Westport TC 28 December 2023 – R5 – Amanda Tomlinson

ID: RIB31165

Amanda Tomlinson - Driver

Shane Renault, Stipendiary Steward

Russell McKenzie (Chair)

Persons Present:
Mr Renault, Ms Tomlinson

Information Number:

Decision Type:
Race Related Charge

Failing to drive out

868(3) - Riding/driving infringement

Not Admitted

Animal Name:


Race Date:

Race Club:
Westport Trotting Club

Race Location:
Westport Racecourse - 15 Derby Street, Westport, 7825

Race Number:

Hearing Date:

Hearing Location:
Patterson Park, Westport

Outcome: Not Proved

Penalty: n/a


Following the running of Race 5, Fuller Tools Handicap Trot, Open Driver, Amanda Tomlinson, denied a charge that, as the Driver of GAZZA BEATT in the race, she “failed to drive her horse out to the finish when having a reasonable chance of finishing in 1st place”.

Rule 868 provides:

(3)   Every driver shall drive his or her horse out to the end of the race if he or she has any reasonable chance of running first, second, third, fourth, or fifth.


Stipendiary Steward, Shane Renault, showed video replays of the final 200-300 metres of the Race. He pointed out GAZZA BEATT, driven by the Respondent, racing in the trail behind the leader DD’S SUPER STUART (Carl Markham) as the field neared the home turn. EL CONQUEROR (Blair Orange) was parked outside the leader.

Turning for home, the Respondent took the passing lane with a clear, unobstructed run to the finish, Mr Renault said. She had a reasonable chance of winning the Race, he said. Mr Renault showed, on video replays, that the Respondent was yelling at the horse while having a “grip” on it. She had no gear to activate. She turned her whip, and turned it back over the concluding stages, without having used it. She made no “discernible or demonstrative effort” to drive the horse out in the run home, Mr Renault submitted.

Mr Renault said that Stewards would expect the Respondent to place the horse under some form of urging, to give it full opportunity to win the Race. It appeared she sat motionless in the sulky until the 100 metres when she turned her whip around but, at no stage, did she actually urge the horse, he said. She was required to drive the horse out to the finish if having a reasonable chance of winning. He submitted that she did have a reasonable chance of winning the Race but, for the first 100 metres of the run home, made no movement and did not use her whip at any stage. She is not expected to “bash” the horse but should, at least, display some form of urging to ensure the horse is given full opportunity. He submitted that anyone watching the Race must be satisfied that the horse had been given every opportunity to win the Race. The Respondent has not given her horse such an opportunity, Mr Renault submitted.

The Respondent said GAZZA BEATT has galloped at some stage of the race in its last five starts. It is mentally weak, she said, and she has worked it at home and it was her goal to get it round, trotting the whole way. The horse raced well, exceeding her expectations, she said.

She said that turning for home and entering the passing lane she had taken a hold of the horse. She demonstrated on the video replay that it “goes funny in behind” and she had to “grab” it a couple of times. She believed that she had done enough to encourage the horse by yelling. She had to get the horse into the passing lane without breaking, she said, and she was surprised that it had run past DD’S SUPER STUART. She was shocked that she had been charged over her drive, she said.

She referred to the horse’s formline of -0000 and said the horse is currently under a Stewards’ warning. She had driven the horse herself to try to give it confidence, she said. Finally, she said, she did not believe it would have beaten the winner, no matter how she had driven it.

In conclusion, Mr Renault said, at the top of the straight, the Respondent had the opportunity to ask the horse to go. She was making ground but, instead of driving the horse out, had taken hold.


The charge was dismissed.


The Respondent has been charged with failing to drive GAZZA BEATT out to the finish when having a reasonable chance of finishing in 1st place. In the event, GAZZA BEATT finished 2nd in the Race, beaten by EL CONQUEROR by 1¼ lengths.

Stewards need to establish two matters to satisfy the Adjudicative Committee. Firstly, that the Respondent had failed to drive her horse out to the end of the Race and, secondly, that it had a reasonable chance of winning the Race had the Respondent driven it out.

As far as the first matter is concerned, the Respondent has admitted that she did not drive the horse out fully and she has given her explanation, a reasonable one, for not doing so. The Adjudicative Committee does not have to analyse in detail the Respondent’s actions or lack of action having regard to the other element of the charge

It is the second aspect of the charge – when having a reasonable chance of finishing in 1st place – that concerns the Adjudicative Committee. Mr Renault alleged that, upon entering the home straight, the Respondent took an inside run into the passing lane. At that stage Mr Orange, on EL CONQUEROR, had taken the lead from DD’S SUPER STUART. It appeared that GAZZA BEATT never got closer than approximately ¾ length to Mr Orange’s horse, which went on to win the Race. It is worthy of mention that the margin back to the 3rd placed runner at the finish was 2 lengths.

From the point at which the Respondent elected to enter the passing lane, Mr Orange’s runner not only maintained but also increased its margin on GAZZA BEATT, increasing the margin nearing the finishing line and winning by 1¼ lengths.

It is significant, in assessing the reasonableness of the chances of GAZZA BEATT finishing ahead of EL CONQUEROR, that the latter won the Race comfortably and without any urging from Mr Orange who, in fact, did not even turn his whip around.

The Adjudicative Committee takes “reasonable chance of finishing in 1st place” to mean “a likelihood, a prospect or expectation, more likely than not”.

On that basis, and in all of the circumstances of this case, the Committee cannot be satisfied that GAZZA BEATT had a “reasonable chance of finishing in 1st place” as alleged and, accordingly, the charge is dismissed.

Decision Date: 28/12/2023

Publish Date: 01/01/2024