Otaki-Maori RC 26 December 2023 – R3 – Ryan Hurdle

ID: RIB31123

Ryan Hurdle - Jockey

Mr N Goodwin, Stipendiary Steward

N Moffatt

Persons Present:
Mr Goodwin, Mr R Hurdle, Ms V Algar - Stipendiary Steward

Information Number:

Decision Type:
Race Related Charge

Easing the pace

638(4) - Riding/driving infringement - Easing the pace

Not Admitted

Animal Name:


Race Date:

Race Club:
Otaki-Maori Racing Club

Race Location:
Otaki Racecourse - Te Roto Road, Otaki, 5512

Race Number:

Hearing Date:

Hearing Location:
Otaki racecourse

Outcome: Proved

Penalty: Jockey, Ryan Hurdle suspended for 5 days

Following the running of Race 3, the Respondent, Mr R Hurdle  (EXPRESS YOURSELF), defended a charge, filed pursuant to Rule 638(4), alleging that he obtained the lead in the back straight and slowed the pace to a degree where GEE STRING and BRADMAN were placed in difficulty having to be heavily restrained.

Rule 638(4) provides: A Rider shall not unreasonably slow, reduce or check the speed of his or her horse to a degree that interferes, either directly or indirectly, with any other horse in the race.

The Respondent acknowledged he understood the Rule and confirmed he did not admit the breach.

Mr Goodwin used the available Race films, and called Apprentice Rider, Mr J Chung (assisted by Ms Clapperton), and Ms K Hercock as witnesses for the Stewards.

He showed GEE STRING (J Chung) on the fence with BRADMAN (L Douglas) in behind. From a wide draw Mr Hurdle (EXPRESS YOURSELF) came across the field and went to the lead causing no issues.  Upon reaching the lead however, Mr Hurdle eased the pace which placed GEE STRING in difficulty, who in turn went back onto BRADMAN. Mr Chung said his horse did start to over-race a little when EXPRESS YOURSELF first came across but the  check back occured as a result of Mr Hurdle slowing the pace.

Ms Hercock (BOLD BELLE) also came across from a wider draw and was moving forward, outside of Mr Chung. In response to questions from Mr Goodwin, Ms Hercock (BOLD BELLE) explained she did not want the lead and opted to “take a sit” once Mr Hurdle went forward. From her position she could see Mr Chung in trouble as the pace suddenly eased.

Mr Hurdle defended the charge on the basis that Mr Chung was an inexperienced Rider and his horse was over-racing. He said the incident was caused more by the racing manners of GEE STRING and Mr Chung not anticipating or concentraing on the Race enough.


The Adjudicative Committee carefully considered all submissions and revisited the films. The focus was on assessing whether GEE STRING’s over-racing was a valid explanation for the interference. Although there may have been a marginal instance of over-racing when Mr Hurdle initially came across, the Adjudicative Committee determined that the primary factor leading to GEE STRING’s forced check was the slowing of pace. Ms Hercock, an experienced Rider, was positioned to the outside of Mr Chung, and her evidence was clear that the pace had slowed. It was the opinion of the Adjudicative Committee that had Mr Hurdle maintained the same forward momentum, the incident would not have occured.

Consequently, the Adjudicative Committee concluded that the breach was proved.


Mr Goodwin said the Stewards placed the breach at the lower end and called for a suspension of Mr Hurdle’s Licence. The Adjudicative Committee sought Mr Hurdle’s riding record, but it proved unavailable.

Mr. Hurdle asserted his clear record with over 5000 raceday rides. Additionally, he requested a deferral of any proposed suspension until after racing on Friday, 5 January 2024, offering no further comments on the penalty.


The Penalty Guide provides for a suspension of between 6 and 8 days for a breach of Rule 638(4). After considering all submissions, the Adjudicative Committee determined Mr Hurdle’s culpability to be in the low range and adopted a 6-day suspension as the starting point.

The available films clearly established that GEE STRING and BRADMAN both lost ground when Mr Hurdle reached the front and eased the pace.  GEE STRING was directly affected and BRADMAN indirectly.

Acknowledging Mr Hurdle’s extensive racing history in South Australia and recently Victoria, a 1-day reduction was applied to the initial 6-day suspension, considering his commendable track record.

After consideration of the above factors, a 5-day suspension was imposed.


Australian riders, riding in New Zealand have their suspensions calculated on New Zealand race dates.

Mr Hurdle’s request for a deferment is granted and his License to ride in races is suspended for a period of 5 days commencing after racing on Friday 5 January 2024, and concluding after racing on Friday 12 January 2024.

Decision Date: 26/12/2023

Publish Date: 28/12/2023