Marlborough HRC 14 January 2022 – R6 (heard 16 January 2022 at Blenheim) – James Geddes

ID: RIB6998

James Geddes - Driver

Paul Williams- Stipendiary Steward

Stewart Ching

Information Number:

Decision Type:
Race Related Charge

Careless driving

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



Race Date:

Race Club:
Marlborough Harness Racing Club

Race Location:
Waterlea Racecourse - Mclauchlan Street, Springlands, Blenheim, 7201

Race Number:

Hearing Date:

Hearing Location:

Outcome: Proved

Penalty: Driver James Geddes suspended 4 days


Mr Geddes was charged that, as the Driver of RAZORS EDGE in Race 6, the Wallace Diack Mobile Pace, he drove carelessly by shifting ground outwards in the home straight when insufficiently clear of DAGGY LAMB driven by Mr L O’Reilly, which was checked and broke. This charge was adjourned sine die on 14 January and heard prior to racing, on 16 January 2022 on the second day of the meeting.


Mr Williams showed video replays of the final 300 metres of the race. He pointed out RAZORS EDGE, driven by Mr Geddes, racing two wide and two back, with DAGGY LAMB, driven by Mr L O’Reilly, in the three wide position, and GLEN ELGIN THOMSON in the four wide position, as the field entered the home straight. He showed, using the side on and head on films, that near the 200m, Mr Geddes was looking to improve on the inside of Mr O’Reilly, where there was insufficient room to do so. Mr Williams showed Mr Geddes attempt to shift out and improve on three separate occasions, finally achieving a run by forcing Mr O’Reilly wider on the track. As a consequence of being forced wider, DAGGY LAMB’s hind leg struck the sulky wheel of GLEN ELGIN THOMSON, driven by Mr Orange, and broke momentarily. Mr Williams stated that DAGGY LAMB’s chances may have been affected with this incident.

Mr Geddes submitted that GLEN ELGIN THOMSON had shifted in at the same time he was attempting to improve past DAGGY LAMB which contributed to the incident. He added that DAGGY LAMB’s chances were not affected as the horse was tiring at the time and had an awkward wide gait with its hind leg, which also contributed to the situation.


Mr Geddes has admitted the charge which is found proved accordingly.


Mr Williams stated that Mr Geddes had a clear record, had admitted the breach and submitted that the breach was mid range. He said that an aggravating factor was that Mr Geddes had gone on to win the race after achieving a run at a point that he was not entitled to. Mr Williams stated that Mr Geddes drove on 88 occasions in the previous extended season and 70 occasions the season before. He calculated that Mr Geddes drove on average twice per meeting. Mr Williams stated that the Penalty Guide provided a 10 drive suspension starting for a mid range breach of this Rule and after taking aggravating and mitigating factors into consideration, submitted that a 5 day suspension be considered as penalty.

Mr Geddes stated that the mitigating factors as mentioned above should be taken into consideration and submitted that a 3 day suspension would be an appropriate penalty. Mr Geddes also stated that he did not seek a deferment of penalty.


The starting point for a breach of this Rule is a 10 drive suspension. The Adjudicative Committee determined that Mr Geddes’ level of carelessness was mid to low and accordingly adopted a starting point of 8 drives or 4 days in Mr Geddes’ case. Aggravating factor noted was the consequence that Mr Geddes went on to win the race, which warranted an uplift in penalty, which was set at 1 day. In mitigation, noted was Mr Geddes’ good record and his admission of the breach, which warranted a combined discount. This combined discount was set at 1 day. The Adjudicative Committee therefore determined that a 4 day suspension was an appropriate penalty in this case.


Mr Geddes is suspended from the conclusion of racing today, 16 January 2022 up to and including 30 January 2022. Relevant Meetings encompassed in this period of suspension are Addington – 21 January, Banks Peninsula – 23 January, Addington – 28 January and Methven – 30 January 2022.

Decision Date: 16/01/2022

Publish Date: 17/01/2022