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Otaki-Maori RC 25 February 2017 - R 8 - Chair, Mrs N Moffatt

Created on 27 February 2017

NMoffatt (chair)
Mr M McNelis - Apprentice Jockey
Mr K Smith - Licensed Jockey assisting Mr McNelis
Mr D Balcombe - Stipendiary Steward
Mr N Goodwin - Stipendiary Steward
Information Number
Careless Riding

Following the running of race 8, the “Vets on Riverbank Handicap”, Information A8753 was filed by Stipendiary Steward, Mr N Goodwin under Rule 638(1)(d). The Information stated that “Matthew McNelis allowed his mount (JUSTNAMETHEPRICE) to shift in when not clear of MANEO INVICTUS which was checked”.

Mr McNelis signed the Information stating he admitted the breach and at the beginning of the hearing confirmed that was correct and also that he understood the Rule under which he was charged.

Rule 638 (1) (d) states “A rider shall not ride a horse in a manner which the Judicial Committee considers to be .....careless”.

Mr Balcombe, using the head-on film from the top of the straight, identified Mr McNelis on “Justnametheprice” racing in the lead and closest to the running rail. Immediately behind Mr McNelis was Mr Elliot riding “Maneo Invictus”. Mr Balcombe said as the horses moved passed this point Mr McNelis rolled off the running rail at which point Mr Elliot commenced to move into the gap created by Mr McNelis. As Mr Elliot moved forward Mr McNelis shifted back inwards onto Mr Elliot hampering him for approximately 3 strides. Mr Balcombe said whilst the gap only briefly appeared it was long enough for Mr Elliot to get established in it. He added that it was clear Mr McNelis straightened his horse as soon as he realised he had crowded Mr Elliot but by then the damage was done. He also noted that despite being hampered and having to change ground “Maneo Invictus” then ran on strongly to the line finishing in 5th position.

Mr Smith agreed there was a gap, albeit a marginal one, for Mr Elliot to take. He said Mr McNelis’ horse had come to the end of its run and Mr Elliot, despite receiving the interference, was still able to finish the race off strongly into 5th place.

Mr McNelis said he knew his horse had a tendency to roll around and he had immediately straightened the horse as soon as he realised Mr Elliot was to his inside. He concluded by saying that at the time he did not think Mr Elliot was established in the gap created by his outwards movement.


As Mr McNelis admitted the breach the charge is found proved.

Submission For Penalty:

Mr Goodwin said Mr McNelis was returning to race riding today after an approximate 12 month layoff to get his weight issues under control. It was unfortunate that he had been charged after his first ride back however it was clear to the Stewards that, given the way “Maneo Invictus” finished the race off, there was a distinct possibility that, had the horse not been hampered, it may have finished in a better position than 5th. He added that he believed the level of interference was below mid-range but did not submit what he thought was an appropriate penalty.

Mr McNelis had no submissions to make on penalty but did say that in the event he was to be suspended he did not wish to seek a deferment of its starting date.

Reasons For Penalty:

The Committee has reviewed videos of the incident and taken into account all the submissions made. The films clearly show that shortly after passing the 250m point “Justnametheprice” shifted out from the running rail at which point Mr Elliot on “Maneo Invictus” commenced to move into the gap created. As he moved forward “Justnametheprice” shifted back inwards which caused Mr Elliot to be hampered for approximately 3 strides. Mr Elliot then changed ground, moved to the outside of Mr McNelis, and ran on strongly for 5th place.

The Committee places Mr McNelis’ level of carelessness towards the low end accepting that he did make an attempt to straighten his mount once he realised it was rolling in, however we place the severity of the interference closer to midrange. Whilst we cannot predict where “Maneo Invictus” would have finished, had he received an unimpeded run through on the fence, the interference certainly denied him clear passage and we note the strong manner in which he finished the race off once getting clear.

The Committee has also taken into account Mr McNelis’ admission of the breach and that this is his first ride back after a 12 month layoff to get on top of his weight issues. The JCA’s Penalty Guidelines state the starting point for a breach of the careless riding rule is 5 riding days. Balancing the relevant aggravating and mitigating factors it is the Committee’s opinion that a four day period of suspension is appropriate.


Mr McNelis is suspended for four riding days from the close of racing on Sunday 26 February 2017 to the close of racing on Saturday 11 March 2017 – the four days being

Hastings - 2 March

Awapuni - 3 March

Otaki - 10 March

Hawera  - 11 March.

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