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NZ Metro TC 29 January 2021 - R 10 - Chair, Mr R McKenzie

Created on 02 February 2021

RMcKenzie (chair)
R D Close
Licensed Open Driver
S P Renault
Stipendiary Steward
Information Number
Unapproved Use of the Whip

Following the running of Race 10, SBSR – Selling at NZBS Sale 15, 16, 17 February Mobile Pace, an Information was filed by Stipendiary Steward, Mr S P Renault, against Licensed Open Driver, Mr R D Close, alleging that, as the driver of NOT OVER in the race, he “used his whip with more than a wrist flicking motion in the home straight”.

Mr Close had signed the Statement by the Respondent on the Information form indicating that he admitted the breach. He confirmed this at the hearing at which he was present.

The Whip and Rein Regulations provide 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 purposes 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 as permitted in clause 3.1.

Mr Renault pointed out Mr Close, driving NOT OVER, improve 3-wide in 5th position as the field entered the home straight and mount a challenge. Mr Renault said the concern that the Stewards had was that Mr Close, in the middle stages of the home straight, used the whip in his left hand with more than the permitted wrist only flicking motion on three occasions. From that point, Mr Renault said, he just reined his horse along and urged it by pushing.


Mr Close having admitted the breach, it was found proved.

Submission For Penalty:

Mr Renault said that Mr Close is a very busy driver – 291 drives to date in the current season and 427 last season. Since the new Regulations came into force, Mr Close had been spoken to twice and warned twice regarding his whip use and, for that reason, he has been charged with a breach on this occasion.

The breach was in the low-range, Mr Renault submitted, and Stewards considered that a fine of $200 was appropriate, being the starting point under the Penalty Guide for a low-level beach.

Mr Close submitted that he had complied with the Regulations except for three strikes early in the run home and, in the last 100 metres, he had not used his whip. He agreed it was a low-level breach.

Reasons For Penalty:

The HRNZ Whip Penalty Guide (effective 1 October 2020) provides as follows:

Low-level is defined as when a driver inadvertently reverts to the old style (freehand, loose reining and/or more than a flicking motion) but promptly takes corrective steps to return to a compliant style of driving.

The Committee was satisfied that Mr Close's whip use was low-level in terms of the Regulation. The three non-compliant strikes were delivered some distance from the finish and over a short distance, after which Mr Close promptly took corrective steps and, in fact, did not use his whip at all. For that reason, although NOT OVER won the race by a narrow margin, we did not consider that it had gained any advantage.

There were no relevant aggravating or mitigating factors and the $200 fine prescribed in the Penalty Guide was the appropriate penalty on this occasion.


Mr Close is fined the sum of $200.

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