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Auckland TC 2 November 2018 - R 1 - Chair, Mr G Jones

Created on 05 November 2018

GJones (chair)
Mr J Abernethy - Licensed Open Horseman
Mr J Muirhead - Senior Stipendiary Steward
Information Number
Excessive Use of Whip

Following the running of Race 1, the Have Your Xmas At Alex Park Mobile Pace 1700, an Information was filed by Senior Stipendiary Steward, Mr J Muirhead alleging Licensed Open Horseman, Mr J Abernethy, breached Rule 869(2)(a) in that he used his whip during the concluding stages of the race, in contravention of the whip regulations when driving ADIEU FLIRT.

Rule 869(2)(a) provides that:
(2) No horseman shall during any race:-
(a) Use his whip in an unnecessary, excessive or improper manner.

The Use of the Whip Guidelines (as of 30 November 2017) provides that:
-The whip shall not be used more than 10 times in the last 400m of a race, this is inclusive of “backhanders” and the use applies to the horse, harness and/or sulky.
-At no stage of a race will Stewards permit continuous use of the whip. Horseman must show distinct pauses between the whip being used.

Mr Abernethy admitted the breach and advised that he did not wish to be present at the hearing and endorsed the information accordingly.

Senior Stipendiary Steward, Mr Muirhead used available video footage to demonstrate the breach. He showed that over the concluding stages of the race ADIEU FLIRT (Mr J Abernethy) was racing wide on the track. He said that from the straight entrance to the winning post Mr Abernethy used his whip 11 times. He noted that the strikes were not particularly forceful but they were clearly in breach of the whip regulations.


The charge is admitted and therefore proved.

Submission For Penalty:

Mr Muirhead produced Mr Abernethy’s driving record which showed no previous breaches of this rule in the past 6 months.  The record shows that Mr Abernethy had 306 drives last season with 59 drives to date this season. Mr Muirhead submitted that the JCA Penalty Guide provided a $200 fine for a first offence of between 11 to 13 strikes and as there were no aggravating factors a fine of $200 would be appropriate.

Given that Mr Abernethy elected not to attend the hearing no submissions were lodged on his behalf in terms of the breach itself or any proposed penalty.

Reasons For Penalty:

The JCA Penalty Guidelines for a 1st breach of the Whip Regulations establish starting points, on a graduated scale. These are based on the number of strikes as follows:
11 - 13 strikes $200
14 - 16 strikes $300
17 - strikes and over $500

The Committee has carefully reviewed the video footage of the final stages of the race. It is evidently clear that Mr Abernethy used his whip 11 times. The Committee accepts the Stewards submission that the strikes were not forceful. There are no aggravating factors and accordingly the Committee found no compelling reasons to deviate from the $200 starting point. 


The Committee imposes a fine of $200 on Mr Abernethy.

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