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R Te Aroha 30 September 2018 - R 6 - Chair, Mr A Godsalve

Created on 01 October 2018

AGodsalve (chair)
Mrs L Wheeler-Class E ( Amateur ) rider
Mr M Williamson - Senior Stipendiary Steward
Mr A Coles (Stipendiary Steward)
Information Number
Careless Riding

Following the running of Race 6, the CAPISTRANO DUKE OF GLOUCESTER CUP 2200 an Information was lodged by Mr Coles, alleging that Amateur Rider Mrs L Wheeler 'allowed her mount (TRANSFORMER) to shift in from near the 2100 metres causing interference to TABOO, BARB DWYER and SENASSY'.

Mrs Wheeler was present at the hearing and acknowledged that:

(a) She understood the Rule, and

(b) She admitted the breach.

Rule 638 (1)(d) provides that 'A Rider shall not ride a horse in a manner which the Judicial Committee considers to be careless'.

Using the available films Mr Williamson identified the horse TRANSFORMER, ridden by Mrs Wheeler. The race was over the distance of 2200 metres and TRANSFORMER had started from barrier 7. Mr Williamson pointed out that shortly after the start Mrs Wheeler directed TRANSFORMER across towards the running rail in the front of the field. TRANSFORMER shifted from a position about 4 horses wide to be adjacent to the running rail. The horse immediately behind TRANSFORMER was then TABOO, with BARB DWYER and SENASSY behind that horse. Mr Williamson stated that it appeared that Mrs Wheeler had thought she was sufficiently clear of TABOO when she shifted across, however that was not the case. As a result TABOO was crowded, with the rider having to restrain it, which in turn caused some considerable discomfort to the riders of BARB DWYER and SENASSY. Mr Williamson pointed out that Mrs Wheeler allowed TRANSFORMER to shift approximately 2 horse widths towards the rail when not sufficiently clear of the 3 horses racing on her inside. Mr Williamson added that it was a concern to the Stewards that this interference, while not severe, had occurred over a considerable distance. He said that some of the riders involved were quite inexperienced.

Mrs Wheeler acknowledged that she had not been the required distance clear of TABOO when she directed her mount across in front of it. She added that she had expected the rider of TABOO to take a hold of the horse when she shifted across in front of it, and had in fact directed TRANSFORMER outwards when she realised she may have crowded TABOO.


As Mrs Wheeler has admitted the breach we find the charge to be proved.

Submission For Penalty:

Mr Coles stated that it was to Mrs Wheeler's credit that she had admitted the breach, and that she had not previously breached this Rule in the preceding 12 months. He was  unable to provide the Committee with any proposed programme for Amateur Riders for the next racing season, and suggested that in this instance the breach could be dealt with by way of a monetary penalty. He suggested a fine of $300 would be an appropriate amount.

Mrs Wheeler said that as an Amateur Rider she did not earn a riding fee when riding on racedays. She asked the Committee to consider a suspension of her riding licence instead of a fine.

Reasons For Penalty:

The Committee viewed the films of the incident independently of the parties. We were concerned that the incident took place over a distance of approximately 100-150 metres, and that several horses were affected. Mrs Wheeler is an experienced rider, while a number of the other riders in the race were not, some having their first raceday rides. We placed the incident at the mid-range on the level of seriousness. The interference took place in the early part of the race and it is therefore difficult to assess how it impacted on the affected horses' chances.

In that event, we were mindful that any penalty we imposed should be 'meaningful'.

We took into account Mrs Wheeler's admission, and her good record.

A charge of 'careless riding' usually attracts a period of suspension of the rider's licence. The raceday Stewards were unable to supply the Committee with any details of a proposed programme for Amateur Riders for the following season, today being the final day for this year when they could ride in races. We were unable to obtain any clarification as to when that programme may be available.

These extenuating circumstances led us to consider a fine as an appropriate penalty. Initially we considered that the aggravating circumstances, i.e. that there were 3 horses affected to varying degrees, and that the interference was relatively prolonged, should result in a fine above the $300 suggested by Mr Coles. However, the fact that a number of riders in the race were quite inexperienced and may have not reacted as more practised riders would have, mitigated the incident to some degree. We were also mindful that Amateur Riders do not get paid for raceday rides. It is important to note that riders have to ride in accordance with the Rules, and it is not usually a mitigating factor to say that the affected parties 'should have got out of the way'. However Amateur riders are not afforded the training and experience of trial rides that professional riders do and Committees need to be aware of this when assessing penalties.

Given the above, the Committee deemed it appropriate to deal with this matter by way of a monetary penalty.


Accordingly the Committee imposed a fine of $300 on Mrs Wheeler.

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