Auckland TR 11 March 2023 – R8 – PROWESS

ID: RIB16965

Roger James - Trainer

Mr M Walker - Trainer of CAMPIONESSA

G Jones and A Smith

Persons Present:
Mr Walker, Mr Bosson, Mr D Ellis, Mr James, Mr Wellwood, Mr McNab, Trackside

Information Number:

Decision Type:

642(1) - Riding/driving infringement


Second placed CAMPIONESSA v first placed PROWESS

Animal Name:


Race Date:

Race Club:
Auckland Thoroughbred Racing

Race Location:
Pukekohe Park - 222/250 Manukau Road, Pukekohe Hill, Pukekohe, 2120

Race Number:

Hearing Date:

Hearing Location:
Pukekohe RC

Outcome: Protest Dismissed

Penalty: N/A


Following the running of Race 8, the Bonecrusher New Zealand (Group 1) stakes, an Information was filed Instigating a Protest pursuant to Rule 642(1). The Applicant Mr M Walker, alleged that horse No. 8 (PROWESS) placed first by the Judge, interfered with the chances of horse No. 6 (CAMPIONESSA) placed second by the Judge.

The interference was alleged to have occurred in the final straight.

The Judge’s provisional placings were as follows:

1st   No. 8 PROWESS


3rd   No. 7 LA CRIQUE

The official margin between first and second was a neck.

The Relevant Rules

Rule 642(1) provides:

“If a placed horse or its rider causes interference within the meaning of this rule 642 to another placed horse, and the Adjudicative Committee is of the opinion that the horse so interfered with would have finished ahead of the first mentioned horse had such interference not occurred, they may place the first mentioned horse immediately after the horse interfered with”.

Rule 642 (2) provides:

(b) interference is defined as:

(i) a horse crossing another horse without being at least its own length and one other clear length in front of such other horse at the time of crossing;

 (ii) a horse jostling with another horse, unless it is proved that such jostling was caused by the fault of some other horse or Rider or that the horse or Rider jostled with was partly at fault; or (iii) a horse itself, or its Rider, in any way interfering with another horse or the Rider of another horse in a Race, unless it is proved that such interference was caused by the fault of some other horse or Rider or that the horse or Rider interfered with was partly at fault.

Submissions For Decision

Prior to hearing submissions from the respective parties, the Adjudicative Committee requested that Stewards show all available race films of the alleged interference and identify the runners.

Available films included head, side and rear-on.  Plus, overhead drone footage.

The Applicant, Mr Walker, Trainer of CAMPIONESSA, using the available race films, referred to incidents at the 400 metres, the 200 metres and inside the final 100 metres where he said CAMPIONESSA received interference. He pointed out that near the 200 metres, PROWESS shifted out and as a result, CAMPIONESSA was “turned sideways” and its momentum taken by the eventual winner.  He submitted that his horse was entitled to have had a fair and straight run to the finish and if it hadn’t been hit, it would have won the race by a margin.

The Rider of CAMPIONESSA, Mr Bosson, stated that he was entitled to a clear run.  He referred to the incident near the 200 metres resulting in PROWESS shifting out onto DEFIBRILLATE, who ran onto LA CRIQUE, and his mount was affected.  He also pointed to an incident inside the final 100 metres where his mount was interfered with by PROWESS and as a result, he said he lost his balance and stopped riding.  He submitted the incident “knocked all of his momentum” and this cost him the winning of the race.

The Respondent, Mr James, Trainer of PROWESS, stated that the interference at the 400 metres was irrelevant to this protest (2nd v 1st).  He said it has to be proved that the second horse would have won the race.  He submitted that in the last 3 strides, PROWESS has gone half a length clear and that LA CRIQUE also unbalanced PROWESS, and his horse should therefore not be penalised for that.

The Rider of PROWESS, Mr McNab, stated that at the 400 metres, CAMPIONESSA was shifting inward at an angle. He said this was PROWESS’ sixth raceday start and she got to the front too early in the run home and started “looking around”.  He submitted there was no way CAMPIONESSA was ever going to get past PROWESS and towards the finish, she was pulling away from CAMPIONESSA.

Chief Stipendiary Steward Mr Oatham outlined the Stewards’ interpretation of the alleged interference.  He identified two points of interference in the final 200 metres.  He said the first was “minor” interference. The second was a further shift near the 75 metres where there was “significant contact” and at that point, CAMPIONESSA had levelled up.  He said there were nine strides to the finish and PROWESS was holding the lead.  He submitted that Stewards would not be comfortably satisfied that CAMPIONESSA would have beaten PROWESS.

Reasons For Decision

In accordance with the requirements of the Protest Rule, the Adjudicative Committee must first establish that interference occurred.  Secondly, if interference is established, the horse interfered with would have beaten the other runner, had such interference not occurred.  Thirdly, the decision to relegate is discretionary, in that the Rule provides that the Adjudicative Committee may place the first mentioned horse immediately after the horse interfered with.

As part of the Adjudicative Committee’s decision making, the Adjudicative Committee had due regard for:

  • Where the incident(s) or interference took place in relation to the winning post.
  • How both the horses involved in the interference were going at the time of the incident.
  • The seriousness of the interference.
  • How much momentum or ground was lost.
  • What happened immediately before the interference and what happened after in the run to the finish.

After hearing submissions and reviewing the video footage, the Adjudicative Committee established that CAMPIONESSA suffered some interference at the 400 metres, but this cannot be attributed to PROWESS. There was significant interference at the 200 metres when PROWESS shifted out into the running line of DEFIBRILLATE, who was severely checked.  In turn, LA CRIQUE was also hampered and so too, to a lesser degree, was CAMPIONESSA.

The Adjudicative Committee pointed out that, although this incident did have an influence on CAMPIONESSA, the Adjudicative Committee did not believe it cost her the winning of the race.

The next incident was at the 75 metres where the films clearly established the two horses had come together. The overhead drone and head-on footage were particularly useful. At this point, both horses were racing neck and neck, but over the final part of the race, PROWESS had gained ascendency and gone on to win the race by a neck.  Mr Bosson was able to ride his mount out to the finish, except for a few strides when he was unable to use his whip close to the finish.

In the final result, the Adjudicative Committee was satisfied that PROWESS did interfere with the chances of CAMPIONESSA, however having considered the degree and nature of the interference, the way both horses finished the race off and the neck margin at the finish, the Adjudicative Committee had some doubt that CAMPIONESSA would have finished ahead of PROWESS. On that basis, in the exercise of the Adjudicative Committee’s discretion, the protest is dismissed.


Accordingly, the protest is dismissed, and the Judge’s placings stand. The Adjudicative Committee authorised the payment of dividends and stake money in accordance with the decision.

Decision Date: 11/03/2023

Publish Date: 13/03/2023