The Harness Racing Victoria (HRV) Stewards urge all industry participants to review the following reminders:

Increased Penalties in Feature Races

In accordance with the HRV Minimum Penalty Guidelines, HRV Stewards advise that ‘Feature Races’ are deemed to be events of $30,000 prizemoney or greater. Therefore, should a licensee offend under an applicable Australian Harness Racing Rule (AHRR) in a feature race, HRV Stewards may impose an increased penalty.


Whip Use

HRV Stewards advise that in accordance with the notice of increased penalties in feature races, where HRV Stewards find that a driver has breached the applicable AHRR (Rules), a penalty far greater than the advertised minimum may be applied.

All drivers are reminded to familiarise themselves with the provisions of AHRR 156(2)(a) and 156(3) and the HRV Stewards interpretation of such.

AHRR 156(2)(a) states:

156. (2)(a) A driver shall 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.

(b)  For the purposes of sub-paragraph (a), “wrist only flicking motion” means: -

      (i)   Ensuring no force is generated by the use of the elbow or shoulder when applying the whip.

      (ii)  The forearm is not raised beyond forty-five degrees relative to the racing surface.

      (iii) Not applying the whip with overt force.


For demonstration of the required whip action please see the below video examples:

Link to HRA Video - Whip Rule Implementation and Associated Requirements

Whip Action Demonstration Video


Rule 156(3)

AHRR 156(3) states:

156. (3) A driver shall not use a whip in an unapproved manner.

(4)  For the purposes of sub-rule (3) a driver shall be deemed to have used the whip in an unapproved manner in the following circumstances which are not exclusive:-

(a)  If the whip is applied excessively, continuously and/or without allowing the horse time to respond.

(b)  If the whip is applied when the horse:

      (i)  is not visibly responding;

      (ii)  is not in contention;

      (ii)  cannot maintain or improve its position;

      (iv) is clearly winning;

      (v)  has passed the winning post at the finish of a race.

Please note that in accordance with the provisions of Rule 156(3) the HRV Stewards will continue to police this rule when drivers utilise the whip on more than 20 occasions in the final 200m, which will be considered to be using the whip excessively and or too continuously.


HRV Race Day Treatment Policy

In accordance with the Australian Harness Racing Rules (AHRR), HRV Stewards remind licensed participants of the HRV Race Day Treatment Policy. For further advice or information in relation to the associated requirements, contact the HRV Integrity Department or consult your veterinarian. 


VRT Appeal Timeframes

Fines greater than $250 and/or Periods of Suspension

A person appealing the decision and/or severity of the penalty imposed on them by Stewards must complete a VRT appeal form and lodge it with the Tribunal Registrar as outlined on the Notice of Appeal form.

The appeal must be lodged by the third calendar day (not business day) following the date of the decision the person wishes to appeal.

For example, a Notice of Appeal must be lodged on the Monday if the decision the person wishes to appeal was made on a Friday. The time for lodgement will be extended to the next business day if the third day falls on a day that is a Saturday, Sunday or public holiday.

The Notice of Appeal form is available on Victorian Racing Tribunal page. The form should be emailed to

The HRV Stewards advise they will oppose the Tribunal granting leave to appeal out of time unless exceptional circumstances are present.


Application to Racing Integrity Commissioner in relation to fines of not more than $250

Where a decision has been made under the rules to impose a fine of not more than $250, the appellant can apply in writing to the Racing Integrity Commissioner and request that the Commissioner direct the tribunal to hear an appeal against the decision to impose the fine.

An application to the Commissioner must be made by 5 pm on the third day after the day the appellant receives the notice of the decision they would like to appeal. If the third day falls on a Saturday, Sunday or a public holiday, the time limit is extended to the next business day.

The Commissioner can direct the Tribunal to hear and determine the appeal if it is in the public interest to do so and the application time requirements are met.