Waikato BOP Harness 21 December 2023 – R3 – David Butcher

ID: RIB31065

David Butcher - Driver

Mr S Mulcay, Senior Stipendiary Steward

Mr A Smith (Chair), G Himona

Persons Present:
Mr Mulcay, Mr Butcher

Information Number:

Decision Type:
Race Related Charge

Driving causing interference

869(4) - Riding/driving infringement


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:
Cambridge Raceway

Outcome: Proved

Penalty: Driver, David Butcher suspended for 2 driving days

Summary of Facts:

Following the running of Race 3, the Responden,t D Butcher, admitted a breach of Rule 869(4); namely that he allowed his horse to shift up the track resulting in MATTY A being carried up the track checking NOBLE COUNT which broke and lost all chance.

The Respondent endorsed the Information ‘I do admit the breach of the rule’ and confirmed he understood the Rule and the nature of the charge.

Rule 869 (4) provides:

No Driver shall during any race do anything which interferes or is likely to interfere with his own horse and/or any other horse and its progress.

Using available video footage Senior Stipendiary Steward, S Mulcay identified the horses involved in the incident namely, ROMEO FOXTROT, driven by D Butcher, MATTY A, driven by Z Meredith, and NOBLE COUNT, driven by S Abernethy. Mr Mulcay said that ROMEO FOXTROT lead into the straight with MATTY A being slightly behind and to its outer. He said that NOBLE COUNT was in a 3 wide position and was improving. Mr Mulcay identified that ROMEO FOXTROT began to gradually shift up the track and as a result moving MATTY A  into the line of NOBLE COUNT whose near fore struck the sulky wheel of MATTY A. As a consequence NOBLE COUNT broke and lost all chance. Mr Mulcay said that the runners to the outer of NOBLE COUNT maintained a straight line to the finish which meant that NOBLE COUNT ran out of room.

Mr Butcher had no comment in relation to the incident.


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

Submission for Penalty:

Stipendiary Steward Mulcay produced the Respondent’s record which was clear.

Stewards submitted they would be seeking a penalty of 2 days as per the Guidelines, for this particular breach.

Mr Butcher offered no comment in relation to penalty and initially said he would take any proposed suspension immediately.  After further inquiry it was established that Mr Butcher had confirmed and declared commitments for the Cambridge Harness meeting on 24 December and on 31 December at Alexandra Park. On this basis Mr Butcher chose to defer his suspension for 10 days to fulfil those engagements.

Reasons for Penalty:

The Penalty Guide provides a penalty starting point of 2 driving days for a breach of this Rule.

After taking into account the submissions of both the Applicant and Respondent; noting the Race film and the resultant impact on the affected runner, the Adjudicative Committee assessed the breach as falling within the mid range. While the shift of Mr Butcher was gradual the consequential effects resulted in NOBLE COUNT losing all possible chance of finishing in a stakes bearing position.

Having balanced the Respondent’s good record, admission of the breach and the incident, the Adjudicative Committee determined that an appropriate penalty would be a suspension of Mr Butcher’s Driver’s License for 2 days.


Mr Butcher’s Licence is suspended commencing after racing on 31 of December up to and including 4 January 2024.

Decision Date: 21/12/2023

Publish Date: 23/12/2023