Waikato BOP H 24 December 2021 – R5 – Fergus Schumacher

ID: RIB6629

Fergus Schumacher - Driver

Mr A Dooley-Stipendiary Steward

Mr A Godsalve

Persons Present:
MR Dooley, Mr Schumacher, Mr S Mulcay, Stipendiary Steward

Information Number:

Decision Type:
Race Related Charge

Careless Driving

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

Not Admitted

Animal Name:


Race Date:

Race Club:
Waikato BOP Harness Racing Inc

Race Location:
Cambridge Raceway - 1 Taylor Street, Cambridge, 3434

Race Number:

Hearing Date:

Hearing Location:

Outcome: Proved

Penalty: Driver, F Schumacher suspended for 2 days.

Following the running of Race 5, the Respondent, Fergus Schumacher denied a breach of Rule 869(3)(b) namely that he ‘drove carelessly when failing to avoid the breaking DEL SHANNON near the 100m. As a result YEA YOU, driven by Mr Schumacher made solid contact with that runner losing all chance’.

Mr Schumacher was present at the hearing and he confirmed that he understood the Rule and denied the breach.

The Rule simply states ‘no driver shall drive carelessly in any race‘.


Mr Mulcay referred to the films in the final straight. He identified YEA YOU back on the rails. Several lengths ahead of him was DEL SHANNON, which went off stride as it passed the 150m mark. Mr Schumacher pulled YEA YOU out from behind another runner and commenced to drive it out. As he did so his drive made contact with the galloping DEL SHANNON and this caused YEA YOU to go off stride.

Mr Dooley said that when Mr Schumacher pulled out from behind the horse in front of him he had ample time to assess the situation ahead of him and to take evasive action. Mr Dooley added that in not doing so, the Stewards alleged that Mr Schumacher had been ‘careless’.

Mr Schumacher said he did not hear the driver of DEL SHANNON (D Ferguson) call out when his drive went off stride, and therefore by the time he had steered YEA YOU out from behind the horse in front he did not have sufficient time to avoid making contact with DEL SHANNON.

Decision Discussion

It was apparent from the side-on films of the incident that YEA YOU was a considerable distance behind DEL SHANNON when that horse went off stride. While the Committee appreciates that this incident occurred near the finish when there is a fair bit of ‘activity’ the Committee believe that Mr Schumacher had more than enough time to assess what had happened ahead of him and take evasive action. The onus is on Drivers to make moves ‘with safety’ in races, and on this occasion find that Mr Schumacher did not do so.


The charge is therefore found to be proved.


Mr Dooley said that Mr Schumacher had been fined $200 for a similar breach (careless driving) on 9 September 2021. He submitted that the Stewards believed a 3 day suspension would be an appropriate penalty.

Mr Schumacher said that he was able to commence any suspension at the end of racing that evening.


This incident falls towards the lower end of the scale as no other horse was affected; and it appeared that YEA YOU was not going to be amongst the place getters even if the incident had not occurred.

From a starting point of a 10 drive suspension or a $500 fine, The Committee takes into account the above mitigating factors and assess a 2 day suspension to be an appropriate penalty.


Mr Schumacher is suspended from driving in Races from the conclusion of racing on 24 December 2021 until the conclusion of racing on 31 December 2021. A 2 day suspension.

The meetings involved in this suspension are :

Cambridge – 29 December 2021

Auckland – 31 December 2021.



Decision Date: 24/12/2021

Publish Date: 28/12/2021