Ms O'CONNOR - I want to take you, minister, to horse racing. I note what you said before about national consistency on whips. I will simply observe that harness racer, Gavin Kelly, who refused to carry a whip was, in fact, changed for refusing to carry a whip. It really should be a matter, you would think, for individual riders.
I want to take you to the circumstances of a horse called Metro Star. Metro Star ran his last race on 9 May this year, as a nine-year-old chestnut gelding. He was over-whipped during a race and suffered from a double nose bleed. Our information is that the horse was taken back to a private property and died and buried on the property. The trainer, who I won't name, was suspended at the time of the race. Race results recorded that a reprimand was issued against the trainer, but they don't record what for. Can you confirm a reprimand was issued against Metro Star's trainer for the race on 9 May and if so, what for? Was he issued with any sanction?
Ms HOWLETT - I don't believe I'm aware of that incident and I don't believe Mr Eriksson is either. This has been brought to our attention -
Mr ERIKSSON - This is a matter that the stewards have issued a reprimand. It is a request that that information would be made to ORI.
Ms O'CONNOR - Okay, we'll do that. Back to the whips issue then. I have had a conversation with Gavin Kelly and followed his circumstance quite closely. Do you believe it's reasonable that a harness racer is charged for refusing to carry a whip because as he stated it, and I'm paraphrasing him, he didn't see the need for the use of the whip and he didn't think it made his horse go any faster?
Mr ERIKSSON - Minister, if I may, was Mr Kelly charged for not carrying a whip or for refusing to obey the direction of a steward?
Ms O'CONNOR - He was charged for refusing to obey the direction of the steward to carry a whip.
Mr ERIKSSON - That's right, but not to use the whip. That was his choice and we respect that choice, as does ORI. The issue was that he was charged for disobeying the direction of a steward. Whatever that direction may be. He was charged for disobeying the direction of the steward. That was the issue. So, if that was to carry a whip, the steward is not advising him, or instructing him, to use the whip, but to carry it.
In fact, if my memory serves me correctly, that is where the whole case ended where he could carry the whip, he could keep it in his dust cloth. There was no requirement for him to use it.