Australian Harness Racing Rules 151-174
Drivers

 


Please Note:   All forms mentioned in the Rules are available from State Controlling Bodies.  

Please Note:  On 1st March 2008 Harness Racing Australia Inc (HRA) replaced Australian Harness Racing Council Inc (AHRC) as the organisation's name.  All AHRC's formal structures, rules, regulations, policies, processes etc., now pertain to HRA, and any reference to Australian Harness Racing Council Inc, AHRC, Council or The Council shall mean Harness Racing Australia Inc or HRA.
 

Driver’s fee

151. A driver's fee shall be paid in an amount determined by the Controlling Body. 

Priorities concerning horse to be driven

152.  (1)  The owner or trainer of a horse in a race shall not drive any other horse in the race except with the permission of the Chairman of Stewards.

(2)  A person who owns or trains more than one horse starting in a race and who desires to drive in that race must observe the order of priority set out in this sub rule:

(a)  First: The person shall drive the horse the person owns and trains.

(b)  Second: The person shall drive the horse which the person owns but which is trained by someone else.

(c)  Third: The person shall drive the horse trained but not owned by the person.

(3)  Ownership for the purposes of sub-rule (2) shall be determined by the degree of ownership (in percentage terms) held by that person.

(4)  The order of priority set out in sub rule (2) may be varied by the Stewards.

(5)  Application to the Stewards to vary the order of priority must be made in such manner as the Chairman of Stewards determines.

(6)  In this rule "person" means in relation to horses starting in a race, an owner, trainer, part owner and lessee and a "trainer" includes a driver temporarily in charge of a horse in a trainer's absence.

Pregnant Driver

153.  (1)  Immediately a driver becomes aware that she is pregnant she shall notify the Controlling Body.

(2)  A pregnant driver shall not drive after the first trimester of her pregnancy.

(3)  A driver who fails to comply with any provision of this Rule is guilty of an offence.

Horse breaking gait

154. (1)  If a horse breaks gait during a race, its driver shall take immediate action to avoid interference with other runners and without gaining an unfair advantage restrain the horse to its correct gait before rejoining the race without interference to another runner.

(2)  Where in the opinion of the Stewards a driver fails to comply with sub rule (1) the horse may be disqualified for the race or placed in a lower finishing position and the driver is guilty of an offence.

155. (1)  If a horse breaks gait during a race and the Stewards are of the opinion that the horse thereby gained ground or maintained its ground or caused interference to or obtained an advantage to the detriment of another runner,  the Stewards may disqualify the horse from the race or place it in a lower position.

(2)  If the Stewards form the opinion referred to in sub-rule (1) and are further of the opinion that the driver could or should have taken steps to prevent any of the specified events occurring and failed to do so, the driver is guilty of an offence.

Whips

156.  (1)  (a)  A driver shall only use a whip of a design and specification approved by the Controlling Body.

(b)  A whip, once approved:-

      (i)  shall not be modified in any manner;

      (ii)  shall be maintained in a satisfactory condition;

(c)  A whip that does not comply with sub-paragraph (b) may be confiscated by the Stewards.

(2)  A driver shall hold a rein in each hand at all times unless he or she is adjusting approved gear.

(3)  A driver shall not use a whip in an unapproved manner.

(4)  For the purposes of sub-rule (3) a driver shall be deemed to have used the whip in an unapproved manner in the following circumstances which are not exclusive:-

(a)  If the tip of the whip is drawn back further than the driverís shoulder.

(b)  If the whip hand is drawn back further than or above the driverís shoulder.

(c)  If the whip action involves more than a wrist and elbow action.

(d)  If the reins are lengthened so as to result in loose reining regardless of whether the whip is being used at the same time.

(e)  If the whip is used other than in a flicking motion.

(f)  If the whip is applied continuously and/or without allowing the horse time to respond.

(g)  If the whip is applied when the horse:

      (i)  is not visibly responding;

      (ii)  is not in contention;

      (ii)  cannot maintain or improve its position;

      (iv) is clearly winning;

      (v)  has passed the winning post at the finish of a race.

(h)  If the driver uses the whip without holding a rein in each hand.

(5)  A driver shall not use the whip in a manner which causes injury to a horse.

(6)  A whip shall not be used so as to obstruct, strike or endanger another driver or horse.

(7)  A driver shall not allow a whip to project outside the sulky.

(8)  A whip shall not be used in a prodding or jabbing motion.

(9)  A driver shall not be in possession of a whip that has not been approved by the Controlling Body.

(10)  A person who fails to comply with any provision of this Rule is guilty of an offence.

156A.  The approved whip is a flexible whip of black or dark tan colour with a core of fibreglass with a handle base and shaft and either a leather keeper to a maximum of 60 millimetres in length and 20 millimetres in width or a non rigid tip amounting to a maximum overall length of 1600 millimetres.

156B.  (1)  A person shall not instruct or offer an inducement to a driver to use a whip in a manner contrary to the provisions of Rule 156.

(2)  A person who fails to comply with sub-rule (1) is guilty of an offence

Offences

relating to eligibility to drive

157. (1)  A person shall not drive in a race unless qualified and eligible to do so.

(2)  A person who fails to comply with sub-rule (1) is guilty of an offence.

157A. (1)  A driver who is eligible to claim a concession and who wins a race using that concession outside the area of control of the Controlling Body by which he or she is licensed shall immediately notify that Controlling Body of the race win.

(2)  A driver who fails to comply with sub-rule (1) is guilty of an offence.

relating to engagements

158. (1)  A driver shall fulfil an engagement to drive in a race except when the Stewards give permission not to do so.

(2)  A driver shall not substitute for another driver in a race except with the permission of the Stewards.

(3)  A driver who fails to comply with sub rule (1) or sub rule (2) is guilty of an offence.

relating to dress

159. (1)  A driver shall dress for a race in the manner determined by the Controlling Body.

(2)  The Stewards may confiscate any item of dress which they consider should not be worn by a driver in a race.

(3) A driver who fails to comply with sub rule (1) is guilty of an offence.

159A.  (1)  A driver shall wear a helmet which has been approved and entered in the Register of Helmets approved by Harness Racing Australia.

(2)  A driver shall at all times when driving or riding a horse keep his or her helmet correctly fastened.

(3)  A driver’s jacket shall be of approved material and colour, and trousers shall be white and made of suitable material.

(4)  A driver shall wear boots which may be black or dark tan and which entirely cover feet and ankles and afford reasonable protection.

(5)  A driver’s dress shall be clean and tidy.

(6)  Where the Stewards consider that the climatic conditions at a meeting warrant the wearing of gear other than or in addition to that mentioned in the foregoing sub rules, such as the wearing of gumboots, they may direct or give permission for this to be done.

(7)  A person shall at all times when driving or riding a horse wear a body protector which has been approved by Harness Racing Australia.

(8)  A driver shall not be in possession of a modified body protector or a body protector which has not been approved by Harness Racing Australia.

relating to the preliminary

160. (1)  Every driver when entering upon the track to compete in a race shall unless otherwise directed by the Stewards only drive the horse in its preliminary the correct way of the course.

 (2)  A driver who fails to comply with sub rule (1) is guilty of an offence.

relating to the instructions of the clerk of the course

161. (1)  Subject to the powers of the Stewards, drivers shall obey the instructions and requirements of the Clerk of the Course.

(2)  A driver who fails to comply with sub rule (1) is guilty of an offence.

relating to matters at the start and during the race

162. (1)  A driver shall not -

(a)  dismount or move the horse off the track when under starter’s orders except with the permission of the starter or at the direction of the Stewards;

(b)  disobey orders given by the starter;

(c)  once on the track speak, communicate or signal to any person other than an authorised official;

(d)  delay the start;

(e)  come to the barrier out of position;

(f)  cross over before reaching the starting point;

(g)  start from the wrong barrier position;

(h)  fail to come up into position;

(i)  fail to come up to the starting gate by the time the candy pole or other nominated marker is reached;

(j)  fail to maintain position behind the starting gate until the start;

(k)  start before the signal is given;

(l)  allow his horse to progress in advance of the mobile barrier arms once the score-up has commenced;

(m)  interfere with a driver or horse during the start;

(n)  take or attempt to take an unfair advantage in a race;

(o)  look around unduly during a race;

(p)  fail promptly to report to the Stewards an incident in the course of a race affecting, or which might have affected, the performance of a horse or the true running of the race;

(q)  lose or drop any part of his attire, gear or equipment during a race;

(r) without reasonable explanation fail to take all necessary steps to activate gear, appliances or devices which require activation.

(rr) fail to immediately report to the Stewards if during a race any of his horsesí gear is broken, lost, damaged, tampered or interfered with or has malfunctioned.

(s)  carry or use a stop watch in a race;

(t)  shout loudly, make any improper noise, or do or attempt anything which interferes or is designed to interfere with the progress of a runner;

(u)  abruptly reduce or check the speed of the driver's horse in a way which could cause interference or jostling;

(v)  whip the driver's horse with the reins;

(vv) lengthen the reins so as to result in loose reining;

(w)  do anything to hinder or prevent a runner from passing where that runner has sufficient room to do so;

(ww) allow his or her horse to shift from its running line unless it is commencing a forward move or improving its position;

(www)  allow his horse to shift ground in a manner which:

           (a) impedes

           (b) hinders

           (c) advantages another horse.

(x)  set an excessively slow pace; or

(y)  fail to adhere to minimum time standards for sections of a race.

(z)  fail to fully drive his or her horse out to the end of the race.

(2)  A driver who fails to comply with any provision of sub rule (1) is guilty of an offence.

163. (1)  A driver shall not -

(a)  cause or contribute to any

      (i)  crossing

      (ii)  jostling

      (iii) interference;

(b)  subject to rule 164 make another horse cover more ground than necessary;

(c)  allow the driver's horse or the sulky or any part thereof to:

      (i)  shift inside the marker post;

      (ii) make contact with the marker post.

(d)  directly or indirectly cause another runner to shift inside of the line of marker posts or into the sprint lane.

(2)  If a driver's horse or sulky shifts inside the line of marker posts the driver shall restrain the horse and, without interference to another runner, regain position in the true running line at the first opportunity.

(3)  A driver shall trail with the head of the driver's horse behind the seat of the sulky being trailed.

(4)  A driver shall trail the immediately preceding horse as close as is reasonably practicable in all of the circumstances.

(5)  A driver who, in the opinion of the Stewards, fails to comply with any provision of this Rule is guilty of an offence and in relation to sub-rules (1)(c)(i) and (ii) and sub-rule (2) the Stewards may disqualify the horse or give it a lower placing.

(6)  For the purposes of sub rule (1)(a)(i) "crossing" occurs when a driver changing the position of the driver's horse, compels another runner to shorten stride or the driver of that other horse to pull it out of its stride.

164.  The Controlling Body may determine the circumstances in which a driver who does not have a clear passage in the course of a race may take action to secure such a passage.

164A. (Rule 164A repealed - AHRC approved 31st October 2003)

165. (1)  From the start through the first turn, and until reaching the next straight, a driver shall -

(a)  maintain with the inside wheel of the sulky a course which is at least 30cm wider on the track than the course being made good by the outside wheel of the sulky of the horse that is racing in the next position closer to the inside running line;

(b)  not move the driver’s horse towards the inside running line unless the rear of the driver’s sulky is at least one metre clear of the extended front legs of the horse racing in the next position closer to the inside running line.

(2)  A driver who fails to comply with any provision of this rule is guilty of an offence.

166. (1)  Except in the final lap of a race a horse shall not enter any part of the sprint lane in an attempt to pass other horses or improve its position.

(2)  The driver of a horse in contravention of sub rule (1) is guilty of an offence and the horse may be disqualified or given a lower placing.

167. (1)  From the time the sprint lane becomes available for racing purposes, the leading horse closest to the inside running line and any horse in advance of and outside that horse or having passed that horse on its outside shall not enter any part of the sprint lane.

(2)  In the event of the leading horse or its sulky entering any part of the sprint lane after the sprint lane becomes available for racing purposes the driver shall immediately take all necessary action to remove the horse and sulky from the sprint lane.

(3)  The driver of a horse in contravention of sub-rule (1) and (2) is guilty of an offence and the horse may be disqualified or given a lower placing.

relating to careless driving

168.  (1)  A person shall not before, during or after a race drive in a manner which is in the opinion of the Stewards:-        

(a)  careless

(b)  reckless

(c)  incompetent

(d)  intimidatory

(e)  improper

(f)  foul or

(g)  likely to endanger person or horse.

(2)  A person who fails to comply with sub rule (1) is guilty of an offence.

169. (Rule 169 (1) and (2) repealed 30th April 2001)

relating to sulkies

170. (1)  (a)  A driver shall, throughout the course of a race, drive with both feet in the rests of the sulky, unless he is activating approved gear.

(b)  For the purposes of sub-paragraph (a) hereof, when activating approved gear by foot, the driverís foot shall not be moved in a downwards direction from the sulky footrest.

(2)  A driver shall not drive in a race with part of the driver’s body protruding beyond the sulky.

(3)  A driver who fails to comply with any provision of this rule is guilty of an offence.

relating to obstructions on the track

171. (1)  In the event of an obstruction occurring on the track during a race, drivers shall observe due caution and obey instructions given by the Stewards or any appointed person.

(2)  A driver who fails to comply with sub rule (1) is guilty of an offence.

relating to production of licence

172. (1)  A driver shall produce his driver's licence to the Stewards on demand.

(2)  A driver who fails to comply with sub rule (1) is guilty of an offence.

relating to betting

173. (1)  A driver shall not bet in a race in which the driver participates. 

(2)  A driver engaged to drive at a meeting shall not enter the betting area of the racecourse during the period commencing 60 minutes before the time fixed for the first race and finishing at the completion of the driver’s engagements at the meeting.

(3)  For the purposes of this rule, betting area means those areas of a racecourse where betting with an approved wagering operator is conducted.

(4)  A driver or the trainer of a horse shall not authorise, enable, permit or allow another person to place a bet on a betting account of the driver or the trainer.

(5)  A driver or trainer shall not place or have an interest in a bet on any betting account other than an account registered in their own name.

(6)  Any person who fails to comply with any provision of this rule is guilty of an offence.

Disqualification of horse and related matters

174. (1)  Where a driver is found guilty of an offence under a rule contained in part 9 and the offence relates to the way in which the driver has driven or behaved or controlled or failed to control the driver’s horse at the start or during a race, the Stewards in relation to the race in which the offence occurred may give the driver's horse a lower placing or disqualify it for such period they think fit. 

(2)  A disqualification under sub rule (1) or alteration of placings does not affect settlement of bets or wagers.

Relating to capacity to drive

174A.  (1)        The holder of a driverís licence shall advise the Stewards of any injury, sickness, abnormality or condition that may affect or has affected their capacity to carry out their driving duties.

(2)        A driver who fails to comply with sub-rule (1) is guilty of an offence.
 

PLEASE NOTE:
Rules Effective from 1st September 1999 (State Controlling Bodies must adopt)
Rules Approved - 16th March 1999 (AHRC Meeting)
 

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