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Hawke's Bay RI 5 October 2019 - R 2 - Chair, Mrs N Moffatt

Created on 07 October 2019

NMoffatt (chair)
Ms C O'Beirne - Apprentice Rider
Ms K Clapperton - Central Districts Apprentice Mentor
Mr C Johnson - Class A Rider
Mr M Coleman - Class A Rider
Ms D Johnson - Class A Rider
Mr N Goodwin - Stipendiary Steward
Mr J Oatham - Chief Stipendiary Steward
Information Number
Careless Riding

Following the running of Race 2 (Mardigras Events 1200), an Information was lodged by Mr J Oatham alleging a breach of Rule 638(1)(d) in that C O’Beirne allowed her mount RESURRECT to shift inwards when not sufficiently clear of SANTA CATARINA which was forced inwards crowding JAKKALBOMB onto VINNIE’S VOLLEY passing the 1100m.

At the outset, Ms O’Beirne acknowledged that she understood the nature of the charge and confirmed that she did not admit the breach.

Being an apprentice rider, she was assisted by Ms Clapperton.

Submission For Decision:

Mr Oatham said that shortly after the start Ms O’Beirne commenced to shift inwards dictating the runner to her inside (SANTA CATARINA) across. This caused crowding of JAKKALBOMB onto VINNIE’S VOLLEY.

Mr Oatham asked Mr Goodwin to identify the runners involved using the available videos and outline the sequence of events. Mr Goodwin used the head-on film to show Chris Johnson (VINNIE’S VOLLEY) on the fence, Michael Coleman (JAKKALBOMB) to his outside and further out was Ms D Johnson (SANTA CATARINA) with Ms O’Beirne (RESURRECT) on her immediate outside.

Mr Goodwin said the RIU believed that the actions of Ms O’Beirne coming across from a wide draw dictated Ms Johnson inwards causing Mr Coleman to run out of room, and forcing him to abruptly steady his horse. He said both Ms Johnson and Ms O’Beirne were angling inwards to get a run closer to the running rail. Ms Johnson was trying to improve to hold her position, which she was able to do for a short time until contact was made with Ms O’Beirne’s mount. The contact forced Ms Johnson to steady her mount, and there was insufficient room for Mr Coleman and Mr Johnson resulting in quite bad interference. Mr Goodwin said there was no room for Ms D Johnson to relieve the pressure.

Mr C Johnson, Mr Coleman and Ms D Johnson all gave evidence for the Stewards.

Mr Johnson said it got tight in the early stages when the horse next to him (M Coleman) bumped the backend of his mount.

Mr Coleman said he was tightened for room by the two horses outside of him when they shifted in when not quite clear. This placed him in restricted room for a few strides. In response to questions from Mr Oatham, he said that Danielle Johnson was the rider to his immediate outside and due to pressure from her mount, he was unable to maintain his position.

Ms D Johnson said she jumped out of the barrier intending to go forward, but things got a little tight when she received pressure from the runner to her outside, who was a neck in front of her. In response to questions from Mr Oatham, she identified the horse as being ridden by Ms O’Beirne and said she was forced onto Mr Coleman’s mount. Ms Johnson said she could do nothing to relieve the pressure due to the position of the horse on her outside.

Ms O’Beirne defended the charge on the basis that she was just following Ms Johnson inwards, rather than dictating her across.

Ms Clapperton said she did not believe Ms Johnson wanted to be in the 3-wide position and if Ms O’Beirne had been dictating Ms Johnson across she would expect to see the head of Ms O’Beirne’s horse more on its side forcing Ms Johnson’s mount inwards. Ms Clapperton said there was always a gap between the two runners and in her opinion Ms Johnson was trying to race in a handy position and was pushing up to hold her spot.

Ms O’Beirne said at no stage was she forcing Ms Johnson across, she was only following her. There was no shoving, no contact and her own horse’s head was straight the whole time. Ms O’Beirne said looking at the race further on she was the rider who dropped out ending up behind Ms Johnson. If she had been dictating the line of Ms Johsnon she would have been in front, or just outside of her. Ms O’Beirne said there was no calling from any other rider and she was totally unaware that any of this had happened.

Mr Oatham summed up for the Stewards. He said all three witnesses said they had received pressure from their outside and Ms Johnson’s evidence was clear and not challenged by Ms Clapperton or Ms O’Beirne. He said from leaving the barriers Ms O’Beirne was always on an inward path and was initially ¾ length in front of Ms Johnson. Ms Jonhson could see Ms O’Beirne shifting in and rode her mount forward in an attempt to maintain her line. With Ms O’Beirne continuing to shift inwards Ms Johnsnon had no alternative but to move in as well. Ms Johnson attempted to straighten her mount to prevent interference to Mr Coleman on her inside but had no room to do so. Mr Oatham said Ms O’Beirne allowed her mount into a position which left no room for the other riders to her inside, resulting in Mr Coleman losing his rightful line of running.

Ms O’Beirne said at no point was she pushing her horse and even when there was tightening Ms Johnson was still urging her mount forward. She said Ms Johnson made no attempt to stop riding or to move out and she did not let Ms O’Beirne know that there was someone inside of her. Neither Mr Johnson or Mr Coleman identified a particular rider as causing the tightening, just that pressure came from the outside.

Ms Clapperton said the first point of blame was always put on the outside runner and that there was no point in cross-examining Ms Johnson because she was not going to admit to any wrongdoing.

Reasons For Decision:

In coming to a decision, the Committee had regard to the films, and all the evidence presented.

We found that near the 1100m Ms O’Beirne allowed her mount to shift inwards when insufficiently clear of SANTA CATARINA who shifted in onto JAKKALBOMB and VINNIE’S VOLLEY on the rail. JAKKALBOMB was denied its rightful line of running and was checked.

While we accept that there was a gap between Ms O’Beirne’s mount and Ms Johnsons contact does not have to occur for there to be interference. Dictating another horse across can also be considered as interfering with their rightful line of running. We do not accept that Ms O’Beirne simply followed Ms Johnson across as she was always ahead of that runner both before and when the interference occurred. Also, the films showed that Ms Johnson was attempting to keep the pressure off Mr Coleman to her inside but was unable to do so due to the tightening from Ms O’Beirne on her outside.


Accordingly, the charge of careless riding against Ms O’Beirne was found proved.

Submission For Penalty:

Mr Oatham produced Ms O’Beirne’s riding record which showed a clear record over the preceding 12 months encompassing 318 race day rides. He said the Stewards believed today’s breach sat in the midrange and submitted for a suspension in line with the penalty guidelines.

Mr Oatham suggested the Committee take into account the premier raceday and that the breach occurred in a $40,000 race.

Ms O’Berine asked the Committee to take into account her clean record and in the event of suspension advised of riding commitment through until next Saturday October 12th.

Reasons For Penalty:

The Committee made an overall assessment of the degree of carelessness as being in the midrange. Ms O’Beirne’s movement across was sustained but gradual and ultimately resulted in crowding and interference to inside runners.

We adopted a starting point of 8 days suspension as provided by the Penalty Guide for Judicial Committees. Credit was given for Ms O’Beirne’s excellent record over the last 12 months. The race was not of black-type status, and we did not consider the overall status of premier race day to be an aggravating factor.

Taking into account all matters we considered an appropriate penalty was one of seven riding days.


Ms O’Beirne is suspended from the close of racing on Saturday, October 12th up to and including racing on Wednesday, October 23rd 2019.

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