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Canterbury R 5 August 2017 - R 6 - Chair, Mr R McKenzie

Created on 08 August 2017

RMcKenzie (chair)
P Shaikh
Licensed Apprentice Jockey (Class B)
M R Pitman
Licensed Trainer (Class A)
Mr J M McLaughlin - Stipendiary Steward
J P Oatham
Chief Stipendiary Steward
Information Number
Excessive Use of Whip

Following the running of Race 6, Premier Sprint, an information was filed by Chief Stipendiary Steward, Mr J P Oatham, against Licensed Apprentice Jockey (Class B) Mr P Shaikh, alleging that Mr Shaikh as the rider of DYNAMIC in the race, “used his whip excessively prior to the 100 metres”.

Mr Shaikh was present at the hearing of the information, assisted by his employer, Licensed Trainer (Class A), Mr M R Pitman. Mr Shaikh indicated that he understood the charge and that he admitted the breach. He also confirmed that he was aware of the Guidelines regarding acceptable use of the whip effective from 1 August 2017.

Rule 638 provides as follows:

(3) A Rider shall not:

      (b) strike a horse with a whip in a manner or to an extent which is:

          (ii) excessive

The “Guidelines With Respect to Acceptable Use of the Whip” provide as follows:

Without affecting the generality of Rule 638(3)(b) a rider may be penalised if their whip use is outside of the following guidelines:
Inside the final 600 metres of any Race, official trial or jump-out a horse may be struck with the drawn whip up to five times after which the rider must cease their use of the whip for a minimum of five strides before striking the horse again with the drawn whip, with this restriction to apply prior to the final 100 metres. The whip may then be used at the rider’s discretion until the winning post is reached. Prior to the final 600 metres of a race, official trial or jump-out the use of the drawn whip is acceptable if used in moderation and not continually.

Mr Oatham asked Mr J M McLaughlin, Stipendiary Steward, to show the available video replays to the hearing. Mr McLaughlin pointed out Mr Shaikh, riding DYNAMIC, in a midfield position as the field entered the final straight with 400 metres to run. Shortly thereafter, Mr Shaikh commenced using his whip and, between that point and the 100 metres, he used the whip on 16 occasions, only going back to the reins on one occasion, for about three strides, Mr McLaughlin said.

Mr Pitman said that Mr Shaikh was a claiming apprentice and, on this occasion, had got “a bit carried away” and had “embarrassed himself”. Mr Pitman accepted that it did not look good. Mr Shaikh knew what he had done wrong. He is a strong hands and heels rider and does not need to use the whip, Mr Pitman said.


Mr Shaikh having admitted the breach, the charge was found proved. 

Submission For Penalty:

Mr Oatham submitted that Mr Shaikh’s use of the whip clearly breached the new whip guidelines and would have been in breach of the old guidelines. Stewards saw this breach as being at the high end and it needed to be treated accordingly.

Mr Shaikh has one previous breach of the whip Rule on his record in the last 12 months – he was fined $250 on 16 March 2017 at Canterbury Racing, Mr Oatham said.

The number of strikes (sixteen) on this occasion was high and Stewards also deemed that the manner in which the use was excessive in itself. Mr Shaikh’s whip use has been of concern for some time. He was spoken to earlier in the day about the new guidelines, Mr Oatham said.

Mr Pitman said that Mr Shaikh had got carried away and pointed out that this was only his second breach of the whip Rule, he believed, in all of the time that he had been riding, 7 years. However, it was acknowledged that this breach was at “the higher end”.

Mr Oatham said that the Committee should consider a suspension for a breach of this magnitude. A clear message needs to be sent that riding in this way is unacceptable.

Mr Pitman told the Committee that, in the event of a suspension being imposed, Mr Shaikh would be seeking a deferment until after the final day of the meeting. He has rides on both of the second and third days, Mr Pitman confirmed.

Mr Oatham referred to the lack of race days in the South Island following this meeting. Were Mr Shaikh to be suspended for even 2 days, he would not be able to ride again until 7 September. Mr Oatham suggested that the Committee consider a 1 day suspension and a fine.

Reasons For Penalty:

The Committee agreed with the submission of Mr Oatham that a fine would not adequately reflect appropriate disapproval of this breach. At the same time, it understood that a 2 or 3 day suspension would put Mr Shaikh out of riding for over a month, which would be excessive and would not assist him in his rehabilitation.

The starting point under the amended Penalty Guide for a second breach within 12 months is a fine of $500. However, the Committee retains a discretion to depart from any starting point in a case which has some “special characteristic”. We are satisfied that the number of strikes with very minimal respite is such a special characteristic in this case warranting an uplift in the starting point to include a suspension. It was a high end breach of the excessive use of the whip Rule.

We are mindful that a suspension for 2 or 3 days, which might otherwise have been justified would, effectively, be a suspension for over a month. A combined penalty is, therefore, appropriate and we intend to deal with penalty in that way.


The application on behalf of Mr Shaikh for a deferment of suspension is granted.

Mr Shaikh’s Apprentice Jockey’ licence (Class B) is suspended from after the close of racing on 12 August 2017 up to and including 25 August 2017 – 1 riding day.

In addition, he is fined the sum of $300.

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