NZ Metro TC 31 July 2022 – R1 – Robbie Close

ID: RIB10306

Robbie Close - Driver

Paul Williams, 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: Driver Robbie Close suspended 4 days


Following the running of Race 1, IRT. Your Horse. Our Passion. Pace, the Respondent Driver, Robbie Close, admitted a breach of Rule 869(3)(b) in that, as the Driver of REBOUND in the race, he drove carelessly near the 250 metres when allowing his horse to shift outwards abruptly checking THE ELITE ATHLETE (Blair Orange).

The Respondent endorsed the Information “I do admit the breach of the Rule” and confirmed he understood the Rule and the nature of the charge.

Rule 869(3)(b) provides:

No driver in any race shall drive carelessly.


Mr Williams pointed  out the two runners on video replays of the final 200-300 metres of the race. REBOUND, driven by the Respondent, was racing three places back on the markers as the field neared the home turn. THE ELITE ATHLETE, driven by Blair Orange, was racing behind REBOUND and widest on the track of the nine runners.

Mr Williams then showed that, shortly after turning for home, Mr Close could be seen to angle his runner out for a run. The move was abrupt, Mr Williams submitted, and the wheel of the Respondent’s sulky went inside that of Mr Orange’s horse and contact was made with the latter’s horse’s leg forcing it wider on the track. Mr Close appeared not to take any action to correct his runner’s movement until it was too late, Mr Williams said. It was a clear case of careless driving, he said.

Mr Close said that his horse had overreacted slightly. He admitted that he had come out at “a decent clip”, but the horse had overreacted when he tried to grab its head, he said. He also had to clear the runner in front, RAPID RESPONSE (Terry Chmiel), but he admitted that he had contacted Mr Orange’s runner.


The charge is admitted by the Respondent and is therefore deemed proved.


Mr Williams said that Stewards believed that this was a high-end breach. The Respondent has had 358 drives this season and had 788 in the extended 2020/2021 season. He received a 2-days suspension on 13 May at Addington for careless driving causing interference. Mr Williams submitted that a period of suspension of not less than 4 days would be appropriate.

The Respondent submitted that the Adjudicative Committee should consider that 3 days would be sufficient. He would take any term of suspension commencing immediately, he said.


The Penalty Guide prescribes a starting  point for a second breach of the Careless Driving Rule within 6 months of a 3-days suspension. That starting point is for a medium-level breach. The Adjudicative Committee agrees with the submission of Mr Williams that this particular breach is high-level, or at least above medium-level.

The Adjudicative Committee accepts that the Respondent’s horse has probably overreacted but, of course, it is his job to keep proper control and ensure this does not happen. His move was certainly abrupt.

Therefore, an uplift from the Penalty Guide starting point of 3 days is called for in this case. That uplift is to be 1 day. There are no mitigating factors. A guilty plea was inevitable.


The Respondent’s Open Driver’s Licence is suspended, commencing after racing on 31 July 2022 up to and including 14 August 2022. The meetings intended to be encompassed by the period of disqualification are the meetings of NZ Metropolitan TC on 5, 7 and 12 August and Ashburton TC on 14 August 2022.

Decision Date: 31/07/2022

Publish Date: 02/08/2022