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Counties RC 23 June 2021 – R 1 – Chair, Mr A Smith

Created on 25 June 2021

ASmith (chair)
Mr M Hashizume Rider of ME LIBEREZ
Mr N Harris (Apprentice Jockey Mentor)
Mr M Williamson – Senior Stipendiary Steward
Mr C Jones (Jockey)
Mr A Coles - Stipendiary Steward
Information Number
Slowing the pace

This is a defended hearing arising from the running of Race 1 a 2yo event over 1200m. Stipendiary Steward Mr Coles filed an Information pursuant to Rule 638 (4) alleging the Rider of ME LIBEREZ (M Hashizume), reduced the speed of his mount abruptly passing the 900 metres, shifting back onto BARRI HYDE which clipped a heel and blundered.

Apprentice Rider Mr Hashizume endorsed the Information “I do not admit the breach of the Rule”. This was confirmed at the commencement of the hearing and Mr Hashizume advised he was familiar with the Rule and the defended hearing process, which was outlined to him by the Committee.

Mr Hashizume was assisted at the hearing by N Harris (Apprentice Jockey Mentor). After the charge sheet was read Mr Harris asked if the Rule could be read for clarity purposes.

Rule 638(4) provides: A Rider shall not unreasonably slow, reduce or check the speed of his or her horse to a degree that interferes, either directly or indirectly, with any other horse in the race.

Submission For Decision:

The Informant Mr Coles, advised the Committee that he intended to call Mr C Jones (Rider of BARRI HYDE) as a witness and to give evidence in relation to the charge.

Using the side on and front on video footage Stipendiary Steward Mr Williamson demonstrated the incident and identified the horses and Riders concerned; namely ME LIBEREZ (M Hashizume), and BARRI HYDE (C Jones). He told the Committee that ME LIBEREZ was racing in a 3 wide position with BARRI HYDE trailing and approximately ¾ length behind it. As the field commenced their run toward the corner he said Mr Hashizume was looking inwards in an attempt to drop back into a position behind OVER THE MOON (who was ½ length in front but to the inside of ME LIBEREZ). He said that at this point Mr Hashizume commenced to restrain his mount, while in front of BARRY HYDE and did this very quickly. He said that ME LIBEREZ lost a length or more in 4-5 strides and it was quite obvious compared to the rest of the field that ME LIBEREZ was slowing appreciably at that stage of the race. He said that as a result the trailing horse BARRI HYDE (C Jones) gets on his heels, the Rider takes a hold but is unable to avoid clipping a heel and blunders.

Mr Williamson said there were some mitigating factors to consider and these were that the runners were green 2yos, ME LIBEREZ did lay out a little on the corner and the racing manners of BARRI HYDE. Mr Williamson said as a result of Mr Hashizume restraining his runner as quickly as he did the trailing Rider did not have an opportunity to react and as a result clipped his heels.

Mr C Jones was called as a witness by Mr Coles. Mr Jones commenced by saying that he was travelling a little too close to Mr Hashizume's mount and when Mr Hashizume eased he didn’t have enough time to react and as a result clipped his heel. Mr Jones identified on the film that at the time Mr Hashizume eased his mount, he was approximately ¾ of a length behind, and confirmed via a question from Mr Coles that as a result of Mr Hashizume taking a hold he “dropped in his lap” which resulted in BARRI HYDE clipping heels with ME LIBEREZ.

In Cross examination Mr Harris assisting Mr Hashizume referred to C Jones' comments about him travelling to close to ME LIBEREZ and asked whether Mr Jones though that Mr Hashizume was looking to ride his horse forward or ease back. Mr Jones replied by saying he was unsure what Mr Hashizume’s intentions were and just thought that his horse may have been pulling.

Mr Hashizume said that during the running of the race he identified a gap to his inside and started to take a hold of his mount in order to get into the gap. He said that he had taken a hold of ME LIBEREZ for 20 strides prior to C Jones clipping his heel. He said that he felt Mr Jones was to slow to react to him easing the pace and that he failed to read the circumstances of the race correctly and this was the cause for Mr Jones clipping his heels.

Mr Harris said that he thought the intention of the Rule was regarding leaders easing the pace and causing trouble in behind the field. He said that Mr Hashizume was in an awkward position (being 3 wide) and he did everything he could to try and ease his horse and slot in. He said that during the entire manoeuvre Mr Hashizume was looking inwards and trying to ease his horse into the gap and upon reaching the corner ME LIBEREZ runs out. Mr Harris contended that this outward shift gave the impression on the video that ME LIBEREZ had been dragged back quickly. He said that there was no intent from Mr Hashizume to go to the front and stack the pace in an aggressive fashion and in his opinion that was what the Rule was introduced for.

In summing up Mr Coles said that prior to the interference Mr Hashizume was looking inwards with a view to slot into a gap closer to the rail. He said while looking in his horse shifts out on the corner and is corrected abruptly steering back in, easing and causing BARRI HYDE to run up onto his heels.

In summing up Mr Hashizume said he was always in a 3 wide position and only ¾ of a length ahead of Mr Jones, who had come from a wider position. He said that he didn’t have eyes in the back of his head, could not see who was directly behind him and was always looking inside to make sure he didn’t cause the horses to his inside interference.

Reasons For Decision:

After considering the evidence and reviewing the race films the Committee determined that the charge was proved.

The Committee was of the view that it was unreasonable for Mr Hashizume to reduce the speed of his horse to the extent he did when looking to take a covering position around the 900m mark. While the Committee is cognisant that Mr Hashizume doesn’t have eyes in the back of his head, he must have known or at least expected that there were horses behind him given his position in the field. While the Committee observed that Mr Hashizume was looking to ease into the gap from around the 1000m the offence took place after Mr Hashizume firmly restrained his mount for around 7 strides just prior to the 900m mark resulting in BARRI HYDE clipping his heels.

This swift deceleration of ME LIBEREZ was clearly evidenced off the video films by how quickly ME LIBEREZ lost ground on the horses in front of him when he was restrained.


The Committee finds the charge is proved to the requisite standard.

Submission For Penalty:

Mr Coles produced Mr Hashizume’s riding record which indicated 3 previous breaches under the Careless Riding Rule in the last 12 months.

Mr Coles said Stewards assessed the actual level of carelessness to be in the low range given the mitigating circumstances but Mr Hashizume did not have a good record under the Careless Riding Rule.

The Committee queried Mr Coles on his reference to Mr Hashizume's careless riding record, as this charge had been bought under a different Rule 638(4) “Slowing the pace”. Mr Coles confirmed that there was some carelessness in Mr Hashizume's actions and that they would treat this offence as falling within the Careless Riding Rule family.

Mr Hashizume sought a deferment to any proposed suspension until after racing on the 27th of June at Te Aroha. He also requested that if a fine was involved could he take a larger fine in lieu of suspension.

Reasons For Penalty:

After considering the submissions and taking into account the consequences we assessed Mr Hashizume’s Rule breach to be in the low range.

Mr Hashizume defended the charge, which he is entitled to do, however we are unable to afford him any discount for admitting the breach. Notwithstanding we do not penalise Mr Hashizume for defending the charge.

In delivering penalty the Committee provided some context as to how it arrived at its penalty decision.

The Committee advised that in recent proven cases in regard to breaches of Rule 638 (4) the penalties had resulted in a 3 day suspension for a Flat Rider and a 2 days suspension for a Jumps Jockey. The Committee advised that while charges of this nature were encompassed within the Careless Riding family of Rules in terms of determining Penalty Guidelines, the breach itself was treated separately. Ie. A Careless Riding charge was not considered in terms of assessing record of offences if the Rider had in fact been charge under rule 638(4).

On that basis the Committee viewed Mr Hashizume's record in relation to Rule 638(4) as being very good, and in line and consistency with previous breaches, Mr Hashizume was suspended for 3 National Riding Days.


The Committee granted Mr Hashizume a deferment to his suspension pursuant to Rule 1106(2). Accordingly, his licence to ride in races is suspended for a period of 3 days commencing after racing on 27 June 2021 and concluding after racing on 3 July 2021.

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