Waikato BOP H 8 September 2022 – R1 – Leah Hibell

ID: RIB10921

Leah Hibell - Junior Driver

Steve Mulcay, Senior Stipendiary Steward

Russell McKenzie

Information Number:

Decision Type:
Race Related Charge

Careless Driving

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


Animal Name:
Phoebe Majestic


Race Date:

Race Club:
Waikato BOP Harness Racing Inc

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

Race Number:

Hearing Date:

Hearing Location:
Cambridge Raceway, Cambridge (Remote)

Outcome: Proved

Penalty: Junior Driver, Leah Hibell, suspended 3 days


Following the running of Race 1, TRT Trailers Handicap Trot, the Respondent Junior Driver, Leah Hibell, admitted a breach of Rule 869(3)(b) – namely, that as the Driver of PHOEBE MAJESTIC in the race, she drove carelessly near the 250 metres when allowing her runner to shift inwards resulting in interference to BUN IN THE OVEN (Sean McCaffrey) and THE LAWMAN (Megan Teaz) which both broke.

The Respondent endorsed the Information “I do admit the breach of the Rule” and confirmed she understood the Rule and the nature of the charge. The Respondent was supported at the hearing by Open Driver, Nicky Chilcott.

Rule 869(3)(b) provides:

No driver in any race shall drive carelessly.


Senior Stipendiary Steward, Steve Mulcay, had Steward Adrian Dooley point out the horses involved in the incident. Mr Dooley pointed out PHOEBE MAJESTIC, driven by the Respondent, racing 4-wide leaving the back straight. To her inside, racing 3-wide, was BUN IN THE OVEN, driven by Sean McCaffrey, trailing the eventual winner, SANS AU REVOIR (Scott Phelan). Passing the 250 metres, Miss Hibell shifted her horse down the track to a 3-wide position onto the back of SANS AU REVOIR, when insufficiently clear of Mr McCaffrey’s runner and contact occurred, resulting in the latter breaking and going back on the trailing runner, THE LAWMAN (Megan Teaz), with both of those runners breaking as a result.

Ms Chilcott said that the horse does not race right-handed very often. It tends to “get in” on the bends and, being 4-wide, tended to lay in more. The horse was hanging but the Respondent had slightly misjudged the situation. Mr McCaffrey’s runner was tiring and, in another few strides, she would have been clear to drop in, she said.


The charge is admitted by the Respondent and is therefore deemed proved.


Mr Mulcay said that the Respondent has a clear record from her 39 drives. He referred the Adjudicative Committee to the Penalty Guide which suggested a starting point of a 10-drives suspension or a $500 fine. He added that, taking all factors into account, Stewards would submit that a 3-days suspension was appropriate for the breach.

Ms Chilcott asked whether the Adjudicative Committee would consider a shorter period of suspension together with a fine. Mr Mulcay said that such a penalty was normally reserved for busier Drivers.

It was explained to the Respondent her right to apply for a deferment of suspension. She elected to have a suspension commence immediately.


The Respondent has misjudged her inwards movement and has caused interference to two other runners in the closing stages of the race. The Adjudicative Committee was satisfied that the chances of those two runners were not likely affected. That is the absence of an aggravating factor.

The Respondent is an inexperienced Junior Driver, having had only 39 raceday drives. This is her first breach of the Careless Driving Rule and she has made a frank admission of her error. She is entitled to credit for those factors.

Mr Mulcay has submitted that a 3-days suspension would be appropriate and the Adjudicative Committee agrees.


The Respondent, Junior Driver Leah Hibell, is suspended for 3 days from 9 September 2022 to 29 September 2022, both days inclusive.

Decision Date: 08/09/2022

Publish Date: 12/09/2022