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Waikato RC 8 February 2020 - R 8 - Chair, Mr A Dooley

Created on 10 February 2020

ADooley (chair)
Mr T Harris - Class A Rider
Mr J Oatham - Chief Stipendiary Steward
Information Number
Failed to make contracted weight

This charge arises from Race 8, BCD Group Sprint (Group 1). The Informant, Mr Oatham filed an Information pursuant to Rule 330(3)(c). He alleged that Mr Harris failed to make the contracted weight for AVANTAGE.

Mr Harris was not present at the meeting, he participated in the hearing by mobile phone link. Mr Harris said that he admitted the breach and confirmed he understood the Rule. The Information was endorsed to that effect by Mr Oatham.

Rule 330(3)(c) provides: “A rider shall not fail to ride a horse at the weight at which it is handicapped to carry”.

Mr Oatham advised that following Race 3 (at approximately 1.45pm) he received a call from Mr Harris advising that he was unable to make the weight for AVANTAGE in Race 8. He said that Mr Harris told him that the connections of AVANTAGE would not allow him to ride ½ a kilo over the carded weight. This was confirmed with the Stewards by AVANTAGE’s Trainer Mr J Richards. Mr Oatham said that although Mr Harris advised that he was at least ½ a kilo over weight there was no way of verifying this because Mr Harris was not present on course.

Mr Harris told the Committee that he was about ½ a kilo over the contracted weight (57kgs). He said Mr Richards did not want him to ride AVANTAGE overweight. He added that he rode at 58 kgs on Thursday and thought he would be able to make today’s weight.

Mr Oatham said that Mr Harris was replaced by Senior Rider Ms D Johnson.


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

Submission For Penalty:

Mr Oatham said that this is Mr Harris’ 6th breach within 12 months and in particular his 4th breach within the 120-day reset period. He acknowledged that Mr Harris does struggle with his weight and he does not have a good record. He said Mr Harris must ensure he only takes rides on horses that he can make the carded weight. Mr Oatham said a significant penalty is required on this occasion and suggested due to the status of the race a combined suspension and fine.

Mr Harris did not seek a deferment to any proposed suspension. He submitted that a 6-day suspension and a fine would be appropriate.

Reasons For Penalty:

The Committee considered the submissions presented and for consistency took some guidance from previous penalties for similar breaches. It is unfortunate that Mr Harris was not present on course and as a consequence we can only speculate the actual amount of excess weight above the carded weight of 57 kgs.

In the Committee's assessment we took into account the fact that this is Mr Harris’ 4th breach within 120 days and his 6th breach in the last 12 months. Therefore, we deemed his record is poor. Further, the connections were put to the inconvenience of having to find a suitable replacement rider at very short notice in a Group 1 Race with stake money of $200,000. In addition, the betting public were also disadvantaged in that they had placed their bets on AVANTAGE on the understanding that Mr Harris was to ride the horse. This is no reflection on the replacement rider Ms Johnson who is a very capable rider. The Committee had regard for Rule 920(2) when deliberating on penalty. We have treated these as aggravating factors which warrants an uplift in penalty. In conclusion we were mindful that there needs to be a deterrent factor for any riders who fail to make the carded weight in future similar races.

Mr Harris advised Stewards belatedly and he admitted the breach; we apply no credit for his admission given the circumstances.

We note that following his previous breach Mr Harris was advised by the Judicial Committee that to avoid a reoccurrence he was urged to get his weight under control before accepting any future engagements. This Committee reinforces this advice and also urged his Manager not to accept rides that Mr Harris will struggle to make the carded weight.

After taking into account all the above factors the Committee considered that an appropriate penalty would be a combined suspension and a fine.


Accordingly, Mr Harris had his license to ride in races suspended for a period to commence after racing on 8 February and conclude after racing on 21 February 2020 (8 National Riding Days). In addition, we impose a $1,000 fine.

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