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Waikato RC 6 February 2016 - R 3 - Chair, Mr A Dooley

Created on 09 February 2016

ADooley (chair)
Mr S McKay - Apprentice Rider of SANTIAGO
Mr N Harris - Apprentice Jockey Mentor
Mr A Coles - Stipendiary Steward
Mr J Oatham - Senior Stipendiary Steward
Information Number
Careless Riding

Following the running of race 3, J Swap Contractors 1600, an Information was filed pursuant to Rule 638 (1)(d). The Informant, Mr Oatham, alleged that Mr McKay allowed his mount SANTIAGO to shift out from near the 200 metres when not clear crowding MACKLEMORE out onto DRAGON DANCER with DRAGON DANCER then having to be checked short of the finish.

Mr McKay acknowledged that he understood the Rule and confirmed his admission of the breach. Mr N Harris assisted Mr McKay 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 Coles identified SANTIAGO racing 1 off the rail passing the 300 metres when Mr McKay shifted out from behind THE RICH LISTER to obtain a run. He said Mr McKay allowed his mount to shift out when being ridden forward over the final 200 metres which caused crowding to MACKLEMORE. He demonstrated on the head on film that closer to the finish line Mr McKay shifted out a further 2 horse widths into the line of DRAGON DANCER which was checked.

Mr McKay said SANTIAGO had a tendency to lay out in the straight and he took a minor hold on the inside rein. He conceded that he didn’t realise how far he had drifted out until viewing the video footage. He identified that when MACKLEMORE weakened near the finish SANTIAGO then shifted out further on the track.

Mr Harris advised the Committee that Mr Innes the rider of MACKLEMORE had not called out to Mr McKay when he was shifting out. He said although Mr McKay admitted the breach the interference occurred right on the finish line.


As Mr McKay admitted the breach the Committee find the charge proved.

Submission For Penalty:

Mr Oatham produced Mr McKay’s record which showed 3 previous breaches under this Rule in the last 12 months the most recent being 3 October 2015 which incurred a 6 day suspension. He described Mr McKay’s record as being a neutral factor when considering penalty. He said Mr McKay was a popular rider that rode in the Northern and Central area. He stated the level of interference was not particularly high but was concerned the incident went on for 200 metres. He said the connections of DRAGON DANCER viewed the video footage of the incident but elected not to lodge a protest against SANTIAGO. Mr Oatham submitted the level of carelessness was in the low to mid – range and a suspension of 4 or 5 days would be appropriate.

Mr McKay advised that he had upcoming engagements at Te Rapa on 13 February which included a Group 1 ride, and sought a deferment to any proposed suspension. He added that he’s had 450 rides this season.

The Committee granted an adjournment to the hearing so Mr McKay could confirm any other engagements with his employer Mr P McKay. When the hearing re - commenced Mr McKay submitted that it was planned for him to ride 3 horses for the Dennis Brothers at Gore on 11 February.

The Committee requested Mr Oatham to produce Mr McKay’s recent riding history in the South Island. This showed that he had ridden on all 3 days during Christchurch Cup week in November 2015.

When tested Mr McKay confirmed that he had not ridden in the South Island since November 2015. The Committee read aloud to Mr McKay the JCA Penalty Guide regarding calculation of days for clarity.

Mr McKay then asked the Committee to consider imposing a 3 day suspension and a fine which would permit him ride on February 20 at Ellerslie or Taranaki.

Mr Oatham submitted that the Stewards would not support a suspension / fine combination.

Reasons For Penalty:

The Committee carefully considered all the evidence and submissions presented. The Committee have adopted 5 riding days as the starting point in considering the term of suspension for this careless riding charge. The mitigating factors were Mr McKay’s admission of the breach and the level of carelessness was low end for which he has been given credit. However, this has to be balanced against the fact that Mr McKay allowed his mount to shift out at least 6 horse widths over a 200 metre period when being ridden forward. Mr McKay failed to display the required corrective action which resulted in DRAGON DANCER being checked 2 to 3 strides before the finish line.

We assess Mr McKay’s record as reasonable given that he is a busy Apprentice rider and considered this to be a neutral factor when fixing penalty.

The Committee did consider Mr McKay’s request for a suspension / fine combination. In our opinion there were no compelling or exceptional circumstances placed before us to merit a combined penalty in this case. We informed Mr McKay that some Committees have imposed a suspension / fine combination but primarily when the last day of the penalty involves a Group 1 ride. We note that Ellerslie has two Group 2 races scheduled on 20 February and Taranaki has two Group 3 races on the same day.

Mr McKay was unable to demonstrate that he had a recent history of riding in the South Island on Industry days and we consider Christchurch Cup week in November to be a 1 off event. In our opinion Mr McKay rides habitually all over the North Island. Accordingly, 19 February at Riccarton was not included in the penalty.

After taking into account all the above factors the Committee considers an appropriate suspension was 4 days.


We grant Mr McKay’s request to seek a deferment to his suspension as per Rule 1106(2).

Accordingly, Mr McKay had his license to ride in races suspended for a period to commence after racing on 13 February and conclude after racing on 20 February 2016 (4 North Island days).

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