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Non Raceday Inquiry RIU v T S Chmiel - Penalty Decision dated 12 December 2019 - Chair, Mr R G McKenzie

Created on 13 December 2019



IN THE MATTER of the New Zealand Rules of Harness Racing

IN THE MATTER of Information No. A9036

BETWEEN S P RENAULT, Stipendiary Steward for the Racing Integrity Unit




Date of Hearing: 8 December 2019

Venue: Mt Harding Racecourse, Methven

Judicial Committee: R G McKenzie (Chair)

O K Jarvis

Present: Mr Renault, the Informant

Mr Chmiel, the Respondent

Mrs C M Tibbs, Stipendiary Steward

Date of Written Decision: 12 December 2019


The Charge

[1] Information No. A9036 was filed by Stipendiary Steward, Mr S P Renault, against Licensed Open Driver, Mr T S Chmiel, alleging that Mr Chmiel, as the driver of CANSTAR in the Race 9, Christchurch Casino Mobile Pace, at the meeting of New Zealand Metropolitan TC meeting held at Addington Raceway on 7 December 2019, he “drove carelessly racing into the first bend by shifting inwards resulting in PRINCESS FULHAM (R D Holmes) being checked and breaking”.

[2] Mr Renault produced a letter from Mr M R Godber, General Manager of the Racing Integrity Unit, pursuant to Rule 1108 (2), authorising the filing of the information. The information was served on Mr Chmiel on 8 December 2019 and was heard at the meeting of Methven TC held at Mt Harding Racecourse on that day.

[3] The charge was read to Mr Chmiel at the commencement of the hearing. He confirmed that he understood the charge and that he admitted the charge.

The Rule

[4] Rule 869 provides as follows:

(3) No driver in any race shall drive:

(b) carelessly.


[5] Mr Renault showed a head-on video replay of the start of the 1980 metres mobile start event. He pointed out the three runners involved - CANSTAR, driven by Mr Chmiel, which had drawn barrier position 7, MAHARANI (M J Anderson) which had drawn 3 and PRINCESS FULHAM (R D Holmes), which had drawn 2.

Racing into the bend, those three runners were going forward. Mr Holmes was established on the inside, Mr Anderson one-off and Mr Chmiel 3-wide. On the bend, Mr Holmes’ runner ran out of room and broke. Mr Holmes had told Stewards that there had been no contact, but he had been tightened and obliged to take a hold and his horse struck a pylon and broke.

Mr Chmiel had come from wide on the track. He had followed Mr Anderson down and the video replay showed his inside sulky wheel get inside Mr Anderson’s. Mr Anderson was unable to relieve any pressure on Mr Holmes as he had Mr Chmiel outside him. Mr Chmiel needed to stay wider on the track. He needed to be 3-wide, but was only “2½ wide”, Mr Renault said.

Mr Chmiel said that his horse had followed Mr Anderson’s down. He did not believe that he had applied a lot of pressure on him. A horse’s natural inclination is to run in on a bend. There was no contact and no driver had called out. He was unaware of Mr Holmes’ presence. He had not actually “pushed” his horse down but rather his horse had followed Mr Anderson’s runner down. Mr Chmiel submitted that Mr Anderson’s intention had been to move down regardless of what he, Mr Chmiel, did.


[6] Mr Chmiel having admitted the breach, the charge is found proved.

Penalty Submissions

[7] Mr Renault told the hearing that Mr Chmiel has had 54 drives in the current season to date and, last season, had a total of 215 drives. He submitted that, on the basis that this charge had been heard following another careless driving charge arising out of the race, this was a second breach of the rule. The Penalty Guide for a second breach of the careless driving rule had a starting point of a 3 days’ suspension. He submitted that a suspension for 3 days was an appropriate penalty as Mr Holmes’ runner had received interference and had lost its chance as a result.

Mr Chmiel had no submissions to make in respect of penalty.

The hearing then then looked at the upcoming meetings at which Mr Chmiel would be likely to drive.

Reasons for Penalty

[8] Informations A9036 and A9037 were heard together and Mr Renault asked the Committee to regard the charge contained in the latter should be regarded as a first breach, notwithstanding that the incident took place 100-150 metres after the charge under Information A9036.

However, in dealing with penalty on the two charges, the Committee believes that the two charges should properly be dealt with in the order in which they occurred.

This charge arose out of the first incident and, accordingly, we have approached penalty on the basis that Mr Chmiel had a clear record. The appropriate Penalty Guide starting point is, therefore, a 10 drives’ suspension or a $500 fine. We consider a suspension is the appropriate penalty having regard to the fact that the interference to PRINCESS FULHAM resulted in that runner losing its chance.

This was an aggravating factor, otherwise the carelessness was at the low end. Against that, Mr Chmiel had a good record and has admitted the breach. The Committee has taken a starting point of a 3 days suspension based on Mr Chmiel having, we are told, 4-5 drives per meeting and taking into account the aggravating factor referred to.

We are able to give Mr Chmiel a discount from that starting point for the mitigating factors and that discount we fix at 1 day.


[9] Mr Chmiel’s request for a deferment of suspension is granted until 13 December 2019 inclusive.

Mr Chmiel’s Open Driver’s licence is suspended from 14 December 2019 to 18 December 2019 (both dates inclusive) – 2 days. The meetings intended to be encompassed by the period of suspension are Akaroa TC on 15 December 2019 and Forbury Park TC on 18 December 2019.

R G McKenzie


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