Methven TC 8 October 2023 – R6 – Crystal Hackett

ID: RIB28274

Crystal Hackett - Junior Driver

Nigel McIntyre - Chief Stipendiary Steward

Russell McKenzie

Persons Present:
The Applicant, the Respondent and Tim Williams - Licensed Open Driver

Information Number:

Decision Type:
Race Related Charge

Careless Driving

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


Animal Name:


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: Proved

Penalty: Junior Driver, Crystal Hackett, suspended 2 days


Following the running of Race 6, McMillan’s NZ Junior Drivers Championships (Heat 6) Pace, Junior Driver, Crystal Hackett, admitted a charge that, as the Driver of TAKEMYBREATHAWAY, she drove carelessly racing into the first bend when shifting ground inwards checking HE’S A JACKALACK (Gemma Thornley) which broke.

She was assisted at the hearing by Licensed Open Driver, Tim Williams.

Rule 869 provides as follows:

(3)     No driver in any race shall drive:-

         (b)    carelessly.


Chief Stipendiary Steward, Nigel McIntyre, showed video replays of the incident, approximately 300 metres after the start of the 2400 metres mobile start race. He pointed out TAKEMYBREATHAWAY, driven by the Respondent, racing one-off the markers and attempting to get onto the back of the leader, RAPID RESPONSE (Sam Thornley). However, HE’S A JACKALACK (Gemma Thornley), racing behind the leader, was still inside the helmet of the Respondent and, as a result, suffered interference and had to check when the Respondent shifted in. The Respondent had simply not been quite clear racing into the apex of the turn, Mr McIntyre said. Ms Thornley’s runner had broken for several strides, before recovering its gait and progressing to the lead, he said.

The Respondent accepted, having seen the video, that she was not clear but had thought, at the time, that there was a chance for her to get down.


M McIntyre said that the breach was seen as being in the low-to-mid range. Her record shows no breaches of any Rule. She has had 417 career drives, he said – 163 this season and last season 188 drives.

The Penalty Guide starting point for such a breach is a 3-days suspension, but he submitted that the Adjudicative Committee might consider the mitigating factors.

Mr Williams said that the Respondent had admitted the breach at the first opportunity.  She has a great record and this will be her first suspension. She had not taken any other runner out of the race. She been guilty of an error of judgement from which she will learn, he submitted.

The Respondent did not seek a deferment of suspension. She stated that she would be driving at Addington on 13 October next (ULTIMATE RACY GIRL for the Purdon/Phelan Stable in the Harness Millions 2-year-old Pace), but was able to forego that drive. She had driven that horse to run 2nd in the Group 1 Caduceus Club 2YO Fillies Classic in its last start on 22 September last.

Mr McIntyre said that he had no knowledge of the Respondent’s upcoming engagements.


The breach was towards the low end. It involved a slight misjudgment on the part of the Respondent. There were no consequences to HE’S A JACKALACK, which went on to win the race. She has admitted the breach and and her record is an outstanding one.

The Adjudicative Committee allowed the Addington Meeting to be included in the period of suspension on the basis of the information supplied by the Respondent.

The RIB Harness Racing Penalty Guide (February 2023) provides a starting point for a careless driving breach of a 3-days suspension. In the absence of any aggravating factors and, having regard to the low-end nature of the breach, the Respondent’s admission of the breach and her outstanding record, a discount of 1 day from that starting point is entirely appropriate.


Junior Driver, Crystal Hackett, is suspended from after the close of racing on 8 October up to and including 13 October 2023 – 2 days.

Decision Date: 08/10/2023

Publish Date: 11/10/2023