Ashburton TC 23 December 2021 – R9 – Lionel Dobbs

ID: RIB6603

Lionel Dobbs - Driver

Paul Williams, Stipendiary Steward

Russell McKenzie

Persons Present:
Mr P Williams, Mr L Dobbs

Information Number:

Decision Type:
Adjudicative Decision

Using whip in more than a wrist only flicking motion

869 (2) and Whip and Rein Regulations


Animal Name:


Race Date:

Race Club:
Ashburton Trotting Club

Race Location:
Ashburton Racecourse - Racecourse Road, Ashburton, 7700

Race Number:

Hearing Date:

Hearing Location:
Ashburton Raceway, Ashburton

Outcome: Proved

Penalty: Driver, Lionel Dobbs suspended 2 days


Driver, Lionel Dobbs, was charged following Race 9, Gary McCormick Transport Handicap Pace, that as the Driver of POCKET CALL in the Race he used his whip with more than a wrist only flicking motion in the run home.


Mr Williams showed a video replay of the final 300 metres of the race. He pointed out POCKET CALL, driven by Mr Dobbs, and showed that at the 200 metres, after activating gear, Mr Dobbs commenced using his whip and used it in more than a wrist only flicking motion, he alleged, on 5-6 occasions.

Mr Dobbs agreed with the he alleged count. He said that the horse had felt quite good at the top of the straight and he thought it to be chance, but he went too high with his elbow, he said. He apologised for his actions.

The Committee noted that POCKET CALL finished in 9th placing, 7.9 lengths from the winner.


Mr Dobbs has admitted the charge which is found proved accordingly.


Mr Williams said that Mr Dobbs’ most recent breach of the whip rules was on 9 May 2021, so his record has been reset. Stewards believed the breach to be mid-level – although there were only 5-6 strikes they were very forceful Mr Williams said. For that reason, he said, a period of suspension of not less than 2 days should be considered.

Mr Dobbs repeated his apology. He needs to tell himself to keep his elbow down, he said. His wish was to take any term of suspension to commence immediately. He indicated that he was not intending to drive at the Westport meeting or, in all likelihood, at the Reefton meeting.


This is a medium-level breach – inadvertently reverting to the old style (freehand, loose-reining and/or more than a flicking motion) and continuing to drive in this manner (50 metres) before taking corrective steps to return to a compliant style. The NZTR Whip Penalty Guide provides for a starting point for a mid-level breach of either a fine of $500 or a suspension of 2 days. A suspension is called for and, to be meaningful, it needs to be for two meetings at which Mr Dobbs would be likely to be driving. For that reason, the Committee has not taken into account the three West Coast meetings on 26, 28 and 30 December, as it was not satisfied that Mr Dobbs would be driving at any of those meetings. Mr Dobbs does not have a drive on 26 December.


Driver, Lionel Dobbs, is suspended from after the close of racing on 23 December 2021 up to and including 1 January 2022 – 2 days. The meetings intended to be encompassed by that period of suspension are Banks Peninsula TC on 29 December 2021 and Rangiora HRC on 1 January 2022.

Decision Date: 23/12/2021

Publish Date: 28/12/2021