R Tauranga 15 December 2023 – R5 – Warren Kennedy

ID: RIB30846

Warren Kennedy - Jockey

Mrs L Selvakumaran - Stipendiary Steward

Mr M Godber

Persons Present:
Mrs L Selvakumaran, Mr J Oatham, Mr W Kennedy, and Mr S Weatherley (witness)

Information Number:

Decision Type:
Race Related Charge

Careless Riding

638(1)(d) - Riding/driving infringement

Not Admitted

Animal Name:


Race Date:

Race Club:
Racing Tauranga Inc

Race Location:
Tauranga Racecourse - 1383 Cameron Road, Greerton, Tauranga,

Race Number:

Hearing Date:

Hearing Location:
Tauranga Racecourse

Outcome: Proved

Penalty: Jockey Warren Kennedy is suspended for 5 days

At the start of the hearing, Mr Kennedy asked whether the charge could be deferred and heard on Saturday 16 December. He indicated that if his request was agreed to, he would admit the charge and with a 10 day deferment, would be able to ride on Boxing Day, where he had a number of rides in the major races. The Stewards advised that while they had sympathy for Mr Kennedy’s situation, Raceday charges must be heard on the day unless there are extreme circumstances, such as witnesses not being available. In this case, it was a routine careless riding charge, there was no justification for the matter to be deferred and there was no precedent for such.

The effect of deferring the hearing would be to, in effect, provide an 11 day deferment from the date of the breach. It is noted that NZTR only extended the deferment time from 7 to 10 days under the Rules (Rule 1106 refers) earlier this year.

As there is no precedent for deferring hearings of this nature and there is no provision in the Rules to do so in such a case, the hearing went ahead and Mr Kennedy exercised his right to defend the charge.


Following the running of Race 5, Mr Kennedy Class A Rider, defended a charge of careless riding, which was filed pursuant to Rule 638(1)(d).  The Information alleged that as the Rider of MARKET PLACE, he permitted his mount to shift outwards when not sufficiently clear of ROCKIN ROSIE, which was checked near the 50 metres.  

Rule 638(1)(d) provides: A Rider shall not ride a horse in a manner which the Adjudicative Committee considers to be careless.

Mrs Selvakumaran called two witnesses – Mr Oatham (Chief Stipendiary Steward) and Mr Weatherley (Class A Rider).

Mr Oatham’s Evidence

Using the available race films, Chief Stipendiary Steward Mr Oatham demonstrated the incident and identified the horses and Riders concerned.

Mr Oatham explained that the horse MARKET PLACE was laying out around the bend and during the run down the straight. He said Mr Kennedy had kept his mount in a reasonably straight line using the right rein until the last 100 or so metres, when he began riding the horse out and using the whip. His mount, MARKET PLACE had then shifted out into the line of ROCKIN ROSIE, ridden by Mr Weatherley. Mr Kennedy should have kept pressure on his horse to hold its line.

There was a gap that Mr Weatherley’s mount ROCKIN ROSIE was presenting into, and this closed when MARKET PLACE shifted across.

Mr Weatherley had to steer away and took a slight check. As a result, Mr Weatherley’s horse lost momentum and this has cost him a better placing. While ROCKIN ROSIE would probably not have run 3rd, in the view of the Stewards, it would have run 4th. The Steward’s view was that the interference did cost ROCKIN ROSIE 4th placing, as the margin between 4th and 5th, was half a head.

Mr Oatham noted that the horse MARKET PLACE had lost its left front shoe prior to the race and the left hind shoe during the race, which would have contributed to the horse laying out, but Mr Kennedy had an obligation to stop riding and straighten his horse.

Mr Kennedy’s Evidence

In response, Mr Kennedy emphasised that his horse had lost its left front and hind shoes and it was only near the post, when he was riding it out, that it had shifted out. He felt there was minimal impact on ROCKIN ROSIE. He also felt he was clear of Mr Weatherley and Mr Weatherley had, in his view, made a meal of the situation.

Mr Weatherley’s Evidence

The Stewards called Mr Weatherley as a witness. In response to questions from Mrs Selvakumaran, Mr Weatherley said he had felt pressure from the inside, which was gradual to start with and he then had to steady his mount ROCKIN ROSIE, for a stride or two. Mr Weatherley noted his horse was difficult to ride and while Mr Kennedy had not been 2 lengths clear, he had been just over a length, and he went past quickly.

Mr Weatherley was asked whether, in his opinion, the fact he had to steady his mount, had cost him a higher placing. His view was that a case could be made for that, but his horse was not going great.

Mr Kennedy considered he had been up to a length and a half clear, when Mr Weatherley stopped riding and took a sit.


After reviewing the Race films and evaluating the evidence, the Adjudicative Committee found the charge proved to the requisite standard.

Reasons for Decision:

A Rider is deemed to be careless when he or she fails to take reasonable steps to avoid causing interference, or causes interference by misjudgment or mistake.  The test being whether the Rider exercised the degree of care and attention that a Rider would exercise if placed in the same circumstances.  On this occasion, the Adjudicative Committee is of the opinion that Mr Kennedy did not exercise the necessary care required of him under the circumstances.

Guidance can be taken from Rule 642(2)(b) which relates to ‘interference’ for the purpose of Rules 637 and 642:

(b) interference is defined as:

(i) a horse crossing another horse without being at least its own length and one other clear length in front of such other horse at the time of crossing;

(ii) a horse jostling with another horse, unless it is proved that such jostling was caused by the fault of some other horse or Rider or that the horse or Rider jostled with was partly at fault; or

(iii) a horse itself, or its Rider, in any way interfering with another horse or the Rider of another horse in a Race, unless it is proved that such interference was caused by the fault of some other horse or Rider or that the horse or Rider interfered with was partly at fault.

It is a well-established Rule of practice that when Riders cross, they must be their own length and one other clear as is indicated in clause (i) of the definition.

Mr Kennedy’s horse MARKET PLACE was laying out around the bend and down the home straight, but he had been able to keep it in its line using pressure from his right rein until he had ridden it out, and used the whip in the last 100 metres. MARKET PLACE then shifted ground and took the line of ROCKIN ROSIE.

Mr Weatherley had been presenting into a gap outside Mr Kennedy and that gap closed when Mr Kennedy’s mount moved out. Mr Weatherley, the Rider of ROCKIN ROSIE, had to check and steady his mount, which did lose momentum. Mr Kennedy was not clear by his own length and another clear length as required under the Rule, and continued to ride his mount out to the line.

While the loss of the plates was put forward as a mitigating factor causing the horse to lay out, Mr Kennedy was obligated to stop riding his horse out and straighten its line once it started to shift ground. He had successfully kept his horse on a straight course in the first half of the straight and it was only when he began to ride the horse out, that it shifted out directly into the line of ROCKIN ROSIE, he needed to reassert control.

While Mr Weatherley’s evidence was a little ambivalent, it is clear that he had to steady his mount when MARKET PLACE came out and it cost him 4th placing. In any event, Mr Kennedy was careless in not acting to straighten his mount.

After considering all the evidence presented and viewing the films, the charge was found proved.

Submissions for Penalty:

Stipendiary Steward Mrs Selvakumaran produced Mr Kennedy’s riding record. He had 6 careless riding charges in the past 12 months, but was a very busy Rider. The relevant breaches being:-

11 February – 7 days

4 March – 7 days

5 July – 6 days

14 October – 8 days

10 December – 5 days

The last penalty (10 December at Rotorua) applies from 17 December to 24 December inclusive.

The Stewards considered this to be at the low end, with a starting point of 5 days.

Mr Kennedy had no comment on the penalty submissions of the Stewards.

Reasons for Penalty:

After considering all submissions, the Adjudicative Committee determined Mr Kennedy’s carelessness to be in the low range and adopted a 5 day (suspension) as the starting point. This conforms with the NZTR Penalty Guide (as of February 2023).

Whilst 6 breaches would appear to be high end, Mr Kennedy is a very busy Rider, with over 300 rides in the past 4 months alone. His riding record is therefore treated as a neutral factor.

After consideration of all the circumstances, a 5-day suspension was imposed.


The Respondent’s Licence to ride in races is suspended for a period of 5 days commencing after racing on 24 December, and concluding after racing on 30 December 2023.

Decision Date: 15/12/2023

Publish Date: 18/12/2023