NZ Metro TC 29 September 2023 – R5 – Mark Purdon

ID: RIB27864

Mark Purdon - Driver

Nigel McIntyre, Chief 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:
Franco Indie


Race Date:

Race Club:
NZ Metropolitan Trotting Club Inc

Race Location:
Addington Raceway - 75 Jack Hinton Drive, Addington, Christchurch, 8024

Race Number:

Hearing Date:

Hearing Location:
Addington Raceway, Christchurch

Outcome: Proved

Penalty: Driver, Mark Purdon, suspended 3 days


Following the running of Race 5, Nevele R “50 years of Success” Handicap Pace, Open Driver, Mark Purdon, admitted a breach of Rule 869(2) and the Whip and Rein Regulations in that, as the Driver of FRANCO INDIE in the race, he used his whip with 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:

3.1     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.


Chief Stipendiary Steward, Nigel McIntyre, showed a video replay of the final 200 metres of the race. He pointed out FRANCO INDIE, driven by the Respondent, which had been racing four places back on the markers, being eased out and looking for a run as the field turned into the final straight. The Respondent got the horse into the clear and commenced using his whip and did so, in more than a wrist only flicking motion, on five occasions, Mr McIntyre submitted, before reverting to a compliant style.

Mr McIntyre said that the Respondent had been spoken to earlier in the evening concerning his whip style. The issue for him was that he was using his whip on the side instead of straight up and down, thereby engaging his elbow.

The Respondent said that he still had “to get his head round it”.


The charge having been admitted, it is deemed proved.


Mr McIntyre said that the Respondent had received a suspension at Auckland on 21 April 2023, within the 6-months reset period (suspended 7 days and fined $300 in the Group 1 Taylor Mile). That was over 5 months ago, he said.

The present breach was low-level but, unfortunately for the Respondent, it was a second breach, for which the Penalty Guide provides a starting point for penalty of a 3-days suspension, and that was the submission of Stewards as to penalty in this case.

The matter of a possible deferment was discussed, after which the Respondent elected to take any suspension to commence immediately. Mr McIntyre was prepared to concede that the meeting of Auckland TC on 6 October next should be included, as the Respondent had driven there at the meeting a week ago on 22 September.


The Adjudicative Committee assessed the level of the breach as being low. A “low-level breach” is defined as “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 RIB Harness Racing Penalty Guide provides a starting point for a low-level second breach of a 3-days suspension.

There are no relevant aggravating or mitigating factors requiring the Adjudicative Committee to consider an adjustment to that starting point.


The Respondent, Open Driver, Mark Purdon, is suspended from after the close of racing on 29 September 2023, up to and including 8 October 2023 – 3 days.

It is noted that the meeting of Timaru HRC on 1 October is not included in that period. Drivers for that meeting have been notified and the Respondent has no engagements.

Decision Date: 29/09/2023

Publish Date: 02/10/2023