Auckland TC 17 August 2023 – R1 – Michelle Northcott

ID: RIB26333

Michelle Northcott - Other (Amateur driver)

Mr S Mulcay - Senior Stipendiary Steward

Mr G Jones

Persons Present:
Mr Mulcay, Ms Northcott

Information Number:

Decision Type:
Race Related Charge

Use of whip - more than flicking motion

869(2) - Contravention whip rule


Animal Name:


Race Date:

Race Club:
Auckland Trotting Club

Race Location:
Alexandra Park - Cnr Greenlane West & Manukau Road Greenlane, Auckland, 1051

Race Number:

Hearing Date:

Hearing Location:
Alexandra Park

Outcome: Proved

Penalty: Amateur Driver Michelle Northcott suspended 4 days

Summary of Facts:

Following the running of Race 1, the Respondent Amateur Driver Michelle Northcott admitted a breach of Whip Rule 869(2).  The particulars of the charge were that the Respondent used her whip with more than a wrist flicking motion in the run home.

The Respondent confirmed her admission of the Rule.

Rule 869 provides that:

(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.

Senior Stipendiary Steward Mr Mulcay used available video footage to demonstrate the breach. He pointed out that I’LLAVABUBBLES (M Northcott) was in front from the 200 metre mark. He said that over the concluding 100 metres of the race, she used her whip with more than a flicking motion for 6 or 7 strikes. I’LLAVABUBBLES won the race.

In response, the Respondent said she agreed with the Stewards’ interpretation of the breach and had nothing further to add.


The charge is admitted and therefore proved.

Submission For Penalty:

Mr Mulcay advised that Ms Northcott has a clear record under the Rule. He said that Stewards assessed the breach to be mid-level, and submitted the Penalty Guide provides for either a $500 fine or 2 day suspension.

The Respondent said that she would a prefer a suspension and did not seek a deferment.

Reasons For Penalty:

After consideration of the evidence from all parties concerned and viewing the race films of the concluding stages of the race, the Adjudicative Committee assessed the breach as mid-level.  Mid-level offending is defined as when a driver inadvertently reverts to the old style (freehand, loose reining and/or more than a flicking motion) and continues to drive in this manner for some distance (50 metres) before taking corrective steps to return to a compliant style of driving.

There are limited race driving opportunities available for Amateur Drivers, and identifying programmed race dates for Amateurs is problematic.  For consistency, the approach generally taken with regards to Amateurs is to accept that they may have driving opportunities at 2 or 3 meetings per month. On that basis, the Respondent is suspended for 4 Northern Meetings.  These include: Waikato 24/08/23, Auckland 31/08/23, Auckland 7/09/23 and Auckland 14/09/23.  This assumes that at least 2 or 3 Amateur Driver Races will be programmed at those meetings.


Amateur Driver, Michelle Northcott’s Licence to drive in races is suspended for 4 Northern Days, from 18 August 2023 until 14 September 2023 inclusive.

Decision Date: 17/08/2023

Publish Date: 18/08/2023