Invercargill HRC 18 June 2022 – R11 – Gemma Thornley

ID: RIB9529

Gemma Thornley - Junior Driver

Mr V Munro - Stipendiary Steward

Mr N Skelt

Persons Present:
Mr V Munro - Stipendiary Steward, Mr N McIntyre - Chairman of Stewards, Mr S Mulcay - Stipendiary Steward Remote, Mr M Clement - CE RIB, Miss G Thornley - Junior Driver, Miss S Ottley -Senior Driver

Information Number:

Decision Type:
Race Related Charge

Careless Driving

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


Animal Name:


Race Date:

Race Club:
Invercargill Harness Racing Club

Race Location:
Ascot Park Raceway - 29 Findlay Road, Ascot, Invercargill, 9810

Race Number:

Hearing Date:

Hearing Location:
Ascot Park Raceway

Outcome: Proved

Penalty: Junior Driver Gemma Thornley was suspended for 2 days


Following the running of Race 11 Autosure Mobile Pace, the Respondent Junior Driver Gemma Thornley admitted a breach of Rule 869(3)(b), in that as the Driver of ARTATAC, she drove carelessly when shifting inwards when not fully clear of THE BIG LEBOWSKI (B Barclay) near the 1800m which broke .

The Respondent endorsed the Information “I do admit the breach of the Rule” and she confirmed she understood the Rule and the nature of the charge .

Miss Thornley who is a Junior Driver was supported by Miss Samantha Ottley, a Senior Driver, in the hearing.

Rule 869(3)(b) provides:

No driver in any race shall drive carelessly.


Stipendiary Steward Vinny Munro had Chief Stipendiary Steward Nigel McIntyre identify the runners involved in the incident .

Using the video clips he pointed out that ARTATAC driven by the Respondent, was moving into the lead about the 1800m mark and when crossing over to do so, was not sufficiently clear of THE BIG LEBOWSKI, causing that horse to break and in turn, the trailing horse WHATA RAZZLE DAZZLE (N Williamson), also to be checked and break losing its chance.

Miss Thornley said she had made a simple error of judgement when crossing over. She said her horse was lazy and she thought she had sufficient room. Miss Ottley, in supporting Miss Thornley, said it was an unfortunate racing incident and it was only a very fine margin of error with Miss Thornley crossing over.

Mr Munro added that THE BIG LEBOWSKI was possibly the largest physical race horse presently on the Southern circuit which would not have assisted Miss Thornley in her judgement.


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

Submissions for Penalty

Stipendiary Steward Vinny Munro said that the Respondent has a clear record under the Careless Driving Rule . Miss Thornley has had 346 lifetime drives, 165 last season and 118 this season.

Mr Munro added that Miss Thornley was a successful Junior Driver who drove mainly in the Canterbury region South.

The Penalty Guide provides for a starting point of a 10 drive suspension and in this case Mr Munro was seeking a 2 or 3 day suspension.

Miss Thornley did not seek a deferment of suspension and she confirmed that she had in the vicinity of up to 5 drives per meeting.

Miss Ottley added that she believed a 3 day suspension was not appropriate in this instance as Miss Thornley, in her opinion, had made a simple minor error of judgement.

Reasons for Penalty

Miss Thornley has made an error of judgement when shifting inwards on ARTATAC when moving to the lead. It was a low to medium level breach.

The Respondent could be given a discount in penalty for the mitigating factors of her excellent record and her admission of the breach. A 2 day suspension was deemed appropriate.


The Respondent Junior Driver Gemma Thornley, is suspended from after the close of racing on 19 June 2022 up to and including 26 June 2022.

Decision Date: 18/06/2022

Publish Date: 22/06/2022