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Geraldine TC 23 November 2019 - R 8 - Chair, Mr R McKenzie

Created on 27 November 2019

RMcKenzie (chair)
J W Cox
Licensed Open Driver
S P Renault
Stipendiary Steward
Information Number
Contravention of the Use of Whip Regulations

Following the running of Race 8, Fresh Choice Geraldine Cup (Handicap Pace), an information was filed by Stipendiary Steward, Mr S P Renault, against Licensed Open Driver, Mr J W Cox, alleging that Mr Cox, as the driver of NANDOLO in the race, “used his whip on more occasions than permitted under the Use of the Whip Regulations in the last 400 metres”.

Mr Cox had signed the Statement by the Respondent on the information form indicating that he admitted the charge. He confirmed this at the hearing, at which he was present.

Rule 869 provides as follows:

(2) No horseman shall during any race use a whip in a manner in contravention of the Use of the Whip Regulations made by the Board.

The Use of Whip Regulations (effective from 30 November 2017) provide:

(b) No horseman is permitted to use their whip in a striking motion on more than ten occasions inside the final 400 metres. This is inclusive of “backhanders” and the use applies to the horse, harness and/or sulky.

Mr Renault showed a video replay of the final 400 metres of the race. He pointed out NANDOLO, driven by Mr Cox, racing in the one out, one back position as the field neared the home turn.

Stewards had counted 15 times that Mr Cox had used his whip from that point to the finishing line, Mr Renault said. Mr Cox agreed with the Stewards’ count. The breach was mid-range, Mr Renault submitted.

Mr Cox said he freely acknowledged that he had breached the Regulations but explained that, each time he struck the horse, it kept responding.


Mr Cox having admitted the breach, the charge is found proved.

Submission For Penalty:

Mr Cox has a previous breach on 30 August 2019 at NZ Metropolitan TC – 11 strikes, fined $200, Mr Renault said. The Penalty Guide starting point for a second breach is a 3-5 days suspension. The concern in this case is the number of strikes, Mr Renault said, and he submitted a suspension in the range of 3-4 days would be appropriate.

The upcoming meetings at which Mr Cox would be likely to drive were then looked at. Mr Cox sought a deferment of suspension until after 29 November 2019. 

Reasons For Penalty:

The Penalty Guide starting point is a 3-5 days suspension. The Committee views the breach as being in the mid-range of seriousness, having regard to the number of strikes (15) and the aggravating factor of Mr Cox having won the race. That calls for a 4 days suspension. The mitigating factor is Mr Cox’s admission but that was inevitable and not warranting any discount.


Mr Cox’s Open Driver’s Licence is suspended from after the close of racing on 29 November 2019 up to and including 7 December 2019 – 4 days. The meetings intended to be encompassed by the period of suspension are Oamaru HRC, Banks Peninsula TC, Forbury Park TC and NZ Metropolitan TC/Invercargill HRC.

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