NZ Metro TC 9 November 2021 – R7 – Jim Curtin

ID: RIB5713

Respondent(s):
Jim Curtin - Driver

Applicant:
Nick Ydgren, Chief Stipendiary Steward

Adjudicators:
Russell McKenzie and Dave Anderson

Information Number:
A16606

Decision Type:
Adjudicative Decision

Charge:
Using Whip in More Than Wrist Only Flicking Motion

Rule(s):
869 (2) and Whip and Rein Regulations

Plea:
Not Admitted

Animal Name:
Bolt for Brilliance

Code:
Harness

Race Date:
09/11/2021

Race Club:
NZ Metropolitan Trotting Club Inc

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

Race Number:
R7

Hearing Date:
09/11/2021

Hearing Location:
Addington Raceway, Christchurch

Outcome: Proved

Penalty: Driver Jim Curtin suspended 6 days.

SUMMARY OF FACTS:

Following Race 7, Livamol NZ Trotting Free-For-All Mobile Trot (Group 1), Mr Curtin was charged that as the Driver of BOLT FOR BRILIANCE in the race, he used his whip in more than a wrist flicking motion in the run home.

SUBMISSIONS:

Mr Ydgren showed a video replay of the final 200 metres of the race. He pointed out BOLT FOR BRILLIANCE, driven by Mr Curtin. He said that Mr Curtin’s use of the whip in the run home was very infrequent – probably only 3 or 4 uses of it in totality – but Stewards took issue with two of the strikes as being more than a wrist only flicking motion and better described as a “strike”.

Referring to the video replay, Mr Ydgren showed BOLT FOR BRILLIANCE, which had raced outside the leader, MAJESTIC MAN, challenging that horse for the lead inside the 100 metres. Mr Curtin then used his whip on two occasions, in what were more than just wrist flicks but, rather, Mr Curtin had engaged his elbow and his shoulder.  Once he realised that he had been run down by OSCAR BONAVENA to his outside, Mr Ydgren submitted, he thereafter reverted to a compliant style.

Mr Curtin said that there was not a lot he could say. He did not think that he had “flicked” the horse too much, but it always looks worse on replay, he said.  It did not help using a longer whip than usual. He did not think he had bent his arm too much. He had got a whip from the horse’s Trainer, Mr Herlihy, longer and twice as heavy as his own. He did not feel comfortable using it , but that was no excuse, he said. Although, he was not prepared to go as far as to change his plea, Mr Curtin said that he would accept the decision of the Committee.

Mr Ydgren said that Mr Curtin, although indicating that he did not admit the breach, he had not really put forward any defence to the charge.

REASON FOR DECISION:

Mr Curtin had presented no defence to the charge and the Committee was satisfied that the charge had been proved.

SUBMISSION FOR PENALTY:

Mr Ydgren said that Mr Curtin had struggled with the new Whip Regulations in the early stages but he has not had a breach since December of last year. Mr Ydgren described his record as excellent. The starting point for penalty under the HRNZ Whip Penalty Guide for a breach in a Group 1 Race is  a 7-days suspension.

Mr Ydgren submitted that Mr Curtin’s explanation should be treated as an admission of the breach. He submitted that the breach was low-level.

Mr Curtin sought a deferment of suspension until after the Show Day meeting on 12 November 2021.

REASON FOR PENALTY:

The starting point for penalty, this being a Group 1 Race is a 7-day’s suspension. We take this as being for a mid-level breach. This breach is low-level (a Driver inadvertently reverts to the old style, in this case more than a flicking motion but promptly takes steps to return to a compliant style). There are no personal aggravating or mitigating factors but it is appropriate to give a discount from the starting point for the low-level nature of the breach and the totality of whip use. That discount we fix at 1 day.

We would add that, although BOLT FOR BRILLIANCE finished in 2nd placing, we do not consider that it gained any advantage by virtue of the two strikes and considering the margin of 3/4 length back to the 3rd placed runner.

CONCLUSIONS:

Driver Jim Curtin is suspended from after the close of racing on 13 November up to and including 26 November 2021 – 6 days.

Decision Date: 09/11/2021

Publish Date: 11/11/2021