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NZ Metro TC 6 September 2020 - R 1 - Chair, Mr R McKenzie

Created on 07 September 2020

Committee:
RMcKenzie (chair)
Name(s):
A C White
Licensed Advance Amateur Driver
Informant
S P Renault
Stipendiary Steward
Information Number
A13204
Plea:
Admitted
Charge:
Contravention of the Use of Whip Regulations
Evidence:

Following the running of Race 1, IRT. Supporting the NZ Trotting Cup (Amateur Drivers) Mobile Pace, an information was filed by Stipendiary Steward, Mr S P Renault, against Licensed Advanced Amateur Driver, Mr A C White, alleging that Mr White, as the driver of I’M JIMMY JAMES in the race, “used his whip on more occasions than is permitted [by Clause (b) of the Use of the Whip Regulation] inside the final 400 metres”.

Mr White 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 Renault showed a video replay of the final 400 metres of the race. He pointed out I’M JIMMY JAMES, driven by Mr White, racing 4-wide and improving in mid-field as the field neared the home turn. Mr Renault showed that Mr White commenced using his whip passing the 400 metres, and alleged that he used it a total of 22 times from that point to the finishing line. That count was in the “top bracket”, Mr Renault said. That alleged count was accepted by Mr White. The Committee noted that I’M JIMMY JAMES finished in 7th placing, 5.3 lengths from the winner.

Mr White explained that this was only his third drive back after a lengthy break (it is noted that he last drove in the 2016/2017 season). He added that he had tried to drive in compliance with the new regulations (to come into effect on 1 October 2020). Some strikes were just flicks and he thought would not be counted, he said, but he accepted that some were with more force. He demonstrated this with reference to the video replay. He had clearly breached the rule and regulation, he said. 

Decision:

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

Submission For Penalty:

Mr Renault told the Committee that Mr White has had two drives this season prior to today’s race. He was not licensed last season. His record is clear, Mr Renault said.

Mr Renault referred to the starting point for penalty in the regulation. For a number of strikes of 17-plus, he said, the prescribed penalty is a fine of $500 and Stewards were seeking a fine of that amount.

Mr White asked the Committee if it would consider a suspension in lieu of a fine. When he was informed of the likely term of any suspension (5-6 months), he expressed a preference for a fine.

Reasons For Penalty:

The Use of the Whip Regulation prescribes a fine of $500 for a breach involving a number of strikes of 17-plus. The agreed number of strikes in the present case is well in excess of that number making it, on the face of it, a serious breach. However, although the number of strikes is high the breach is, in other respects, not high-range. Many strikes were with the reins in hand and with little force. Further, Mr White did not persist in his whip use when it was clear that he could not finish in a higher placing.

A fine in terms of the regulation is appropriate.

Penalty:

Mr White is fined the sum of $500.

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