Central Otago TC 2 January 2023 – R4 – Nathan Williamson

ID: RIB13963

Nathan Williamson - Driver

Mr Nigel McIntyre, Chief Stipendiary Steward

Geoff Hall (Chair), Matt Conway

Persons Present:
Mr McIntyre, Mr Williamson

Information Number:

Decision Type:
Race Related Charge

Hitting marker

869(7A)(a) - Riding/driving infringement

Not Admitted

Animal Name:


Race Date:

Race Club:
Central Otago Trotting Club

Race Location:
Omakau Racecourse - Racecourse Road, Omakau, 9376

Race Number:

Hearing Date:

Hearing Location:
Omakau Racecourse

Outcome: Proved

Penalty: Driver, Nathan Williamson fined $150

Mr McIntyre alleged that Mr Williamson (CAPTAIN TOM) struck the last track marker before the passing lane when leading in Race 4.

Rule 869 states: “(7A) Every driver who moves inwards shall ensure: (a) that contact is not made with any track marker…. It shall be a defence to a breach of this sub-rule if the driver establishes that the breach was attributable to the behaviour of his own horse or any other horse or driver in the race.”


Mr McIntyre demonstrated on the videos that Mr Williamson struck the last track marker before the passing lane. The inside wheel of the cart hit the peg. He showed that on the first lap CAPTAIN TOM had had no issue with the marker in question and that in the back straight, when leading, there appeared to be no issue with the horse’s racing manners, although it was racing a little way off the markers. He also said the horse had been a little a rough in its gait. The horse’s head was straight. He believed the incident had occurred because the Respondent had not left himself enough room.

Mr Williamson said it was CAPTAIN TOM’s third start. The horse had broken for a stride shortly after the start. He said the horse had a tendency to lug in and was wearing a boring pole and a murphy blind to prevent this. He said there had been no pressure on CAPTAIN TOM the first time around the bend and it was tractable. On the last bend the horse was wanting to get in and he believed checking the horse to avoid the marker would have been detrimental. He had balanced the horse and touched the marker.

On viewing the video he realised his inside wheel had hit the marker. He said this marker protruded a little and that the passing lane on this course was well into the straight. He emphasised that CAPTAIN TOM was a green horse and its manners had contributed to the breach. He said his hitting the marker had not affected the result of the Race and he believed if he had not hit the marker, Mr Orange, who was following him, would have done so.

Mr McIntyre replied that CAPTAIN TOM was tractable at the time of the incident and was lugging out rather than in, if anything, during the Race. He added that Mr Orange was following Mr Williamson and was taken over the marker. The breach had occurred because the Respondent had allowed his horse to get too close to the marker.

Mr Williamson said he had purposefully driven wide in the back straight to give CAPTAIN TOM room.


It is clear from the videos that Mr Williamson has hit the last marker peg before the passing lane. Mr Williamson has endeavoured to utilise the defence provided in the subsection. However, there is nothing evident on the videos that supports Mr Williamson’s evidence that the reason that the inside wheel of CAPTAIN TOM’s cart hit the marker peg was due to the manners of the horse. To the contrary, it simply appears that Mr Williamson has allowed the horse to get too close to the peg in question with the consequence that the inside wheel hits it. It is a misjudgement by Mr Williamson that has led him to be in breach of the Rule.

The charge is thus found to be proved.

Submissions as to penalty

Mr McIntyre stated that the Respondent was Southland’s leading driver. He had a previous breach of this Rule at Addington in November. Ms Ottley similarly had a second breach of the Rule and had been fined $200. He submitted this was the appropriate penalty in this case.

Mr Williamson stated the lesser penalty the better.

Reason for penalty

The breach is low end. It is an error of judgement on Mr Williamson’s part, and it has not affected the result of the Race. We have viewed the Ottley penalty and observe that her second breach was only one week after her first. In Mr Williamson’s case it is some 6 weeks and 53 drives since his previous breach. In all the circumstances, we believe a fine of $150 is appropriate, but Mr Williamson is warned as to the likely consequences were he again to breach this Rule in the near future.


Driver, Nathan Williamson is fined $150.

Decision Date: 02/01/2023

Publish Date: 12/01/2023