Reefton TC 30 December 2021 – R5 – Gavin Smith

ID: RIB6685

Gavin Smith - Driver

Mr Rick Quirk, Stipendiary Steward

Olivia Jarvis

Persons Present:
Mr Quirk, Mr Smith

Information Number:

Decision Type:
Race Related Charge

Using whip with more than a wrist flicking motion

869(2) - Contravention whip rule



Race Date:

Race Club:
Reefton Trotting Club

Race Location:
Reefton Racecourse - Lower Broadway,, Reefton,

Race Number:

Hearing Date:

Hearing Location:
Reefton TC

Outcome: Proved

Penalty: Driver, Gavin Smith suspended for 3 days

Summary of Facts:

Following the running of Race 5, the Respondent, Mr Smith, admitted a breach of Whip Rule 869(2).  The particulars of the charge are that he used his whip with more than a wrist flicking motion in the home straight.

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 Quirk used available video footage to demonstrate the breach. Mr Quirk showed Mr Smith strike his horse initially twice in breach of the Rule then revert to a compliant style before he then struck the horse again with more than a wrist flicking motion on six occasions.

In response, the Respondent advised the Adjudicative Committee that after viewing the footage it was clear he had used more than a wrist flicking motion but he had thought at the time that his action was okay. Further, he said at the top of the straight he was trying to drive the horse down and this contributed.


The charge is admitted and therefore proved.

Submission For Penalty:

Mr Quirk produced Mr Smith’s record which indicated he had a previous breach within the last six months. Mr Quirk said Mr Smith was a busy Driver and that although he had a prior breach his record was, when viewed as a whole, good.

The Stewards assessed the breach to be mid-level and submitted that it be dealt with by way of a suspension given it was a second breach. A suspension of three days was sought.

Mr Smith raised the impact a suspension would have on him given that he had planned to go to Nelson. However, he accepted he had breached the Rule.

Mr Smith is driving on 1 January 2022 at Rangiora therefore any suspension would need to commence following the close of racing that day.

Reasons For Penalty:

After consideration of the evidence from all parties concerned and viewing the video footage of the concluding stages of the Race the Adjudicative Committee assessed the breach as mid-level given the number of strikes and force used.

As this is a second breach a suspension is appropriate. Having considered all factors, the Adjudicative Committee deemed a suspension of three days to be an appropriate penalty. If four days were imposed this would include the first day of Marlborough which would, in reality, then include the second day equating to a five day suspension which would not be proportionate to the circumstances of this case.


The Respondent is suspended for a period of three days from the close of racing on 1 January 2022 up to the close of racing on 11 January 2022. The following days are to be included:

7 January 2022 – Nelson

9 January 2022 – Nelson

11 January 2022 – Ashburton




Decision Date: 30/12/2021

Publish Date: 02/01/2022