Manawatu RC 1 April 2023 – R5 – DESERT LIGHTNING

ID: RIB18042

Vinnie Colgan - Jockey

F Kersley

N Moffatt and N McCutcheon

Persons Present:
Mr J Oatham - Chief Stipendiary Steward, Mr Neil Goodwin - Stipendiary Steward, Mr R Williams - Owner, Mr P Williams - Trainer

Information Number:

Decision Type:

642 - Riding/driving infringement - Protest Rule


3rd v 2nd

Animal Name:


Race Date:

Race Club:
Manawatu Race Club

Race Location:
Awapuni Racing Centre - 67 Racecourse Road, Awapuni, Palmerston North, 4412

Race Number:

Hearing Date:

Hearing Location:
Awapuni Racecourse

Outcome: Protest Dismissed

Penalty: N/A


Following the running of Race 5, an Information was filed Instigating a Protest pursuant to Rule 642(1). The Applicant Mr F Kersley, alleged that horse No.1 DESERT LIGHTNING placed 2nd by the Judge, interfered with the chances of horse No.14 CHEVAL D’OR placed 3rd by the Judge.

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

The Judge’s provisional placings were as follows:

1st   No. 3   ARBY


3rd  No. 14  CHEVAL D’OR

The official margin between 2nd and 3rd placed horses was a head.

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”.

Submissions For Decision

Prior to hearing submissions from the respective parties, the Adjudicative Committee requested that Stewards show all available race films. Head-on, side-on, and rear-view films of the alleged interference were played, and the runners identified.

Mr Kersley (CHEVAL D’OR) said he was carrying a lot of momentum prior to DESERT LIGHTNING moving outwards onto him at around the 150m mark. He tried to gain clear running room but was hampered significantly and had to change the whip to his right hand and alter his style of riding as a result of the interference.  Mr Kersley said without interference and loss of momentum, he would have beaten DESERT LIGHTNING by more than a head.

Mr R Williams (Owner), added that CHEVAL D’OR was making ground on DESERT LIGHTNING and in his opinion, would have run second but for the interference.

Mr Colgan (DESERT LIGHTNING) said his horse was travelling well past the 400m and sprinted nicely until he hit the front, when he was inclined to put the brakes on. He slowed down which has allowed CHEVAL D’OR to level with him. Once straightened following the interference, Mr Colgan said his mount was going away from CHEVAL D’OR.

Mr P Williams (Trainer), said CHEVAL D’OR managed to put its head in front of DESERT LIGHTNING but DESERT LIGHTNING came back. He acknowledged there was a “little interference” but it wasn’t bad and CHEVAL D’OR had the whole length of the straight to get past his horse.

Stipendiary Steward Mr Oatham outlined the Stewards’ interpretation of the alleged interference. He said CHEVAL D’OR had potentially headed DESERT LIGHTNING at around the 200m mark. Contact occurred between the 2 horses for a few strides, but Mr Kersley could still ride his mount out. Following the incident, DESERT LIGHTNING kicked away but CHEVAL D’OR did come back as well.

Reasons For Decision

In accordance with the requirements of the Protest Rule, the Adjudicative Committee must firstly establish whether interference occurred; and secondly, if interference is established, the horse interfered with would have beaten the other runner, had such interference not occurred.

There were certainly grounds for a protest with both parties making valid, relevant, and persuasive submissions. The incident occurred as a result of DESERT LIGHTNING moving outwards to the point it made contact with CHEVAL D’OR for several strides. The proximity of the two horses lead Mr Kersley to switch the whip from his left to his right hand and he was then able to continue riding out to the finish. Mr Colgan accurately described how DESERT LIGHTNING finished strongly and was going away from CHEVAL D’OR following the incident. Mr Kersley was also correct in saying CHEVAL D’OR started to make up some ground on DESERT LIGHTNING over the final stages.

The Adjudicative Committee was satisfied interference took place. We considered the degree of interference, the manner in which both horses finished the race off and the margin of a head between 2nd and 3rd place horses. Considering all factors, we were not satisfied that the interference that occurred ultimately affected the final places. On that basis, in the exercise of our discretion, the protest is dismissed, and the Judge’s placings stand.


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: 01/04/2023

Publish Date: 03/04/2023