Methven TC 28 January 2024 – R3 – I SPY DIAMONDS

ID: RIB38271

Sarah Emma O'Reilly - Driver

John Morrison - Driver

Russell McKenzie

Information Number:

Decision Type:

869A(2) - Other - Protest


3rd v 2nd

Animal Name:
I Spy Diamonds


Race Date:

Race Club:
Methven Trotting Club

Race Location:
Methven Racecourse - 47 Mount Hutt Station Road, Methven, 7782

Race Number:

Hearing Date:

Hearing Location:
Mt Harding Racecourse, Methven

Outcome: Protest Upheld

Penalty: NA


Following the running of Race 3, Kaiapoi Club Pace, an Information instigating a protest was filed by Open Driver, John Morrison, Driver of PIONEER, placed 3rd by the Judge, against I SPY DIAMONDS (Sarah O’Reilly), placed 2nd by the Judge, on the ground that I SPY DIAMONDS “shifted inwards into the passing lane in the run home denying PIONEER a full run resulting in PIONEER locking wheels with I SPY DIAMONDS”. The Judge’s official placings were:

1st    8  Franco Newport

2nd  10  I Spy Diamonds

3rd  16  Pioneer

4th   9  Racingmissgracie

The official margin between 2nd and 3rd was a ½ neck.

Rule 869A(2) provides as follows:

When a placed horse or its driver causes interference to another placed horse and the Adjudicative Committee is satisfied that the horse interfered with would have finished ahead of the horse that, or whose driver, caused the interference the Adjudicative Committee must, in addition to any other penalty that may be imposed, place the horse that, or whose driver, caused the interference immediately after the horse interfered with.


Stipendiary Steward, Paul Williams, showed video replays of the final 300 metres of the race. He pointed out I SPY DIAMONDS (Sarah O’Reilly) leading the field as the field approached the final turn. PIONEER, driven by John Morrison, was racing in the trail behind that runner. Without comment, Mr Williams showed the side-on and head-on video replays of the run to the finishing line, with reference to those two runners.

Mr Morrison said that he had dropped into the trail behind the leader between the 500 and 400 metres. When he went take his run in the passing lane, it got tight and he was “shut out”. He locked wheels with I SPY DIAMONDS on two occasions in the run home. On the first occasion, he was about to head I SPY DIAMONDS when that horse ducked in and, the second time, he had just got in front of that horse when it ducked in again. He referred to the narrow margin between 2nd and 3rd at the finish – a ½ neck. I SPY DIAMONDS had lugged in all the way up the straight, he said. He was entitled to the run in the passing lane, he said.

Mr Morrison said that the first locking of wheels had prevented him getting level with I SPY DIAMONDS and, for the rest of the race, his wheels were behind, resulting in the second locking of wheels in the fastest stage of the race. His horse’s momentum had been halted twice.

Miss O’Reilly said her horse had proved a difficult drive throughout the race and, in the straight, it was beginning to tire. It was lugging in. The first incident of locking wheels was resolved pretty quickly and, on the second occasion, she believed that her horse had kept pretty straight.

Stipendiary Steward, Shane Renault, said that I SPY DIAMONDS had drifted into the passing lane and, even before the locking of wheels, Mr Morrison was in tight quarters. He has been forced to take hold of his horse rather than be able to drive it out. He has been denied the opportunity of the first 100 metres of the passing lane. Having regard to those matters, and the narrow margin at the finish, it was likely that PIONEER would have beaten I SPY DIAMONDS, Mr Renault said.


The protest was upheld.


The interference in this case was clearcut. There was significant interference by I SPY DIAMONDS to PIONEER in the final 200 metres of the race, when the former shifted down into the passing lane and denied PIONEER the full run to which it was entitled. I SPY DIAMONDS continued to lay in on PIONEER and the sulky wheels of the two runners significantly locked on two occasions, resulting in PIONEER losing momentum.

The margin at the finish was narrow and, having regard to the interference suffered by PIONEER in the final 200 metres, it is not difficult to find that it would have beaten I SPY DIAMONDS, but for that interference. The Adjudicative Committee so finds. The Adjudicative Committee also finds that PIONEER was clearly finishing the faster of the two runners.

In summary, and with reference to the Rule, the Adjudicative Committee was satisfied, firstly, that I SPY DIAMONDS caused interference to PIONEER and, secondly, that PIONEER would have finished ahead of I SPY DIAMONDS and, accordingly, the Adjudicative Committee must relegate I SPY DIAMONDS from 2nd placing.


The protest was upheld. The amended result is as follows:

1st    8  Franco Newport

2nd  16  Pioneer

3rd  10  I Spy Diamonds

4th   9  Racingmissgracie

It was ordered that stakes and dividends be paid in accordance with that amended result.

Decision Date: 28/01/2024

Publish Date: 31/01/2024