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National Council



JCA Hearing Protocols

There’s an old saying the fore-warned is fore-armed – or is it the other way round? Any whatever the case, the JCA have just come out with a new set of protocols to be followed during a hearing, and it might be useful for all to familiarise themselves with them , just in case they should end up on the wrong side of the RIU. This is how it will go:

Commencement of Hearing

• Chairman opens proceedings and introduces Committee.

• Requests confirmation that all parties have been given notice of the hearing and are present at the inquiry.

• Chairman reads the information.

• Chairman inquires of all parties do they understand the protest rule and does any party require the rule to be read. The Rule will not be read out unless a request is made by a participant in which case it is to be read by the Committee panelist.

Introductory Comments by JCA Committee

• The Chairman invites all persons present in the inquiry room to identify themselves and state their status or connection to the protest.

• The Chairman inquires of parties who they nominate to speak on behalf of their position/horse’s interests.

• Brief statement by the Chairman emphasising that the hearing must proceed in an efficient and timely way and setting out the process the Committee will follow at the hearing which is to include the following explanation of the process that will be followed:

a. There are to be no more than two people to speak for each party (those nominated by parties having already been identified). Note: however, where an owner who is not one of the nominated representatives wishes to raise an additional matter, a committee may exercise its discretion to allow a brief and focussed comment to be made.

b. No right to cross examination. If any party wishes to ask questions those questions are to be put through the Chairman.

c. Each nominated person will only be given one opportunity to speak.

d. Inform parties after the completion of their evidence the Stipendiary Steward will be invited to provide his analysis of the protest and to express an opinion on the Protest merits.

e. In the instance of a Stipendiary Steward protest then the Stipendiary Steward should be given the opportunity of ‘right of reply’.

The Hearing

• Chairman invites the Stipendiary Steward (but not the Stipendiary Steward who will be asked to provide an opinion on the protest) to set the scene by showing all available films of the incident giving rise to the protest for the purpose of identifying the affected horses. No view will be expressed at that stage by any Stipendiary Steward.

• Parties present evidence (in accordance with process outlined above).

• Stipendiary Steward asked to provide his analysis and opinion on the Protest merits.

• No expectation of further comment by parties (other than in exceptional circumstances or where a new issue arises that may require, in the interests of fairness, a limited opportunity for comment).


• Chairman asks if everybody is satisfied they have had a fair hearing. [this is not an opportunity to repeat points already made].

• Inform the parties the Committee’s written decision with full reasons will be provided as soon as possible.

• Everyone leaves the room while the Committee deliberates.

Decision Announcement

• Judicial Committee record outcome (ie: protest upheld or protest dismissed) formally on the Information including directions as to payment of dividends and stakes. A Stipendiary Steward and any representative of the parties (if available without delay) will be called into the room and told the outcome (without reasons) by the Judicial Committee Chair.

Pete Cook

No Excuse Really

I’ll begin by admitting that I have never bred a horse, but that’s only because I haven’t had a property big enough and/or the finance to support a mare and foal. Having got that out of the way, I am becoming more and more perplexed at what I keep hearing from breeders.

“There’s no future in it”, “It’s too expensive,” “If you’re not breeding to certain stallions you’re history”, etc. etc. Obviously these people are more experienced than I about such things, and I know this is supposed to be a trainers and drivers website, but I just want to point out something that I noticed this week. If it convinces one breeder to send one extra mare to the stud, then, in the long term, it will be helping trainers – that’s my excuse anyway.

I was having a look though the fields for the first night of the Perth Interdominions, which despite the pitiful track they are held on, are always of at least passing interest. Something struck me, so the nerd in me came to the fore, and I tallied up some amazing statistics. At the time of writing there were 112 horses down to line up on the first night of the carnival, not counting the emergencies. Of those, a staggering 70, yes seven zero, horses had the letters NZ beside their name indicating that they were bred in this Country. In other words, without New Zealand bred horses, there would probably be no meeting!

Not satisfied with that ridiculous stat, I went through the Interdominion heat fields and found that of the 30 starters, 17 were Kiwi bred. Harness racing in Perth is thriving, and it would seem likely that without horses bred in this Country, it would probably be dead! Isn’t that a pretty good reason to breed a horse for that market?

More praise for the “Box Seat” team for another interesting, well balanced and entertaining hour this week. It’s taken a while, but in my opinion the programme has matured from being a pointless tipping-a-thon (if that’s a word) to a topical vehicle for industry issues and interesting topics that don’t usually get air time. It should now become compulsory viewing for everyone who loves the game. Keep it up, please.

Pete Cook

Whips and a Close Shave

One or two eyebrows have been raised at the Trainers & Drivers Assn. supporting the new Rule governing the use of whips.

As from 1 December this year, drivers will be restricted to using the whip ten times between the 400 metre point, or face a charge. It probably means that some horsemen will have to brush up on their mathematics, and hopefully the RIU will be a little discerning as to what constitutes a strike with the whip and a harmless flourish. Almost certainly there will be a period of getting used to the new restrictions, and hopefully some leeway will be shown initially.

So why did the Association agree with the new Rule? The simple answer is that whether they did or not, in the near future the same or similar restrictions were going to happen. At the HRNZ Annual Conference, Australian HRC boss Geoff Want predicted that there would be no whips permitted in his jurisdiction within five years. If the rumour machine is to be believed that prediction could be out by quite a margin!

No we don’t have to follow the Aussies in everything they do and at this stage, there seems little appetite by anyone in this Country for a full ban on whips. However it would be naïve to think that one day in the not too distant future that could change. There is no question that a whip can be, and often is, used to control an unruly horse in a race, letting it know that what it is doing is not acceptable, and could result in a safety hazard. What happens when that option is taken away remains to be seen, but it will be a pity.

The happenings earlier this week in the Marlborough and Wellington regions have been horrendous, not only for the people affected, but the Country as a whole, particularly from a financial point of view. We in Canterbury not only felt the shake, but can relate to how shaken the latest victims must be. From a strictly harness racing point of view, we should breathe a collective sigh of relief that the disaster didn’t happen exactly two weeks earlier, in between the two day meeting in Kaikoura. The loss of the Club’s big day, and the logistical minefield surrounding the stabling and transport of horses back to Christchurch doesn’t bear thinking about.

Pete Cook

November 2016

That is an astounding month date that will long live in the memory of many people for many different reasons.

The Chicago Cubs won whatever they won after over 100 years of trying, the Irish rugby team beat the All Blacks for the first time in about the same time frame, a reality show host became the ‘leader of the free world’ and, oh yes, a four year old (actually still according to nature, three) effortlessly won the New Zealand Cup by 10 lengths and carved 1.5 seconds off the World (well New Zealand anyway) record.

I wonder if the aliens have left their planet in time to arrive before the end of the month to complete the picture?

Pete Cook









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