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NZ Metro TC 5 July 2020 - R 6 - Chair, Mr R McKenzie

Created on 07 July 2020

RMcKenzie (chair)
B A Laughton
Licensed Junior Driver
R Haley
Stipendiary Steward
Information Number
Careless Driving

Following the running of Race 6, Lamb & Hayward Pace, an information was filed by Stipendiary Steward, Ms R Haley, against Licensed Junior Driver, Mr B A Laughton, alleging a breach of Rule 869 (3) (b) in that Mr Laughton, as the driver of SWEET LORESS in the race, “near the 700 metres he allowed his runner to contact the sulky wheel of STANDOUT (J C Morrison) causing it to puncture”.

Mr Laughton had signed the Statement by the Respondent on the information form indicating that he admitted the breach, and he confirmed this at the hearing at which he was present. Mr Laughton, a Junior Driver, waived the right to assistance from a senior driver.

Rule 869 provides as follows:

(3) No horseman in any race shall drive:-
     (b) carelessly.

Ms Haley showed a video replay of the relevant part of the race with approximately 700 metres to run. She pointed out SWEET LORESS, driven by Mr Laughton, racing at the rear of a bunch of eight runners and outside the wheel of STANDOUT, driven by Mr Morrison, and looking to improve. Mr Laughton then attempted to ease onto the back of Mr Morrison and, in doing so, the near front foot of his runner made contact with the outside sulky wheel of Mr Morrison’s, causing the tyre to immediately deflate. Mr Morrison could be seen to look behind and to his right, shortly after the contact was made. The contact was assessed by the Committee as slight, but it could be seen on the video replay. Mr Morrison reported the punctured tyre to Stewards post-race.

Mr Laughton said that he had just activated the removeable deafeners on the horse and the horse had been inclined to run in. This had happened as he was trying to get back on Mr Morrison’s back, he said. 


Mr Laughton having admitted the breach, the charge was found proved.

Submission For Penalty:

Ms Haley said that Mr Laughton had admitted the breach at the first opportunity. He has a “great record” and the incident had “minimal consequences”, she said. Ms Haley referred to the Penalty Guide starting point for the breach of a $300 fine.

Mr Laughton asked the Committee to consider his good record, his admission of the breach and the fact that he is a Junior Driver. 

Reasons For Penalty:

The Penalty Guide starting point for careless driving striking a wheel is a 6-drives suspension or a $300 fine. A suspension is not an appropriate penalty in this case.

The Committee noted that, prior to today, Mr Laughton has had 149 drives this season and, in the 2019/2020 season, had 221 drives. He is a busy Junior Driver. His record under the careless driving rule is clear, his most recent breach being in December 2019.

Ms Haley described Mr Laughton’s record as “great” and the consequential effects as “minimal”. It is difficult to assess the consequential effects, as STANDOUT and SWEET LORESS were racing in second-to last and last position respectively position at the point where the incident took place, at the 700 metres. Neither runner made any ground from that point. On that basis, the Committee agrees with Ms Haley’s assessment of the consequential effects as “minimal” and it has not regarded it as an aggravating factor.

The Committee, in deciding penalty, took into account as mitigating factors Mr Laughton’s very frank admission of the breach, his good record and his status as a Junior Driver. The contact involved was very slight and involved only a very slight error of judgement on the part of Mr Laughton. A combination of all of those factors warrant a discount of $100 from the Penalty Guide starting point.


Mr Laughton is fined the sum of $200.

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