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NZ Metropolitan TC 4 February 2021 - R 1 - Chair, Mr R McKenzie

Created on 08 February 2021

Committee:
RMcKenzie (chair)
Name(s):
Mr NG Chalmers - Licensed Advanced Amateur Driver
Informant
Mr SP Renault - Stipendiary Steward
Information Number
A13643
Plea:
Denied
Charge:
Contravention of the Use of Whip Regulations
Evidence:

Following the running of Race 1, Hydroflow (Amateur Drivers) Mobile Pace, an Information was filed by Stipendiary Steward, Mr SP Renault, against Licensed Advanced Amateur Driver, Mr NG Chalmers, alleging that, as the driver of DALNESS ARIZONA in the race, he “used his whip with more than a wrist flicking motion in the run home”.

Mr Chalmers had signed the Statement by the Respondent on the Information form indicating that he denied the breach and he confirmed this at the hearing, at which he was present.

Rule 869 provides as follows:
(2) No driver shall during any race use a whip in a manner in contravention of the Use of the Whip Regulations made by the Board”.

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.

Submission For Decision:

Mr Renault pointed out on the video replay Mr Chalmers, driving DALNESS ARIZONA, racing in a bunched field passing the 600 metres. Approaching the home turn, Mr Renault said, Mr Chalmers began urging his horse on with the whip and the reins. Stewards did not have an issue with Mr Chalmers’ driving at that stage. However, shortly after entering the home straight, he used the whip while engaging his elbow and shoulder and the whip raised above 45 degrees, in the old style, in more than a wrist flicking motion. The Committee noted that this took place over some distance, at least 100 metres. Over the concluding stages, Mr Chalmers returned to a more compliant style, Mr Renault said.

Mr Chalmers said that this was his first charge under the new Regulations. He had expected to be extended some leniency. At no stage did he take his hands off the reins. It was his first drive since the inception of the new whip requirements. He acknowledged that it did not look good.

The Committee explained to Mr Chalmers that none of what he had said amounted to a defence to the charge and that it was very apparent from the video replay that his use of the whip was clearly in breach of the new Whip Regulations.

Mr Chalmers did not wish to add anything.

Reasons For Decision:

This was a clear breach of the Whip & Rein Regulations. Mr Chalmers had reverted to the “old style” use of the whip over some distance before returning to a compliant style. His defence – that this was his first drive under the new Regulations – was misguided. He admitted that it did not look good and it did not.

The Committee was clearly satisfied, from viewing the video replays, that this was clear breach.

Decision:

The charge was found proved.

Submission For Penalty:

Mr Renault confirmed that this was Mr Chalmers’ first drive this season and he had only four drives in the 2019/2020 and, in the 2018/2019 season, seven drives. Mr Renault submitted that the breach was a high-level one.

The Penalty Guide starting point for a “high-level breach” is a period of suspension of 3 days. With Mr Chalmers being an amateur driver, it is difficult to arrive at a number of days in calculating a suspension, Mr Renault said. Mr Renault suggested that 3 days/drives for an amateur could be dealt with by way of a 6-week suspension.

Mr Chalmers said that he had “come out of retirement” and had only obtained his licence during the week. It was his intention to start DALNESS ARIZONA in any upcoming races for amateur drivers. He was not in a position to pay a fine if the Committee decided to impose a combined penalty, he said.

Reasons For Penalty:

In arriving at penalty, the Committee took into account Mr Chalmers’ explanation, rather than a defence, that this was his first drive this season, having only obtained his licence this week. When it was put to him, Mr Chalmers acknowledged that his use of the whip did not look good, and it certainly did not look good. There were 7 or 8 strikes that could, euphemistically, be described as “non-compliant” delivered with a full arm action and with some force. To Mr Chalmers’ credit, he did return to a compliant style over the final 50 metres or so.

A “high level breach” is defined in the Penalty Guide 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”. That describes Mr Chalmers’ actions on this occasion, notwithstanding that he did revert to a compliant style nearing the finish.

A suspension is required in this case and the Committee fixes the term at 6 weeks, based on the usual formula of two drives per month for an amateur driver.

Penalty:

Mr Chalmers Advanced Amateur Driver’s licence is suspended from after the conclusion of racing today up to and including 18 March 2021 – 6 weeks.

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