Wellington RC 27 May 2023 – R2 – Nick Downs

ID: RIB22181

Nick Downs - Jockey

Mr J Oatham

Mrs N Moffatt (Chair), Mr N McCutcheon

Information Number:

Decision Type:
Race Related Charge

Excessive use whip

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


Animal Name:


Race Date:

Race Club:
Wellington Racing Club

Race Location:
Trentham - 10 Racecourse Rd, Upper Hutt, 5018

Race Number:

Hearing Date:

Hearing Location:
Trentham Racecourse

Outcome: Proved

Penalty: Jockey Nick Downs is fined $500


Following the running of Race 2, the Respondent Mr N Downs admitted a charge alleging he struck his mount SUPER SPIRIT 12 times prior to the 100 metres.

Rule 638(3)(h)(i) provides that 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)

Using the available race films, Mr Oatham demonstrated that the Respondent struck his mount 5 times prior to leaving the final straight, 5 more times after  jumping the 3rd to last fence, and then 2 more times after jumping the second to last fence.  Mr Downs went on to finish in fourth place following a vigorous ride to the finish.

In response, by way of explanation, Mr Downs said that his mount was a lazy horse who could switch off and pull up in a race. He was going to suggest to the Trainer that he try putting “side fluffies” on the horse to keep his mind on the job.


As Mr Downs admitted the breach, the Adjudicative Committee finds the breach proved.

Submissions For Penalty

Mr Oatham produced Mr Down’s  record which indicated one previous charge under this Rule on April 20th 2023.

Stewards submitted a penalty commensurate with the NZTR Revised Penalty Guide for excessive whip use (as of 1 March 2022).

Mr Downs explained that he was not accustomed to the long Trentham straight, the track was heavy and his horse was still responding to the whip.

Reasons For Penalty

The Penalty Guide starting point for a second breach of this nature when a Rider is two strikes over, is a fine of $500.

After considering the film evidence, the submissions and having due regard for the number and frequency of strikes, the Adjudicative Committee determined there are no compelling reasons to depart from the starting point set out in the Penalty Guide.

On that basis, Mr Downs is fined $500.


The Respondent Mr Downs is fined $500.

Decision Date: 27/05/2023

Publish Date: 29/05/2023