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NZ Metro TC 23 August 2020 - R 1 - Chair, Mr R McKenzie

Created on 25 August 2020

Committee:
RMcKenzie (chair)
Name(s):
A L Fitzgerald
Licensed Advanced Amateur Driver
Informant
P Williams
Stipendiary Steward
Information Number
A13278
Plea:
Admitted
Charge:
Contravention of the Use of Whip Regulations
Evidence:

Following the running of Race 1, Dakins Group (Amateur Drivers) Mobile Pace, an information was filed by Stipendiary Steward, Mr P Williams, against Licensed Advanced Amateur Driver, Mr A L Fitzgerald, alleging that Mr Fitzgerald, as the driver of JIMMY CANNON in the race, “used his whip on more occasions than permitted by Clause (b) of the [Use of the Whip Regulations]”.

Mr Fitzgerald had signed the Statement by the Respondent on the information form indicating that he admitted the breach. He was present at the hearing of the information and he confirmed that he admitted the breach.

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 Williams showed a video replay of the final 400 metres of the race. He pointed out JIMMY CANNON, driven by Mr Fitzgerald, racing mid-field and amongst runners as the field turned into the home straight. Mr Fitzgerald, shortly thereafter, worked the horse into the clear and commenced using his whip. He used it a total of 11 times from that point to the finishing line, Mr Williams alleged. That count was accepted by Mr Fitzgerald.

The Committee noted that JIMMY CANNON finished in 2nd placing. ¾ length from the winner.

Mr Fitzgerald said that the breach was “pretty clear”. His whip action was a lot better than his last breach, he said.

Decision:

Mr Fitzgerald having admitted the breach, the charge was found proved.

Submission For Penalty:

Mr Williams told the Committee that Mr Fitzgerald has a previous breach of the whip rule on his record – at NZ Metropolitan TC on 2 August last (fined $200). This was, therefore, Mr Fitzgerald’s second breach of the rule, for which the Penalty Guide prescribes a 3-5 days suspension. Stewards were seeking a suspension for 3 days for the breach, Mr Williams said.

Mr Fitzgerald had no submissions to make regarding penalty, other than that he may have a drive at Auckland in the next few weeks, depending on the COVID-19 situation.

Reasons For Penalty:

The Use of the Whip Regulations prescribes 3-5 days suspension for a second or subsequent breach. This breach was a second breach and was low-end in terms of the number of strikes and the force. There were no relevant aggravating or mitigating factors. The Committee agreed that a 3-days suspension was an appropriate penalty in this case.

The difficulty was in fixing the upcoming meetings at which there would be a race for amateur drivers. The Committee was aware that the next meeting in Canterbury, at which there is a race for amateur drivers, is at Addington on 6 September next. Beyond that, nothing is definite. In the event, the Committee decided that a 3-days suspension should encompass the period up to and including 27 September 2020.

Penalty:

Mr Fitzgerald’s Advanced Amateur Driver’s licence is suspended up to and including Sunday, 27 September 2020.

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