NZ Metro TC 29 September 2023 – R5 – Robbie Close

ID: RIB27866

Robbie Close - Driver

Nigel McIntyre, Chief Stipendiary Steward

Russell McKenzie

Information Number:

Decision Type:
Race Related Charge

Careless Driving

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


Animal Name:


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: Open Driver, Robbie Close, suspended 2 days


Following the running of Race 5, Nevele R “50 Years of Success” Handicap Pace, Open Driver, Robbie Close, admitted a breach of Rule 869(3)(b) in that he drove carelessly in the run home when shifting inwards, checking DECEPTIVE LEE (Matthew Williamson) and HERE’S HERBIE (Colin DeFilippi), resulting in those runners locking wheels.

Rule 869 provides as follows:

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

      (b) carelessly.


Chief Stipendiary Steward, Nigel McIntyre, had Stipendiary Steward, Shane Renault, show video replays of the final 200 metres of the race. He pointed out MO’UNGA, driven by the Respondent, easing out from the trail behind the leader, DECEPTIVE LEE (Matthew Williamson) and onto the back of ANYTHING GOES (Blair Orange), as the field turned into the final straight. The Respondent was held up by that runner and shifted inwards, checking DECEPTIVE LEE and forcing it down onto HERE’S HERBIE (Colin DeFilippi), which had improved in the passing lane and had a clear run to the inside of DECEPTIVE LEE. Those two runners locked wheels as a result, Mr Renault showed.

The Respondent declined the opportunity to comment.


The charge having been admitted, it is deemed proved.


Mr McIntyre said that the Respondent has a clear record. His most recent suspension was 237 drives ago at Addington.

Stewards saw this breach as being in the low-to-mid range for which the Penalty Guide provides a penalty of a 3-days suspension, Mr McIntyre said. He pointed out that two runners had been checked.

The Respondent said that, even with a 2-days suspension, he would lose a lot of drives. He has 10 drives at tonight’s meeting and 7 at the meeting of Timaru HRC on Sunday, 1 October. He did not believe that the chances of either of the other two runners had been significantly affected.

The Respondent said that he would wish to take a deferment of any suspension until after the meeting at Addington on Thursday next, 5 October.


The RIB Harness Racing Penalty Guide (February 2023) provides a starting point for penalty for a mid-range, first breach of a 3-days suspension. The assessment of this as a mid-range breach takes into account that two other runners received some interference.

Mitigating factors are the Respondent’s admission of the breach and his excellent driving record – 273 drives since his last breach of the Careless Driving Rule. Those two factors warrant a discount from the 3-days starting point, and the Adjudicative Committee considers the appropriate discount to be one day.


The Respondent’s application for a deferment is granted. His Open Driver’s Licence is suspended from after the conclusion of racing on 5 October 2023, up to and including 13 October 2023 – 2 days.

Decision Date: 29/09/2023

Publish Date: 02/10/2023