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Wellington RC 11 January 2020 - R 8 - Chair, Mr N McCutcheon

Created on 13 January 2020

NMcCutcheon (chair)
Mr M McNab - Rider of SCOTT BASE
Mr J Oatham - Chief Stipendiary Steward
Information Number
Excessive Use of the Whip

Following the running of Race 8 (Bluestar Anniversary Group 111 Handicap) Information No. A11674 was filed with the Judicial Committee. It was alleged by the Informant that Mr McNab used his whip excessively prior to the 100m when riding SCOTT BASE. (SCOTT BASE finished a close third).

Mr McNab acknowledged that he understood the Rule, the Charge and confirmed that he admitted the breach.

Film replays were shown and Mr Oatham said that early in the run home Mr McNab used the whip in his left hand and that he then shifted the whip through to his right hand and struck his mount 3 times consecutively. He said he then gave a break before hitting his horse again. He said that the total number of strikes applied prior to the 100m was 9.

Mr McNab agreed that he had hit his horse 9 times and said that the reason that he hit it 3 times in a row was to try and straighten his horse up. 


As the breach was admitted by Mr McNab it was found to be proved by the Committee.

Submission For Penalty:

Mr Oatham said that Mr McNab had one prior breach of the Rule since the introduction of the new Whip Guidelines, that being on 25 October 2019 when a $300 Fine was imposed. He said that there were two counts regarding today’s breach:

1) The number of strikes (9)

2) That 3 of the strikes were applied consecutively

He also added that it was a Group Race. Mr Oatham then said that the JCA Penalty Guide starting point for a second breach is for a $500 Fine and that a fine would be appropriate on this occasion.

At that stage of proceedings the JCA Penalty Guide starting point for Group and Feature Races was read to the hearing by the Chair.

The section relating to breaches in such events reads:

Where the breach occurs in a Group or Feature Race and the number of strikes is 4 or more than the permitted 5 the starting point is a 6-day suspension plus a fine at the Committee’s discretion up to the Rider’s percentage of prize money (where applicable). If less than this but still more than 5 then a fine appropriate to the status of the race is to be the starting point.

Mr Oatham was asked to comment on this starting point and he responded by saying that it was a guideline only and that a similar breach of the Rule in Auckland recently (Mr L Innes) had been met with a fine only. He further stated that a fine and a suspension would be too much and that if the number of strikes was one less (8) we would not be looking at that starting point.

Mr McNab said that he understood what had been read to the hearing and added that a fine only would be appropriate and that a suspension also would be too much. During the course of the hearing Mr McNab made reference to a similar breach of the Rule in a Group Race by Mr Innes who rode the winner and said that on that occasion a fine only was imposed.

Mr McNab requested that a week’s deferment be granted if a suspension was to be imposed.

Reasons For Penalty:

Notwithstanding the penalty submissions by the Informant and Mr McNab, the Committee after careful consideration deemed it appropriate to adopt the JCA Penalty Guideline starting point referred to earlier in this decision.

The Committee took into account the aggravating factors, viz Group 111 Race, second breach since the introduction of the new Whip and Penalty Guidelines (which were agreed to by the R.I.U), the total number of strikes (9) with 3 of those being consecutive and the fact that the breach was admitted. Subsequent to considering all matters in relation to penalty, it was determined that a 6 riding day suspension plus a fine of $200 was the appropriate penalty.

The Committee anticipates that the penalty handed down sends a clear message to all Riders that equine welfare is paramount and that excessive use of the whip will not be condoned under any circumstance.


Mr McNab’s Jockey’s License was suspended from the end of racing on 18 January up to and including all racing on 25 January 2020 and in addition a Fine of $200 was imposed. In fixing quantum of penalty the Committee was mindful that a Premier Day is scheduled for Ellerslie on 25 January 2020.


A Committee is not compelled to follow the reasoning and penalty imposed for any previous breach of the Rule, more so when a penalty handed down is so far removed from the JCA Penalty Guide starting point. The Committee in the case of the earlier breach involving Mr Innes must have felt that there were other reasons not known to this Committee why the clear Penalty Guidelines in Group and Feature Races were not followed.

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