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Counties RC 25 July 2020 – R 4 – Chair, G Jones

Created on 27 July 2020

GJones (chair)
Mr T Yanagida - Rider of NUTTEE
Mr N Harris – Northern Riding Mentor Ms V Algar – Stipendiary Steward
Mr M Williamson - Senior Stipendiary Steward
Information Number
Unnecessary and unacceptable use of whip

This charge arises from the running of Race 4, the Mitchell Family 1200. An Information was filed pursuant to Rule 638 (3)(b)(i) by the Informant, Mr Williamson, alleging that Mr Yanagida used his whip on a horse (NUTTEE) that was out of contention and used his whip arm above shoulder height.

Apprentice rider Mr Yanagida said that he understood the Rule and confirmed he admitted the breach. He was assisted at the hearing by the Northern Riding Mentor Mr N Harris.

Rule 638(3)(b)(i) 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 affecting 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.

Notwithstanding the above, it will also be deemed to be unacceptable where a rider uses the drawn whip:

(i) when a horse is out of contention.

(ii) when a horse is showing no response.

(iii) when a horse has no reasonable prospect of improving or losing its position.

(iv) when a horse is clearly winning.

(v) after passing the winning post.

(vi) using the whip with the arm above shoulder height.

(vii) causing injury to the horse.

Using available race film footage Stipendiary Steward Ms V Algar demonstrated the incident. She identified NUTTEE who was ridden by Mr Yanagida in the home straight racing at the rear of the field in last place. She pointed out that Mr Yanagida struck his mount 3 times prior to the 100 metres when it was evident his horse was not responding or making up any ground. She added that 2 of the 3 strikes were above shoulder height.

In response Mr Yanagida said that his mount had good form and he wanted to give it every chance in the run to the finish. He accepted 2 of the strikes were far too high and above shoulder height.

Mr Harris added that Mr Yanagida advised him that he was trying to adapt to a new whip action after having been recently warned about his style by Stewards. He said that he will be advising Mr Yanagida that he needs to exercise more care with regards to his whip use.


As Mr Yanagida admitted the breach the Committee found the charge proved.

Submission For Penalty:

Mr Williamson said that Mr Yanagida had a clear record under this Rule. He said that the breach itself was low end given that the number of strikes was only 3; but aggravated by the fact his mount was clearly last, out of contention and 2 of the strikes were above should height.

Mr Yanagida offered no submissions as to penalty. Mr Harris on his behalf submitted that the strikes were not aggressive.

Reasons For Penalty:

The JCA Penalty Guide starting point for a 1st breach of the whip rule is a $300 fine. This is generally for cases involving excessive whip use where the penalties are graduated based on the number of strikes and the rider's recent record. The $300 fine is inclusive of admission of the breach and a clear record. On that basis this was adopted as the starting point albeit breaches involving improper or unacceptable whip use are fact dependant.

The Committee considered all the evidence and submissions and took particular note that although the substance of the charge was that Mr Yanagida’s mount was struck 3 times when out of contention, an aggravating factor is that 2 of the strikes were above shoulder height which is not permitted by the provisions relating to whip use. The Committee was of the view that not only is the whip use on this occasion unacceptable, the optics of both actions are not good from an animal welfare perspective. Mr Yanagida is encouraged to quickly adjust his whip style and action to ensure he conforms with the whip rules in the future. Accordingly, given there are two aspects to this charge an uplift of $150 is required.


Mr Yanagida was fined $450.

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