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NZ Metro TC 10 November 2020 - R 7 - Chair, Mr R McKenzie

Created on 13 November 2020

RMcKenzie (chair)
R J Butt
Licensed Open Driver
N M Ydgren
Chief Stipendiary Steward
Information Number
Using Whip in Unapproved Manner

Following the running of Race 7, Livamol NZ Trotting Free-For-All (Group 1 Race) an Information was filed by Chief Stipendiary Steward, Mr N M Ydgren, against Licensed Open Driver, Mr R J Butt, alleging that Mr Butt, as the driver of HEAVYWEIGHT HERO in the race, “used his whip with more than a flicking motion”.

Mr Butt had signed the Statement by the Respondent on the Information form indicating that he admitted the charge and he confirmed this at the hearing, at which he was present.

Rule 869 provides as follows:

(2) No horseman shall during any race use a whip in a manner in contravention of the Use of the Whip Regulations made by the Board.

Part 3 of the Whip and Rein Regulations 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.

3.2 For the purposes of clause 3.1, “wrist only flicking motion” means:

3.2.1 Ensuring no force is generated by the use of the elbow or shoulder when applying the whip.

3.2.2 The forearm is not raised beyond forty-five degrees relative to the racing surface.

3.2.3 Not applying the whip with overt force.

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

3.4 For the purpose of 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 is permitted by clause 3.1.

Mr Ydgren showed a video replay of the final 200 metres of the race. He pointed out HEAVYWEIGHT HERO, driven by Mr Butt, which had been racing three places back on the markers, improve on to the back of the leader, MAJESTIC MAN (M J Williamson), as the field turned into the final straight. Mr Butt then entered the passing lane and then commenced using his whip with his elbow which, Mr Ydgren said, was clearly more than a “flicking motion”, in breach of the regulations. Mr Butt used his whip in this manner on four or five occasions, Mr Ydgren submitted, which Mr Butt accepted. The Committee noted that HEAVYWEIGHT HERO went on to win the race.

Mr Butt submitted that his actions did not look bad at all but he accepted that he had breached the rule and regulations. 


Mr Butt having admitted the breach, the charge is found proved.

Submission For Penalty:

Mr Ydgren said that Mr Butt had been made aware that a breach in a Group 1 race would result in a penalty with a starting point of a 7-days suspension. The breach was no worse than mid-range but the force was the concern, he said.

Mr Butt sought a deferment of suspension until after the meeting on Show Day, 13 November. 

Reasons For Penalty:

The Committee is of the view that this breach comes within the category of a “medium-level breach” which is defined as “when a driver inadvertently reverts to the old style (freehand, loose reining and/or more than a flicking motion) and continues to drive in this manner for some distance (50 metres) before taking corrective steps to return to a compliant style of driving”.

The HRNZ Whip Penalty Guide effective 1 October 2020, for Group 1 races (which this race was), prescribes a starting point of a 7-days suspension. Being satisfied that the breach is no worse than “medium level”, the Committee believes that no uplift to that starting point is required. It is, however, an aggravating factor that Mr Butt won the race and, for that factor, it is appropriate to impose a fine in addition to a term of suspension.


Mr Butt’s application for a deferment of suspension is granted.

Mr Butt’s Open Driver’s licence is suspended for a period commencing after the close of racing on 13 November 2020 up to and including 5 December 2020 – 7 days. In addition, Mr Butt is fined the sum of $750.

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