Nelson HRC 14 January 2024 – R4 – Gavin Smith

ID: RIB37614

Gavin Smith - Driver

Shane Renault - Stipendiary Steward

Stewart Ching (Chair)

Persons Present:
Shane Renault - Stipendiary Steward, Gavin Smith - Open Driver

Information Number:

Decision Type:
Race Related Charge

Breach of Whip Rule

869(2) - Contravention whip rule


Animal Name:


Race Date:

Race Club:
Nelson Harness Racing Club

Race Location:
Nelson Racecourse - 358 Lower Queen Street, Nelson, 7020

Race Number:

Hearing Date:

Hearing Location:

Outcome: Proved

Penalty: Driver Gavin Smith is fined $250

Summary of Facts:

Following the running of Race 4, the Respondent Open Driver Gavin Smith admitted a breach of Whip Rule 869 (2).  The particulars of the charge are that when driving THE REAL MCCOY 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.

Stipendiary Steward Shane Renault used available video footage to demonstrate the breach. He pointed out Mr Smith driving THE REAL MCCOY, racing in contention as the field turned for home. Mr Renault showed Mr Smith draw his whip and use it on 2 occasions with more than a wrist flicking motion, near the 200m. He added that Mr Smith promptly returned back to a compliant style of whip use for the remainder of the race.

Mr Smith concurred with the allegation of 2 strikes with more than a wrist flicking motion.


The charge is admitted and therefore proved.

Submissions for Penalty:

Mr Renault stated that Mr Smith’s driving statics were 14 drives so far this season, with 249 drives last season. He produced the Respondent’s record which indicated only a previous warning within the prior 2 months, at the Geraldine meeting.

Mr Renault said that Stewards assessed the breach to be low-level, with the Penalty Guide starting point a $300 fine. He submitted that mitigation be considered due to Mr Smith’s frank admission and his good record.

Mr Smith concurred that the breach was low level and asked for mitigation to be considered.

Reasons for Penalty:

After consideration of the evidence from all parties concerned and viewing the race films of the concluding stages of the race, the Adjudicative Committee also assessed the breach as low-level.

The Penalty Guide provides a $300 starting point for a low level, first breach of this Rule within a 2-month period.

It was determined that there were no aggravating factors to consider, therefore no uplift warranted.

Mr Smith’s frank admission of the breach and his good record, warranted a combined discount which was set at $50.


Accordingly, Mr Smith is fined the sum of $250.

Decision Date: 14/01/2024

Publish Date: 15/01/2024