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NZ Metro TC 6 December 2018 - R 3 - Chair, Mr D M Jackson

Created on 07 December 2018

DJackson (chair)
Mr R May - Licensed Horseman
Mr N Ydgren - Chief Stipendiary Steward
Information Number
Contravention of Whip Regulations

Mr May admits an information laid by Chief Stipendiary Steward, Mr N Ydgren, alleging that during Race 3 of this meeting he used his whip excessively over the concluding stages of the race when driving BURST OUT LAUGHING.

This is a breach of Rule 869(2), which provides: 'No horseman shall during any race use his whip in an unnecessary, excessive, or improper manner'.

The Use of Whip Guidelines (effective 1 November 2017) provides: (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 May countersigned the information admitting the charge and confirmed same when he appeared before the Committee.

Through video evidence Mr Ydgren showed Mr May strike his drive with the whip approximately 16 times during its run down the home straight to the finish. The horse was never in contention, but was not tiring either. They were of minimal force and a number of the strikes were no more than taps.

Mr May did not dispute the alleged number of strikes.


In light of Mr May’s admission of the charge and the clear video evidence of excessive use of the whip the breach was found proved.

Submission For Penalty:

Mr Ydgren submitted that Mr May’s record was poor having admitted two earlier breaches of this Rule on the same day at Oamaru on 23 September 2018. He was fined $300 and then suspended for three days respectively that day. Mr Ydgren submitted that a four day suspension was appropriate to reflect the objectives of denunciation and deterrence.

Mr May did not seek a deferment. Rather, he asked that the Committee fine him instead of suspend him. He submitted that he is committed to drive horses all over the country at the moment. However, his primary focus, for which he has booked flights already, is the Auckland Trotting Club’s Premier meeting scheduled for 14 December 2018 (eight days from 6 December 2018) where he is engaged to drive in at least one Group One event. He submitted that he must drive at that meeting and that he will take a suspension before or after that meeting but not a suspension on that day. Mr May preferred a fine and submitted that his case was no different from that of Ms Rasmussen, who recently “avoided” suspension in order to drive on New Zealand Cup Day.

Reasons For Penalty:

Mr May’s record is an aggravating factor. Although the Oamaru breaches were some 150 drives ago, they are still within the 200 drive clean slate threshold. The JCA Penalty Guidelines call for a suspension start point of three to five days for a second or subsequent breach of the rule. We fix the start point as three days. For his record (a third breach) and the high number of strikes which, we accept, were not forceful and were broken up, this will be uplifted to four days. A fine is not appropriate on this occasion. This case is different in kind from that of Ms Rasmussen primarily because of the absence of a special characteristic or circumstance, which would justify a departure from the JCA Penalty Guidelines. Ms Rasmussen was engaged to drive the then, New Zealand Cup favourite, in circumstances where the fixed odds market was open (and had been for months) and where she was otherwise already engaged to drive a number of leading chances at the nation’s premier raceday, involving multiple Group One races. There are no such factors at play here.


Accordingly, Mr May is suspended for four days from the conclusion of racing on 9 December 2018 up to the conclusion of racing (at Addington) on 21 December 2018. We have identified the dates as being: 14 December 2018 (Auckland Trotting Club), 16 December 2018 (Rangiora Harness Racing Club), 19 December 2018 (Forbury Park Trotting Club) and 21 December 2018 (New Zealand Metropolitan Trotting Club).

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