Non Raceday Inquiry – Written Decision dated 18 July 2022 – John Morrison

ID: RIB10004

John Morrison - Driver

Nigel McIntyre, Manager of Stewards

Russell McKenzie

Persons Present:
The Applicant, The Respondent and Paul Williams (Stipendiary Steward)

Information Number:

Decision Type:
Race Related Charge

Careless Driving striking a wheel

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


Animal Name:
Franco Huntington


Race Date:

Race Club:
Forbury Park Trotting Club

Race Location:
Wyndham Racecourse - Alma St, Wyndham, 9892

Race Number:

Hearing Date:

Hearing Location:
Addington Raceway, Christchurch.

Outcome: Proved

Penalty: Driver, John Morrison, fined $250


The Respondent, Driver John Morrison, has been charged that as the Driver of FRANCO HUNTINGTON in Race 6, Commodore Airport Hotel Christchurch Winter Rewards Mobile Pace, at the meeting of Forbury Park TC at Wyndham Raceway on 7 July 2022, he drove carelessly when contacting the wheel of TASHS BAD GIRL (Nathan Williamson) near the 1500 metres.

Mr McIntyre produced an Authority to Charge signed by Mike Clement, Chief Executive of the Racing Integrity Board, authorising the filing of the Information pursuant to Rule 1108(2).

The Respondent had endorsed the Information “I do not admit a breach of the rule”.

The Information was heard at the meeting of NZ Metropolitan at Addington Raceway on 17 July 2022.

Mr Morrison was present at the hearing and confirmed that he understood the Rule and the charge. He sought leave to change his plea and admit the charge. Leave was granted.

Rule 869 provides:

(3)  No driver in any race shall drive:

(b)  carelessly.


Mr McIntyre had Stipendiary Steward, Paul Williams, show video replays of the incident with approximately 1500 metres to run in the race. He pointed out FRANCO HUNTINGTON, driven by the Respondent, racing in second to last position in the one-out line, trailing TASHS BAD GIRL, driven by Nathan Williamson.

Mr Williams then pointed out  the Respondent draw his runner out to improve 3-wide around TASHS BAD GIRL and, in doing so, struck the outside sulky wheel of that runner. Mr Williamson could be seen to look down to his outside. Mr Williamson reported to Stewards that he was unaware of a punctured tyre for another 1000 metres into the race. Mr Morrison had got too close to the horse in front resulting in his runner striking a wheel, Mr Williams said.

The Respondent said that the pace had eased and he went to come out. Mr Williamson was also looking to come out at the same time. Also, he said that he followed Mr Williamson from that point and was in a position to see that the tyre did not deflate with the contact. He submitted that Mr Williamson’s runner was not affected by the punctured tyre, because it had a hard run from the 1400 metres, being 4-wide for some distance. The horse was tiring when the tyre did eventually deflate, he submitted. (The Adjudicative Committee noted that TASHS BAD GIRL finished in last placing, nearly 12 lengths from the winner).


The Respondent having admitted the breach, it is found proved.


Mr McIntyre said that the Respondent has had 424 drives this season (to the date of hearing) and, in the extended 2020/2021 season, he had 1003 drives. His last breach of the Careless Driving Rule was more that 12 months ago, Mr McIntyre said.

Mr McIntyre said that Mr Williamson reported to Stewards, on the day, that his tyre had not deflated until the 400 metres. Stewards saw the breach as being low-level. The Penalty Guide starting point is a fine of $300 and, accordingly, a fine of around $250 would be appropriate, Mr McIntyre said.

The Respondent submitted that the breach was very minor. It had not affected the chances of Mr Williamson’s runner and, therefore, a fine of $200 should be considered, he submitted.


The Penalty Guide starting point for careless driving striking a wheel is a fine of $300. There are no aggravating factors in this case (the Adjudicative Committee accepts that TASHS BAD GIRL’s chances were most likely not affected). The breach is low-level. Mitigating factors are the Respondent’s good record and his admission of the breach, for which factors the Adjudicative Committee gives a discount of $50 from the Penalty Guide starting point of $300.


The Respondent, Driver John Morrison, is fined $250.

Decision Date: 17/07/2022

Publish Date: 18/07/2022