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NZ Metro TC 25 February 2021 - R 1 - Chair, Mr R McKenzie

Created on 01 March 2021

Committee:
RMcKenzie (chair)
Name(s):
K M Barron
Licensed Open Driver
Mr S Renault - Stipendiary Steward
Informant
P Williams
Stipendiary Steward
Information Number
A13647
Plea:
Admitted
Charge:
Using Whip in Unapproved Manner
Evidence:

Following the running of Race 1, NZB Standardbred Mobile Pace, an Information was filed by Stipendiary Steward, Mr P Williams, against Licensed Open Driver, Mr K M Barron, alleging that, as the driver of FRANCO STEFAN in the race, he “used his whip with more than a wrist flicking motion in the home straight”.

Mr Barron had signed the Statement by the Respondent on the Information form indicating that he admitted the breach. He confirmed this at the hearing at which he was present.

The Whip and Rein Regulations provide as follows:

3.1 A driver may only apply the whip in a wrist only flicking motion whilst holding a rein in each hand with the tip of the whip pointed forward in an action which does not engage the shoulder.

3.2 For the purposes of clause 3.1, “wrist only flicking motion” means:

3.2.1 Ensuring no force is generated by the use of the elbow or shoulder when applying the whip.

3.2.2 The forearm is not raised beyond forty-five degrees relative to the racing surface.

3.2.3 Not applying the whip with overt force.

3.3 A driver shall not use a whip in an unapproved manner.

3.4 For the purposes of Clause 3.3 a driver shall be deemed to have used the whip in an unapproved manner in the following circumstances which are not exclusive:

3.4.1 If the whip is applied other than as permitted in clause 3.1.

Mr Williams showed to the hearing a video replay of the final 200-300 metres of the race. He pointed out FRANCO STEFAN, driven by Mr Barron, racing three places back on the markers as the field approached the home turn. On the home turn, Mr Barron eased his runner out to challenge widest on the track.

Stewards were concerned with Mr Barron’s actions early in the run home. Mr Barron had been compliant in the latter stages, Mr Williams said. With reference to the video replay, Mr Williams said that Mr Barron had used his whip in a non-compliant manner on four occasions prior to ceasing his whip use, and then used it on a further three occasions in a non-compliant manner.

The Committee noted that FRANCO STEFAN finished in 2nd placing (margin ¾ length).

Mr Barron said that it was not an intentional breach. Recently he has struggled with not using his elbow and arm after, in the early stages of the new Regulations, struggling with not crossing the reins. He did not disagree that he had used the elbow and he accepted that he needs to eliminate use of the elbow. He does not have a problem with over-use, he said. He stressed that his whip use had complied with the requirements of the Regulations over the final stages.

Decision:

Mr Barron having admitted the breach, it was found proved.

Submission For Penalty:

Mr Williams said that Mr Barron was fined $200 on 29 January last for using his whip in more than a wrist-flicking motion. Since that breach, he has had 19 drives and has been spoken to on another occasion since that breach.

Mr Williams said that he believed that a suspension was called for on this occasion, and he submitted that the term should be one of not less than 3 days. Mr Renault, Stipendiary Steward, who was present at the hearing explained that, in the absence of any reference to second or subsequent breaches in the Penalty Guide and for consistency, Stewards were submitting that, in those cases, the Penalty Guide under the old Use of the Whip Regulations (a 3-5 days suspension) should be applied.

A discussion followed as to the upcoming meetings at which Mr Barron would be likely to drive and the matter of a possible deferment. Mr Barron had engagements at the meeting of Ashburton TC on 27 February but did not seek a deferment beyond that date. 

Reasons For Penalty:

The HRNZ Whip Penalty Guide (effective 1 October 2020) provides as follows:

Low-level is defined as when a driver inadvertently reverts to the old style (freehand, loose reining and/or more than a flicking motion) but promptly takes corrective steps to return to a compliant style of driving.

The Committee was satisfied that Mr Barron’s whip use was low-level in terms of the Regulations. The non-compliant strikes were delivered some distance from the finish, over a short distance, and were broken up. In between those strikes and following them, Mr Barron drove in a compliant manner.

The Penalty Guide suggests a penalty range of $200-$400 for a “low-level” breach, but that is expressed to be for a first offence. The present breach is, of course, Mr Barron’s second in less than a month. This needs to be reflected in the penalty. The Penalty Guide is silent on the matter of penalty for a second or subsequent breach and the Committee agrees with the Stewards’ submission that, for such a breach, the starting point for penalty should default to the previous Penalty Guide – a 3-5 days suspension. On the basis that this is to be applied across the country, the Committee is happy to accept that it should be the starting point in this case.

The Committee has accepted that the breach was “low-level” and, therefore, a 3-days suspension is the appropriate penalty in this case.

Penalty:

Mr Barron’s Open Driver’s licence is suspended from after the close of racing on 27 February 2021 up to and including 10 March 2021 – 3 days. The meetings intended to be encompassed by the period of suspension are NZ Metropolitan TC on 4 March, Cheviot TC on 7 March and Oamaru HRC on 10 March 2021.

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