Whangarei RC 7 August 2021 – R7 – Erin Leighton

ID: RIB3980

Erin Leighton - Apprentice Jockey

Mr M Williamson - Senior Stipendiary Steward

Hon J W Gendall QC - Chair, Mr B Scott - Member

Persons Present:
Mr M Williamson, Mr A Dooley - Stipendiary Steward, Ms L Selvakumaran - Stipendiary Steward, Ms E Leighton assisted by Mrs W Hillis

Information Number:

Decision Type:
Race Related Charge

Excessive use of whip

638(3)(b)(ii) - Contravention whip rule



Race Date:

Race Club:
Whangarei Racing Club

Race Location:
Ruakaka Racecourse - Peter Snell Road, Ruakaka, 0151

Race Number:

Hearing Date:

Hearing Location:

Outcome: Proved

Penalty: Apprentice Jockey Erin Leighton is suspended for 5 National Riding Days


Following the running of Race 7, the FIRECO 1400, Mr Williamson presented an Information charging Ms Leighton with a breach of Rule 638(3)(b)(ii) of excessive use of her whip, on her mount UNCLE TERRY, prior to the 100 metres mark.


Mr Dooley illustrated the breach by reference to the race film which showed that Ms Leighton struck her horse forcefully on 7 occasions prior to the 100 metre mark when it was well beaten and out of contention.


Ms Leighton admitted the breach and it is therefore found proved.


Mr Williamson advised that Ms Leighton had 2 previous breaches of this Rule in the past 6 months (on 5 June 2021 and 10 July 2021) for which she had been fined $300 and $500 respectively.  Mr Williamson sought a term of suspension only, its length to reflect that a fine was not sought.

Ms Leighton’s only submissions was that she had committed riding engagements on 14 and 21 August 2021.  The commencement of a suspension can be deferred for 7, or up to 10, days.  We cannot defer it past 17 August 2021 being 10 days.


For completeness, we record that the NZTR “starting point Guide” was considered but not applied in its strict form (a fine of $2,000 and 2 day suspension) because of Mr Williamson’s submission and other mitigating factors.  Instead the Guide for a fourth, rather than third offence, namely 5 days suspension more appropriately dealt with her circumstances.


Ms Leighton’s licence is suspended for 5 National Riding Days to commence at 5pm on 17 August 2021 and to conclude at the end of racing on 25 August 2021.

Addendum (dated 9 August 2021)

Since delivering the foregoing decision and reasons, the RIB has received an application from Ms Leighton in which she contends that she would  have accepted a penalty involving a large fine plus a period of suspension in terms of the Penalty Guide for a third breach of the Rule.  Alternatively she submitted that she would have accepted the 5 Riding Days suspension to commence immediately, and not deferred for 7 calendar days – as originally conveyed to us.

It needs to be made clear that:

(a)  A penalty sanction is made by the Committee and not what a Respondent accepts or through a negotiation process.

(b)  Any deferment of the commencement of a suspension (whether for 7 or up to 10 days) is for the benefit of Riders – and they may waive that benefit.

(c)  Having initially sought, and been granted, such deferment, it was very rarely the case that late variation should occur.

(d)  Respondents cannot alter their argued position after delivery of a decision unless there has been a material omission in the presentation of evidence or submission.

However, as Mr Williamson, the Applicant and for the RIB has consented to the variation, and Ms Leighton omitted at the hearing to make her submission totally clear, we formally  grant her a rehearing under Rule 923(1)(c)(iii) and fix the starting point of the 5 days’ suspension, to be immediately.

Accordingly, the penalty imposed upon Ms Leighton is that her licence is suspended for 5 National Riding Days commencing at the conclusion of racing on 7 August 2021 and to end at the conclusion of racing on 20 August 2021.

Decision Date: 07/08/2021

Publish Date: 09/08/2021