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12 Sep 2020
Auckland-Rc - R3

Auckland RC 12 September 2020 – R 3 – Chair, Mr G Jones

Created on 14 September 2020

638 (3)(b)
GJones (chair)
Mr A Kuru – Class D Rider of THE ANARCHIST
Mr M Williamson - Senior Stipendiary Steward
Information Number
Unacceptable use of whip

This charge arises from the running of Race 3, the Dunstan Feeds Maiden Steeplechase. An Information was filed pursuant to Rule 638 (3)(b)(ii) by the Informant, Senior Stipendiary Steward Mr Williamson, alleging that Mr Kuru used his whip above shoulder height when riding the THE ANARCHIST prior to the 100 metres.

Mr Kuru said that he understood the Rule and confirmed he admitted the breach.

Rule 638(3)(b)(ii) provides:

A Rider shall not strike a horse with a whip in a manner or to an extent which is:

(i) unnecessary, or

(ii) excessive, or

(iii) improper

Without affecting the generality of Rule 638(3)(b), a rider may be penalised if their whip use is outside of the following guidelines:

Hurdle and Steeplechase Races

Prior to the 100-metre mark in a race, official trial or schooling event:

(i) The whip should not be used on more than 10 occasions.

(ii) The whip should not be used in consecutive strides.

(iii) The rider may at their discretion use the whip with a slapping motion down the shoulder, with the whip hand remaining on the reins. 

(iv) In the final 100 metres, the whip may be used at the Rider’s discretion, but not in consecutive strides.

Notwithstanding the above, it will also be deemed to be unacceptable where a rider uses the drawn whip:

(i) when a horse is out of contention.

(ii) when a horse is showing no response.

(iii) when a horse has no reasonable prospect of improving or losing its position.

(iv) when a horse is clearly winning.

(v) after passing the winning post.

(vi) using the whip with the arm above shoulder height.

(vii) causing injury to the horse.

Using available race film footage Mr Williamson demonstrated the breach. He identified THE ANARCHIST (A Kuru) racing in 5th place at the 400-metre mark. At that point he froze the film and identified Mr Kuru’s arm raised above shoulder height prior to striking his mount. He then rolled the film on to the 100-metre mark and pointed out that Mr Kuru raised his arm above shoulder height on three further occasions. Therefore, a total of four strikes above shoulder height.

Mr Williamson added that there is no suggestion Mr Kuru used his whip excessively, but his style is not acceptable in New Zealand and is more akin to the style used by jockeys in some European countries. Mr Williamson concluded by highlighting the fact that a purpose for the directive banning this type of whip use is because the public’s perception may be that it appears more force is being applied than is otherwise necessary.

In response Mr Kuru said he was at a loss to explain why he used his whip in this manner in this race as it was not his normal style. He pointed out that he rode in three other races at the meeting and never used this whip action. This was confirmed by Stewards who agreed the action had not been used on his other mounts on the day and was therefore out of character for Mr Kuru.


As Mr Kuru admitted the breach the Committee found the charge proved.

Submission For Penalty:

Mr Williamson said that Mr Kuru has not been charged with breaching any rule, nor has he been warned for any alleged breach, of any rule, during the past 12 months. His record is therefore very good.

Mr Williamson said that Mr Kuru admitted the breach at the first opportunity and submitted that a fine at the lower end of $300 would be an appropriate penalty.

Mr Kuru asked the Committee to take into account his clear record and added it is over 4 years since he was last charged with a whip related breach.

Reasons For Penalty:

The JCA Penalty Guide starting point for a 1st breach of a whip rule charge is a $300 fine. This fine is inclusive of admission of the breach and a clear record; therefore, they are not necessarily deemed mitigating factors.

The Committee considered all the evidence and submissions and took particular note that although Mr Kuru raised his whip above shoulder height on four occasions, he did not use his whip excessively. Nor is there a suggestion that the strikes were forceful, albeit there may be a perception that when his arm is raised during a strike the force used may be greater than what is normally achieved. Further, the strikes were not continuous and there were pauses.

The use of whip above shoulder height is more often than not accompanied with a charge of excessive whip use and as such it would attract a penalty uplift, of somewhere between $100 or $200, depending on the case specific circumstances. In this case the use of the whip above shoulder has been filed as a stand-alone charge and as has been highlighted there is no suggestion the number of strikes were more than permitted under the rule.

There are no aggravating factors or other circumstances to consider; except that it is acknowledged that jumps riders have a limited racing season with reduced earning capacity.

Accordingly, this being Mr Kuru’s first breach of the whip rule within 12 months the Committee considered there are no reasons to deviate from the Penalty Guide on this occasion.


Mr Kuru was fined $300.

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