Rangiora HRC 22 November 2023 – R1 (heard 2 December 2023 at Motukarara) – Jo-ann Buckland-Stevens

ID: RIB30375

Jo-ann Buckland-Stevens - Other (Amateur Driver)

Paul Williams, 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:
Emma's Delight


Race Date:

Race Club:
Rangiora Harness Racing Club

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

Race Number:

Hearing Date:

Hearing Location:
Motukarara Raceway, Motukarara

Outcome: Proved

Penalty: Advanced Amateur Driver, Jo-ann Buckland-Stevens suspended 2 days (4 weeks)


Following the running of Race 1, Ben Hope / Korbyn Newman Amateur Drivers Mobile Pace, Advanced Amateur Driver, Jo-ann Buckland-Stevens, admitted a breach of the Whip Rules in that, as the Driver of EMMA’S DELIGHT in the race, she “used her whip with more than a wrist flicking motion in the run home”.

The Information was filed on the Raceday and was adjourned sine die. It was heard at the meeting of Akaroa TC at Motukarara on 2 December 2023.

The Respondent had endorsed the Information “I do admit a breach of the Rule”, and she confirmed this at the commencement of the hearing.

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.


Stipendiary Steward, Paul Williams, showed a video replay of the final 250 metres of the race. He pointed out EMMA’S DELIGHT, driven by the Respondent, racing four places back on the markers as the field entered the final straight. Mr Williams alleged that, from that point, the Respondent used her whip approximately ten times in what was more than a wrist only flicking motion, before reverting to a compliant style over the final stages (finishing in 6th placing, 8½ lengths from the winner the Adjudicative Committee noted).

The Respondent explained that she had viewed a replay in the days after the race, and realised that she had forgotten to keep her elbow in. She had not driven for some time, she said, and had overlooked the requirements of the Whip Rules and it was not a deliberate breach. She said that she was very disappointed.


The charge having been admitted, it is found proved.


Mr Williams said that the Respondent has only recently returned from an overseas sojourn. She has had 12 drives this season, and 24 last season. She is a regular on the Amateur Drivers’ circuit, he said.

Stewards saw the breach as being a medium-level breach, Mr Williams said. There were ten strikes, with some force, over a distance in excess of 50 metres, for which the Penalty Guide provides a starting point for penalty of a $500 fine or a 2 days suspension, Mr Williams said. He submitted that a fine of $400 would be appropriate or, if the Respondent preferred, a suspension of 2 days being, in the case of an Amateur Driver, 4 weeks.

The Respondent confirmed that she would prefer a suspension over a fine.


The RIB Harness Racing Penalty Guide (February 2023) provides a starting point for penalty of a 2-days suspension or a fine of $500 for a mid-level, first breach. A “mid-level breach” is defined as “when a driver inadvertently reverts to the old style (freehand, loose reining and/or more than a flicking motion) and continues to drive in this manner for some distance (50 metres) before taking corrective steps to return to a compliant style of driving”. The Adjudicative Committee accepts that this particular breach is a mid-level one within that definition.

The Respondent has expressed a preference, in this instance, for a suspension. There are no relevant aggravating or mitigating factors to warrant a departure from the Penalty Guide starting point of a 2-days suspension. The Adjudicative Committee applied the usual formula in the case of Amateur Drivers – that is to say, 1 day is equivalent to 2 weeks.


Advanced Amateur Driver, Jo-ann Buckland-Stevens, is suspended from after the close of racing on 2 December 2023 up to and including 30 December 2023 – 2 days (4 weeks).

Decision Date: 02/12/2023

Publish Date: 04/12/2023