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Ashburton TC 27 February 2021 - R 6 - Chair, Mr D Anderson

Created on 02 March 2021

DAnderson (chair)
Mr D McCormick - Open Driver
Mr P Williams - Stipendiary Steward
Mrs C Tibbs - Stipendiary Steward
Mr S Renault - Stipendiary Steward
Information Number
Breach of Whip Regulations

Following the running of Race 6 an Information was filed by Stipendiary Steward Mr S Renault alleging a breach of Rule 869(2) by Open Driver Mr D McCormick. The information alleged; "Driver D McCormick (MAUI) used his whip with more than a wrist flicking motion in the home straight.”

Mr McCormick signed the Information admitting the breach and stated he was conversant with the Rule.

Rule 869 provides as follows:

(3.1) A driver may only apply the whip in a wrist only flicking motion whilst holding a rein in each hand with the tip of the whip pointed forward in an action which does not engage the shoulder.

(3.3) A driver shall not use a whip in an unapproved manner.

(3.4) For the purposes clause 3.3 a driver shall be deemed to have used the whip in an unapproved manner in the following circumstances which are not exclusive:

3.4.1 If the whip is applied other than as permitted in clause 3.1.

Mr Renault used the race video to identify Mr McCormick driving (10) MAUI, racing in the trail entering the home straight. Mr Renault pointed to Mr McCormack striking his horse on several occasions using more than a wrist flicking motion. He said Mr McCormick has engaged his elbow and shoulder far too many times and has fallen well short of the requirements.

Mr McCormick although having admitted the breach said he believed he hadn’t gone over the 45-degree threshold in his whip action.


As Mr McCormick admitted the breach the charge was found proved.

Submission For Penalty:

Mr Renault said the Stewards viewed this breach at the high range of the Regulations. He said Mr McCormick has offended early and continued in the old style of driving.

Mr Renault said the new Penalty Guidelines for a high range breach is a suspension. He said Mr McCormick drives infrequently having 15 drives last season and to date 13 this season. He said he has a clear record under the Rule and had been spoken to once about his whip action.

Mr Renault said the Stewards would leave it to the Committee to find an appropriate penalty.

Mr McCormick said he has not been treated fairly as other drivers had received several warnings before being charged. He said he doesn’t drive often, hence he hasn’t had the practice that others have had to adapt to the new Regulations.

Mr McCormick stated he did not require deferment of any suspension.

Reasons For Penalty:

The JCA Penalty Guide provides in stage 2 (November 1 onwards) for a high- level breach, the start point will be a period of suspension (3 days). High -level offending is defined as when a driver shows a total disregard for the requirements of the Regulation and makes no effort to return to a compliant style of driving.

The Committee believes this breach falls within this level as Mr McCormick drove for the last 200 metres without regard for the new whip requirements.

This race, the Group 3 Hambletonian Classic, was the feature of the day's racing which is an aggravating factor.

Mr McCormick is an infrequent driver, and as such, a challenge for Committees to arrive at a penalty that is both apposite and fair.

The Committee in considering these factors find a three-month suspension appropriate in this case.


Accordingly, Mr McCormick’s Open Horseman’s licence is suspended for a period of 3 months, from the close of racing today the 27 February up to and including racing on the 27 May 2021.

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