Riccarton Park – Canterbury JC 16 September 2023 – R5 (heard on 6 October 2023 at Timaru) – Leonard Stewart

ID: RIB28161

Leonard Stewart - Trainer

Mark Davidson, Stipendiary Steward

Russell McKenzie

Information Number:

Decision Type:
Race Related Charge

Neglectful or careless in saddling

614(2) - Weight Infringement


Animal Name:


Race Date:

Race Club:
Canterbury Jockey Club

Race Location:
Riccarton Park - 165 Racecourse Road, Christchurch,

Race Number:

Hearing Date:

Hearing Location:
Phar Lap Raceway, Washdyke

Outcome: Proved

Penalty: Class A Trainer, Leonard Stewart, fined $500


Information No. A21163 was filed by Stipendiary Steward, Mark Davidson, against Licensed Class A Trainer, Leonard Stewart, alleging that, as the Trainer of VAGUE in Race 5, Commodore Hotel Rating 75, he omitted the lead bag when saddling that horse which was subsequently disqualified from 4th placing after the Rider weighed in 0.9kg light.

The Information was filed with the Adjudicative Committee on Raceday and was heard at the meeting of South Canterbury Racing Club at Washdyke on 6 October 2023.

The Respondent had endorsed the Information “I do admit the breach of the Rule” and he confirmed this at the hearing.

Rule 614(2) provides as follows:

A person must not be neglectful or careless in saddling a horse.


Stipendiary Steward, Mark Davidson, said that at the meeting of Canterbury JC on 16 September 2023, at the post-race weigh in, it was discovered that Tina Comignaghi, Rider of VAGUE, placed 4th in the race, had weighed in 0.9kg under the weight she was carded to carry. She immediately inspected her gear and reported that her lead bag was missing. VAGUE was disqualified from 4th placing.

It was subsequently discovered that the lead bag in question had been placed on the stablemate, TAKE THE DEEL, which also ran in Race 5, during saddling of the two runners. The Respondent acknowledged the error and was very remorseful on the day, Mr Davidson said.

The Respondent said that he did not notice that his Riders were not riding in Race 4 and, when he went to the stalls after that race, they had already weighed out and were saddled. He insists that his Stablehands wrap any item involved with the saddle in the flaps with the surcingle around and they don’t touch the second saddle until such time as the first one is wrapped up. On this occasion, the saddles had been taken over by the Stablehand, thinking she was helping. She had not put them down or dropped them. Having said that, he said, he was offering no excuse.


The breach having been admitted, it is deemed proved.


Mr Davidson submitted the Respondent’s career record which showed nothing relevant to this charge, so his record is clear, he said. He referred to the Penalty Guide which provides for a starting point for penalty of a fine of $750. Punters had lost out on a First 4 return. The Respondent had been very cooperative, has a good record and has admitted the breach at the first opportunity, he said, and the Respondent should receive some credit for those factors.

The Respondent said that he would accept any penalty that the Adjudicative Committee imposed.


The RIB Thoroughbred Racing Penalty Guide (February 2023) provides a starting point for penalty for “neglect in saddling when there are consequences for the betting public and owners” of a $750 fine. The Adjudicative Committee has fixed a penalty of a $500 fine for this breach, having regard to the following – the Respondent’s previous clear record, his very frank admission of the breach and that the breach only involved 4th placing. Whilst that latter factor still involved the betting public and owners, the impact was minimal with the horse being disqualified from 4th rather than a higher placing. Those factors warrant a discount from the Penalty Guide starting point.


Class A Trainer, Leonard Stewart, is fined $500.

Decision Date: 06/10/2023

Publish Date: 09/10/2023