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Wellington RC 19 January 2019 - R 6 - Chair, Mrs N Moffatt

Created on 21 January 2019

NMoffatt (chair)
Ms C O'Beirne - Apprentice Rider
Ms K Clapperton - assisting Ms O'Beirne
Mr N Goodwin - Stipendiary Steward
Mr J Oatham - Chief Stipendiary Steward
Information Number
Excessive use of whip

Following Race 6 (Gazely Mercedes Benz Premier), Mr Oatham lodged an Information with the Judicial Committee alleging a breach of Rule 638(3)(b)(ii) in that C O’Beirne used her whip excessively before the 100m without the necessary respite.

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

The “Guidelines with Respect to Acceptable Use of the Whip” provide:
Without affecting the generality of Rule 638(3) (b) a rider may be penalised if their whip use is outside of the following guidelines:

Inside the final 600 metres of any Race, official trial or jump-out a horse may be struck with the drawn whip up to five times after which the rider must cease their use of the whip for a minimum of five strides before striking the horse again with the drawn whip, with this restriction to apply prior to the final 100 metres. The whip may then be used at the rider’s discretion until the winning post is reached.

Prior to the final 600 metres of a race, official trial or jump-out the use of the drawn whip is acceptable if used in moderation and not continually.

At the outset of the hearing Ms O’Beirne confirmed that she understood the charge and that she admitted the breach.

Mr Oatham played the videos showing the home straight stage of the race. Ms O’Beirne riding PEP TORQUE was racing just outside of the leader. Prior to reaching the 100m mark she used her whip 13 times with pauses of only 3-4 strides.

Ms O’Beirne and Ms Clapperton both agreed with the number of strikes counted by the Stewards.


As Ms O’Beirne admitted the breach the charge was found to be proved.

Submission For Penalty:

Mr Oatham described the breach as being in the low range. He said Ms O’Beirne simply did not wait for the required number of strides before using her whip again.

Records showed that today’s breach was her fourth in 12 months.
5/7/18 - $300
26/7/18 - $500
20/12/18 - 6 days suspension

Mr Oatham asked the Committee to take into account that Ms O’Beirne won the race.

In explanation, Ms O’Beirne said she had made an error of judgement with it being a big race on a big day, but reminded the Committee that she was only 2 strides short of riding within the guidelines.

In response to a question from the Committee, Ms O’Beirne advised of riding commitments through until Saturday, January 26th.

Reasons For Penalty:

The Penalty Guide for Judicial Committees provides the following starting points for breaches of Rule 638(3)(b)(ii):
1st breach $300
2nd breach $500
3rd or subsequent breach 6-8 national riding days

Due to this being Ms O'Beirne's fourth breach in 12 months, the Committee adopted a starting point of 6-8 national riding days.

We accept that today’s breach was towards the lower end of the scale. When assessing seriousness, we look not just at the total number of strikes but also the number of strides respite a rider gives between their use of the whip. The guidelines provide for a 5-on 5 –off pattern. Ms O’Beirne provided respite for 3-4 strides so was not far off.

We also had regard to the fact that Ms O’Beirne is an apprentice rider, but nonetheless, her record is a significant aggravating factor particularly in light of the short time frame (end of December) since her last breach. She must display better judgement in the future as her whip breaches are adding up.

A further aggravating factor is the fact that Ms O’Beirne won the race.

Taking into account all the submissions it was our opinion that a 9-day suspension was an appropriate penalty.


Accordingly, Ms O’Beirne’s license is suspended from the close of racing on Saturday, January 26th up to and including racing on Wednesday, February 13th.

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