Avondale JC 21 July 2021 – R7 – Trudy Thornton

ID: RIB3437

Trudy Thornton - Jockey

Mrs Selvakumaran (Stipendiary Steward)

Mr G R Jones

Persons Present:
Ms Thornton, Mrs Selvakumaran, Mr M Williamson (Senior Stipendiary Steward)

Information Number:

Decision Type:
Adjudicative Decision

Excessive Use of Whip

638 (3)(b)(iii)


Animal Name:


Race Date:

Race Club:
Avondale Jockey Club Inc

Race Location:
Avondale Racecourse - Ash Street, Avondale, Auckland, 1026

Race Number:

Hearing Date:

Hearing Location:
Avondale racecourse

Outcome: Proved

Penalty: Ms Thornton was suspended for 6 days

This charge arises from the running of Race 7 the AJHC Conference 1600. Stipendiary Steward Mrs Selvakumaran filed an Information alleging Ms Thornton used her whip excessively prior to the 100 metres when riding ALASKAN GOLD.

Ms Thornton confirmed her admission of the breach and that she understood the nature of the charge.

Rule 638(3)(b)(i) provides:

A Rider shall not strike a horse with a whip in a manner or to an extent which is:

(i) unnecessary, or
(ii) excessive, or
(iii) improper

Without affecting the generality of Rule 638(3)(b), a rider may be penalised if their whip use is outside of the following guidelines:

Flat Races

Prior to the 100-metre mark in a race, official trial or jump out:

(i) The whip should not be used on more than 5 occasions.

In the final 100 metres, the whip may be used at the Rider’s discretion.

Using available race films Senior Stipendiary Steward Mr Williamson demonstrated that Ms Thornton struck her mount 10 times during the running of the race up to the 100-metre mark. He said that ALASKAN GOLD jumped from barrier 9 and two strides after the jump, Ms Thornton struck her mount twice. He said that one further strike occurred near the 600-metre mark and the remaining seven strikes were in the home straight, prior to the 100-metre mark.

In response Ms Thornton said that she was riding a horse “who has not been trying in its races and the connections told her to ride him forward”.


As Ms Thornton admitted the breach the Committee found the charge proved.

Submissions For Penalty

Mrs Selvakumaran submitted that this is Ms Thornton’s second breach within the reset period. The previous breach occurred on 15 May 2021 at Rotorua and resulted in a $300 fine.

Ms Thornton advised that she has riding commitments up to and including 24 July 2021.

Reasons For Penalty

The Penalty Guide starting point for 10 strikes or more is a 6-day suspension. This was adopted by the Committee.

The Committee does not accept Ms Thornton’s explanation regarding her riding instructions. She is a very experienced Rider who is well aware of her obligations concerning whip use. Both she and the horse’s connections need to take care that the riding instructions given, cannot be misinterpreted as encouraging a Rider to use the whip. The Rules on this point prohibit connections from giving instructions which may lead to a breach of the use of whip restrictions.

It is an aggravating factor that this is Ms Thornton’s second breach within the reset period. It is also a factor that the weather was poor, it rained heavily prior to the race and the track was very heavy. Although Ms Thornton did not offer this as an excuse, it was apparent on the films that Riders were in full concentration during the running of the race due to the inclement weather.

After considering the evidence and reviewing the films the Committee determined that there were no compelling reasons to deviate from the Guide starting point and imposed a 6-day suspension.


Ms Thornton’s licence to ride in races is suspended from after racing on 24 July 2021 until after racing on 7 August 2021. This is 6 national days and does not include the Jumps / Apprentice Rider meeting at Te Aroha on 1 August 2021.

Decision Date: 22/07/2021

Publish Date: 22/07/2021