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07 Mar 2021
Auckland-Rc - R8

Auckland RC 7 March 2021 – R 8 – Chair, Mr G Jones

Created on 08 March 2021

GJones (chair)
Mr O Bosson – Rider of AMARELINA
Mr J Oatham - Chief Stipendiary Steward
Information Number
Excessive use of whip

This charge arises from the running of Race 8, the McKee Family Sunline Vase (Group 3). An Information was filed pursuant to Rule 638 (3)(b)(ii) by the Informant, Mr Oatham, alleging that Mr O Bosson used his whip excessively when riding AMARELINA prior to the 100 metres.

Mr Bosson said that he understood the Rule and confirmed that 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:

Flat Races

Prior to the 100-metre mark in a race, official trial or jump out:

(i) The whip should not be used on more than 5 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.

In the final 100 metres, the whip may be used at the Rider’s discretion.

Using available race films Mr Oatham demonstrated the breach. He identified Mr Bosson’s mount; AMARELINA who was racing wide on the track and challenging for the lead over the concluding stages of the race. He said that between the straight entrance to the 100-metre mark Mr Bosson struck his mount 8 times. He added that two of strikes were consecutive.

In response Mr Bosson said that he agreed that the number of strikes was 8 adding that “there is nothing more I can say”.


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

Submission For Penalty:

Mr Oatham said that Mr Bosson has two previous breaches of the Rule. The first having occurred at Tauranga on 14 October 2020 (10 strikes) and resulted in a 5-day suspension. The second occurred on 21 November 2020 (8 strikes) in a Group 3 Race and resulted in a $1000 fine. He said that since the new whip penalties came into force on 9 December 2020 no rider has been fined the full $2000.

Mr Oatham submitted that the first 2 of the 8 strikes were back-hand and his overall whip action was not extravagant. He also noted that Mr Bosson won the race and the breach occurred in a Group 3 Race with a stake of $70,000. He concluded that a penalty consistent with the Guide would be appropriate in this case.

Mr Bosson sought a 7-day deferment to any proposed penalty. He submitted that a fine of $1000 and suspension would be appropriate. He added that he has an up-coming commitment at the Wellington meeting on 20 March 2021. 

Reasons For Penalty:

This is Mr Bosson’s third breach of the Whip Rule within 6 months. The NZTR revised Penalty Guidelines (as of 9 December 2020) recommend a starting point $2000 fine and 2-day suspension for a third breach, which is what we adopted as our starting point.

The Committee considered all the evidence and submissions and took note of the number and frequency of strikes as well as the force used. In that regard we confirmed the number of strikes as 8 and noted that, for the most part, they were not overly forceful but two, the 5th and 6th strikes, were continuous.

An aggravating factor is that Mr Bosson’s mount won the race and the breach occurred in a Group 3 Race with stakemoney of $70,00. For these combined factors we apply a 1-day uplift.

We considered Mr Bosson’s submission that he be fined $1000 as opposed to the $2000 starting point. In so far as whip breaches are concerned, we have extremely limited discretion in cases that have animal welfare impacts to deviate from the recommended starting points. To deviate, compelling or exceptional mitigating circumstances would need to exist. In this case there are no such circumstances or factors. Indeed, we were not advised of any hardship that Mr Bosson would suffer if the penalty were set at the $2000 starting point. In addition, we note that Mr Bosson’s share of the prize money, at 5%, is estimated to be $1890, plus riding fee. On that basis we deem a fine of $2000 to be appropriate in the circumstances of this case.


Mr Bosson is granted a 7-day deferment. His licence to ride in races is suspended for 3 days from close of racing on 13 March 2021 until close of racing on 18 March 2021.

In addition, we impose a $2000 fine.

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