Rangiora HRC 5 May 2024 – R7 – Blair Orange

ID: RIB41870

Blair Nathan Orange - Driver

Paul Williams, Stipendiary Steward

Russell McKenzie

Information Number:

Decision Type:
Race Related Charge

Careless Driving

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

Not Admitted

Animal Name:
Double Quick


Race Date:

Race Club:
Rangiora Harness Racing Club

Race Location:
Rangiora Racecourse - 312 Lehmans Road, Fernside, Rangiora, 7440

Race Number:

Hearing Date:

Hearing Location:
Rangiora Racecourse, Rangiora

Outcome: Proved

Penalty: Open Driver, Blair Orange, suspended 3 days


Following the running of Race 7, McConchie Builders Limited F & M Mobile Pace, Open Driver, Blair Orange, as the Driver of DOUBLE QUICK in the race, denied a charge that he drove carelessly in the run home when allowing his horse to shift inwards resulting in JOAN’S RISING STAR (Seth Hill) being checked.

Rule 869 provides as follows:

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

      (b) carelessly


Stipendiary Steward, Paul Williams, referred to the evidence given by the Stewards at the earlier protest hearing. He showed the video replays and alleged that Mr Hill has maintained a straight line, but had to “pull out” when the Respondent drifted inwards, before the sulkies of the Respondent and Mr Hill locked wheels over the final 50 metres. He referred the Adjudicative Committee to the fact that, at the earlier protest hearing, the interference had been found sufficient to relegate DOUBLE QUICK, Mr Orange’s runner, from 2nd to 3rd. Mr Orange had continued to drive his horse with the whip throughout and any corrective action came too late. He referred to the submission made by Mr Orange at the protest hearing and submitted that Mr Hill was not required to use the whole of the passing lane. He was required to maintain a straight line, and did, but his line was taken by Mr Orange.

The Respondent acknowledged that his horse had run in, but he could not correct it until it did run in, he said, and he did so. He submitted that he was still parallel to the top marker at the top of the straight and, he repeated, when his horse did run in, he did correct it. The head of Mr Hill’s runner was turned in at that point, indicating that it was running out. Mr Hill had come from behind and “hooked” his wheel. He could not pull out from that, he submitted.

Mr Williams conceded that the Respondent’s inwards movement had been gradual. However, the Respondent ought to have been addressing that but, rather, he continued to drive with his whip, and by the time he did so, it was too late. Mr Hill was not obliged to change his line, Mr Williams said.


The charge was found proved.


The Adjudicative Committee carefully considered the evidence and submissions from the Stewards and Mr Orange, and had carefully viewed the video footage, at length, at the hearing and at the earlier protest hearing.

The Adjudicative Committee found that Mr Hill at all times, had a clear run in the passing lane and was making good ground to the inside of the Respondent, and maintaining a straight line. He had clearly improved to the inside of the Respondent and was rightfully there. In the meantime, the Respondent was allowing his runner to gradually shift in, while driving it out.

The inwards movement was not great, but it was sufficient to result in the locking of wheels with Mr Hill’s runner. Any corrective action by the Respondent was, as the Stewards have submitted, too little, too late.

The Adjudicative Committee found that the Respondent has allowed his runner to shift inwards, as alleged, and in doing so, has caused interference to Mr Hill’s runner.

The Adjudicative Committee finds that the Respondent has driven carelessly and, therefore, finds the charge to be proved.


Mr Williams said that the Penalty Guide starting point for penalty for careless driving causing a relegation, is a 4-days suspension and Stewards believed that to be an appropriate penalty for this breach.

The Respondent has had 476 drives this season and 1,043 last season. He has a recent breach of the Careless Driving Rule on his record – at Wairio on 27 April 2024, fined $200 for striking a wheel.


It seems that, prior to the recent minor breach at Wairio, the Respondent’s last breach for careless driving was in September of last year. His record is exceptional, and it is clear that the Respondent does not make a habit of driving carelessly.

The RIB Harness Racing Penalty Guide provides for a starting point for penalty of a 4-days suspension for careless driving causing a relegation. There are no aggravating factors. Ignoring the recent breach of striking a wheel at Wairio, the Respondent’s record is exceptional, and he is deserving of a discount for that factor. The Adjudicative Committee fixes that discount at 1 day.


Licensed Open Driver, Blair Orange, is suspended from after the close of racing on 10 May 2024, up to and including 15 May 2024 – 3 days.

Decision Date: 05/05/2024

Publish Date: 08/05/2024