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Auckland TC 7 June 2013 - R 9 (heard on 14 June 2013 at Alexandra Park)



Informant: Mr J Muirhead - Stipendiary Steward

Respondent: Mr T Mitchell - Open Horseman

Information No: A4645

Meeting: Auckland Trotting Club

Date: 7 June 2013 (heard on 14 June 2013 at Alexandra Park)

Venue: Alexandra Park

Rule No: 869(2)

Race: 9

Judicial Committee: A Dooley, Chairman - B Scott, Committee Member

Plea: Admitted


Following race 9, Brancott Estate Mobile Pace, an Information was filed pursuant to Rule 869(2)(a). The Informant, Mr Muirhead, alleged that Mr T Mitchell used the whip excessively driving CLASSY AMBITION over the concluding stages of the race.

Mr Mitchell acknowledged that he understood the rule and the nature of the charge.

Rule 869(2)(a) states: No horseman shall during any race (a) use his whip in an unnecessary, excessive or improper manner.


Mr Muirhead demonstrated the incident by using the available video films. He told the Committee that Mr Mitchell, whilst driving the 3rd placed horse CLASSY AMBITION used his whip excessively by striking his drive approximately 20 times in the final straight.

Mr Mitchell told the Committee he believed the strikes were not severe and had he not urged his horse it would have run 5th instead of 3rd. He informed the Committee that in mitigation he pulled the ear plugs on CLASSY AMBITION but they did not activate. He conceded when viewing the video films the “back handers” did not look good.

The Committee reminded Mr Mitchell that the perception surrounding use of whip is significant noting that “flogging” a horse is not a good look.


As Mr Mitchell admitted the breach we find the charge proved.

Submissions For Penalty:

Mr Muirhead submitted that the JCA guidelines establish a starting point for a breach of this rule was a $300 fine. Mr Muirhead produced Mr Mitchell's record which showed he had 1 previous breach under this Rule in the last 12 months. He further submitted Mr Mitchell ought to be given credit for his admission of the breach. However, the aggravating factors were that this was Mr Mitchell's 2nd offence and he assessed the breach as mid range.

Mr Mitchell submitted a lesser fine was better for him and asked the Committee to take into account the ear plugs malfunction.

Reasons for Penalty:

The Committee carefully considered all the evidence and submissions presented. The mitigating factors are Mr Mitchell's admission of the breach, the number of strikes (20) is assessed as low range and the video films we reviewed confirmed that there was an ear plug malfunction on CLASSY AMBITION. However, this has to be balanced against the aggravating factors which were Mr Mitchell's 2nd breach of this Rule in the last 12 months, the severity of the strikes we assessed as mid range and the Committee's note the “back handers” did not look good, which were continuous for 8 strikes.

The Committee informed Mr Mitchell that we referred to the JCA penalty guide which recommended for a 2nd breach in the last 12 months, a penalty of 10 drives or $500 fine.

We referred to the JCA listing of penalties for similar breaches which showed fines in the vicinity of $300.

After taking into account all the above factors we independently assess an appropriate penalty is $275 fine.


Accordingly, we impose a $275 fine.

AJ Dooley           B Scott
Chairman           Committee Member

17 June 2013

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