Riccarton Park – Canterbury JC 12 August 2023 – R4 – Nick Downs

ID: RIB26133

Nick Downs - Jockey

John Oatham, Chief Stipendiary Steward

Russell McKenzie (Chair) and Geoff Hall

Information Number:

Decision Type:
Race Related Charge

Excessive Use of Whip Prior to 100 metres

638(3)(h)(i) - Contravention whip rule


Animal Name:


Race Date:

Race Club:
Canterbury Jockey Club

Race Location:
Riccarton Park - 165 Racecourse Road, Christchurch,

Race Number:

Hearing Date:

Hearing Location:
Riccarton Park, Christchurch

Outcome: Proved

Penalty: Class D Jockey, Nick Downs, suspended 2 days and fined $125


Following the running of Race 4, Hospitality NZ Canterbury 133rd Grand National Hurdles, Class D Jockey, Nick Downs, admitted a breach of the Whip Rules in that, as the Rider of ODYSSEUS in the race, he struck his mount 14 times prior to the 100 metres.

Rule 638 provides as follows:

(3)     Whip Rules:

(h)     (Subject to the other requirements this Rule 638(3), in a Jumping Race or trial (including jump-outs and/or tests for certification purposes), a Rider must not:

      (i) strike a horse with a whip more than 10 times prior to the 100-metre mark (other than in a slapping motion down the shoulder with the whip hand remaining on the reins).


Chief Stipendiary Steward, John Oatham, showed on a video replay, ODYSSEUS, ridden by the Respondent, jumping the fence near the 600 metres, racing 6th in a gap. Shortly after jumping the fence, the Respondent commenced using his whip, and used it a total of 14 times prior to the 100 metres, Mr Oatham said.

The Respondent said that the horse was inclined to “take a breather”. In the Waikato Hurdles in which it ran 2nd, it ran home “huge” and he was hoping for the same, he said.


The charge having been admitted, it is deemed proved.


Mr Oatham said that the Respondent has one previous breach of this part of the Whip Rules – at Wellington on 27 May last (12 times prior to the 100 metres, fined $500).

The Penalty Guide suggests a starting point, for 4 additional strikes, of a 2-days suspension and, being a Prestige Jumping race, there is provision for a fine of 50% of the Rider’s share of the stake. The Respondent had finished 5th, and 50% of his share of the stake amounted to $125.

The Respondent said that he would prefer a large fine to a suspension and referred to a possible shortage of available Riders for upcoming jumping races. He requested a deferment of any suspension until after 20 August next.


The applicable NZTR Revised Penalty Guidelines suggest a starting point for penalty for second breach involving 4 additional strikes of a 2-days suspension. There are no aggravating or mitigating factors to consider. As per that Penalty Guide, a fine also is to be imposed as submitted by Mr Oatham.


The Respondent’s request for a deferment is granted.

The Respondent, Class D Jockey, Nick Downs, is suspended from riding in Races from after the close of racing on 22 August 2023 up to and including 26 August 2023 – 2 national riding days. Those 2 days, on which there are races for Jumps Riders, are Egmont RC on 25 August and Pakuranga Hunt on 26 August.

In addition, the Respondent is fined the sum of $125.

Decision Date: 12/08/2023

Publish Date: 15/08/2023