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NZ Metro TC 9 August 2020 - R 1 - Chair, Mr R McKenzie

Created on 10 August 2020

RMcKenzie (chair)
R D Close
Licensed Open Driver
P Williams
Stipendiary Steward
Information Number
Breach of Whip Regulations

Following the running Race 1, Fahey Fence Hire Mobile Pace, an information was filed by Stipendiary Steward, Mr P Williams, against Licensed Open Driver, Mr R D Close, alleging that Mr Close, as the driver of FAST ACE in the race, “used his whip on more occasions than is permitted inside the final 400 metres”.

Mr Close 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 FAST ACE, driven by Mr Close, trailing the leader approaching the home turn. Into the straight, Mr Close eased his runner out from behind the leader to challenge on the outside. He alleged that Mr Close had used eleven clear strikes from that point to the finishing line. Mr Close agreed that the eleven strikes were very clear.

The Committee observed that Mr Close had used his whip only once inside the final 50 metres.

Mr Close did not wish to say anything in relation to the breach.


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

Submission For Penalty:

Mr Williams said that Mr Close has a clear record as far as breaches of the whip rule is concerned. He said that this was a low-level breach in terms of the number of strikes, and Stewards were submitting that a fine of $200, as per the Penalty Guide, was appropriate.

Mr Close referred to the recent penalty of a $200 fine handed down to another driver in very similar circumstances.

Reasons For Penalty:

The Penalty Guide in the Use of the Whip Regulations prescribes a $200 fine for a breach in the range of 11-13 strikes. There are no aggravating or mitigating factors in this case which warrant a departure from that prescribed penalty. It is a low-end breach, and it is to Mr Close’s credit that he tempered his use of the whip over the final 50 metres, while still succeeding in winning the race.


Mr Close is fined the sum of $200.

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