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08 Dec 2018
Auckland-Tc - R4

Auckland TC 8 December 2018 - R 4 - Chair, Mr G Jones

Created on 10 December 2018

GJones (chair)
Mr J Abernethy - Licensed Horseman
Mr S Mulcay - Senior Stipendiary Steward
Mr S Mulcay - Senior Stipendiary Steward
Information Number
Contravention of Whip Regulations

This charge arises from the running of Race 4, the One Stop Cutting Shop Mobile Pace 2700. An Information was filed by Senior Stipendiary Steward Mr S Mulcay alleging Licensed Open Horseman; Mr J Abernethy breached Rule 869(2)(a) in that he used his whip on more occasions than permitted by the regulations when driving THE BLUE BEAT.

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 Regulations (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 indicated that he wished to be present at the hearing and endorsed the information accordingly.

Senior Stipendiary Steward Mr Mulcay used available video footage to demonstrate the breach. He identified that inside the concluding 400 metres of the race, THE BLUE BEAT (Mr J Abernethy) was running about when challenging for the lead wide out on the track. He said that from the straight entrance to the winning post Mr Abernethy used his whip 11 times. He added that he had some sympathy for Mr Abernethy because he experienced some difficulty when trying to maintain a straight line and shifted in and out in the run to the post. He said this placed Mr Abernethy at a disadvantage. THE BLUE BEAT finished in 2nd place, and was beaten a nose.

In response Mr Abernethy advised the Committee that his horse was “shifting all over the place” and was a very difficult drive. He said that it was for this reason he was not able to concentrate on counting the number of times he used his whip.


The charge is admitted and therefore proved.

Submission For Penalty:

Mr Mulcay produced Mr Abernethy’s driving record which showed 1 previous breach of this rule. This occurred on 2 November 2018 at Alexandra Park and resulted in a fine of $200 (11 strikes). Mr Abernethy has since had 28 drives.

Mr Mulcay submitted that the JCA Penalty Guide provided for a 3 day suspension for a 2nd breach within the reset period (6 month or 200 drives). He said this particular breach was at the low end and there are no particular aggravating factors.

Mr Abernethy sought a 7 day deferment to any proposed penalty so that he can fulfil pending engagements. He added that he was intending to drive at the Westport meeting on 26 December 2018 and if there was likelihood any suspension encompassing that date he would prefer a fine as opposed to a suspension.

Reasons For Penalty:

The JCA Penalty Guideline establishes a starting point of a 3 day suspension for a second breach of the Whip Regulations within the reset period.

The Committee has carefully reviewed the video footage of the final stages of the race. The films confirm Mr Abernethy used his whip 11 times and have noted the strikes were not forceful. The Committee accepts the submissions of both Mr Mulcay and Mr Abernethy that THE BLUE BEAT was a difficult drive. However that in itself does not absolve Mr Abernethy of his obligation to use his whip in accordance with the use of whip regulations. There are no aggravating factors and accordingly the Committee found no persuasive reasons to deviate from the 3 day suspension starting point. Accordingly, we suspend Mr Abernethy for 3 days.

In assessing penalty dates we have treated Mr Abernethy as a northern and central districts driver. 


Pursuant to Rule 1304 (1)(b) the Committee grants Mr Abernethy a 7 day deferment and we impose a 3 day suspension commencing after racing on 15 December 2018 and concluding after racing on 24 December 2018.

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