Non Raceday Inquiry – Decision dated 3 March 2022 – Brian Norman
Penalty: Driver Brian Norman is fined $350
Mr Munro, Stipendiary Steward, alleged that Mr Norman used his whip free of the rein on two occasions with his leg out of the sulky footrest leaving the final bend and again in the home straight. This is an alleged breach of r 869(2) and Whip Regulations of the New Zealand Rules of Harness Racing.
Summary of Facts
Mr Norman drove his horse ARLO MAGUIRE in Race 3 at the workouts at the Young Quinn Raceway on 19 December 2021. Mr Norman was observed on the video footage, which was reviewed by the Stewards, to have used his whip in a manner which contravened the Rules of Harness Racing.
After considering the matter, permission was sought and obtained from the Chief Executive of the RIB, Mr Clement pursuant to r 1108 (2) to charge Mr Norman under r 869(2) and the Whip & Rein Regulations. Mr Norman was spoken to at the Young Quinn Raceway on 6 February 2022, where he was shown the films. Mr Norman admitted his error at the first opportunity and signed the Information to admit the charge.
As Mr Norman has admitted the breach, it is found to be proved.
Mr Norman is a long-time Owner/Trainer/Driver and has an excellent record. Mr Norman’s actions have given him the ability to have extra force with his strikes, due to his having his foot out of the sulky footrest.
The penalty range for a low level whip charge is $200 to $400 range. The RIB submitted that this breach was at the upper end of that scale.
The Informant attached the recent case of RIB v McGowan where a penalty of $400 was imposed.
Mr Norman made no penalty submission.
The Respondent has dropped his foot from the sulky footrest and used his whip on ARLO MAGUIRE on the top bend the first time and again in the home straight. The second strike is quite forceful. McGowan is a little different as there are 5 strikes, although none were forceful.
The breach is correctly assessed by the Informant as being low-range. The starting point is thus a fine of between $200 and $400. The breach is at the workouts, but the animal welfare concerns are not lessened thereby.
A penalty near the top of the range is appropriate given the dropping of the foot, and the nature of the second strike, in particular. Credit is given for Mr Norman’s immediate co-operation with the Stipendiary Stewards and his excellent record, although it is noted that the starting point is premised on this being a first breach of the Whip Rule.
The penalty is a fine of $350.
Decision Date: 03/03/2022
Publish Date: 04/03/2022