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NZ Metro TC 28 June 2020 - R 1 - Chair, Mr R McKenzie

Created on 30 June 2020

Committee:
RMcKenzie (chair)
Name(s):
S L Wigg
Licensed Advanced Amateur Driver
Informant
P Williams
Stipendiary Steward
Information Number
A13181
Plea:
Admitted
Charge:
Contravention of Whip Regulations
Evidence:

Following the running of Race 1, Mike Stratford Memorial (Amateur Drivers) Mobile Pace, an information was filed by Stipendiary Steward, Mr P Williams, against Licensed Advanced Amateur Driver, Ms S L Wigg, alleging that Ms Wigg, as the driver of CHANGEAROUND in the race, used her whip on more occasions that permitted by Clause (b) of the Use of the Whip Regulations.

Ms Wigg had signed the Statement by the Respondent on the information form indicating that she admitted the breach and she confirmed this at the hearing of the information, at which she was present.

Rule 869 provides: -

(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 the Whip Regulations provides as follows:

(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 CHANGEAROUND, driven by Ms Wigg, taking the lead outside a tiring runner as the field turned into the home straight. He pointed out the horse run slightly wide on the turn, prior to Ms Wigg drawing her whip and using it on 15 occasions from that point to the finishing line. This included three backhanders, Mr Williams said.

Ms Wigg said that she had admitted the breach, but submitted that the final three alleged strikes (the “backhanders” referred to by Mr Williams) were mere flicks through the horse’s tail, rather than strikes. The number of strikes, in her opinion, was “around about 11”, she said. Mr Williams submitted that there had been clear movement of the elbow so, in the Stewards’ view, they were clearly strikes.

The Committee noted that CHANGEAROUND finished in 2nd placing, a half-length from the winner.

Decision:

Ms Wigg having admitted the breach, the charge is found proved.

Submission For Penalty:

Mr Williams told the Committee that Ms Wigg has had 126 lifetime drives and, in the current season, she has had 24 drives. She has a previous breach of the rule on her record – at Waikato Bay of Plenty HRC on 5 January 2020 (fined $200), making this breach the second within a 6-months period.

The starting point for a second offence is a 3-5 days suspension. Stewards were submitting that a 3-days suspension would be an appropriate penalty in this case, Mr Williams said.

Ms Wigg said that she had accepted a drive at Auckland TC on Wednesday next 1st July, and she sought a deferment of suspension to enable her to take that drive. It was then discussed that there were races for Amateur Drivers programmed for Waikato Bay of Plenty HRC on 8th July and NZ Metropolitan TC on 12th July. Ms Wigg said that she drives in both the North and South Islands. Beyond that latter date, Ms Wigg told the hearing, she understood that Auckland TC intended to hold a race for Amateur Drivers at each of its upcoming meetings, the next meeting being on 15th July.

Reasons For Penalty:

In arriving at penalty, the Committee had regard to the Penalty Guide prescribed penalty of a 3-5 days suspension for a second offence within 6 months. A suspension is a necessary penalty in this case. There were no particular aggravating factors. It was a mid-range breach in terms of numbers, but low-end in terms of force, in particular, having regard to the final three backhand strikes.

The Committee records that it is satisfied that the three “backhanders” that Ms Wigg disputed, were indeed strikes, being made with a clear striking motion of the arm.

Penalty:

Ms Wigg’s application for a deferment is granted.

The Committee accepted Ms Wigg’s assurance that there is likely to be a race for Amateur Drivers at Auckland TC on 15 July next.

Ms Wigg’s Advanced Amateur Driver’s licence is suspended for a period commencing on 2 July 2020 and ending on 15 July 2020, both days inclusive. This is intended to be 3 days – Waikato Bay of Plenty HRC on 8 July, NZ Metropolitan TC on 12 July and Auckland TC on 15 July 2020.

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