Auckland TC Trials 30 October 2021 – Trial 6 (heard 3 December 2021 at Alexandra Park) – David McGowan

ID: RIB6207

David McGowan - Driver

Philippa Kinsey - Stipendiary Steward

Bryan Scott

Persons Present:
Matthew Williamson - Senior Stipendiary Steward

Information Number:

Decision Type:
Adjudicative Decision

Using Whip free of reins

869(2) and the Whip and Rein Regulations


Animal Name:

Race Number:

Hearing Date:

Hearing Location:
Alexandra Park Auckland

Outcome: Proved

Penalty: Driver David McGowan is fined $400


This is an adjourned hearing arising out of the Auckland Trotting Club’s Trials held at the Pukekohe Racecourse on the 30th of October 2021. Mr McGowan was the Driver of ELATED in Heat 6 at the trials.

Miss Kinsey has issued an Information against Mr McGowan alleging that in that heat he used the whip free of the rein on 5 occasions in the run home.

Miss Kinsey produced the appropriate Authority to Charge signed on the 10th of November 2021 by Mr Mike Clement the Chief Executive of the RIB.

Rule 869(2) provides: No Driver shall during any race use a whip in a manner in contravention of the Use of Whip Regulations made by the Board.

The Whip and Rein Regulations provide:

3.1 A driver may only apply the whip in a wrist only flicking motion whilst holding a rein in each hand with the tip of the whip pointed forward in an action which does not engage the shoulder.

Mr McGowan was present at the hearing and he acknowledged that he understood the Whip Rule and Regulations and that he admitted the charge. Mr McGowan had signed the Information admitting the charge on the 26th of November 2021.


Miss Kinsey used a film of the Trial and showed where in the run home Mr McGowan was back in the field and towards the outside of the track. She further showed where Mr McGowan used his whip free of the reins.

Mr McGowan said that his horse had a number of problems and that in previous Trials it had attempted to run out the gate which was the access from the stables to the track. He said that first time around in this particular event he was prepared for it and his horse looked at the gate but he (Mr McGowan) made sure that it got round properly. On the next round however the horse did try to run out and Mr McGowan had his hands full trying to get his horse to run straight. In doing so he made use of the whip and he used it free of the reins 5 times.

Mr McGowan said that he was mortified at having to face a whip charge and having to appear at a hearing. He said he is passionate about his horses and he loves them. He said that on this occasion his horse was getting up to its old tricks and at the end of the day he got annoyed with it. He had tried to get his horse around properly but it was not complying. He let his frustration with his horse overtake reason and he regrets it and he told the Committee that he is very embarrassed as a result.


The charge is admitted and is therefore deemed proved.


Miss Kinsey referred to Mr McGowan’s record (although he does not drive very often). She said that the Stewards believed that a fine of $400 was appropriate.

Mr McGowan again told the Committee that he was embarrassed about the whip charge and he would accept what ever penalty was imposed on him.


This charge is, in the Committee’s view, quite out of character for Mr McGowan and the Committee believes that it s generally known among the Northern Harness Racing fraternity that he is very passionate about his horses.

He has certainly shown remorse and having to go through the process of being charged and having to attend a hearing is almost an extra penalty for him.

This incident happened at the Trials and therefore this lessens the chances of any publicity which would happen if it was on Trackside.

Another factor the Committee has taken into account is that although there were 5 strikes they were not too forceful.

Finally the Committee must take into account Animal Welfare. That is the reason for the Amended Whip Rules and Regulations. The Racing Codes are very conscious about Animal Welfare and so they should be, it is a very live topic in today’s world.

As Adjudicators we are also very conscious of the need to protect Animal Welfare.

After weighing up all the factors in this matter the Committee is going to deal with it by way of a fine. Miss Kinsey has submitted that a fine of $400 is appropriate and the Committee does not disagree. It will be a sufficient impost on Mr McGowan.


Mr McGowan is fined the sum of $400.

Decision Date: 03/12/2021

Publish Date: 07/12/2021