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R Tauranga 13 December 2019 - R 4 - Chair, Mr A Dooley

Created on 16 December 2019

ADooley (chair)
Mr S Weatherley - Apprentice Rider
Mr S Ritchie - Trainer of RELIABLE HUNTER
Mr N Harris - Apprentice Jockey Mentor
Mr J Oatham - Chief Stipendiary Steward
Mr B Jones - Stipendiary Steward
Information Number
Careless Riding

Following the running of race 4, an Information was filed pursuant to Rule 638 (1)(d). The Informant, Mr Jones alleged that Mr Weatherley allowed his mount RELIABLE HUNTER to shift outwards on a number of occasions inside the final 150 metres when continuing to ride his mount forward making contact with RIVERFALLS on several occasions.

Mr Weatherley said that he understood the Rule and confirmed his admission of the breach. Mr Harris and Mr Ritchie assisted Mr Weatherley at the hearing.

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

Mr Oatham demonstrated the incident using the available video footage. He identified that Mr Weatherley was riding RELIABLE HUNTER forward with a lot of vigour near the 150 metres when his mount shifted outwards and made contact with RIVERFALLS. He said that Mr Weatherley turned his mount's head inwards but then went straight back to using his whip and he didn’t relieve the pressure. As a result RIVERFALLS was unbalanced on several occasions. In conclusion Mr Oatham said the incident was not as apparent on the side on compared to the head on footage.

Mr Weatherley said that he was riding RELIABLE HUNTER forward and his mount was green having its 2nd raceday start. He said at the main point of contact he made an attempt to straighten his mount. He admitted that he made a mistake by using his whip again when his mount shifted ground. He believed that contact occurred on 2 occasions which resulted in RIVERFALLS' hind quarters being hampered. In conclusion he said that he was desperate because he was riding the hot favourite.

Mr Ritchie said that Mr Weatherley attempted to straighten his mount and there was no damage to RIVERFALLS or its rider. He said RELIABLE HUNTER was a colt and the $2 favourite. He added that the punishment should not be too harsh.

Mr Harris said the interference did not affect the final result.


As Mr Weatherley admitted the breach the Committee found the charge proved.

Submission For Penalty:

Mr Jones produced Mr Weatherley’s record which showed 1 previous breach under this Rule from 294 rides this season. He said the interference was an odd piece of riding and the level of carelessness was mid to high range. He noted that when RELIABLE HUNTER shifted ground Mr Weatherley went back to using his whip vigorously and again made contact with RIVERFALLS. He added that RELIABLE HUNTER was a green horse when placed under pressure.

Mr Weatherley advised the Committee that any proposed suspension could start after racing on 15 December. Mr Weatherley said that his actions were “quite stupid”. He asked the Committee for some leniency because he had some good rides on Boxing Day at Ellerslie.

Mr Ritchie said that a 6 day suspension would be sufficient as Mr Weatherley admitted the breach and he has an excellent record.

Reasons For Penalty:

The Committee carefully considered all the evidence and submissions presented.

When reviewing the incident the head on footage was compelling. It was clear that near the 150 metres when being ridden forward RELIABLE HUNTER shifted out sharply and made solid contact with RIVERFALLS. As a result that runner's hind quarters were turned out severely. Once the first point contact has ceased Mr Weatherley displayed poor judgment when he immediately used his whip with force again. As a consequence RELIABLE HUNTER again shifted outwards and made firm contact with RIVERFALLS' hind quarters for several strides.

In our view Mr Weatherley failed to exercise the degree of care and attention that a reasonable and prudent jockey would exercise in the circumstances. The safety of other horses and riders participating in the race is paramount. We deemed the level of carelessness displayed by Mr Weatherley was mid to high range.

The JCA Penalty Guide starting point for mid to high range carelessness is 9 days which we adopted.

The mitigating factors were Mr Weatherley’s admission of the breach albeit unsurprising given the compelling head on video footage and his very good record under this Rule. For these collective factors he was afforded a 1 day reduction in penalty.

The Committee adopted the view that the importance of Iconic / Premier upcoming meetings should be in the forefront of jockeys’ minds, causing them to be even more determined not to breach the Rules.

We note that RELIABLE HUNTER finished in 2nd place and was beaten a short neck.

The fact that Mr Weatherley was riding the $2 favourite is no excuse for riding in such a careless manner.

The Committee had regard for the meetings included in Mr Weatherley’s suspension.


The Committee granted a deferment to Mr Weatherley’s suspension pursuant to Rule 1106(2).

Accordingly, Mr Weatherley had his license to ride in races suspended for a period to commence after racing on 15 December and conclude after racing on 27 December 2019. (8 national riding days).

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