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Counties RC 25 February 2021 - R 4 - Chair, Mr A Smith

Created on 01 March 2021

ASmith (chair)
Mr B May - Licensed Rider of DESERT ROSE
Ms V Algar - Stipendiary Steward
Mr A Coles - Stipendiary Steward
Information Number
Excessive use of whip

This charge arises from the running of Race No 4, the NZB Insurance Pearl Series Race (1400m). Stipendiary Steward Mr Coles filed an Information pursuant to Rule 638(3)(b)(ii) alleging that Class A Rider Mr B May used the whip excessively on his mount DESERT ROSE prior to the 100 metres.

Mr May acknowledged he understood the nature of the charge and the relevant Rule. He confirmed his admission of the breach.

Rule 638 (3)(b)(ii) provides:

A Rider shall not strike a horse with a whip in a manner or to an extent which is:

(i) Unnecessary, or

(ii) Excessive, or

(iii) Improper

Without effecting the generality of Rule 638(3)(b), a rider may be penalised if their whip use is outside of the following guidelines:

Flat Races

Prior to the 100-metre mark in a race, official trial or jump out:

(i)The whip should not be used on more than 5 occasions.

(ii)The whip should not be used in consecutive strides.

(iii)The rider may at their discretion use the whip with a slapping motion down the shoulder, with the whip hand remaining on the reins.

In the final 100 metres, the whip may be used at the rider’s discretion.

Using available video footage Miss Algar demonstrated that Mr May used his whip on 8 occasions from the straight entrance to the 100-metre mark. Mr Coles added that Mr May stopped using his whip between 200m and the 100m, but at that point the breach had already occurred.

In response Mr May agreed that he struck his mount 8 times and had nothing further to add.


As Mr May admitted the breach the charge is proved.

Submission For Penalty:

Mr Coles produced Mr May’s record which showed two previous breaches in the preceding 6 months, this being his 3rd breach. The previous breaches had occurred on the 5th of September which resulted in a $300 fine and the 8th of November which resulted in a $500 fine. Mr Coles submitted that the starting point for a 3rd breach was a $2000 fine and a 2 day suspension, however added that due to Mr May’s limited riding opportunities that the fine could be difficult for Mr May to pay and asked if the judicial panel could consider an extended suspension with a smaller fine.

Mr May confirmed that a monetary penalty of $2000 would cause him some difficulty and asked if the Committee could consider an increased term of suspension in lieu of a fine.

Mr May confirmed that he was not seeking a deferment of any proposed suspension.

Reasons For Penalty:

The Committee considered all the evidence and submissions presented. When reviewing the video films, we confirmed that Mr May struck his mount on 8 occasions. The strikes were not continuous or overly forceful.

The JCA Penalty Guide establishes the starting point for a third breach of Rule 638(3) (b) (ii) has a starting point of $2000 fine and 2 day suspension. We also note that the starting point for a 4th breach does not reference a fine but is simply a suspension of 5 days.

Although the Penalty Guide sets out recommended starting points there is limited discretion to impose penalties that are significantly less than the starting point for whip breaches, as whip breaches are quite rightly viewed as an animal welfare issue. In order to deviate from the Guide there would need to be compelling mitigation or exceptional circumstances.

In determining penalty the Committee had regard for the submissions from both the Stipendiary Stewards and Mr May in relation to the difficulty a $2000 fine would impose on Mr May’s personal circumstances and financial situation. On this basis the Committee accepts that a reduced fine and an increased period of suspension is appropriate.

At the conclusion of the hearing Mr May was reminded by the Committee of his obligations in relation to the whip and that he needed to improve the level of his whip use to remain within the Guidelines.


Mr May’s license to ride in races is suspended from the conclusion of racing on the 27th of February to the conclusion of racing on the 10th of March (4 national days). In addition we impose a $500 fine.

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