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Non Raceday Inquiry RIU v S Toolooa - Written Decision dated 20 November 2020 - Chair, Prof G Hall

Created on 23 November 2020




AND IN THE MATTER of the New Zealand Rules of Thoroughbred Racing




Class B Jockey


Information: A11959

Judicial Committee:  Prof G Hall, Chairman

Appearing: Mr J Oatham, Chief Stipendiary Steward, for the Informant

The Respondent in person, with the assistance of Mr D Walsh, Apprentice Jockey Mentor

Date of hearing /oral decision : 18 November 2020

Date of written decision: 20 November 2020


[1] An Information was filed by Chief Stipendiary Steward, Mr Oatham against Class B Jockey, Mr Toolooa, alleging a breach of r 638(3)(b)(ii) in that on 14 November 2020 at a race meeting conducted by the Canterbury Jockey Club at Riccarton in race 11 he used his whip excessively on his mount GREEN DISPATCH prior to the 100 metres.

[2] Rule 638(3) reads:

A Rider shall not: (b) strike a horse with a whip in a manner or to an extent which is: (ii) excessive.

[3] The charge was heard as a Non Raceday hearing at the Southland Racing Club’s meeting at Invercargill on 18 November 2020.

[4] Mr Oatham demonstrated on the videos that the Respondent used his whip 10 times before the 100 metres. The last strike was close to the 100 metre mark, but the various angles showed it was prior.

[5] Mr Oatham noted that the strikes were quite spaced out.

[6] Mr Walsh stated that Mr Toolooa had started using the whip too early. Mr Toolooa had been riding to instructions to go early and to put pressure on the horse. He said these had perhaps been taken too literally. He agreed with Mr Oatham that the strikes were well spaced and added there was no force in them. He emphasised Riccarton had a long straight.

Decision as to breach

[7] As the Respondent has admitted the breach it is found to be proved.

Penalty submissions

[8] Mr Oatham produced Mr Toolooa’s record which he described as very good. The Respondent has had 365 rides and has had only one previous breach of the rule on 19 October 2019. The record was thus clear for the last 12 months.

[9] Mr Oatham said where the number of strikes were 10 or more the starting point was a suspension, however on this occasion he did not believe a suspension was appropriate. It was a relatively low end breach as the 10th strike was very close to the 100 metre mark. He submitted a fine in the vicinity of $500 should be imposed.

[10] Both Mr Walsh and the Respondent concurred with Mr Oatham’s submission.

Decision as to penalty

[11] The admitted breach is low end. While there are 10 strikes, these are spaced out over quite a distance and the last strike which brings the higher starting point into play is just before the 100 metres. It is accepted that the Riccarton straight is one of the longest in the country and that Mr Toolooa, an Apprentice Jockey, was caught out by this fact.

[12] The Committee agrees with the parties that a fine is the more appropriate penalty on this occasion. There needs to be an uplift from the $300 starting point where the number of strikes is less than 10, but not quite of the order submitted by the Informant.

[13] Mr Toolooa is fined the sum of $400 and is reminded of his obligations with respect to the whip Rule.

Dated at Dunedin this 20th day of November 2020.

Geoff Hall, Chairman

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