NZ Metro TC 1 July 2022 – R5 – Katie Cox

ID: RIB9875

Katie Cox - Driver

Nigel McIntyre, Manager of Stewards

Russell McKenzie

Information Number:

Decision Type:
Race Related Charge

Careless driving striking a wheel

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

Not Admitted

Animal Name:
Tide and Time


Race Date:

Race Club:
NZ Metropolitan Trotting Club Inc

Race Location:
Addington Raceway - 75 Jack Hinton Drive, Addington, Christchurch, 8024

Race Number:

Hearing Date:

Hearing Location:
Addington Raceway, Christchurch

Outcome: Proved

Penalty: Driver, Katie Cox, suspended 2 days


Following the running of Race 5, Taming the Taxes Mobile Pace, the Respondent, Driver Katie Cox, denied a breach of Rule 869(3)(b) in that, as the Driver of TIDE AND TIME in the race, she drove carelessly passing the 400 metres when allowing her horse to contact the sulky seat of CLASSY DANCER (Tim Williams) causing her own horse to break and hamper trailing runners.

The Respondent endorsed the Information “I do not admit a breach of the Rule” and confirmed she understood the Rule and the nature of the charge.

Rule 869(3)(b) provides:

No driver in any race shall drive carelessly.


Manager of Stewards, Mr McIntyre, said that Stipendiary Steward, Mr Sole, had spoken to Mr Williams in the stables area post-race. Mr Williams was the Driver of CLASSY DANCER, the horse racing immediately in front of Ms Cox’s runner at the point of the incident. Mr Williams advised that contact had been made from behind with the seat of his sulky.

Mr McIntyre then had Stipendiary Steward, Paul Williams, show video replays of the incident with approximately 400 metres to race. He pointed out TIDE AND TIME, driven by Ms Cox, racing three places back in the one-out line, following CLASSY DANCER, driven by Mr Williams. Ms Cox’s runner got too close and struck the sulky seat of CLASSY DANCER, whereupon it broke and interfered with a number of trailing runners, he said.

Mr McIntyre submitted that it was clear from Mr Williams’ evidence that there had been contact with the sulky seat in front, causing Ms Cox’s runner to break and disrupt the field. It was not apparent from the video replay that Ms Cox was having any difficulty with her horse at the time, hence the charge of careless driving, he said.

Ms Cox said that the horse is not the easiest horse to drive. It does race “quite aggressively” and, in this race, she had her hands right up the reins. With this horse, if the reins are grabbed hold of, it will gallop, she said. At this point in the race, the horse was very keen and, when it “latched on”, she knew that she could not come off Mr Williams’ wheel without striking it. She elected to wait until the straight and go, she said. Because of the hold she had on the horse, this had lifted its head higher and ended up with its legs contacting the sulky seat in front and panicking. The horse’s previous run was “average” and, for that reason, she elected not to go 4-wide at that stage, which she believed would have been to the horse’s detriment. A warning on the horse’s racing manners would be appropriate and a gear change could be made, she submitted. The Respondent admitted that contact with the sulky seat in front had been made but, at that stage, she was doing her best to restrain the horse, she said.

In conclusion, Mr McIntyre said that there was no indication, from the videos, that Ms Cox’s runner was going hard. He said he could understand what Ms Cox was saying but, despite the fact the horse was wearing an overcheck and pacifiers, Ms Cox had simply allowed the horse to get too close to the sulky of the runner in front, with damage done to four runners.


The charge was found proved.


It was agreed that Ms Cox’s drive, TIDE AND TIME, had contacted the sulky seat of the runner in front, CLASSY DANCER driven by Mr Williams. Ms Cox’s defence was based on her assertion that the horse was proving a difficult drive. The Adjudicative Committee agreed with Mr McIntyre that that assertion was not supported by the video evidence.

The Adjudicative Committee’s conclusion is that Ms Cox has allowed her runner to contact the sulky of the runner it was following. It was her clear obligation to not allow the horse to do so.  The Adjudicative Committee  is satisfied that Ms Cox has driven carelessly and, accordingly, the charge is found proved.


Mr McIntyre said that Ms Cox has has had 92 drives to date in the current season and, in the extended 2020/2021 season, had 143 drives. There are no breaches of the Careless Driving Rule on her record, he said. Ms Cox is not a Driver often seen in the Stewards; Room, Mr McIntyre said.

The Penalty Guide starting point for careless driving  striking a wheel is a $300 fine or a 6-drives suspension, Mr McIntyre said. Given the consequential effects on four runners, Stewards believed that a suspension of 2-3 days would be appropriate, he said.

Ms Cox said that she had 2 drives tonight and on Sunday she has 3 drives. She occasionally has more, she said.

After a discussion, Ms Cox said that she would not take a deferment if the term of suspension was to be 2 days, but would take a deferment if the suspension was to be 3 days.


The Penalty Guide starting point for careless driving striking a wheel is a 6-drive suspension or a $300 fine. The breach in this case involved striking not a wheel but a sulky seat. The Stewards have elected to seek a penalty under the striking a wheel provision in the Penalty Guide.

The Adjudicative Committee signalled, when giving its reasons for its decision at the conclusion of the hearing, that the breach demands a suspension. It is noted that the Penalty Guide states that any time a driver hits a wheel the consequences of the action goes to penalty.

The Adjudicative Committee cannot overlook the consequences in this case – that is to say, that four runners had their chances extinguished at a critical point in the race. The starting point of 6 drives is uplifted by 50% to 9 drives for that factor. However, the Adjudicative Committee has reduced that to 8 drives, giving some recognition to Ms Cox’s evidence that her runner was proving to be something of a difficult drive, although as already stated in this decision this was not apparent from the video replays.

From that adjusted starting point of 8 drives,  a discount is appropriate for the Respondent’s excellent record under the Careless Driving Rule. That is a significant factor in a consideration of penalty in this case. That discount is to be 2 drives. The final penalty is, therefore, 6 drives which the Adjudicative Committee has equated, in Ms Cox’s case, to 2 days and that will be the period of the suspension.


The Respondent, Driver Katie Cox, is suspended for 2 days, to commence after racing on 3 July 2022 up to and including 10 July 2022. She did not seek a deferment of suspension.

Decision Date: 01/07/2022

Publish Date: 04/07/2022