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Methven TC 11 April 2021 - R 11 - Chair, Mr D Anderson

Created on 13 April 2021

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

Following the running of Race 11 an Information was filed by Stipendiary Steward Mr P Williams alleging a breach of Rule 869(2) by Open Driver Mr P Nairn. The Information alleged; "P Nairn (FULL OF HOPE) used his whip free of the rein throughout the home straight.”

Mr Nairn 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 Nairn driving (8) FULL OF HOPE, racing towards the rear of the field entering the home straight. Mr Renault pointed to Mr Nairn at the 300 metres place both reins in his left hand and activate ear plugs. He said Mr Nairn has then driven the entire length of the straight using his whip free of the rein.

Mr Nairn stated he had clearly forgotten to reclaim the rein in his whip hand but said he had only flicked his horse.


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

Submission For Penalty:

Mr Williams said the Stewards viewed this breach at the high range of the Regulations. He said Mr Nairn has offended early in the run home, on a long straight, and continued to drive with his whip free of the rein to the finish which is unacceptable.

Mr Williams stated Mr Nairn had driven 14 times this season.

Mr Williams said the new Penalty Guidelines for a high range breach 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.

Mr Williams said the Stewards would be seeking an uplift in the starting point as Mr Nairn won the race and considered a suspension of 4 days as appropriate for most Drivers but for the fact that Mr Nairn is an infrequent Driver, he would leave it to the Committee to establish a meaningful penalty.

Mr Nairn chose not to make any submissions on penalty but asked for a deferment to start any suspension after the Rangiora meeting on 18 April 2020 as he may consider driving FULL OF HOPE again.

Reasons For Penalty:

The JCA Penalty Guide provides a starting point of a 3-day suspension for a high-level breach of this Rule.

We are satisfied that Mr Nairn’s actions fall within this range, and the fact that he won the race is an aggravating factor.

The Committee is challenged to find a penalty which is fair and meaningful in circumstances where Mr Nairn is an infrequent Driver. The appeal of the McCormick decision (the Hambletonian Classic February 26th) is helpful, where an 8-week suspension was imposed for an occasional Driver. The Committee in that decision equated a 4-day suspension for a regular Driver to an 8-week suspension for Mr McCormick.

In animal welfare terms, the Committee considers this breach to be far less serious than the McCormick decision, and finds a 6-week suspension (equating to a 3-day suspension for a frequent Driver) as appropriate in this case.

Mr Nairn has driven 46 times since the start of the 2017-18 season. He is impossible to predict where and how often he will drive, and the Committee acknowledges in this period of suspension he may well not be denied any driving opportunities.

Mr Nairn’s request for a deferment is granted pursuant to Rule 1304 (1).


Accordingly, Mr Nairn’s Open Driver’s licence is suspended from the close of racing on the 18 April 2021 up to and including racing on the 30th May 2021.

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