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Whangarei RC 23 July 2016 - R 5 - Chair, Mr A Dooley

Created on 25 July 2016

Committee:
ADooley (chair)
BScott
Name(s):
Ms U Holmquist - Apprentice Rider
Mr A Coles - Stipendiary Steward
Mr N Harris - Apprentice Jockey Mentor
Informant
Mr M Williamson - Stipendiary Steward
Information Number
A8501
Plea:
Admitted
Charge:
Excessive use of the whip
Evidence:

Following the running of race 5, ITM / Gib Open, an Information was filed pursuant to Rule 638(3) (b) (ii). The Informant, Mr Williamson, alleged that Ms Holmquist used the whip excessively on her mount ROCKNROLLA prior to the 200 metres.

Ms Holmquist acknowledged that she understood the Rule and admitted the breach. Mr Harris assisted Ms Holmquist at the hearing.

Rule 638(3) (b) provides A Rider shall not:

(ii) strike a horse with a whip in a manner or to an extent which is excessive.

Mr Coles demonstrated on the video films that Ms Holmquist used her whip 12 times prior to the 200 metres. He said the first 10 strikes were applied every second stride then he identified that Ms Holmquist paused for 3 strides before striking her mount on 2 more occasions. He said the strikes were not aggressive and noted the strikes were not behind the saddle.

Ms Holmquist confirmed that she struck her mount 12 times prior to the 200 metres. She said the strikes were not forceful and identified that her mount was challenging for the lead. Ms Holmquist added that her strikes were not continuous.

Mr Harris said the strikes were not aggressive.

Decision:

As Ms Holmquist admitted the breach we find the charge proved.

Submission For Penalty:

Mr Williamson produced Ms Holmquist’s record which showed she incurred a $250 fine on 6 May 2016 for excessive use of the whip. He said this particular breach was just outside the guidelines and believed the incident was at the low end of the scale. He said Ms Holmquist should be given credit for her admission of the breach and advised the Committee that Ms Holmquist has had 701 rides as an Apprentice.

Mr Williamson stated that Ms Holmquist may have been frustrated as she had finished close up in an earlier race for the Logan / Gibbs stable. He added it was of some concern to the Stewards that this was Ms Holmquist’s second breach for excessive whip use in under 3 months. Mr Williamson submitted a monetary penalty increase from Ms Holmquist’s previous $250 fine would be an appropriate penalty.

Ms Holmquist said she agreed with the Stewards' submissions. Ms Holmquist reiterated that when she was using her whip she was racing in a competitive situation.

In response to a question from the Committee, Ms Holmquist acknowledged that she had been advised by the Judicial Committee on 6 May 2016 that if she was to breach this Rule within 6 months a suspension would be imposed. We note that Mr Harris was also present on 6 May 2016.

Ms Holmquist advised the Committee that she had engagements at Te Awamutu on 27 July and any proposed suspension could start after that.

When requested by the Committee Mr Williamson produced Ms Holmquist's recent riding history which showed that she had recently ridden in the Central Districts on Industry days.

Mr Harris asked the Committee to consider imposing a light penalty because in his opinion Ms Holmquist was unlucky to be charged on 6 May 2016. He added that the Committee should also consider giving Ms Holmquist a discount because of her status as an Apprentice rider. 

Reasons For Penalty:

The Committee carefully considered all the evidence and submissions presented. The Committee advised Ms Holmquist that the JCA Penalty Guide states with respect to excessive use of the whip where the rider is a repeat offender, a separate starting point is recommended for a 2nd plus breach (within a period of 6 months) of a 3 – 5 riding day suspension.

The mitigating factors were Mr Holmquist’s admission of the breach and the severity of the strikes were clearly at the low end. The films show that Ms Holmquist was using her whip with minimal vigour when challenging for the lead. The total number of strikes (12) was low to mid – range. We acknowledge the frequency of strikes was not continuous. Ms Holmquist was given a measured discount for these mitigating factors.

We note Ms Holmquist’s mount finished in 2nd place.

This charge was Ms Holmquist’s 2nd breach under this Rule within 3 months which was an aggravating factor that justified a suspension and not a fine.

We don’t consider Ms Holmquist to be an inexperienced Apprentice given that she has had 701 rides; accordingly a discount for her status was not warranted.

The Committee emphasised to Ms Holmquist the public perception when it came to whip offences.

After taking into account all the above the Committee considers an appropriate penalty was a 2 day suspension.

Penalty:

We grant Ms Holmquist’s request to seek a deferment to her suspension as per Rule 1106(2).

Accordingly, Ms Holmquist had her license to ride in races suspended for a period to commence after racing on 27 July and conclude after racing on 29 July 2016 (2 North Island days).

In conclusion the Committee cautioned Ms Holmquist that a breach of this Rule in the near future would result in a higher suspension.

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