You are here: Home / Race Days / Canterbury Racing - 22 April 2017 / Canterbury R 22 April 2017 - R 4 - Chair, Mr S Ching

Canterbury R 22 April 2017 - R 4 - Chair, Mr S Ching

Created on 26 April 2017

Rules:
638(3)(b)(ii)
Committee:
SChing (chair)
DAnderson
Name(s):
Ms A Morgan - Class B Licensed Apprentice Jockey
Mr M Pitman - Licensed Trainer assisting Ms Morgan
Mr A Coles - Stipendiary Steward
Informant
Mr M Davidson - Stipendiary Steward
Information Number
A8132
Plea:
Denied
Charge:
Excessive use of the whip
Evidence:

Following the running of Race 4,the Christchurch Casino Rating 75, an Information was filed by Stipendiary Steward, Mr M Davidson, against Class B Licensed Apprentice Jockey, Miss A Morgan, alleging a breach of Rule 638(3)(b) in that she used her whip excessively on BRIDGET TOWN, prior to the 200m.

Rule 638(3)(b) reads as follows:
“(3) A rider shall not:

(b) strike a horse with a whip in a manner or to an extent which is unnecessary, excessive or improper;

GUIDELINES WITH RESPECT TO ACCEPTABLE USE OF THE WHIP are as follows;

That once a horse enters the final straight it can be hit with the drawn whip up to six times and then the rider should ride hands and heels for six strides before hitting the horse again with the drawn whip and continue this action until the 200 metres. From this point on a rider may use the drawn whip continuously to the winning post, if the horse is holding its position or improving. If at any other stage of the race the drawn whip is used it will be deemed acceptable if it is used in moderation and not continually.

Any rider who uses the whip outside these guidelines could be charged with excessive use of the whip pursuant to Rule 638(3)(b) of the New Zealand Rules of Racing. Excessive simply means ‘too much’ and should not be confused with ‘unduly punished.’ Hence, a horse does not need to be marked for an excessive charge to be preferred.

Submission For Decision:

Miss Morgan had indicated on the Information that the charge was not admitted which she confirmed at the hearing. She also confirmed that she understood the rule she was being charged with. Miss Morgan was assisted at the hearing by her employer, Mr M Pitman.

Mr Davidson gave evidence and produced video replays with the assistance of Stipendiary Steward, Mr A Coles, which showed Miss Morgan riding BRIDGET TOWN, who was racing midfield and midtrack as the field entered the final straight. He pointed out Miss Morgan drawing her whip and using the whip on 5 occasions, then pushing for 3 to 4 strides before using the whip again on a further 8 occasions prior to the 200m. Mr Coles stated that where Miss Morgan has stopped using the whip and pushed for 3 to 4 strides she should have pushed for the required 6 strides. He also said that the strikes were not aggressive but that the whip use was excessive due to Miss Morgan not going back to the whip rein and pushing for the required 6 strides as per the Whip Guidelines.

Mr Davidson referred to Rule 106 which he read to the hearing which reads as follows;

NZTR may make or issue the following under these Rules:
(a) regulations;
(b) directives;
(c) policies;
(d) guidelines;
(e) practices,
all of which must be followed by those bound by the Rules.

In summing up Mr Davidson stated that the Stewards approach to excessive use of the whip was consistency and that they have been charging other riders with breaches of this rule under similar circumstances.

Mr Pitman on behalf of Miss Morgan questioned the wording of the Guidelines where it states “the rider should ride hands and heels for six strides”. He stated that the word should did not mean must and have to, and that there was a major difference in the English language between should, must and have to. Mr Pitman showed the films where he pointed out Miss Morgan and stated that she initially struck the horse 5 times but that the force was like “swatting flies”. He said she then pushed for 4 strides but then did not strike the horse for the next 2 strides before using the whip again on only 5 occasions before the 200m. He submitted that Miss Morgan had only struck the horse a total of 11 times outside the 200m. He stated that Miss Morgan was only waving the whip at the horse on the first 2 occasions after the 4 pushes.

In answer to a question from the Committee, Miss Morgan, submitted that the first 2 alleged strikes after the 4 pushes did not make contact with the horse but were just waves of the whip as her whip was stuck. Mr Pitman said Miss Morgan was upset that she was being charged as she believed she had not broken the rules.

Mr Pitman stated that Miss Morgan was doing her best and that she should not be in the judicial room being charged. Mr Pitman stated that Miss Morgan had broken the rules but only by failing to go back to the whip rein for the 6 strides. He said she was only outside the rules by 1 stride as, in his opinion, Miss Morgan, had pushed for 5 strides. Mr Pitman stated strongly that Miss Morgan’s use of the whip was not excessive as alleged. He also submitted that the rule was an ass as it is and that he personally believed that Miss Morgan has done nothing wrong and called on the Committee to find the charge not proved.

Reasons For Decision:

The Committee carefully considered the evidence presented and reviewed at length the relevant video replays of the alleged excessive use of the whip by Miss Morgan. The Whip Guidelines state that a rider can use the whip up to 6 times after entering the final straight and then should go back to the whip rein and ride hands and heels for 6 strides before hitting the horse again with the drawn whip. The Committee’s assessment of Miss Morgan’s use of the whip, after careful review of the video replays, is that inside the final straight she struck BRIDGET TOWN on 5 occasions before going back to the whip rein and pushing for 3 to 4 full strides before using the whip again on a further 7 occasions prior to the 200m. We agree with the Stewards assessment that the strikes were not forceful but find as a fact that Miss Morgan has erred by not going back to the whip rein for 6 strides as required under the Whip Guidelines. We find that Miss Morgan’s error is that she clearly has not pushed for the required 6 strides between her use of the whip and therefore find the charge proved.

Decision:

The charge was found proved.

Submission For Penalty:

Mr Davidson stated that Miss Morgan has just returned to race riding at the beginning of April this year. He stated that Miss Morgan’s record showed 2 breaches of this rule since returning to riding being Riccarton on 8 April where she received a $250 fine and a 2-day suspension at Riverton on 15 April. He also said that the strikes were not forceful and all breaches so far, including todays, had been low level offences. Mr Davidson stated that the JCA Penalty Guide recommended a starting point of a 3 to 5-day suspension for a second breach of this rule within 6 months. He submitted that as this breach was also at a low level that a minimal suspension of 2 days be considered as penalty. Mr Davidson stated that Miss Morgan was to begin her suspension from Riverton after today’s racing at Riccarton which encompassed the meetings at Dunedin on 26 April and Blenheim 28 April. He stated that any suspension from today’s breach would have to begin after 28 April.

Mr Pitman asked that before Miss Morgan stopped riding 3 years ago she was considered a South Island and Central Districts rider. He submitted that the level of the breach was low and combined with the fact that she had just come back to riding race day in the last month, consideration be given to a 2-day suspension which would give her the opportunity to ride at the Premier Day at Riccarton on 6 May. Mr Pitman stated that if Miss Morgan was given more than a 2-day suspension, that it would far outweigh the fact that she had failed to push for 2 strides.

Reasons For Penalty:

In determining penalty the Committee considered the JCA Penalty Guide recommended starting point of a 3 to 5 day suspension for a 2nd breach of this rule within a 6 month period. Despite this being Miss Morgan’s 3rd breach of this rule within a month and due to the low level of this breach and subsequent breaches over the past month the Committee determined that a starting point in this case was a 3-day suspension. The Committee also determined that the aggravating factor of Miss Morgan’s record was addressed by adopting the 3-day starting point. Also taken into consideration with this stance was the fact that Miss Morgan was an apprentice rider and only in her first month back riding after a 3 year absence, and obviously having difficulty in coming to terms with the Whip Guidelines. We were also conscious that a 2-day suspension was imposed at her last breach and an uplift on that penalty was required. As there were no mitigating factors to consider we therefore determined that an appropriate penalty was a 3-day suspension.

Penalty:

Miss Morgan’s Class B Apprentice Riders licence was suspended from the conclusion of racing 28 April up to and including 6 May 2017. Meeting encompassed in this suspension are Blenheim on 30 April, Riverton on 4 May and Riccarton on 6 May 2017.

Document Actions