Day At The Track

Trainer fined $1500 for racing the wrong horse

02:27 PM 12 Jul 2018 NZST
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Harness Racing Victoria
Harness Racing Victoria

Harness Racing Victoria (HRV) Stewards have completed an inquiry into a report received from Harness Racing New South Wales (HRNSW) that a horse presented to race as ‘Systamatic’ was found to have the freeze brand relating to ‘Four Starzzz Chef’, a horse which was stabled and trained in Victoria.

During the inquiry evidence was taken from Ashleigh Herbertson, trainer of ‘Four Starzzz Chef’ and Mr Anthony Logan who represented the ownership interests of the horse.  Review of the available registration documents relating to ‘Four Starzzz Chef’ and ‘Systamatic’ was undertaken and the DNA sample testing results of the two horses was tendered. 

On the evidence the following was established:

  • In late 2013 two colts were bred in Leeton, New South Wales. One colt with the breeding ‘Four Starzzz Shark CA X Cheftaine’ and the other ‘Mister Feelgood USA X Gilgirl’;

  • In 2015 the colt with the breeding ‘Four Starzzz Shark CA X Cheftaine’ was named ‘Four Starzzz Chef’. The colt with the breeding ‘Mister Feelgood USA X Gilgirl’ was named ‘Systamatic’.Both colts remained in the ownership of the breeder;

  • In 2017 Mr Herbertson undertook the training of an unraced horse, who he believed to be, ‘Four Starzzz Chef’ with the breeding ‘Four Starzzz Shark CA X Ceftaine’;

  • Mr Herbertson provided evidence to the inquiry that he had departed from his usual stable practice on this occasion of comparing the horses appearance against that listed on the Registration Assessment Certificate (RAC);

  • During the period 9 August 2017 and 30 October 2017 Mr Herbertson presented the horse, who he believed to be, ‘Four Starzzz Chef’ with the breeding ‘Four Starzzz Shark CA X Ceftaine’ to start in races;

  • DNA sample testing revealed that the breeding of the horse in Mr Herbertson’s presented to race as ‘Four Starzz Chef’ was ‘Mister Feelgood USA X Gilgirl’. The DNA sample testing of the horse located in New South Wales and presented to race as ‘Systamatic’ revealed its breeding to be ‘Four Starzzz Shark CA X Cheftaine’.

After consideration of all the evidence Mr Herbertson was issued with a charge under Australian Harness Racing Rule 45(8) which states:

(5) A person shall ensure that the correct horse is presented to start in a race.

The particulars of the charge being that:

As a licensed trainer he presented a horse with the breeding of ‘Four Starzzz Shark CA X Cheftaine’ (Four Starzzz Chef) to start in races during the period of 9 August 2017 and 30 October 2017, which subsequent DNA sample testing revealed to be the incorrect horse, as the horse presented to start had the breeding ‘Mister Feelgood USA X Gilgirl’ (Systamatic).

Mr Herbertson pleaded guilty to the charge as issued.

In assessing penalty Stewards were mindful of the following factors:

  • Mr Herbertson’s guilty plea and his prior good record over an extensive period;

  • Previous penalties imposed;

  • The seriousness of the offence;

  • Specific and general deterrence;

  • Ultimate responsibility under the AHRR rests with the trainer to present the correct horse to start in a race.

Stewards accordingly imposed a fine of $1,500.

Stewards ordered under the provisions of AHRR 258(1) that ‘Four Starzzz Chef’ be disqualified from all prior races with the placings and prizemoney amended accordingly.  HRV Stewards further ordered that upon completion of the HRNSW Stewards Inquiry the registration details of the respective horse be amended to accurately reflect the horses owned by the current persons.

In light of this matter, HRV Stewards have implemented various changes to the race day inspection process in order to prevent any reoccurrence and action has been taken against the relevant HRV officials in accordance with employment policies and procedures.


Harness Racing Victoria

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