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Thames JC 3 January 2020 – R 5– Chair, G Jones

Created on 04 January 2020

GJones (chair)
Miss D Johnson - Rider of ELISA CAROLINA
Mr B Jones - Stipendiary Steward
Mr A Coles - Stipendiary Steward
Information Number
Excessive use of whip

This charge arises from the running of race 5 the Thames Harness Racing Club 100 Years 1600. An Information was filed pursuant to Rule 638(3)(b)(ii) by the Informant, Mr Coles, alleging that Miss Johnson used her whip excessively prior to the 100 metres when riding ELISA CAROLINA.

Miss Johnson said that she understood the Rule and confirmed she admitted the breach.

Rule 638(3)(b)(ii) provides:
A Rider shall not strike a horse with a whip in a manner or to an extent which is:
(i) unnecessary, or
(ii) excessive, or
(iii) improper

Without affecting the generality of Rule 638(3)(b), a rider may be penalised if their whip use is outside of the following guidelines:

Prior to the 100-metre mark in a race, official trial or jump out:
(i) The whip should not be used on more than 5 occasions.
(ii) The whip should not be used in consecutive strides.
(iii) The rider may at their discretion use the whip with a slapping motion down the shoulder, with the whip hand remaining on the reins.
In the final 100 metres, the whip may be used at the Rider’s discretion.

Using available race film footage Mr Jones identified ELISA CAROLINA racing one off the fence in the home straight. He said that Miss Johnson commenced to use her whip free of the reins and struck her mount 8 times prior to the 100 metres. He added that 4 of the strikes were consecutive.
In response Miss Johnson said that the breach was evident on the films. She freely accepted that she struck her mount 8 times with 3 or 4 being consecutive and had nothing further to add.


As Miss Johnson admitted the breach the Committee found the charge proved.

Submission For Penalty:

Mr Coles said that Miss Johnson had a clear record under this rule and that any proposed penalty should be in line with the JCA Guidelines.

Miss Johnson did not offer any submissions as to penalty. 

Reasons For Penalty:

The JCA Penalty Guide starting point for a 1st breach of excessive use of the whip is a $300 fine. This fine includes a rider’s admission of the breach and clear record. On that basis we adopted this as our starting point.

The Committee considered all the evidence and submissions presented, in particular the number and frequency of strikes as well as the force used. In doing so the Committee confirmed the number of strikes and noted that they were not particularly forceful.

In consideration of penalty the Committee noted that 4 of the strikes were consecutive and had Miss Johnson been also charged with consecutive use, she would have incurred a $200 (starting point) fine. In these circumstances we adopted the greater starting point between excessive use and use of whip in consecutive strides. We did not deem a penalty uplift necessary on this occasion but reminded Miss Johnson of her obligations to ensure sufficient respite is given between strides.  


Accordingly, Miss Johnson was fined $300.

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