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Canterbury R 5 August 2017 - R 8 - Chair, Mr R McKenzie

Created on 08 August 2017

RMcKenzie (chair)
S R F Weatherley
Licensed Apprentice Jockey (Class B)
D M Walsh
Apprentice Jockey Mentor
Mr J M McLaughlin - Stipendiary Steward
J P Oatham
Chief Stipendiary Steward
Information Number
Excessive Use of Whip

Following the running of Race 8, eStar 120th Winter Cup (Group 3), an information was filed by Chief Stipendiary Steward, Mr J P Oatham, against Licensed Apprentice Jockey (Class B), Mr S R F Weatherley, alleging that Mr Weatherley, as the rider of NEW YORK MINUTE in the race, “used his whip excessively prior to the 100 metres”.

Mr Weatherley was present at the hearing of the information, assisted by Apprentice Jockey Mentor, Mr D M Walsh. Mr Weatherley 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 J M McLaughlin, Stipendiary Steward, showed a video replay of the final 300-400 metres of the race. He pointed out NEW YORK MINUTE, ridden by Mr Weatherley, in the lead as the field entered the final straight. Prior to the 100 metres, Mr Weatherley drew his whip and used it eight times without, at any stage, putting his hand back on the rein and pushing for five strides. He did not use the whip on every stride but, at no stage, did he break up his whip use, Mr McLaughlin submitted.

Mr Weatherley explained he had “just misjudged it”. It was a Group 3 race and the new guidelines were in force, he said. He frankly admitted that he had ridden outside of the guidelines.

Mr Walsh stressed that it was a Group 3 race and a young rider tends to get a bit carried away and forgets what he is supposed to do. Mr Weatherley had not hit the horse on consecutive strides at any stage, he submitted.


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

Submission For Penalty:

Mr Oatham said the Stewards saw the breach as being low end. The whip use was not continuous. Mr Weatherley has a clean record under the Rule in approximately 900 rides in his 15-months’ career, he said. The sole aggravating factor was the status of the race and the stake payable. Mr Weatherley was the leading apprentice in New Zealand in the season just ended, Mr Oatham said. He had been caught out today by not adapting to the changed guidelines. A low-level fine was appropriate, Mr Oatham submitted. He made reference to the fine imposed on rider, Miss Cowan, in the same race and submitted a similar fine was appropriate in this case.

Mr Walsh also made reference to the Cowan penalty in circumstances not too dissimilar to this case, he submitted.

Reasons For Penalty:

In determining penalty, the Committee had regard to the starting point of a $300 fine for a first breach of the Rule. The only aggravating factor, in the Committee’s view, was the status of the race and the stake payable – Group 3, $100,000. For that factor, we have applied an uplift of $100 to the starting point to $400. Although the breach was in the low end range, we have not adjusted the starting point for that factor.

Mitigating factors are Mr Weatherley’s previous good record and his frank admission of the breach. We believe that a discount of $100 is appropriate for a combination of those two factors.


Mr Weatherley is fined the sum of $300. 

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