Auckland TC 30 November 2023 – R1 – James Brownlee

ID: RIB30326

James Brownlee - Driver

Mr S Mulcay - Senior Stipendiary Steward

Mr G Jones

Persons Present:
Mr Mulcay, Mr Brownlee

Information Number:

Decision Type:
Race Related Charge

Careless Driving

869(3)(b) - Riding/driving infringement


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: Driver James Brownlee is fined $250

Summary of Facts:

Following the running of Race 1, the Respondent Amateur Driver Mr James Brownlee, admitted a breach of Rule 869(3)(b); namely that he drove RIVERBOY BEN carelessly near the 1700 metres when shifting ground when not sufficiently clear which resulted in BEACH PARTY (M Salaivao) being checked and losing its position. 

The Respondent endorsed the Information ‘I do admit the breach of the rule’ and confirmed he understood the Rule and the nature of the charge.

Rule 869(3)(b) provides:

No Driver in any race shall drive carelessly.

Using available video footage, Senior Stipendiary Steward Mr Mulcay identified the horses involved in the incident namely, RIVERBOY BEN driven by Mr Brownlee and BEACH PARTY driven by Mr Salaivao. He pointed out after starting from the 2200 metres, and entering the turn down the back straight near the 1700 metres, RIVERBOY BEN was one out trailing BENJAMIN BUTTON, who in turn was trailing the race leader. The lead horses were running one off the markers and Mr Salaivao had established BEACH PARTY on the markers, and slightly behind RIVERBOY BEN. Mr Brownlee has shifted RIVERBOY BEN inward, taking the rightful running line of BEACH PARTY who was pressured, causing Mr Salaivao to concede his position.  BEACH PARTY received a slight check.

In explanation, Mr Brownlee stated that he was on the back of BENJAMIN BUTTON, who was racing one off the markers.  He said that there was a gap on his inside, and he thought that he was entitled to shift into that gap.  He accepts, having been told by Stewards, that he was not permitted to shift in when not sufficiently clear of runners on his inside.  He said that as an Amateur Driver, he does not get enough experience in driving in races, albeit he has held an Amateur’s Licence for several years.


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

Submissions for Penalty:

Mr Mulcay advised that Mr Brownlee has a clear record. He described the breach as low level in that the breach had minimal consequential impacts and the interference to BEACH PARTY was minor.  He said that Mr Brownlee indicated that he would prefer a fine and this was not contested by Stewards.

Mr Brownlee confirmed that he would prefer a fine as opposed to a suspension, due to there being a limited number of driving opportunities for Amateur Drivers.

Reasons for Penalty:

The Revised Penalty Guide provides for a penalty starting point of a $300 fine or 2 day suspension for a first offence involving a low level breach.

After taking into account the submissions of both the Applicant and Respondent, noting the race film and the resultant impact on the affected runner (BEACH PARTY), the Adjudicative Committee assessed the breach as low level and adopted a $300 fine as the starting point.

The Adjudicative Committee noted the limited number of driving opportunities that are available for Amateur Drivers, but also noted that two races have been programmed for Amateur Drivers at the forthcoming northern meetings scheduled for 7 and 21 December 2023.  In any event, the Adjudicative Committee is satisfied that a fine as opposed to a suspension, is an appropriate penalty under the circumstances of this breach.

The Respondent was given credit for his good record and admission of the breach, resulting in a $50 reduction from the starting point.

Accordingly, after valuating all of the factors, the Adjudicative Committee imposed a $250 fine.


The Respondent, Mr Brownlee was fined the sum of $250.

Decision Date: 30/11/2023

Publish Date: 01/12/2023