Auckland TC 20 May 2022 (heard 27 May 2022 ) – R2 – Steven Reid

ID: RIB9218

Steven Reid - Driver

Mr S Mulcay, Senior Stipendiary Steward

Mr G R Jones

Persons Present:
Mr Mulcay and Mr Reid

Information Number:

Decision Type:
Race Related Charge

Seat came adrift from sulky

864(2)(d) - Incorrect gear


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: Trainer / Driver, Mr S Reid fined $250


The Respondent, Steven Reid is the Co-Trainer and Driver of TAKE THE MIKI who raced in R 2 at the Auckland Trotting Club meeting at Alexandra Park on 20 May 2022.  During the running of the Race the sulky seat came adrift and Mr Reid was dislodged.

This charge results from that incident.

Senior Stipendiary Steward, Mr Mulcay filed an Information pursuant to Rule 864(2)(d) alleging that Mr Reid “failed to ensure that the sulky seat was affixed so as to not come adrift which resulted in the seat becoming detached from the sulky near the 100 metres with Mr Reid then failing onto the track”.

This charge was heard at Alexandra Park on 27 May 2022.

Rule 864(2)(d) provides:

(2) Every driver, owner, trainer and assistant thereof of a horse shall with regard to that horse ensure that: (d) all gear is correctly applied and/or affixed so as not to malfunction or come adrift;

Mr Reid indicated on the Information that he admitted the charge and he confirmed this at the commencement of the hearing.

Mr Mulcay produced the ‘Authority to Charge’ Memorandum which was signed by the RIB Chief Executive.

Using the available Race films Senior Stipendiary Steward, Mr Mulcay demonstrated the concluding stages of Race 2.  He pointed out that Mr Reid (TAKE THE MIKI) who was the lead horse approaching the 150-metre mark.  He said that nearing the 100 metres the sulky seat came adrift and Mr Reid was dislodged onto the track. Driver Mr B Butcher (ENJOY ME) was racing behind TAKE THE MIKI and he could not take evasive action to avoid Mr Reid and he too was dislodged onto the track.

Both Drivers required trackside St John Ambulance attention.  Mr Reid was transported to Auckland Hospital for observations and follow-up treatment for bruising.  Mr Butcher also went to hospital later for treatment relating to a hip injury.  They were later discharged.

In response, Mr Reid stated that although he admitted the charge there were mitigating factors.  He said that he had borrowed the sulky and had to adjust the seat.  He said that in doing so he loosened and then tightened the seat bolts.  He is adamant that the bolts were tight when he went out onto the track.  He said that he believed they may have become undone due to his movement in the sulky – he referenced the fact that he is a particularly tall Driver, and this may also have been a factor. He said that he has previously seen sulky seats that have come loose, but they have never come adrift, as happened on this occasion.  He also pointed out that the bolts did not snap.


The charge is admitted by the Respondent and is therefore deemed proved.


Senior Stipendiary Steward, Mr Mulcay advised the Adjudicative Committee that the Respondent has a clear record under this Rule, and he freely admitted the breach at the first opportunity.

Mr Mulcay submitted several precedent cases relating to similar breaches for the consideration of the Adjudicative Committee.  He said that he accepted the mitigating factors advanced by Mr Reid but was compelled to point out aggravating factors including:

  • Mr Reid’s drive lost all chance because of the seat coming adrift.
  • TAKE THE MIKI may have placed, but for the incident punters were denied any opportunity of a return on their investment.
  • Mr Butcher was dislodged.

Mr Mulcay submitted the incident could be dealt with by way of fine in the vicinity of $300.

The Respondent submitted that from his perspective a fine of $150 would be a fair outcome.


Due to the myriad of circumstances that can exist where gear can come adrift, cases of this nature are dealt with on a case-by-case basis. The precedent cases provide a range of fines from $50 to $250 in circumstances where a seat has come adrift.  Most of the precedent cases relate to breaches that occurred between 2003 and 2016.  There have not been any more recent cases.

The Adjudicative Committee has assessed this breach to be medium to high range in terms of culpability for a breach of this type.  Although Mr Reid borrowed the sulky the onus was on him to ensure that after adjusting the seat it was sufficiently tightened to avoid it coming adrift.  Mr Reid accepts this and to some extent it would have been difficult for him or others to foresee the accident occurring.  Nevertheless, this is a safety issue and there were consequences not only for Mr Reid, but also for Mr Butcher.  Fortunately, the Adjudicative Committee understands that neither Driver suffered any serious injuries.  Accordingly, after evaluation of the circumstances and the consequences of the breach, the Respondents driving record and his admission it was determined a fine of $250 be imposed.

The Committee understands that, as part of the Health and Safety investigation, there is follow-up action underway to determine if there is a need to secure stoppers at the end of the seat rail, to prevent seats coming adrift in the future under similar circumstances.


The Respondent, Mr Reid is fined $250.

Decision Date: 27/05/2022

Publish Date: 28/05/2022