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Taranaki RC 3 February 2018 - R 7 - Chair, Mr T Utikere

Created on 05 February 2018

TUtikere (chair)
Mr T Johnson - Apprentice Jockey
Mr N Harris - Apprentice Jockey Mentor
Mr N Goodwin - Stipendiary Steward
Information Number
Careless Riding

Following the running of Race 7 (PLATINUM HOMES TARANAKI CUP), Information A8815 was filed with the Judicial Committee. It alleged a breach of Rule 638(1)(d) by Apprentice T Johnson. The Information stated: ”T Johnson (HEAVENS KEEP) allowed his mount to shift in passing the winning post when not clear of AUTHENTIC PADDY which was tightened on the first round.”

Rule 638(1)(d) states:

“A Rider shall not ride a horse in a manner which the Judicial Committee considers to be: … (d) careless.”

Mr Johnson was assisted at the hearing by Apprentice Mentor Mr Harris. Mr Johnson confirmed to the committee that he understood Rule 638(1)(d), and that he admitted the breach.

Using the head-on film, Mr Goodwin identified that racing into the first turn there were several horses vying for good positions near the rail. At that point, Mr Johnson had allowed his mount to shift in when not the required distance clear. As a result, Ms Thornton was required to take a hold of her mount (AUTHENTIC PADDY) and steady out of her rightful line. He observed that there was no obvious outwards movement from runners to the inside. Mr Goodwin identified Mr Johnson as being only ¾ Length clear. Ms Thornton had told stewards that she originally thought there had been outwards movement from the inside runners, but Mr Goodwin submitted that the films did not substantiate that.

Mr Johnson said that the carelessness was obvious on the films, but that his trainer had instructed him to lead at all costs. He had tried to be careful, but was simply not the required distance clear and that it did cause some difficulty when he travelled into that bend. He said that two strides after the incident, he was aware of what had happened and tried to take corrective action at that point.

Mr Harris concurred with Mr Goodwin’s interpretation. He reiterated that Mr Johnson was a young rider, and that the head-on film showed that there were six runners to his inside. He believed that Mr Johnson was conscious and aware of those racing to his inside and was trying to give them room, but that this was a misjudgement on the apprentice’s part and at the point of the turn it was very difficult to judge how much space there was.


As the charge was admitted, the Committee deemed the charge proved.

Submission For Penalty:

In presenting Apprentice Johnson’s record, Mr Goodwin identified two previous suspensions (Stratford; 31 December - 4 days; Hawke’s Bay; 1 January [relegation from 2nd placing] - 6 days). The stipendiary stewards identified no aggravating factors for Mr Johnson's breach and submitted the level of carelessness to sit below the mid-range. He also commented that when a trainer gave instructions for a horse that had drawn 13 to lead at all costs, that was not ideal.

Mr Johnson advised that he had been riding for two and half years, and that he had upcoming commitments at Tauherenikau on Tuesday 6 February. Mr Harris said that in determining penalty, the fact that Mr Johnson did try hard and had consideration for his other riders by attempting to ease the pressure straight away needed to be taken into consideration.

Reasons For Penalty:

The committee had regard to all of the submissions put before it. The head-on film clearly demonstrated that going into the bend on the first occasion, Mr Johnson was racing from a wider position on the track and was regularly looking to his inside; aware of those runners positioned there. While he had sought a run closer to the rail, when he crossed in front of AUTHENTIC PADDY, he was only ¾ lengths clear. This required Ms Thornton to take a hold and she lost her rightful line of running that she was entitled to as a result. Given Mr Johnson’s awareness of those runners to his inside, and the nature of his movement, we assessed the level of carelessness to be at the low end and adopted the starting point of six National Riding Days. In mitigation, the committee considered Mr Johnson’s early admission of the breach. We also noted his two suspensions within the previous 12 month period. In the circumstances of this breach, we consider a five National Riding Day period of suspension as appropriate.


Mr Johnson is suspended from the conclusion of racing on Tuesday 7 February until the conclusion of racing on 14 February 2018.

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