NZ Metro TC 13 October 2023 – R5 – Mark Purdon

ID: RIB28396

Mark Purdon - Driver

Nigel McIntyre, Chief Stipendiary Steward

Russell McKenzie (Chair) and Dave Anderson

Persons Present:
Mr McIntyre, Mr Purdon

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:


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: Open driver, Mark Purdon, suspended 8 days


Following the running of Race 5, NZB Standardbred Harness Million No.4 – Mobile Pace (Listed), Open Driver, Mark Purdon, admitted a breach of Rule 869(2) in that, as the Driver of CHASE A DREAM 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 CHASE A DREAM, driven by the Respondent, racing 3-wide near the lead as the field turned into the final straight. The Respondent commenced using his whip and did so, in more than a wrist only flicking motion, on four occasions, Mr McIntyre submitted, before reverting to a compliant style.

The Respondent did not wish to comment but accepted the alleged count.


The charge having been admitted, it is deemed proved.


Mr McIntyre said that the Respondent has two previous beaches of the Rule in the past 6 months. He received a suspension at Auckland on 21 April 2023 (suspended 7 days and fined $300 in the Group 1 Taylor Mile). That suspension is due to “drop off” the Respondent’s record in 8 days, Mr McIntyre said.

The Respondent received a further suspension at Addington on 29 September of 3-days. Mr McIntyre said that the Committee might wish to regard the present breach as being a second breach, for which the Penalty Guide provides a starting point for penalty of a 10-day suspension in a Race with a stake of $100,000 or more.

Stewards saw the breach as being low-level, Mr McIntyre said.

The Respondent elected to take any suspension to commence immediately.


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 Adjudicative Committee is prepared to accept that the breach is a second breach, given that the breach on 21 April is about to drop off the Respondent’s record. The RIB Harness Racing Penalty Guide provides a starting point for a low-level second breach in a Race with a stake of $100,000 or more of a 10-day suspension. That starting point is for a mid-level breach.

The breach, we have determined, is low-level (four non-compliant strikes) for which a 10-days suspension would be an unduly harsh penalty. Accordingly, the Adjudicative Committee is prepared to allow a discount from the 10-day starting point, and we fix the discount at 2 days.


The Respondent, Open Driver, Mark Purdon, is suspended from after the close of racing on 13 October 2023 up to and including 10 November 2023 – 8 days.

It is noted that the meeting of Oamaru HRC on 15 October is not included in that period. Drivers for that meeting have been notified and the Respondent has no engagements.



Decision Date: 13/10/2023

Publish Date: 18/10/2023