Timaru HRC 16 March 2022 – R6 – Graeme Telfer

ID: RIB8048

Graeme Telfer - Driver

Rebecca Haley, Stipendiary Steward

Russell McKenzie

Information Number:

Decision Type:
Adjudicative Decision

Using whip in more than a wrist only flicking motion

869(2) and Whip and Rein Regulations


Animal Name:


Race Date:

Race Club:
Timaru Harness Racing Club

Race Location:
Phar Lap Raceway - State Highway 1, Washdyke, Timaru,

Race Number:

Hearing Date:

Hearing Location:
Phar Lap Raceway, Timaru

Outcome: Proved

Penalty: Driver, Graeme Telfer, suspended 4 days.


Following the running of Race 6, Equine Veterinary Services Trot, the Respondent, Graeme Telfer, admitted the breach of the Whip Rule 869(2). The particulars of the charge are that the Respondent, as the Driver of PRINCE RANIER in the race, used his whip in more than a wrist flicking motion.

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.

The Whip and Rein Regulations provide that:

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.

Manager of Stewards, Nigel McIntyre, said that, with the prevailing conditions imposed by COVID-19, it was desirable that, where the charge did not strictly demand the attendance of the Respondent at a hearing in a room with restricted space, to waive the requirement to attend. Mr Telfer had signed the Statement by the Respondent on the Information form indicating that he admitted the breach and Mr McIntyre said that Mr Telfer had not wished to attend the hearing.

Ms Haley used available video footage to demonstrate the breach. She pointed out PRINCE RANIER, driven by the Respondent, the widest runner as the field entered the home straight. She then showed that, shortly thereafter, Mr Telfer commenced using his whip in what, she alleged, was clearly more than a wrist only flicking motion and in a continuous manner.

The Adjudicative Committee noted that PRINCE RANIER finished in 4th placing, 4 3/4 lengths from the winner.


The charge is admitted and therefore proved.


Ms Haley produced the Respondent’s driving record – 375 lifetime drives, last season 18 and this season (from 1 January 2022) only one drive. He had a previous breach on 23 December 2021 (at Ashburton TC) for which he was fined $300 for a similar offence (but low-level). Today’s was only his second drive since that breach.

Stewards saw the breach as being medium-level, and a suspension was sought for a second offence, Ms Haley said. Mr Telfer was not seeking a deferment, she said.


This breach was a clear one and medium-level, having regard to the number of strikes and the continuous manner.

A medium-level breach is defined in the HRNZ Whip Penalty Guide (effective 1 October 2020) 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 starting point for penalty in that Guide for a medium-level breach is either a fine ($500) or a short period of suspension (2 days). The Stewards have sought a suspension.

On that basis, the Adjudicative Committee determined that a 4-days suspension was appropriate. This takes into account that this is a second offence.

The Adjudicative Committee records that it is difficult to strike an appropriate term of suspension in the case of a Driver who drives only very infrequently, as does Mr Telfer.


The Respondent is suspended for a period of 4 days commencing on 17 March 2022 and concluding after racing on 25 March 2022. The four meetings intended to be included in the period of suspension are Banks Peninsula TC on 20 March, Forbury Park TC on 21 March and NZ Metropolitan TC on 23 March and 25 March 2022.

Decision Date: 16/03/2022

Publish Date: 17/03/2022