Waikato TR 23 December 2023 – R8 – Donovan Cooper

ID: RIB31071

Donovan Cooper - Apprentice Jockey

Mr A Dooley, Senior Stipendiary Steward

Mr M Godber (Chair) and Hon J W Gendall KC

Persons Present:
Mr A Dooley, Mr D Cooper (the Respondent), and Mr D Mansour (assisting Mr Cooper), Mr B Jones (Senior Stipendiary Steward)ds

Information Number:

Decision Type:
Race Related Charge

Careless Riding

638 (1) (d) - Riding/driving infringement


Animal Name:


Race Date:

Race Club:
Waikato Thoroughbred Racing

Race Location:
Te Rapa Racecourse - Te Rapa Road, Hamilton, 3200

Race Number:

Hearing Date:

Hearing Location:
Te Rapa

Outcome: Proved

Penalty: Apprentice Jockey, Donovan Cooper suspended for 6 days


Following the running of Race 8, the Respondent Apprentice Jockey, Mr D Cooper admitted a breach of careless riding which was filed pursuant to Rule 638(1)(d).  The Information alleged that as the Rider of ORSOME DUDE he permitted his mount to shift out when not sufficiently clear of KHAFRE which was crowded and checked. KHAFRE in turn shifted outwards contacting HARLOW ROCKS which was unbalanced near the 250 metres

The Respondent acknowledged his admission of the breach.  Mr D Mansour was present to assist Mr Cooper.

Rule 638(1) (d) provides: A Rider shall not ride a horse in a manner which the Judicial Committee considers to be careless.

Using the available Race films Mr B Jones (Senior Stipendiary Steward) demonstrated the incident and identified the horses and Riders concerned.

Mr Jones said that approaching the 250 metre mark, Mr Cooper’s mount ORSOME DUDE shifted ground, making sharp contact with KHAFRE when that horse was moving into a gap between ORSOME DUDE and HARLOW ROCKS. At the time of contact ORSOME DUDE was approximately half a length in front of KHAFRE. As a consequence of this contact KHAFRE was forced out onto HARLOW ROCKS which became unbalanced.

Mr Cooper was not the necessary 2 lengths clear (his own horses’ length and one other) of KHAFRE when his horse moved across and made contact.

In response, Mr Mansour supporting Mr Cooper, said that, while Mr Cooper admitted the charge, in mitigation ORSOME DUDE had moved out when Mr Cooper applied the whip. Mr Cooper had then tried to straighten the horse and had not continued to ride the horse out with the whip.

Mr Mansour also considered that when KHAFRE made firm contact with ORSOME DUDE’s hind quarters this has turned ORSOME DUDE out which exacerbated the interference.


As the Respondent admitted the breach the Adjudicative Committee found the breach proved.

Submission for Penalty:

Senior Stipendiary Steward, Mr Dooley produced Mr Cooper’s riding record which indicated only one previous breach under the Careless Riding Rule in the last 12 months, that being on 30 August 2023, a low range breach incurring a 4 day suspension.

He noted that Mr Cooper was just returning to riding and NZTR records show he has had 62 rides in total in his career.

Mr Dooley said Stewards assessed the level of carelessness to be in the mid to high range and considered that Mr Cooper had a good record under this Rule.

The Respondent advised of riding engagements at Taupo on 30 December and sought a deferment of any proposed suspension until after that date.

Mr Mansour and Mr Cooper made no submissions on penalty.

Reasons for Penalty:

After considering all submissions the Adjudicator Committee determined Mr Cooper’s carelessness to be in the mid / high range and adopted an 8 day (suspension) as the starting point. This conforms with the NZTR Penalty Guide (as of February 2023).

The available films clearly established that Mr Cooper had acted carelessly in allowing his mount to move out when only half a length clear of KHAFRE. The firm contact and consequential movement by KHAFRE to unbalance HARLOW ROCK’s confirms the level of careless riding to be in the mid to high range.

The Respondent’s riding record was treated as a mitigating factor and a 1-day reduction was applied for this and a further 1 day reduction was made after taking into account Mr Cooper’s inexperience.

After consideration of the above factors a 6-day suspension was imposed.


The Respondent’s request for a deferment was granted and his Licence to ride in races is suspended for a period of 6 days commencing after racing on 30 December 2023 and concluding after racing on 5 January 2024.

Decision Date: 23/12/2023

Publish Date: 25/12/2023