonstrated that BELLISO MIST’s head was turned out only after it had come into contact with LA GEE.

Mr Misbah gave evidence that he had jumped well and was progressing forward in an endeavour to obtain a trail. He said the respondent had “come across a little bit” and he had been crowded on to the horse on his inside. He said both he and other jockeys were calling out to Ms Spittles to give them room for at 3 or 4 strides before he had come into contact with BELLISO MIST. He emphasised his horse was travelling ok until he had to take hold.

Ms Spittles said she was aware that the jockeys were yelling and also that she had come into contact with LA GEE. She said BELLISO MIST needed a senior male rider as it was not responding to her. She said she could not pull the horse back when she was crossing Mr Misbah and she did not want to swap hands with the stick as she was afraid she might lose the reins. She emphasised the horse was difficult to ride and demonstrated it was later hanging out around the first turn. She said she “did not have a lot of steering”, that BELLISO MIST had a dead mouth and did not react to her actions. She added had LA GEE, which she believed was also racing greenly, gone forward rather than easing she could have used that horse as a buffer to hold BELLISO MIST back out. Unfortunately Mr Misbah had eased and Ms Spittles said she was left with “nothing to guide her.” As to why BELLISO MIST’s head had straightened, she said this was simply because of the contact with LA GEE.

Reasons For Decision:

Shortly after the start the respondent was aware that she was drifting across into the line of Mr Misbah and in so doing he was in turn crossing Ms Direen but despite having an opportunity to straighten the horse she continued on in the belief that Mr Misbah would push forward to the lead and she would be able to sit outside him. Ms Spittles has acknowledged that she was aware for some time before she came into contact with Mr Misbah that the jockeys to her inside were yelling for room.

The riders of each horse confirmed there was contact between BELLISO MIST and LA GEE. We believe this was a consequence of the gradual inwards movement of BELLISO MIST when Ms Spittles was not her length and another clear of LA GEE. AIBILEEN was also crowded. Ms Spittles in her evidence stated she was “just sort of trying to pull back”. We accept both BELLISO MIST and LA GEE were racing a little greenly. But this does not afford a defence to Ms Spittles. 


In finding the charge proved, we do not believe that Ms Spittles made sufficient effort to straighten BELLISO MIST when she knew she was shifting ground and jockeys were yelling for room.  

Submission For Penalty:

Mr Ray described the breach as low end and produced the respondent’s record, which showed no breaches of any rule this season. He said that Ms Spittles had been very upfront when questioned by the stewards and that she was always co-operative when the stewards were conducting their inquiries. He submitted a 3 day suspension was appropriate.

Ms Spittles said she had not been charged with careless riding for 2 seasons. She confirmed she was a busy rider but was unable to determine just how many rides she would have had in that time.

Reasons For Penalty:

We accept that BELLISO MIST was giving the respondent a difficult ride and this is a mitigating circumstance. The breach is correctly categorised by the informant as low range. Ms Spittles' record is excellent and she has co-operated with the stewards. We take a 5 day starting point and reduce it by 3 days for these factors.  


The commencement of the suspension is deferred until after racing on 3 April. The respondent is suspended from the end of racing that day up to and including 9 April. This is 2 South Island days. 

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