Appeal – Written Decision dated 13 February 2024 – Wiremu Pinn

ID: RIB38965

Racing Integrity Board

Wiremu Pinn - Jockey

Appeal Committee Member(s):
Mr Murray McKechnie (Chair) and Mr Noel McCutcheon

Persons Present:
Mr W Pinn - Appellant, Mr P Cornegé - Counsel for Mr Pinn, Mr C McNab, former Senior Jockey and Mr Pinn's Agent, Mr B Jones - Senior Stipendiary Steward, Mr J Oatham - Chief Stipendiary Steward (Thoroughbred Racing)

Information Number:

Decision Type:

Failing to take all reasonable and permissible measures to win or obtain the best possible placing

636(1)(b) - Riding/driving infringement

Animal Name:


Race Date:

Race Club:
Matamata Racing Club

Race Location:
Matamata Racecourse - 7555 State Highway 27, R D 3, Matamata, 3440

Race Number:

Hearing Date:

Hearing Location:
Te Rapa

Outcome: Appeal Dismissed

Penalty: N/A


1.1. Following the running of Race 7 at Matamata on the 24th of January this year, Mr Pinn was charged with a breach of Rule 636(1)(b) when riding State of Fear. It was alleged that Mr Pinn failed to take all reasonable and permissible measures to win or obtain the best possible placing by failing to ride his mount with sufficient vigour when detached from the body of the field in the early to middle stages of the race.

1.2. Mr Pinn denied the alleged breach. The Adjudicative Committee found the charge to have been proven. Mr Pinn was suspended for four calendar weeks commencing from the end of other suspensions for careless riding, which are to expire on the 18th of February this year. Thus, the suspension was for four weeks from the end of racing on the 18th of February until the end of racing on the 17th of March 2024.

1.3. Mr Pinn appealed the Decision of the Raceday Adjudicative Committee. The Rules of New Zealand Thoroughbred Racing provide that an Appeal is by way of re-hearing. The Appeals Tribunal must, nevertheless, have regard to the Decision of the Adjudicative Committee. The Adjudicator on the 24th of January this year was a senior and respected person in that role.

1.4. Mr Pinn’s Appeal was heard at Te Rapa Racecourse on Friday the 9th of February this year. After hearing the evidence, to which detailed reference will be made later in this Decision, the Appeals Tribunal deliberated and thereafter announced its decision. Mr Pinn’s Appeal was dismissed, both with reference to finding that there had been a breach of the Rule and in respect of the period of suspension that had been imposed.

1.5. The Tribunal indicated that it would deliver a detailed ‘Reasons for Decision’. It was explained that the extent of the evidence and the issues that had been raised during the hearing of the Appeal meant that a detailed Decision could not be delivered on 9th February. The Reasons for Decision are now set out.


2.1. The primary evidence was the film of the race. This was viewed from all angles. It was commented upon in detail by both Mr Jones and Mr Cornegé.

2.2. The race was run over 2,000 metres. State of Fear was the favourite, having won its previous race. The films demonstrated that when the field reached the winning post with a circuit of the track to run, State of Fear was some three lengths behind the second last horse Super Gunn. As the field turned out of the straight, State of Fear became further detached from the field and was some 6 to 7 lengths behind Super Gunn. At that time, State of Fear was around as much as 25 to 30 lengths from the leaders. The films demonstrated that at the 1,000-metre mark, State of Fear was some 6 lengths behind the second last horse. At around the 400-metre mark, Mr Pinn began to urge the horse forward and it improved along the rail. Turning into the straight, the horse was momentarily held up, but then finished on strongly running into 3rd, some three lengths from the winner and half a length from the 2nd placed horse.


3.1. Mr Cornegé made available to the Tribunal, a printout of the times that had been run by all of the horses in the race over the first 400 metres, the last 800 metres, the last 600 metres and last 400 metres. This demonstrated that the horses which had led out, finished towards the tail of the field 10th, 13th, and 14th in a 14-horse field. It was Mr Cornegé’s submissions that these horses had gone much too fast and that this largely explained why State of Fear became detached. Mr Cornegé also produced printouts from previous races for State of Fear. These were from the 26th of October at Rotorua, 29th of November at Te Aroha and the 15th of December at Tauranga. On all three occasions the horse ran second.

3.2. The Tribunal asked Mr Jones if he could play a film of the race won by State of Fear on the 2nd of January at Tauranga. He was able to do this. It demonstrated that the horse was towards the rear of the field before finishing strongly. It was not however, detached. Mr Pinn was not the Jockey in that race.

3.3. Mr Pinn’s explanation to the Adjudicative Committee was that State of Fear was a difficult ride. Further, that it was on one rein. The films of the race do not support that explanation. Further, Mr Pinn told the Adjudicative Committee that he was niggling at it all the time. The films do not support that. Mr Pinn did not make any effort to make up the gap from the rest of the field until he approached the 400-metre mark.

3.4. Mr McNab told the Tribunal that State of Fear had bowed a tendon on the 6th of February. There was nothing in the films or in a post-race veterinary examination to suggest that the horse had any physical impairment. Mr McNab drew attention to the fact that in the subject race, the leaders had gone faster in the first 1,200 metres that in the maiden sprint over 1,200 metres earlier in the race meeting. He emphasised that in the subject race, the horses were stayers and he described them as ‘a pretty ordinary lot’.

3.5. Mr Cornegé submitted that, but for two slight checks that the horse received entering the home straight, it may well have won the race.


4.1. Mr Jones’ submissions were essentially two-fold. First, that Mr Pinn had allowed State of Fear to get too far behind the rest of the field, or to adopt the expression used throughout the hearing, become detached. The extent of this is set out in para 2.2 above. Secondly, Mr Jones submitted that Mr Pinn should have moved sooner to advance State of Fear towards the field, or to the language adopted throughout the hearing, shown more vigour at an earlier stage.

4.2. Mr Jones produced a signed statement from the Co-Trainer of State of Fear, Mr Graham Richardson. Mr Richardson is a Senior Trainer. With reference to the instructions given to Mr Pinn, the statement is as follows:

1. My riding instructions to State of Fear were to ride him back midfield. I told him he’s not as good when he’s too handy, I said, “Ride him back midfield but not further back than that.” I didn’t say back-back.

As to Mr Richardson’s opinion of Mr Pinn’s ride, the statement is as follows:

2. It was terrible, as simple as that. He didn’t even put the horse in the race. The horse jumped out of the gates, he’s just not moved on the horse at all. It got back down the back straight, give him a slap at about the 1,100 maybe, from memory. Realising he’s lost contact with the rest of the field. The horse has switched off by then, it’s too late.


5.1. The Tribunal considers that Mr Pinn made an error of judgement in allowing State of Fear to become so far detached from the rest of the field. His explanation for that, was unconvincing. It was an error of judgement. Further, the Tribunal is of the view that Mr Pinn having got so far detached, should have moved earlier to move State of Fear towards the field.

5.2. Mr Cornegé made reference to a Decision involving Mr Pinn dated January 2021. The same charge was proffered in respect of the horse named Hail Damage. Mr Pinn admitted the breach on that occasion. Mr Cornegé made particular reference to a passage in that Decision of the Adjudicative Committee, which referenced an Australian Decision J McDonald 26 June 2020, where attention was drawn to the difficulty in administering the relevant Rule and the number of relevant considerations which must be considered. In looking at all the relevant considerations, the Tribunal has reached the view that there was a culpable error of judgement, and the finding of the Adjudicative Committee must be upheld.


6.1. Mr Cornegé submitted that the penalty was harsh. On the 24th of January at the Matamata Race Meeting, Mr Pinn had been charged with careless riding breaches after both Races 1 and 2. Both of those charges were admitted and resulted in suspensions until the 18th of February 2024.

6.2. Mr Jones submitted that the penalty was not excessive. He drew attention to the Penalty Guide providing a starting point of 6 weeks suspension. Mr Pinn has three previous breaches of Rule 636(1)(b). All occurred in 2021 when Mr Pinn was an Apprentice. One of those Decisions involving a horse called Not Santa, following a race meeting at Woodville on the 9th of May 2021, bears a striking resemblance to the circumstances here. Mr Jones advised that Mr Pinn had more breaches of the Rule 636(1)(b) than any other Jockey currently riding in New Zealand.

6.3. The Adjudicative Committee set out its reasons for penalty. In doing so, it noted that Mr Pinn had three previous breaches of the Rule. All of these took place in 2021. The Tribunal is in complete agreement with the reasons for penalty given by the Adjudicative Committee and now sets that out.

The Adjudicative Committee, although taking into account the NZTR Guide of 6 weeks suspension, was very cognisant of the need for any penalty to not be “crushing” to Mr Pinn. The previous breaches were when he was a young Apprentice, 3 years ago, were historic and Mr Pinn has since then become a prominent and experienced Rider, and did not require an uplift. It is not an aggravating factor to defend the charge, but simply an absence of a mitigating factor.

The Adjudicative Committee regards the offence as one of misjudgment (given that for the 2 admitted careless riding breaches earlier in Races 1 and 2, had resulted in an effective total suspension of 12 days, any further length of suspension could be “crushing”. A significant penalty is necessary to reflect the concerns of Owners, Trainer and the betting public which had made the horse the favourite. But a term of 4 calendar weeks commencing from the end of the suspensions for careless riding, namely 18 February 2024, was regarded as sufficient and appropriate in all the circumstances.

It follows that the Appeal against Penalty is dismissed.


7.1. If the RIB wishes to make applications for costs, they are to file submissions with the Executive Officer of the RIB before the close of business on Monday the 19th of February. Those submissions will then be made available to Mr Cornegé and if he wishes to make a response, that is to be available to the Executive Officer of the RIB by the close of business on Monday the 26th of February.

Decision Date: 09/02/2024

Publish Date: 14/02/2024