Non Raceday Inquiry – Written Decision dated 27 April 2022 – Leah Hibell

ID: RIB8676

Leah Hibell - Junior Driver

Mr Steve Mulcay, Stipendiary Steward

Geoff Hall, Bryan Scott

Persons Present:
Ms Nicky Chilcott, Driver

Information Number:

Decision Type:
Race Related Charge

incorrect barrier position

859(2) - Riding/driving infringement


Animal Name:


Race Date:

Race Club:
Waikato BOP Harness Racing Inc

Race Location:
Cambridge Raceway - 1 Taylor Street, Cambridge, 3434

Race Number:

Hearing Date:

Hearing Location:

Outcome: Proved

Penalty: Junior Driver Leah Hibell is fined $100

Ms Hibell admitted a charge in that she permitted her mare to start from the incorrect barrier position in Race 8.

Mr Mulcay demonstrated on the videos that Mr Zac Butcher had scored up behind the mobile inside his brother in Barrier 6 when he should have been in Barrier 5. He maintained this position until the start. Ms Hibell, who should have been to his outside in Barrier 6, was late in coming up behind the mobile and she found that she had nowhere to go. He said she appeared to be unsure what to do and she elected to go inside the Respondent and, as a consequence, she started from Barrier 5 instead of 6.

Mr Mulcay stated the Stewards had interviewed the Starter who told them he had failed to recognise what had happened. There was a lot of noise and his attention had been diverted by another Driver being unsure as to his correct position and by his assisting that Driver.

Ms Chilcott, assisted Ms Hibell, and explained she was drawn inside Ms Hibell and had not realised on the night that the Respondent was in the incorrect barrier. She said Ms Hibell had been unsure what steps to take when she found her starting position was not available. She has since spoken to Ms Hibell who is now aware that she must alert the Starter or put her horse into such a position that it is evident she has not been able to take up her rightful place. She confirmed there was a lot of noise at the time.

Ms Hibell said she panicked when her barrier position was taken. She did not know what to do and she had simply elected to take the vacant spot inside Mr Butcher. It was only her second drive within the last 4 months. She did not have a lot of time to think, and she was calling but was unable to get the Starter’s attention or that of Mr Butcher due to the noise.

As Ms Hibell has admitted the breach, it is found proved.

Mr Mulcay produced the Respondent’s record which was clear under this Rule. He said the starting point in the Penalty Guide was $400 and it was appropriate for the Adjudicative Committee to have regard to the matters that Ms Hibell had raised. He did not believe her starting from the incorrect barrier position had had any bearing on the result. He submitted that the Stewards believed a penalty at the level of half of the starting point was appropriate on this occasion.

Ms Chilcott reiterated the noise on the night at that particular starting point was extremely loud and that the Starter should have been aware Mr Butcher was in the wrong barrier position. She emphasised Ms Hibell’s inexperience.

We take the $400 starting point in the Penalty Guide. Ms Hibell is a very inexperienced Driver. She has had only 20 drives, and this was her second drive in a four-month period. The onus is on her, nevertheless, to ensure that she starts from the correct barrier position. When Ms Hibell was unable to take up her rightful position, as she has said, she panicked and slotted into the position where Mr Butcher should have been. Other than calling, she did not attempt to make this fact known to the Starter (eg by waving or by positioning her horse as close to the correct position that she could in the circumstances).

Ms Hibell’s culpability in this matter is at the very low end. Having regard to the fact that the breach was due primarily to Mr Butcher’s error, the noise on the night, that there was no action taken by the Starter, her Junior Driver status and inexperience, and her good record, we impose a fine of $100.

Decision Date: 22/04/2022

Publish Date: 28/04/2022