Timaru HRC 1 October 2023 – R5 – Gemma Thornley

ID: RIB27920

Gemma Thornley - Junior Driver

Stipendiary Steward - Mr Paul Williams

Dave Anderson

Persons Present:
Chief Stipendiary Steward - Mr Nigel McIntyre, Mr Williams, Ms Thornley and Open Driver - Mr Craig Thornley assisting Ms Thornley

Information Number:

Decision Type:
Race Related Charge

Drove carelessly contacting a wheel

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

Not Admitted

Animal Name:


Race Date:

Race Club:
Timaru Harness Racing Club

Race Location:
Phar Lap Raceway - State Highway 1, Washdyke, Timaru,

Race Number:

Hearing Date:

Hearing Location:
Phar Lap Raceway

Outcome: Not Proved

Penalty: N/A


Following the running of Race 5, Stipendiary Steward Mr Paul Williams presented an Information alleging a breach of Rule 869(3)(b) by Junior Driver Ms Gemma Thornley.

Ms Thornley stated she understood the Rule, the Charge and confirmed she did not admit the breach. Ms Thornley was assisted at the hearing by Open Driver Mr Craig Thornley.

Mr Williams played all available video angles to show Ms Thornley (LE TWIST) last in the running line following BONNEY ELOISE (W House). Mr Williams said the Stewards contend Ms Thornley was trailing to closely and has struck Mr House’s wheel deflating the tyre. He said there was a slight easing of pace at this juncture, but the Stewards determined Ms Thornley was at fault.

Mr Craig Thornley said there was an obvious hesitation of BONNEY ELOISE and this was the reason for Ms Thornley striking the wheel. He used the video to support his opinion that Ms Thornley wasn’t too close to Mr House.

Ms Thornley said LE TWIST was a nervous horse and a very difficult drive.

Mr Williams summed up by stating the Stewards believe Ms Thornley has struck the wheel slightly before any easing of the pace.


The Adjudicative Committee carefully considered all submissions and videos provided.

The video does show a slight easing of pace which may have contributed to the incident. Ms Thornley was trailing closely but not to any extent, too close. The sequence of the ease in pace and the striking of the wheel, in whichever order, happened within a stride or perhaps two and the Adjudicative Committee have in this case, given Ms Thornley the benefit of doubt and dismissed the charge.


The Charge was dismissed.

Decision Date: 01/10/2023

Publish Date: 02/10/2023