Methven TC 1 November 2023 – R2 – John Versteeg

ID: RIB29274

John Versteeg - Driver

Shane Renault, Stipendiary Steward

Russell McKenzie

Information Number:

Decision Type:
Race Related Charge

Using whip in more than a wrist only flicking motion

869(2) - Contravention whip rule - Whip and Rein Regulations


Animal Name:
A Rockn To The Blues


Race Date:

Race Club:
Methven Trotting Club

Race Location:
Methven Racecourse - 47 Mount Hutt Station Road, Methven, 7782

Race Number:

Hearing Date:

Hearing Location:
Mt Harding Racecourse, Methven

Outcome: Proved

Penalty: Open Driver, John Versteeg, suspended 3 days.


The Information alleges that in Race 2, Speight’s Fillies & Mares Mobile Pace, Open Driver, John Versteeg, committed a breach of Rule 869(2) and the Whip and Rein Regulations in that, as the Driver of A ROCKN TO THE BLUES in the race, he used his whip in more than a wrist flicking motion in the run home.

Rule 869 provides:

(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.

The Whip and Rein Regulations provide:

3.2    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.

The Respondent had endorsed the Statement by the Respondent on the Information form “I do admit a breach of the rule” and confirmed this at the hearing.


Stipendiary Steward, Shane Renault, showed a video replay of the final 200-300 metres of the race. He pointed out A ROCKN TO THE BLUES, driven by the Respondent, racing three places back on the markers as the field turned into the final straight.

The Respondent took a run to the inside in the passing lane, and Mr Renault showed that the Respondent then proceeded to use his whip – on the first two occasions in a compliant  flicking motion, and then three times in more than a wrist only flicking motion, with which the Stewards were concerned, Mr Renault said.

The Respondent did not wish to comment, other than to say that he agreed with Mr Renault’s version of events.


The breach having been admitted, it is deemed proved.


Mr Renault said that the Respondent has had 28 drives this season. He has a previous breach of the Whip Rules – on 10 September at Methven, suspended 2 days – 3 drives ago.

Mr Renault referred to the Penalty Guide which provides a starting point for a low-level (which this was, he said), second breach of a 3-days suspension. That was the submission of Stewards in this case, he said.

The Respondent did not seek a deferment of any suspension.


The Adjudicative Committee accepts the submission of Stewards that the breach is low-level – that is to say, “when a driver inadvertently reverts to the old style (freehand, loose-reining and/or more than a flicking motion) but promptly takes corrective steps to return to a compliant style”.

The Adjudicative Committee notes the previous breach on the Respondent’s record. The RIB Harness Racing Penalty Guide provides a starting point for a second, low-level breach of a 3-days suspension. The Adjudicative Committee sees no relevant factors, aggravating or mitigating, to warrant a departure from that starting point. (A ROCKN TO THE BLUES finished in 7th placing, 12 lengths from the winner).


Open Driver, John Versteeg, is suspended from after the close of racing today, up to and including 14 November 2023 – 3 days.

It is recorded that the meeting of NZ Metropolitan TC on 3 November 2023 is not included in the period of suspension, as Drivers for the meeting have already been notified and the Respondent has no engagements.

Decision Date: 01/11/2023

Publish Date: 03/11/2023