Rangiora HRC 28 August 2022 – R1 (heard 2 September 2022 at Addington) – Andrew Fitzgerald

ID: RIB10834

Andrew Fitzgerald - Driver

Mr S Renault - Stipendiary Steward

Dave Anderson

Information Number:

Decision Type:
Race Related Charge

Using whip with more than a wrist flicking motion.

869(2) - Contravention whip rule - Whip Regulations


Animal Name:


Race Date:

Race Club:
Rangiora Harness Racing Club

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

Race Number:

Hearing Date:

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

Outcome: Proved

Penalty: Amateur Driver Andrew Fitzgerald is suspended for 6 weeks.

Summary of Facts:

Following the running of Race 1 at the Rangiora Harness Racing Club’s meeting held on 28 August 2022, an Information was presented by Stipendiary Steward Mr Shane Renault. The Respondent Amateur Driver Mr Andrew Fitzgerald, had left the course and a hearing was opened and adjourned sine die. The hearing was reopened at Addington Raceway on 2 September 2022 where Mr Fitzgerald signed the Information admitting a breach of Whip Rule 869 (2).  The particulars of the charge are A Fitzgerald ( TOMMYSONAROLL) used his whip in more than a wrist flicking motion leaving the final bend and early in the run home.

Mr Fitzgerald confirmed he was conversant with the Rule and the charge.

Rule 869 provides that:

(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.

Stipendiary Steward Mr Renualt used available video footage to demonstrate the breach. He identified Mr Fitzgerald leading the field at the 300m and pointed to 4 strikes that were outside of the Regulations.

In response, the Respondent advised the Adjudicative Committee he had admitted the breach and had nothing to add to Mr Renault’s summation.


The charge is admitted and therefore proved.

Submission For Penalty:

Mr Renault produced the Respondent Mr Fitzgerald’s record, which indicated a previous breach on 26 June 2022 where he was fined $200.He said Mr Fitzgerald had 27 drives last season and has had 16 drives in the current season.

Mr Renault said that Stewards assessed the breach to be low-level and submitted that it be dealt with by way of a 3-day suspension. He said as normal, any suspensions for Amateur Drivers are calculated at the two available opportunities they have each month. He said this would equate to a six-week suspension which would be appropriate and consistent.

The Respondent submitted his submission would be a five-week suspension because of the delay of this hearing by the Stewards. He said it is never certain when or if there are Amateur Driver events programmed and this delay may well cost him an opportunity. Mr Fitzgerald said two other Amateur Drivers were suspended at the same meeting and his suspension should begin at the same time as theirs. He said the delay was not his fault but it had the potential for him to miss a drive.

Reasons For Penalty:

After consideration of the evidence from all parties concerned and viewing the race films of the concluding stages of the race, the Adjudicative Committee assessed the breach as low-level.

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 action to return to a compliant style.

A Low-level Penalty for a second breach of the Rule is a 3-day suspension.

The Adjudicative Committee found the Stewards had no choice but to ask for the original hearing to be adjourned as Mr Fitzgerald had left the racecourse and it has been heard at the earliest possibility. Mr Fitzgerald’s suspension is therefore calculated as is normally expected, 2 days per month.

Having considered all factors, the Adjudicative Committee deemed a 3-day calculated to a six-week suspension to be an appropriate penalty.


The Respondent is suspended for a period of six weeks commencing 2nd September 2022 and concluding on 14th October 2022.

Decision Date: 02/09/2022

Publish Date: 05/09/2022