Rangiora HRC 17 November 2021 – R6 (heard 20 November 2021 at Timaru) – Ricky May

ID: RIB5931

Ricky May - Driver

Shane Renault, Stipendiary Steward

Russell McKenzie

Information Number:

Decision Type:
Adjudicative Decision

Using Whip Free of the Rein

869 (2) and Whip and Rein Regulations


Animal Name:
The Terrorfier


Race Date:

Race Club:
Rangiora Harness Racing Club

Race Location:
Rangiora Racecourse - 312 Lehmans Road, Fernside, Rangiora, 7440

Race Number:

Hearing Date:

Hearing Location:
Phar Lap Raceway, Washdyke

Outcome: Proved

Penalty: Driver Ricky May suspended 3 days


Driver, Ricky May, was charged after Race 6, Christmas at the Races – Rangiora 19 December Mobile Pace, that as the Driver of THE TERRORFIER in the race he used his whip free of the rein on two occasions.

The Regulation provides that a Driver may only apply the whip in a wrist only flicking motion whilst holding a rein in each hand.


Mr Renault showed a video replay of the final stages of the race. He pointed out THE TERRORFIER, driven by Mr May, being drawn out from three places back in the running line, as the field turned into the home straight. Shortly thereafter, Mr May attempted to activate the removable  deafeners but had difficulty in doing so. Once the gear was activated, he continued to drive the horse, Mr Renault said. The issue that Stewards had, Mr Renault said, was that from the top of the straight, when he first pulled the cord, he used the whip once before successfully removing the hood and then striking the horse on one more occasion, before regaining the rein.

Mr May said that he had difficulty  getting the hood off. He had three attempts at doing so, he said.

The Committee noted that THE TERRORFIER finished in 3rd placing, a nose and a head from the winner.


Mr May has admitted the breach, which is found proved accordingly.


Mr Renault said that Mr May has had 771 drives this season. He has a previous breach of the Rule on 18 July 2021 – fined $200 for using the whip free of the rein. That was 158 drives ago, Mr Renault said.

For a second breach, Mr Renault said, the starting point for penalty under the Penalty Guide is a 3-5 days suspension. Stewards saw this breach as being low-level and  were seeking a term of suspension at the lower end of that range.

Mr May was asked whether he wished to seek a deferment of suspension. Upcoming meetings in Canterbury were looked at. Mr May eventually advised that he did not wish to have a deferment. He did, however, have notified drives at the meeting of Banks Peninsula TC on 21 November.


This is a low-level breach – inadvertently reverting to the old style (freehand, loose reining and/or more than a flicking motion) but promptly taking corrective steps to return to a compliant style. There were only two offending strikes, neither of which was delivered with any significant force. The Committee accepts that, clearly, Mr May had some difficulty in activating the removable hood, and this may have had some effect.

However, unfortunately for Mr May, the breach was his second inside 6 months. For a second breach, the usual penalty is a suspension of 3-5 days. Having regard to the low-level circumstances of this breach, a suspension of 3 days is the appropriate penalty.


Driver Ricky May is suspended from after the close of racing on 21 November 2021 up to and including 28 November 2021 – 3 days. The meetings intended to be encompassed by the period of suspension are NZ Metropolitan TC on 26 November, Geraldine TC on 27 November and NZ Metropolitan TC on 28 November.

Decision Date: 20/11/2021

Publish Date: 22/11/2021