Auckland TC 22 March 2024 – R6 – Craig Ferguson

ID: RIB40331

Craig Russell Ferguson - Driver

Mr N McIntyre - General Manager Stewards

Mr G Jones (Chair) and Mr A Smith

Persons Present:
Mr McIntyre, Mr Ferguson

Information Number:

Decision Type:
Race Related Charge

Use of whip - more than a flicking motion

868(2) - Contravention whip rule - Whip and rein Regs


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: Open Driver, Craig Ferguson suspended 7 days


Following the running of Race 6, the Pascoe’s Jewellers Northern Oaks Mobile Pace 2700m ($110,000 Group 1), the Respondent Open Driver, Craig Ferguson admitted a breach of Whip Rule 869(2). The particulars of the charge are that when driving FLYING ELLIE “he used his whip with more than a wrist flicking motion in the run home.”

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.

For the purposes of clause 3.1 of the Whip Use Regulations, “wrist only flicking motion” includes – Ensuring no force is generated by the use of the elbow or shoulder when applying the whip.

At the commencement of the hearing, Mr Ferguson confirmed his admission of the breach. He also said that he understood the nature  of the charge.

General Manager Stewards, Mr McIntyre used available video footage to demonstrate the breach. He pointed out Mr Ferguson driving FLYING ELLIE, who racing on the markerline and finishing the Race off strongly. Mr McIntyre demonstrated that Mr Ferguson used his whip 3 or 4 times in a non compliant manner, namely more than a wrist flicking motion and also generating some force in the strikes. He categorised the whip breach as being low to mid-range.

FLYING ELLIE finished in second place.

In response, Mr Ferguson said that he thought that over the concluding stages he had a chance to win the race and 3 to 4 of his whip strikes were bigger than they should have been.


The charge is admitted and therefore proved.

Submissions for Penalty:

Mr McIntyre submitted that Mr Ferguson has a clear record under the Rule. He said that this particular Race is a Group 1 Race with a stake of $110,000. He referred to the Penalties that may be imposed, as set out in the Penalty Guide, namely a starting point of a 7 day suspension.

Mr Ferguson sought a deferment to any proposed suspension until after racing on 30 March 2024. He had nothing further to add in terms of penalty.

Reasons for Penalty:

When a breach of this nature occurs in a Group 1 Race or any race with a stake of $100,000 or more, the penalty starting point is 7 days suspension and, if the breach is low level, a fine equal to 12.5% of the Driver’s share of the stake.

The Adjudicative Committee assessed the breach as low level and noted that Mr Ferguson’s share of the stake was $850 for finishing in second place, with 12.5% being equal to about $100.

After taking into consideration of all of the factors, it was determined that a 7 day suspension was an appropriate penalty under the circumstances. The $100 fine was waived. Mr Ferguson advised that he drives at all available meetings from Canterbury south. His deferment until after racing on 30 March 2024 is granted. On that basis meetings included in his suspension are:

01/04/24 – Banks Peninsula TC

03/04/24 – Timaru HRC

04/04/24 – Invercargill HRC

05/04/24 – NZ Metro TC

07/04/24 – Cheviot HRC

11/04/24 – NZ Metro TC

13/04/24 – Winton HRC


Mr Ferguson’s Licence to drive in races is suspended for 7 days from 31/03/2024 until 13/04/2024 inclusive.

Decision Date: 22/03/2024

Publish Date: 25/03/2024