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10 Sep 2020
Harness-Racing-Waikato - R1

Waikato BOP H 10 September 2020 - R 1 - Chair, Mr BJ Scott

Created on 14 September 2020

Committee:
BScott (chair)
Name(s):
Ms S Wigg - Licensed Amateur Horsewoman
Mr T Vince - Trainer of MISTER SLICK assisting Ms Wigg
Informant
Mr JM Muirhead - Senior Stipendiary Steward
Information Number
A12244
Plea:
Admitted
Charge:
Contravention of the Use of the Whip Regulations
Evidence:

Following the running of the WELCOME BACK AUCKLAND TRAINERS Mobile Pace an Information was lodged by Senior Stipendiary Steward Mr JM Muirhead against Licensed Amateur horsewoman Ms S Wigg alleging that Ms Wigg used her whip on more occasions than permitted when driving MISTER SLICK over the final 400 metres.

Rule 869(2) provides : No driver shall during any race use a whip in a manner in contravention of the Use of Whip Regulations made by the Board.

Clause (b) of the Use of Whip Regulations provides: No horseman is permitted to use their whip in a striking motion on more than 10 occasions in the last 400 metres. This is inclusive of " backhanders " and the use applies to the horse , harness and/or sulky.

Ms Wigg was present at the Hearing and she advised the Committee that she admitted the breach.

Mr Muirhead demonstrated the incident by use of the race films and he identified Ms Wigg driving MISTER SLICK in the race and he showed her striking her horse 12 times over the last 400 metres. He used the side on and head on films to show the number of strikes with the whip. He further showed that MISTER SLICK won the race.

Ms Wigg for her part said that she thought that it might have been  11 strikes but it could have been 12. She had nothing further to add.

Decision:

The breach is admitted and therefore the charge is upheld.

Submission For Penalty:

Mr Muirhead referred to Ms Wigg's record and said that she had breached this Rule twice this year once in January (which is now outside the reset period) and also on the 28th of June 2020 for which she received a 3 day suspension of her Licence.

Mr Muirhead referred to the Starting Point Penalties in the Use of Whip Regulations which (based on the number of strikes) provide for a 3-5 day suspension.  He said he was looking for a 3 day suspension.

It was at this stage that Mr Vince joined the Hearing to assist Ms Wigg.

Ms Wigg said that notwithstanding the suspension in June that she would like the penalty to be a fine.

Mr Vince said that Amateurs should be treated more leniently than professionals and he said that there was a case involving an Amateur Rider at Te Aroha last year where the JCA Committee said just that. He could not produce the Decision nor could he remember the date.

The Committee told Ms Wigg that the Racing Authorities were concerned that Whip breaches were strongly dealt with. They also told her that new Whip Rules for Harness Racing were due to commence on the 1st of October. She acknowledged that she was aware of that.

The Committee further told her that they would not be dealing with this charge by imposing a fine but would be imposing a suspension.

Reasons For Penalty:

This incident is clearly shown on the race films and by using both side on and head on films the Committee could confirm the number of strikes as 12. In terms of the Regulations 11 or 12 doesn't matter. Either number is excessive as far as the Regulations are concerned.

Ms Wigg has admitted the breach but that was inevitable given the clear film evidence. In asking for a fine Ms Wigg is clearly unrealistic and seems to ignore the suspension she received at the NZ Metro meeting about two and a half months ago.

In dealing with this matter the Committee is concerned about animal welfare and also the effect that this has on Harness Racing. MISTER SLICK was on the outside in the run home and therefore in full view for television viewers. The Committee is also concerned about this breach being so soon after the previous one.

The Regulations provide for a 3-5 day suspension and bearing in mind Ms Wigg's suspension about two and a half months ago the Committee has taken a 4 day suspension as a starting point penalty. In view of the fact that Ms Wigg is an Amateur Driver and she has admitted the breach the Committee has reduced that by 1 day to a 3 day suspension.

Ms Wigg reminded the Committee that she drives in both Islands and they have recognised that in the penalty.

Penalty:

Ms Wigg's Amateur Drivers Licence is suspended from the conclusion of racing to day up to the conclusion of racing on the 4th of October 2020. The Committee calculates that to be 3 driving days being Waikato BOP Harness on the 20th of September 2020 and the 3rd of October 2020 and the Timaru Trotting meeting on the 4th of October 2020.

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