Methven TC 28 January 2024 – R10 – Lawrence McCormick

ID: RIB38274

Lawrence Donald Mccormick - Driver

Shane Renault - Stipendiary Steward

Russell McKenzie

Information Number:

Decision Type:
Race Related Charge

Using whip in more than a wrist only flicking motion and continuous

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


Animal Name:


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, Lawrence McCormick, suspended 3 days


Following the running of Race 10, Lincoln Club & Famous Grouse Handicap Trot, Open Driver, Lawrence McCormick, admitted a breach of the Whip Rules in that, as the Driver of VERTIGO in the race, he “used his whip with more than a wrist flicking motion and in a continuous manner in the run home”.

(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:

3.1     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.

3.2     For the purposes of clause 3.1, “wrist only flicking motion” means:

3.2.1    Ensuring no force is generated by the use of the elbow or shoulder when applying the whip.


3.4     For the purposes clause 3.3 a driver shall be deemed to have used the whip in an unapproved manner in the following circumstances which are not exclusive: 

3.4.2      If the whip is applied excessively, continuously, or without allowing the horse time to respond. 


Stipendiary Steward, Shane Renault, showed a video replay of the final 300 metres of the race. He pointed out VERTIGO, driven by the Respondent, racing four places back on the markers as the field approached the final straight. He was held up for a run, before the Respondent got the horse off the markers and, after activating gear, the Respondent commenced using his whip.

Mr Renault submitted that were a number of strikes in the middle stages that were more than a wrist only flicking motion, and the whip use was continuous. The Respondent agreed and said that was the reason he had admitted the charge. It was not a good look, he said.


The charge having been admitted, it is found proved.


Mr Renault told the hearing that the Respondent has had 7 drives this season and, in the 2023 season, had 31 drives. Stewards saw the breach as being mid-level, for which the Penalty Guide starting point is a fine of $500 or a 2-days suspension.

The Respondent said that he would prefer a suspension, and he sought a deferment of suspension until after the meeting of Amberley TC on 6 February.


The RIB Harness Racing Penalty Guide (February 2023) provides a starting point for penalty of a 2-days suspension or a fine of $500 for a mid-level, first breach. A “mid-level breach” 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”. The Adjudicative Committee accepts that this particular breach is a mid-level one within that definition.

It is an aggravating factor, in the view of the Adjudicative Committee, that VERTIGO won the race by the very narrow margin of a nose, and the Adjudicative Committee decided that it was appropriate to apply an uplift to the starting point for that factor. The uplift was fixed at 1 day.

The Respondent has expressed a preference, in this instance, for a suspension. There are no relevant mitigating factors to warrant a departure from the Penalty Guide uplifted starting point of a 3-days suspension.


Open Driver, Lawrence McCormick, is suspended from after the close of racing on 6 February 2024, up to and including 16 February 2024 – 3 days.

Decision Date: 28/01/2024

Publish Date: 31/01/2024