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Hawke's Bay RI 22 October 2017 - R 8 - Chair, Mr P Williams

Created on 23 October 2017

Rules:
638(3)(b)(ii)
Committee:
PWilliams (chair)
TUtikere
Name(s):
Mr J Parkes - Licensed Jockey
Mr N Goodwin - Stipendiary Steward
Informant
Mr J Oatham - Chief Stipendiary Steward
Information Number
A10019
Plea:
Admitted
Charge:
Excessive Use of the Whip
Evidence:
Following the running of race 8, the Group 1 “Livamol Classic”, Information A10019 was filed by Chief Stipendiary Steward, Mr J Oatham under Rule 638(3)(b)(ii). The information stated “that jockey J Parkes used his whip excessively prior to the 100m”.
 
Mr Parkes signed the Information admitting the breach and at the beginning of the hearing confirmed that was correct and also that he understood the Rule under which he was charged. He also confirmed that he was aware of the new Guidelines regarding acceptable use of the whip effective from 1 August 2017.
 
Rule 638(3)(b) provides: A Rider shall not:
(ii) strike a horse with a whip in a manner or to an extent which is excessive.
 
The “Guidelines With Respect to Acceptable Use of the Whip” provide:
Without affecting the generality of Rule 638(3)(b) a rider may be penalised if their whip use is outside of the following guidelines:-
 
Inside the final 600 metres of any Race, official trial or jump-out a horse may be struck with the drawn whip up to five times after which the rider must cease their use of the whip for a minimum of five strides before striking the horse again with the drawn whip, with this restriction to apply prior to the final 100 metres. The whip may then be used at the rider’s discretion until the winning post is reached. Prior to the final 600 metres of a race, official trial or jump-out the use of the drawn whip is acceptable if used in moderation and not continually.
Submission For Decision:
Stipendiary Steward, Mr Goodwin showed the side-on and head-on films of the race from the 500m point and identified Mr Parkes on “Wait A Sec” racing behind mid-field and adjacent to the running rail. He said coming around the turn Mr Parkes struck his horse once, rode for 3 strides and then struck his horse a further 6 times without respite. He then said at approximately the 200m point Mr Parkes struck his horse a further 6 times without any respite which meant in total he had struck his horse 13 times without the required pauses. Such actions he said were clearly outside the use of whip guidelines quoted above.
 
Mr Parkes did not disagree with Mr Goodwin’s interpretation of the film. He didn’t think the initial strike should be counted but after further consideration agreed that because there was only a 3 stride pause before he then hit his horse a further 6 times that it had to be included.
Decision:
As Mr Parkes admitted the breach the charge was found proved.
Submission For Penalty:
Mr Oatham said Mr Parkes had one previous breach of this Rule since the new guidelines came into force on 1 August 2017 – on 23 August 2017 at Ruakaka where he was fined $300. He said that today Mr Parkes had struck his horse 13 times without the required respite but did note that the two instances were broken by a pause of 5 strides. He said that had to be weighed against the fact that Mr Parkes was considered a forceful rider with the whip and had been spoken to on a number of occasions since the new “5 on 5 off” guidelines were introduced. He said the Stewards believed the severity of the breach was towards the mid-range. 
 
Mr Oatham highlighted that an aggravating feature was that the breach had occurred in a Group 1 race which had a stake of $250,000 and that an additional aggravating factor was that Mr Parkes had won the race.  He said whilst the JCA Penalty Guide stated that the starting point for a second breach of this Rule within a 12 month period was a fine of $500 the Stewards believed, given the status of today’s race, that a significant uplift in penalty was justified which should not necessarily exclude a period of suspension in place of a fine. In terms of a financial penalty he said the Stewards believed, after taking into account the Committee’s earlier decision in relation to the offence by Mr Bosson in the same race, that if a fine was to be imposed it should be not less than $1000. He said such a penalty would send a clear message to all jockeys that simply because it is a Group 1 race they cannot go out and flout the use of the whip guidelines. He added that future similar breaches in Group races would also see the Stewards seeking a significant uplift in the starting point stated in the JCA’s Penalty Guidelines.
 
Mr Parkes asked the Committee to note that he had readily admitted the breach of Rule. It was, however, a Group 1 race and he did not think the number of strikes was significantly in excess of the accepted guideline. When asked to comment on Mr Oatham’s submission that the Committee might wish to consider a period of suspension instead of a fine he said he would prefer to receive a fine.
Reasons For Penalty:
The Committee has reviewed the films of the race from just prior to the top of the straight to the 100m mark and considered the submissions made. The Committee notes Mr Parkes initially struck his horse 7 times without the required respite and then, after a 5 stride pause, a further 6 times without respite. Whilst noting Mr Oatham’s comments about Mr Parkes having a forceful whip action the Committee does not consider that to be an aggravating factor on this occasion but does believe the total number of strikes places the severity of the breach close to the mid-range. The Committee also notes this is Mr Parkes’s second breach of this Rule since 1 August 2017.
 
The JCA’s Penalty Guidelines state the starting point for a second breach of this Rule within a 12 month period is a fine of $500. The Committee does not believe there are any mitigating factors that justify a reduction in that starting point. There are, however, a number of aggravating factors to take into consideration. Today’s race was for a stake of $250,000. Group 1 racing is the pinnacle of the sport and attracts considerable publicity and media coverage and whilst the Committee fully understands that all jockeys must ensure they give their horses every opportunity to win they must do so without breaching the Code’s Rules and guidelines. This is particularly so in relation to the use of whip guidelines given the high importance the racing industry places on animal welfare issues. Lastly, the Committee also notes that Mr Parkes won the race and simply because it was a Group 1 race does not give a jockey license to ride outside of the Rules and guidelines.
 
The Committee agrees with the Stewards that a significant uplift in penalty is justified and that it is important the penalty has the effect of deterring others from committing similar offences across all levels of racing but especially in Group and Listed racing where the stake money on offer is considerably higher. Finally, the Committee has had regard to the penalty imposed on Mr Bosson who also breached the same Rule in this race. Taking all those matters into consideration the Committee believes on this occasion a fine rather than a period of suspension is an appropriate penalty.
Penalty:
Mr Parkes is fined $1200.
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