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Feilding JC 4 November 2017 - R 6 - Chair, Mrs N Moffatt

Created on 06 November 2017

Rules:
638(3)(b)(ii)
Committee:
NMoffatt (chair)
NMcCutcheon
Name(s):
Mr T Johnson - Apprentice Rider
Mr K Gray - Licensed Trainer assisting Mr Johnson
Mr D Balcombe - Stipendiary Steward
Informant
Mr N Goodwin - Stipendiary Steward
Information Number
A8789
Plea:
Admitted
Charge:
Excessive use of the whip
Evidence:

Following Race 6, Power Farming Handicap, Mr Goodwin lodged an information with the Judicial Committee alleging a breach of Rule 638 (3) (b) (ii) in that Timothy Johnson used his whip excessively prior to the 100m.

Rule 638(3) (b) (ii) provides: A Rider shall not:

(ii) strike a horse with a whip in a manner or to an extent which is excessive

The “Guidelines with Respect to Acceptable Use of the Whip” provide:

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 Johnson acknowledged he understood the rule and confirmed his admission of the breach. In the absence of his employer Mr Oulaghan, Mr Johnson was assisted at the hearing by licensed trainer Mr Kevin Gray.

Mr Goodwin told the Committee that shortly after entering the home straight Mr Johnson, riding SCANDOLO, started to use his whip. The head-on film was played and Mr Goodwin estimated Mr Johnson had used the whip a minimum of 11 times without the required respite. Mr Goodwin said not all of these were actual strikes.

Neither Mr Johnson nor Mr Gray disputed the stewards’ interpretation of the breach.

Decision:

As Mr Johnson admitted the breach the charge was found to be proved.

Submission For Penalty:

Mr Goodwin said Mr Johnson had breached the whip rule three times since the change in guidelines was introduced at the beginning of August last.

His record reads:

5/8/17 Riccarton $250
21/9/17 Wanganui $500
28/9/17 Waipukarau 3 day suspension

The Stewards’ submitted that a suspension of more than three days be imposed for the current breach.

Mr Johnson said it was clear on the films that he had exceeded the number of whip strikes allowed and explained that it was a tight finish where he just got a little bit too excited and carried away. Mr Gray told the committee that Mr Johnson was not using the whip with any force and was not punishing the horse. He was concerned that there was no current apprentice tutor in the Central Districts to offer assistance to the apprentices.

Reasons For Penalty:

New whip guidelines were introduced on 1st August this year (1/8/17) and updated penalty guidelines pertaining to whip use came into effect on November 1st.

The updated starting points for breaches of Rule 638(3) (b) (ii) are:

1st breach $300

2nd breach $500

3rd or subsequent breach 6-8 national riding day suspension

This is Mr Johnson’s fourth charge of excessive whip use in three months. His record is of concern to the Committee and an aggravating factor in setting penalty. We adopted an 8 day suspension as our starting point. There were no further aggravating factors. Mr Johnson’s whip use was not overly forceful and not all were actual strikes. Without Mr Johnson’s poor record we would probably have classified the breach to be low end. We have not allowed any discount for his admission of the breach as it was inevitable that the charge would have been found proved.

We note Mr Gray’s comments that there is currently no CD apprentice tutor but we urge Mr Johnson to seek some assistance with the manner in which he uses the whip.

Penalty:

Mr Johnson advised of riding commitments at Otaki on Thursday November 9th next week.

Accordingly Mr Johnson is suspended from the close of racing on November 9th up to and including racing on Saturday November 18th.

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