Auckland TC 15 July 2022 – R6 – Luk Chin

ID: RIB10001

Dr Luk Chin - Driver

Mr S Mulcay - Senior Stipendiary Steward

Mr G Jones and Mr I McHardy

Persons Present:
Mr Mulcay, Mr Dooley, Mr Z Butcher, Dr Chin

Information Number:

Decision Type:
Race Related Charge

Failed to concede position

869(4) - Riding/driving infringement - Shifting Ground Regs

Not Admitted

Animal Name:


Race Date:

Race Club:
Auckland Trotting Club

Race Location:
Alexandra Park - Cnr Greenlane West & Manukau Road Greenlane, Auckland, 1051

Race Number:

Hearing Date:

Hearing Location:
Alexandra Park

Outcome: Proved

Penalty: Dr Luk Chin fined $300

This charge arises from the running of Race 6, the Lone Star Alexandra Park Handicap Trot 2700m. Information number A18263 was filed by Senior Stipendiary Steward, Mr Mulcay alleging Open Driver, Dr Luk Chin, the Driver of VORONOV, breached Rule 869(4) (the Shifting Grounds Regulations) “in that he failed to concede his position near the 2250m which resulted in his gelding breaking and losing considerable ground”.

Dr Chin denied the charge and endorsed the Information ‘I do not admit the breach of the rule’. At the commencement of the hearing, he confirmed his not guilty plea.

Submission For Decision:

The Applicant’s case

Mr Mulcay called two witnesses.  Stipendiary Steward Mr A Dooley and Driver Mr Z Butcher.

Witness – Mr Dooley

Mr Dooley used the available race films to support his oral evidence. The films were shown at least 4 or 5 times. He stated that as the field entered the first bend approaching the 2400 metre mark MR MUSCLE (Z Butcher) was racing in a 3-wide position.  He pointed out that on his inner was VORONOV (L Chin) and directly in front was EMMA FROST (T Mitchell).  He said that at this point Mr Butcher attempted to push Dr Chin downward, but he held his position and as a result, contact was made.  Both sulky wheels locked for a short time and when they cleared there was further contact, and VORONOV broke and lost ground.

Mr Dooley said that at the time of the downward shift Mr Butcher held an advantage over Dr Chin (about a head), but Dr Chin held his ground and in fact should have conceded.  He said that the contact was solid, and the films clearly identify that Mr Butcher’s leg was jolted to the outside of his sulky.

Under cross examination Dr Chin suggested to Mr Dooley that he believed Mr Butcher was not ahead of him when he shifted in.  In response Mr Dooley restated his earlier evidence that at the time of the shift Mr Butcher held an advantage over Dr Chin, and again he used the films in support of this.

Under re-examination from Mr Mulcay, Mr Dooley said that when Mr Butcher sought to shift in, Dr Chin had two options.  Firstly, he could have shifted down onto the marker line; or secondly, he could have taken hold of VORONOV and eased back.

Witness – Mr Z Butcher

Mr Butcher confirmed that he was the Driver of MR MUSCLE, and that there was an incident near the first turn shortly after the start of the race. He said that he eased MR MUSCLE down from a 3-wide position into the running line and VORONOV, who was on his inside, contacted his sulky wheel.  He said that he had clear room to ease down, and his downward manoeuvre was gradual, over a distance of 60 or 70 metres.  He said that initially the wheels of both sulkies touched and then VORONOV’s back leg hit the back of his sulky wheel.

In concluding his evidence, using the films, Mr Butcher pointed out that when he shifted, he always held at least a head advantage over VORONOV.

The Respondent’s case

In his evidence Dr Chin stated that as Mr Butcher shifted down he came too close to him.  He said that he called out to Mr Butcher.  Dr Chin accepted that he should have moved down on to the marker line but said “by the time I took hold my horse broke”.

Decision and Reason

After carefully considering the oral evidence and the race films the Adjudicative Committee concluded that the charge was proved to the requisite standard i.e. on the balance of probabilities.

The Rules:
The Shifting Down Regulations replace the former Easing Down Regulation and were effective from 11 November 2018. The Regulations provide that:

Where a horse does not have clear passage during a race the driver shall be permitted to shift ground:
1. Inwards and ease another runner down the track provided such driver is in a position to do so by having sufficient advantage over the horse about to be shifted inwards and that horse is
clear of other horses to its inside so it can be moved in.
2 Outwards and ease another runner up the track provided the horse to be shifted outwards is in
a position to be moved out without causing interference to that or any other horse and that the movement complies with the requirements of Rule 869(6)(b) and (c) – the “push out” Rule.

For the avoidance of doubt, the following shall apply:
The onus shall be on the driver shifting ground to ensure the move is made with safety and does not
cause interference by conducting it in a gradual and acceptable manner thereby enabling the driver of the runner being moved to be able to take the necessary action to accommodate the manoeuvre.
Where interference occurs or a driver fails to concede when not in a position to maintain his/her place, the provisions of Rules 869(3) and (4) shall apply.

The Adjudicative Committee found that Mr Butcher was entitled to ease down.  At the time of the shift the films indicate that Mr Butcher had a clear (head) advantage over Dr Chin.  The inward shift by Mr Butcher was done so safely and in a gradual manner.  Dr Chin had an obligation to concede his position but did not do so.  Consequently, his drive (VORONOV) broke and lost ground after contacting the sulky wheel of MR MUSCLE.

The charge is therefore proved.

Submission For Penalty:

Mr Mulcay submitted that Dr Chin has a particularly good driving record, having not previously breached this Rule, and therefore his record was worthy of credit.

Mr Mulcay said that the Penalty Guide provides for a 6-drive suspension or $300 fine.  He submitted it is Stewards’ policy to seek a suspension as opposed to a fine for a breach of this nature.

Dr Chin said that he would prefer a fine, as opposed to a suspension.  He said that he is a long-time supporter of northern trotting, and he is intending to bring 4 horses to meetings at Alexandra Park to compete in the forthcoming ‘winter’ series. He also asked the Adjudicative Committee to consider that he did take hold of his horse, but it was too late, and that VORONOV is an inexperienced 3-year-old trotter.

Reasons For Penalty:

The Penalty Guide provides a starting point of a 6-drive suspension or a $300 fine. The Adjudicative Committee has noted that similar breaches of this Rule have incurred penalties ranging from fines between $200 to $300 with a limited number having resulted in suspensions.  It is also noted that penalties for previous breaches have depended on case specific circumstances.

After considering the submissions of both the Applicant and Respondent; noting the race film and the resultant impact on the affected runner, VORONOV, the Adjudicative Committee determined the breach to be mid-range. On that basis we adopted a $300 fine as the starting point.  Dr Chin was afforded a $50 discount for his very good record under the Rule.  However, this was nullified following a $50 uplift being applied due to VORONOV having its chances of finishing in a better position extinguished because it broke and lost considerable ground directly because of Dr Chins’ failure to concede his position.


Dr Chin was fined $300.

Decision Date: 15/07/2022

Publish Date: 18/07/2022