R Tauranga 4 October 2023 – R3 – Gareth Lahoud

ID: RIB28147

Gareth Lahoud - Apprentice Jockey

Mr A Dooley - Stipendiary Steward

Hon J W Gendall KC (Chair) and Mr M Godber

Persons Present:
Mr A Dooley, Mr G Stewart - Stipendiary Steward, Mr G Lahoud, Mr D Mansour - assisting, Mr N Harris - assisting

Information Number:

Decision Type:
Race Related Charge

Used whip in 5 consecutive strides over the concluding stages of the race

638(3)(g)(ii) - Contravention whip rule


Animal Name:


Race Date:

Race Club:
Racing Tauranga Inc

Race Location:
Tauranga Racecourse - 1383 Cameron Road, Greerton, Tauranga,

Race Number:

Hearing Date:

Hearing Location:

Outcome: Proved

Penalty: Apprentice Jockey Gareth Lahoud is suspended for 6 National Riding Days


Following the running of Race 3, the “CELEBRATING 150 YEARS OF RACING IN TAURANGA”, Mr Dooley presented an Information charging Apprentice Rider Mr G Lahoud with breaching the Whip Rule 638(3)(g)(ii) in that when riding “MI AMIGO”, he applied his whip in consecutive strides 5 times over the “concluding stages” of the race.

Mr Lahoud, assisted by Messrs Mansour and Mr Harris, admitted the charge.

The Adjudicative Committee notes that, in addition, a Minor Infringement Notice was issued for a breach of Rule 638(2) for making a celebratory gesture prior to passing the winning post when riding “MI AMIGO”, for which a penalty of $300 was fixed and accepted by Mr Lahoud.

Mr Stewart identified the offending actions of Mr Lahoud from the race films (side and head on), which depicted:

(a)  Mr Lahoud’s mount “MI AMIGO” when in second place challenging for the lead under a hard ride with the last 75-100 metres. “SILVER WRAITH” (Mr M McNab) appeared to be resisting any challenge.

(b)  However, Mr Lahoud hit his mount in 5 consecutive strides so as to enable it to “get up” by a short head on the line.

(c)  Apart from the breach of the “consecutive strides” Rule, the Adjudicative Committee needs to record that Mr Lahoud’s whip actions were extravagant and at times may have breached Rule 638(3)(f)(ii) by using a whip action that raised Mr Lahoud’s arm above shoulder height – but the Informant elected not to present a charge for any such breach.  However, the Adjudicative Committee is entitled to regard the manner of applying the whip over 5 consecutive strides, as somewhat aggravating, together with his repeated transgressions within a very short time.


As the charge was admitted, it was deemed proved.

Submissions for Penalty:

Mr Dooley advised that Mr Lahoud has had 2 breaches of the Rules, at Taranaki on 16 September 2023 for careless riding (suspended 5 days) and on 23 September 2023 for excessive use of the whip (suspended until 10 October 2023) and this was his first day’s riding back from that suspension.

Mr Harris advised that Mr Lahoud had had, in total, 7 rides in New Zealand, being an Amateur Jockey previously in an overseas jurisdiction.  The win by “MI AMIGO” in this race was the first winning ride of Mr Lahoud, and he allowed his excitement to impose his judgment – although the Adjudicative Committee records that such was the reason given for his Whip Rule breach on 23 September 2033.  He will be given further help and instructions on proper use of the whip.

Reasons for Penalty:

The Penalty Guide provides a “starting point” of 5 plus National Riding Days suspension where there are strikes with the whip of 4 or more consecutive strides.  In this case, there were 5 offending consecutive strikes as well as Mr Lahoud’s previous very recent Whip Breach offence. These are seen as aggravating factors which justify a suspension of at least 6 days.  It might well be more but the Adjudicative Committee takes into account Mr Lahoud’s inexperience and stated willingness to learn.

For completeness, the Adjudicative Committee records that the connections of the second horse, “SILVER WRAITH”, beaten only by a short head, viewed the films post race and believed that it was the breach of the Whip Rule, and where it had occurred, which resulted in that horse being beaten. Whether or not that was a valid belief, could not give rise to any protest.  The Adjudicative Committee thinks it’s worthwhile to state that NZTR Rules of Racing (Rule 642) only allow for a protest where there is “interference” (as defined) by a horse of another horse which results in the outcome of the latter being determined to finish ahead of the offending horse.  So any breach of the Whip Rule does not fall within Rule 642.


Mr Lahoud has riding engagements until 14 October 2023, so is entitled to a deferment of suspension until then.  His Licence to ride is suspended for 6 National Riding Days commencing at the conclusion of racing on 14 October 2023, and to end at the conclusion of racing on 22 October 2023.

Decision Date: 04/10/2023

Publish Date: 07/10/2023