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On 25 June 2015, Harness Racing New South Wales (HRNSW) concluded an inquiry into an investigation that commenced on 14 April 2015 in relation to Mr Hewitt associating with a disqualified person, Mr Shannon Wonson. Mr Hewitt was issued with a charge pursuant to Australian Harness Racing Rule 230 in that he did associate with a disqualified person Mr Shannon Wonson for a purpose related to harness racing. That purpose related to Mr Shannon Wonson engaging him as the driver for the registered standardbred The Champ Is Here which was entered to race at the Bathurst harness meeting on 10 April 2015. Mr Hewitt made an admission in relation to that charge. Consequently, Mr Hewitt’s training and driving licences were suspended for a period of one (1) month to commence from midnight on 30 June 2015. In addition, Mr Hewitt was fined $5,000 with that amount wholly suspended for a period of 12 months. In determining penalty, Stewards considered submissions made by Mr Hewitt, the circumstances in which the association occurred, the early admission of the charge by Mr Hewitt and his offence history. Reid Sanders

A South Jersey harness racing trainer and cinematographer has been indicted on nine counts of animal cruelty, the Gloucester County Prosecutor's Office announced Tuesday. The indictment comes after officers from the NJSPCA seized several horses and a goat from a South Harrison Township farm where Monica Thors, 55, of Mullica Hill, was planning to shoot a documentary about the care of harness racing horses. Thors, who has worked for decades in harness racing and horse photography, had to euthanize three horses in 2013 for chronic foot infections. Neighbors who complained to the NJSPCA said she had been excessively filing the animals' hooves — a claim Thors later denied when she contacted the South Jersey Times to discuss her case this spring. She had obtained permission from bankruptcy courts in May to have a veterinarian of her own choosing examine her horses, which are in state care, after successfully arguing that the animals were her way of making a living. However, she said was still having problems finding a vet to work with in the weeks that followed. In the meantime, Thors has argued in civil court that the condition of her horses has deteriorated while they were in state care. She said on Tuesday that she needed to consult with her attorney before discussing the matter any further. Thors acknowledged that her horses had chronic laminitis — an inflammatory condition that causes lameness — beginning in the fall of 2013, but said that she had been compassionately caring for them with some success when her seven horses and goat were seized in December 2014. Officials with the SPCA also said that her horses were overweight, and that Thors had failed to comply with recommendations to change their diet. She is charged with third-degree animal cruelty the deaths of four horses that had to be euthanized: According To Prince, a 7-year-old standardbred stallion; According To Hoyle, a 14-year-old standardbred stallion; Aspiration, a 7-year-old standardbred mare and Princess Grey, a 13-year-old standardbred mare. All of the horses were overweight and suffered from chronic laminitis. Thors also faces five counts of fourth-degree animal charges for allegedly "causing serious bodily injury, also by failure to provide care" to four more horses and a goat, all of which were also said to be overweight and suffering from hoof problems. Andy Polhamus Reprinted with the permission of NJ.Com - Check site here

Racing Queensland Stewards today concluded an inquiry into the analyst’s findings that high levels of Cobalt were detected in urine samples obtained from Ohoka Mach(NZ) – (1100 ug/L) following its win at the harness racing meeting at Redcliffe on 30 April 2014 and Mister Manhattan (NZ) – (630 ug/L) following its win at the harness racing meeting at Redcliffe on 6 September 2014. Trainer Trevor Lambourn gave evidence today relating to his feeding and husbandry practices leading up to the races in question. Stewards considered submissions from Mr Lambourn’s legal counsel Mr Michael O’Connor. Evidence was also taken from Professor Paul Mills (University of Queensland), Dr Robert Kenobi (James Cook University) and Dr Bruce Young from the Queensland Government Racing Science Centre. After consideration the following charges were issued in breach of Rule 190(1) which reads: “A horse shall be presented for a race free of prohibited substances.” Charge 1 – that Mr Lambourn presented Ohoka Mach (NZ) for racing at Redcliffe on 30 April 2014 when a sample taken from that horse was found, upon analysis, to contain the prohibited substance Cobalt.   Charge 2 – that Mr Lambourn presented Mister Manhattan (NZ) for racing at Redcliffe on 6 September 2014 when a sample taken from that horse was found, upon analysis, to contain the prohibited substance Cobalt. Mr Lambourn pleaded not guilty to both charges as issued. After consideration of further submissions Stewards were of the view that both charges could be sustained and found Mr Lambourn guilty. Submissions were tendered in relation to penalty and after consideration the following penalties were issued: Charge 1 – three (3) years disqualification Charge 2 – three (3) years disqualification   Stewards directed that both terms of disqualification be served concurrently. Acting under AHR 195 Ohoka Mach(NZ) was disqualified from its 1st placing at Redcliffe on 30 April 2014 and Mister Manharran(NZ) was disqualified from its 1st placing at Redcliffe on 6 September 2014 and all other placegetters were amended accordingly. Mr Lambourn was advised of his rights of appeal. Panel:  David Farquharson, Allan Reardon, Daniel Aurisch

The cobalt saga started in harness racing at The Meadowlands and has now spread around the racing world like a virus. We've all read about cobalt. Racing's new EPO. The stuff that supposedly makes horses run like Lear Jets.  But until this week it's all been about yet another Australian trainer being caught with a high reading. That changed on Tuesday, however, when the Racing Integrity Unit dropped the bombshell that the leading Matamata stable of Lance O'Sullivan and Andrew Scott had returned a cobalt positive with its horse Quintastics, after she won a race in March. And then on Friday, after further testing in Perth, the RIU confirmed a trawl through frozen samples from the stable had uncovered two more positives, from NZ Derby place-getter Sound Proposition and Suffire, who won at Tauranga in February. Suddenly, people in the industry are asking questions about what it means, are they at risk and exactly how high the cobalt levels are. While RIU general manager Mike Godber would not reveal the exact amount of cobalt found in the three horses, he said it "significantly" breached the internationally recognised limit of 200 adopted earlier this season. There is no suggestion the levels are anywhere near as high as the 6000 recorded in one of 21 positives returned by horses trained by Newcastle trainer Darren Smith who was disqualified for 15 years. Fairfax investigations have revealed it would take an intravenous injection of cobalt chloride to elevate levels into the thousands, a sure sign of cheating. But levels in the hundreds, believed to be the case with the O'Sullivan/Scott trio, almost certainly indicates the administration of a supplement, a practice commonplace in New Zealand. Fortified horse feeds contain only minute amounts of cobalt, nowhere near enough to elevate levels above the threshold. Industry regulators both here and in Australia adopted the trigger point of 200 micrograms of cobalt per litre of urine after extensive testing of some 2500 samples from horses in New Zealand, Queensland, Victoria, West Australia and South Australia. The New Zealand sample of 400 horses, some from race-day swabs and some from random horses at stud chosen because they had never had any medication, put the mean level of cobalt very low at 6.4. This was markedly lower than the Australian samples which found cobalt levels of between 10 and 20 – explained by the fact many racing areas in New Zealand are volcanic and the soil is deficient in cobalt. In another collaborative effort, 11 overseas countries contributed 10,300 post-race urine samples and the highest recorded cobalt reading was 78 mcg/l. The average was 5.29 mcg/l. These results included many horses on normal cobalt supplementation programmes. Given those results,  it's not surprising many in the industry here have criticised our 200 level as too generous. They say unscrupulous trainers have too much leeway to dose their horses and remain undetected. But Fairfax understands  it is highly likely that a new, lower limit of 100, already in place in Hong Kong, will be struck at the next meeting of international regulators in Paris in October. As yet the UK and European racing jurisdictions have not set a cobalt threshold. In the Australian cases pending against Melbourne Cup-winning trainer Mark Kavanagh, Cox Plate-winning trainer Danny O'Brien, and Lee and Shannon Hope, all levels detected are in the hundreds. Racing Victoria revealed the cobalt levels detected as: Danny O'Brien's Bondeiger (370mcg/l), Caravan Rolls On (380), De Little Engine (580) and Bullpit (320); Mark Kavanagh's Magicool (640); Lee and Shannon Hope's Windy Citi Bear (300), Best Suggestion (550) and Choose (440). Studies done by the Hong Kong Jockey Club have demonstrated how such levels can easily be reached through supplementation. In its study, horses which were injected with Hemo-15, an iron, amino acid and B vitamin supplement readily available here, reached a maximum cobalt level in the urine of 530 mcg/l within two hours of administration. The cobalt level decreased rapidly and was below 200 in six to 12 hours. That begs the question how the levels detected recently could be so high given it is illegal to treat horses in any way on race-day and there is no legitimate reason for administering the supplement so close to a race.    Concern that vitamin B12 medication, popular with trainers here, might result in a cobalt positive was flagged by the New Zealand Equine branch of the Veterinary Association when it gazetted a warning in February. Vitamin B12 contains five per cent cobalt and, if given repeatedly, can result in a cobalt level in the hundreds. All vets were advised that they should not use any medication that contained vitamin B12 either orally or by injection for one clear day before a horse raced. Barry Lichter Reprinted with permission  

Here at Harnesslink we are regularly amazed at some of the charges leveled against harness racing drivers and how there seems to be a disconnect between the reality of race driving and the perfect world that the Racing Integrity Unit and the JCA live in. A good example in our view is the recent appeal brought by Terry Chmiel against a JCA decision that he had driven carelessly. The transcript below had us here at Harnesslink just shaking our heads. Date of Hearing: 10 June 2015 Venue: Stewards’ Room, Addington Raceway, Christchurch Tribunal: R G McKenzie, Chairman - K G Hales, Panelist Present: Mr T S Chmiel (the Appellant) Mr S P Renault, Stipendiary Steward (representing the Respondent) Mr N M Ydgren (Registrar) Date of Decision: 22 June 2015 RESERVED DECISION OF APPEALS TRIBUNAL Background [1] Following the running of Race 10, Changeover Mobile Pace, at the meeting of Oamaru Harness Racing Club at Oamaru Racecourse on 17 May 2015, the Appellant was charged with careless driving in that, as the driver of PARRAMATTA in the race, he “drove carelessly with 400 metres to run when shifting inwards crowding ON THE TOWN (D J Dunn) with this horse locking wheels with HERETIC FRANCO (J R Dunn)”. [2] Mr Chmiel defended the charge and, following a quite lengthy hearing held after the last race on that day, Race 11, the Judicial Committee found the charge of careless driving to be proved. After hearing penalty submissions, the Judicial Committee imposed a fine of $450. [3] Mr Chmiel now appeals both the finding of the Judicial Committee that he drove carelessly and the penalty imposed. Mr Chmiel’s Notice of Appeal states that the grounds for his disagreeing with the finding and penalty are “inconclusive video evidence and also not guilty of the penalty”. Procedure [4] Rule 1205 (2) of the New Zealand Rules of Harness Racing provides: All appeals shall, except when and to the extent that the Appeals Tribunal otherwise directs, be by way of rehearing based on the evidence adduced at the hearing conducted by the persons or body whose decision is appealed against. [5] This Tribunal must carry out its own assessment of the facts, and it should not hesitate to substitute its own findings of fact where it is appropriate to do so. While this Tribunal must apply an independent judgment to the conclusions reached by the Judicial Committee, the onus is still on the Applicant to show that the Judicial Committee was wrong. [6] The standard of proof is the balance of probabilities (Rule 1008A). This is widely understood to mean that facts are required to be proved as being more probable than not. [7] At the outset of the appeal hearing, it was agreed by the parties, at the Tribunal’s suggestion, that the “raceday” procedure for the hearing of charges be adopted – that is to say, the Stewards (in this case the Respondent) present their case showing what they are alleging with the assistance of video replays, after which the Appellant is to present his case in support of his appeal. Submissions of the Respondent [8] Mr Renault began by showing side-on and head-on video replays of the relevant part of the race – approximately 400 metres from the finish as the field was leaving the back straight. He pointed out HERETIC FRANCO (J R Dunn) leading the field at that point, with ON THE TOWN (D J Dunn) outside the leader and Mr Chmiel, driving PARRAMATTA, improving 3-wide. [9] Mr Chmiel had been racing in second-to-last position before commencing to improve 3-wide with cover, and then 4-wide past the tiring CHIEF KAPAI. He got up alongside ON THE TOWN. HERETIC FRANCO and ON THE TOWN then locked wheels and drifted back through the field, Mr Renault said. [10] At the hearing before the Judicial Committee, Mr John Dunn said that his horse’s head was turned outwards but round the bend, he said, he was holding his line rather than running outwards and going wider. Mr Dunn had said that his horse had “run out quite bad down the back” but on the bend he was not having any difficulty with the horse and it was “settled”. Mr Renault submitted that Mr John Dunn’s horse had not contributed to the incident which followed. [11] Mr Dexter Dunn, driving ON THE TOWN, had been parked for some distance and he was having no difficulty with that horse. The following evidence was given by Mr Dexter Dunn at the raceday hearing: DD Yeah just on the video there obviously I was sitting parked and half way round the bend I’ve run out of room and because my wheel is behind John Dunn on the inside. I’ve ended up running out of room and locking wheels with John. Basically, just had no room. SR So was the pressure from the outside here Mr Dunn? DD Yeah it got pretty tight. Yeah at the time it felt like it was from the outside yeah. SR And did you call to Mr Chmiel? DD I just yelled out for a bit of room. Probably a bit before, yeah it just sort of happened really. It happened pretty quick, it just sort of, we were racing there and then all of a sudden it happened you know, right at full speed. When I was out there anyway it felt pretty quick. SR You weren’t having any difficulty with your horse? DD No she was SR Travelling fine DD Yeap SR So there was contact, wheel on wheel, before? DD Just um, yeah, just our stays, obviously we’re touching. SR And he was tight to you, he was hard on your wheel before there, have you got any option to come outwards, can you relieve the pressure, with him to your outside there? Are you able to come any wider if he’s putting pressure on you? DD Yeah, it sort of happened that quick I probably, by the time, I did I’d already locked wheels when it happened SR So did you feel there was any movement from the inside? DD I couldn’t tell at the time, didn’t even look at the horse on the inside, I didn’t even SR So out there live, you felt it was from the outside, when you were out there? DD Yeah probably because I was behind John Dunn, it was mainly me and Mr Chmiel that were um. Obviously you can feel the pressure when you are cart on cart but, maybe if I was up level with John as well I would have felt if there was pressure from the inside but I couldn’t really tell when I was out there. [12] Mr Renault referred again to the video replays. He submitted that Mr Dexter Dunn was clear of Mr John Dunn and there was a clear gap between them. Mr Chmiel then came across and levelled up to Mr Dunn. The locking of wheels had not yet taken place, he submitted. Mr Dunn then looked to his outside and had called to Mr Chmiel and then he locked wheels with Mr John Dunn. [13] The stays of the sulkies of Mr Dexter Dunn and Mr Chmiel had touched, Mr Renault submitted. He pointed out on the video replay that the outside sulky wheel of Mr Chmiel could be seen to be throwing up grit from the track. This was where the “touching” took place, Mr Renault submitted, and this was prior to Mr Dunn locking wheels with the sulky of the horse on his inner. Mr Renault accepted, in response to a question from the Committee, that grit from the track had also been thrown up by the wheel of Dexter Dunn’s sulky. [14] Mr Chmiel had shifted down from a 4-wide position and placed pressure on Dexter Dunn. The onus is on the driver shifting ground, Mr Chmiel in this case, Mr Renault said. Mr Dexter Dunn could be seen to be “wiggling” in the sulky, as he was about to lock wheels. Mr Dunn had nowhere to go to relieve the pressure – he could not come wider. No driver had been in difficulty until Mr Chmiel had come around, Mr Renault submitted. [15] Mr Renault referred to the transcript of the raceday hearing and pointed out that Mr Chmiel had declined the opportunity given to him by the Chairman to ask questions of either Mr Dexter Dunn or Mr John Dunn. He submitted that Mr Chmiel had accepted the evidence given by those witnesses. [16] This was a clear case of careless driving in that Mr Chmiel had placed obvious pressure on Dexter Dunn who, in turn, has been forced onto John Dunn, Mr Renault submitted. [17] Mr Renault submitted that Mr Chmiel had not been in a true 3-wide position but, rather, 2½ carts wide. He pointed out the position of the horse, CHIEF KAPAI, which was in a true 3-wide position, he submitted. [18] Mr Renault then showed the video replay of the race from the point of the alleged interference to the finish. He said that, once Mr Chmiel came around 3-wide and the two inside runners locked wheels, Mr Chmiel continued to the lead and put a break of 2-3 lengths on the field. With the two horses locking wheels, the majority of the field behind them had been inconvenienced. [19] Mr Renault submitted that a reasonable and prudent driver would not have put himself in the position that Mr Chmiel had. His drive fell well short of the standard of that expected of a driver. He had failed to take due care. Submissions of the Appellant [20] Mr Chmiel first addressed the submission by Mr Renault that CHIEF KAPAI had been in a true 3-wide position prior to the incident. He submitted that this was not the case as SECRETS’ OUT (R T May), on the inside of CHIEF KAPAI, had commenced an outwards movement to get on his, Mr Chmiel’s, back and had forced CHIEF KAPAI wider. [21] Mr Chmiel then referred to the head-on video replay of that part the race as the field raced down the back straight. He submitted that, as the field approached the bend out of the back straight, the sulky wheel of ON THE TOWN, which wore a boring pole on its near side, was already inside the sulky wheel of the inside runner, driven by John Dunn, long before any contact was made from his outside. Dexter Dunn had put himself in that situation, he submitted. The pressure came when Dexter Dunn had “panicked” and tried to come out. Mr Chmiel submitted that Dexter Dunn had called for room after he had locked wheels. He referred to the evidence of Mr John Dunn who had said that his horse “did run out quite bad down the back”. It was possible that it had also run out around the bend but the video was not helpful in resolving this. Only a small amount of movement was required to have contributed to the locking of wheels, Mr Chmiel submitted. His own horse’s head was “as straight as a die”, Mr Chmiel submitted, and the horse was in a true 3-wide position. He was unaware that Dexter Dunn was not in a true 2-wide position. [22] Mr Chmiel said that the raceday hearing had commenced some 30 minutes after the last race on the day. This had upset him because he had his horses loaded ready to travel home. He did not have the opportunity to carefully view the videos of the incident until he had got home and was able to study them. He has appealed the raceday finding as he believes that he had done nothing wrong. He had placed no downwards pressure on Dexter Dunn, he said. Further Submissions of the Respondent [23] Mr Renault refuted the submission of Mr Chmiel that Dexter Dunn was inside John Dunn’s wheel prior to being joined by Mr Chmiel. Mr Dunn had not referred to having any difficulty or that he was getting close to John Dunn. [24] The allegation of the Stewards is that Mr Chmiel had driven carelessly by crowding Dexter Dunn. There was clear contact between the stays of the sulkies of Dexter Dunn and Mr Chmiel – this was prior to the former “wiggling” in the sulky and the locking of wheels. Further Submissions of the Appellant [25] Dexter Dunn had plenty of time to get his wheel out before Mr Chmiel got to him. However, he had allowed his horse to run in and, in doing so, had put himself in that situation. He was not just “a little bit inside” John Dunn’s wheel, he was well inside, he submitted, at least 15 to 20 centimetres. Dexter Dunn had called late and Mr Chmiel had given him room and come out. He would have given more room had he realised that Dexter Dunn was inside the wheel of John Dunn’s sulky. [26] His horse wears a rein pricker on the inside and never runs in but runs out, Mr Chmiel said. His horse’s head had not been turned in at any relevant time, he submitted. 27] Tight racing is common and carts touch in every race and that is “just racing”, Mr Chmiel said. He did not believe that he had driven carelessly. He was not aware of any respect in which he had been careless as alleged. Comments on the Video of the Whole Race [28] At the request of the Tribunal, a video replay of the entire race, a mobile start event over 2000 metres, was shown to the hearing. It was shown that HERETIC FRANCO (J R Dunn) took the lead from the start, and the lead time was 26.3 seconds. At the winning post with a lap (1200 metres) to run, ON THE TOWN (D J Dunn) challenged for the lead and took a lead of approximately 1 length without being able to cross the leader, before HERETIC FRANCO was urged along to hold the lead. As the field entered the back straight, PARRAMATTA, driven by Mr Chmiel, was racing in 2nd to last position in the 11-horse field. It then improved quickly 3-wide and then 4-wide to go up alongside ON THE TOWN which was racing on the outside of HERETIC FRANCO. When those two runners locked wheels, there was some disruption to the field and PARRAMATTA established a break of several lengths over the field. It was run down in the straight and finished in 6th placing, 2.7 lengths from the winner. ON THE TOWN finished in 9th placing and HERETIC FRANCO finished in last placing. Appeal Against Penalty [29] Mr Chmiel confirmed that his appeal was also against the level of fine ($450) imposed by the raceday Judicial Committee. The reasons given by that Committee, either at the conclusion of the hearing or in its subsequent written decision, were read to Mr Chmiel. The Stewards had submitted for a fine of between $450 and $500. The Committee took a starting point of a fine of $500 as suggested in the Penalty Guide. The Committee identified that an aggravating factor was the disruption to the majority of the field, making the level of carelessness, in the Committee’s view, at the higher end of the scale. The Committee also referred to Mr Chmiel’s “clean record”. [30] Mr Chmiel submitted that a fine of $450 was excessive. Reasons for Decision [31] Mr Chmiel has appealed against the finding of the raceday Judicial Committee that he drove carelessly when shifting inwards crowding ON THE TOWN with that horse locking wheels with HERETIC FRANCO. [32] This Tribunal has had the benefit of being able to view the various video replays of the incident, and to consider the evidence and submissions without the pressure that is inevitably on a raceday Judicial Committee. [33] We think that it is relevant, in the case of this appeal, for this Tribunal to have regard to the fact, as we were told, that the hearing commenced some 30 minutes after the running of the last race. This means that the hearing of the charge would have commenced at approximately 5.00pm. This, no doubt, placed pressure on all participants including Mr Chmiel and the Judicial Committee. Mr Chmiel told us that he had his horses loaded on his truck awaiting transport home to Leeston. [34] The grounds of Mr Chmiel’s appeal, as set out in his Notice of Appeal, are “inconclusive video evidence and not guilty of penalty”. It was not helpful to the Respondent or, indeed, this Tribunal that the grounds were not spelt out in greater detail. The Tribunal is aware of the provision in Rule 1205 (3) where it states: Except by special leave of the Appeals Tribunal no appellant shall argue or be permitted to argue any ground of appeal not set out in the notice of appeal. [35] In the circumstances, the Tribunal was prepared to allow Mr Chmiel some latitude in this regard. His reference to the “inconclusive video evidence” we took as a reference to the fact that there was no true head-on video of the precise point of the race when the sulky wheels of the two Messrs Dunn locked. This is not a slight on the video coverage, as it is just not possible to have perfect video coverage of every point in a race. [36] Of course, a Judicial Committee and, if appropriate, an Appeals Tribunal has regard to not only the video evidence but also the evidence of the parties to the proceedings and their witnesses. In this case, we had available to us a full transcript of the raceday hearing. We were able to read what Mr Renault and Mr Chmiel had said in their evidence to the Committee and, also, what the drivers of the other two runners involved had to say. [37] The Tribunal is aware that issues of credibility of witnesses arise and concedes that the Judicial Committee had the advantage of seeing the witnesses. However, no deference is required beyond the customary caution appropriate when seeing the witnesses provides an advantage. [38] Having said that, the Tribunal did not find the video evidence entirely inconclusive but, rather, found it to be of considerable assistance. So, our finding has relied on both the video evidence and the evidence given by the parties and witnesses at the raceday hearing. [39] The Tribunal allowed Mr Chmiel to make points in his submissions before us that he did not make before the raceday Committee and did not specify in his Notice of Appeal. We allowed him to do so because we felt that Mr Chmiel was placed in a position, on the raceday, in which he was not able to properly consider the video evidence prior to the hearing and to mount a full and proper defence to the charge of careless driving against him. We do not say this by way of criticism of the raceday process, other than to say that it may well have been appropriate for Mr Chmiel to have been offered the option of having the hearing of the charge adjourned in the circumstances - see paragraph [33] above. It is not ideal, and may even be prejudicial to a Respondent, for the hearing of a charge to be proceeded with in such circumstances. [40] In his submissions before this Tribunal, Mr Chmiel relied quite heavily on a video replay that, he submitted, clearly showed the line of Mr Dexter Dunn’s inside sulky wheel inside the line of the sulky wheel of the horse on his inside, HERETIC FRANCO, driven by Mr John Dunn, prior to his placing the alleged pressure on Mr Dexter Dunn. This was not something raised by Mr Chmiel before the raceday Committee. We feel sure that this was because he had not had the opportunity to properly study the video replays at that time. [41] The Tribunal is of the view that there is more than a little merit in that submission. From our own observation of the video evidence available, it did appear to be the case that Dexter Dunn’s inside sulky wheel was tracking inside the sulky wheel of John Dunn prior to the locking of wheels. In fact, we note that Dexter Dunn told the Judicial Committee: “Yeah, it sort of happened that quick I probably, by the time I did I’d already locked wheels when it happened”. [42] We do not consider the parol evidence of Dexter and John Dunn, as set out in the transcript, to be overly convincing. The former, in response to being asked if there was any movement from the inside, said “I couldn’t tell at the time, didn’t even look at the horse on the inside at the time”. He went on to say that the pressure was “probably” from the outside. Then, asked if there was any pressure from the inside prior to locking wheels, Mr Dexter Dunn stated: “I actually couldn’t actually tell you at the time yeah”. [43] Mr John Dunn, when asked whether his horse had contributed by hanging out or running out slightly responded: “Yeah running out slightly”. Later, when asked whether he was running outwards or holding his line he replied: “Probably yeah probably more holding my line”. Earlier, he had said: “My horse has run out down the back straight, he’s run off a good cart and back. Also, it had its head round a fraction round the bend. So it sort of runs out the whole way but”. [44] This Tribunal also noted that the two witnesses for the Stewards, Messrs Dexter and John Dunn, were each present at the hearing while the other gave evidence. In that situation, there is a very real danger that the evidence given by one witness will be coloured by the evidence given by the other. This should be avoided wherever possible. [45] The Tribunal’s conclusion, from studying the transcript and carefully viewing the available video replays, is that what happened was, simply, a racing incident. It is clear that the three horses concerned were racing tightly and at speed as a result of which ON THE TOWN and HERETIC FRANCO locked wheels. Any inwards movement by Mr Chmiel was not great. Mr Chmiel did not deny that the sulky stays of his and Mr Dexter Dunn’s horse had touched which, he told us and we accept, was not an uncommon happening in a race situation. That they touched was illustrated by the fact that, as shown on the video, track grit was thrown up by the sulky wheels of both of those runners. We especially note that the word “touched” was used in the raceday hearing to describe the degree of contact between the two sulkies. It appeared to be no more than a touch. [46] Mr Renault told the Tribunal that the onus is on the driver shifting ground to leave sufficient room. It does not necessarily follow, however, that any incident as on this occasion must be the result of and the fault of that driver shifting ground. [47] The Tribunal believes that the locking of wheels of the two runners was most likely the result of a number of factors. It is undeniable that the three runners were racing tightly. The possibility that HERETIC FRANCO, which had been running out prior to the incident, had contributed by hanging out on the bend cannot be dismissed. Even more cogent is the fact, which we find, that Mr Dexter Dunn’s inside wheel was tracking a path inside the wheel of HERETIC FRANCO, prior to being joined by Mr Chmiel. Mr Chmiel could not have been aware of this at the time and his submission was that he had heard a call for room from Mr Dunn as Mr Dunn was about to lock wheels, to which he immediately responded by giving room, but only after their stays had briefly contacted, or “touched”. Mr Chmiel correctly pointed out that his horse had its head straight at all material times. [48] The Rules of Harness Racing do not require a horseman to achieve standards of perfection. A horseman must drive to the standard of a reasonable, competent and prudent driver. This Tribunal is not satisfied that Mr Chmiel’s driving fell below that standard on this occasion. [49] The Tribunal finds that the locking of wheels of HERETIC FRANCO and ON THE TOWN was what is commonly referred to as a “racing incident”, which is an occurrence in a race which is not attributable to the actions of any one horse or driver but which occurs, usually, as a result of a combination of factors and as a result of the speed and very competitive nature of a harness race, and was not the result of Mr Chmiel driving carelessly. It was, we believe, the result of a combination of factors with each of the three horses involved contributing to a greater or lesser extent. We are not satisfied, to the required standard of the balance of probabilities, that Mr Chmiel drove in a manner that was careless. Decision [50] The appeal is upheld. The decision of the raceday Judicial Committee at the meeting of Oamaru Harness Racing Club on 17 May 2015 is therefore set aside and the penalty imposed of a fine of $450 is quashed. Costs [51] No order is made as to costs. The fee paid to the Judicial Control Authority on the filing of the appeal shall be forfeited to that body. R G McKenzie        K G Hales Chair                     Panelist

A number of changes to the Australian Harness Racing Rules have been approved by Harness Racing Australia Members and will be adopted by all states. HRNSW would like to inform trainers of an important rule amendment that will be in effect from 1 July 2015. 196B. (1) A person shall not within one (1) clear day of the commencement of a race administer or cause to be administered an injection to a horse nominated for that race. (2) For the purposes of this Rule, one (1) clear day means the twenty four (24) hour period from 12.01 a.m. to 12 midnight. (3) A person who fails to comply with sub-rule (1) is guilty of an offence. For the sake of clarity, one clear day means if a horse is racing on Friday, the last time it can have an injection is Wednesday.  Giving a horse an injection anytime of the morning, day or night on Thursday (if racing Friday) is an offence. While attention is drawn to all of the amendments, the introduction of a new rule at Part 12, relating to administering substances by injection is particularly highlighted given its obvious impact on trainers, owners and veterinarians. Click here to view the full amendments to the Australian Harness Racing Rules.  Harness Racing New South Wales

On Thursday 18 June 2015 Harness Racing NSW advised licensed trainer Mr Michael Muscat that a report had been received from the Australian Racing Forensic Laboratory (ARFL) that Ibuprofen had been detected in the urine sample taken from Isaac Nz following its win in race 5, the Combined Camden Pace (Lands Legal Carousel Heat 4) (2300 metres) conducted at Tabcorp Park Menangle on Saturday 11 April 2015. The “B” sample and associated control sample were confirmed by Racing Analytical Services LTD (RASL) in Victoria. A Steward’s Inquiry has been scheduled for 11am on Wednesday 24 June 2015.                                           Drugs present in urine On Monday 15 June 2015, Harness Racing NSW (HRNSW) Steward’s conducted an Inquiry into a report received from Racing Analytical Services LTD (RASL) that prohibited substances were detected in a urine sample obtained from Mr Crapper on Wednesday 20 May 2015 following him driving trackwork. A confirmatory analysis conducted by the ChemCentre in Western Australia confirmed the presence of the prohibited substances. Mr Crapper pleaded guilty to a charge pursuant to Australian Harness Racing Rule 252C in that he when carrying on or purporting to carry on a licensed activity, was in the opinion of Stewards, under the influence of drugs. Mr Crapper’s Stablehand Licence was suspended immediately for a period of 18 months. Mr Crapper has lodged an appeal to the Racing Appeals Tribunal against the penalty imposed. Reid Sanders - Harness Racing New South Wales  

Following an initial trial period at harness racing meetings at Tabcorp Park Melton of allowing drivers to warm up horses during the preliminary in the opposite direction (clockwise) to race direction (anti-clockwise), the Victorian Trainers and Drivers Association requested and were subsequently permitted in March 2014, to perform this practice throughout all Victorian tracks. The permission was granted under conditions that if there was not strict compliance with the associated safety protocols, the permission to warm horses up during a preliminary in the opposite direction (clockwise) would be withdrawn immediately. Following a near incident at the Shepparton track on June 17, 2015, where HRV Stewards observed the safety of participants and horses to be compromised during a preliminary warm up, the permission to warm up in the opposite direction (clockwise) is immediately withdrawn by HRV. Therefore, effective immediately drivers are required to perform the preliminary in the race direction (anti-clockwise), unless otherwise directed in accordance with Australian Harness Racing Rule 160(1) which states: Every driver when entering upon the track to compete in a race shall unless otherwise directed by the Stewards only drive the horse in its preliminary the correct way of the course. In making this decision, Harness Racing Victoria considers that the safety and wellbeing of all participants and horses is paramount. The practice of reverse warm ups, which had been the subject of positive feedback from trainers and drivers, had been under review due to some safety concerns raised by other sections of the industry. HRV will continue to consult with industry groups regarding the issue into the future. Harness Racing Victoria

THE trouble with shooting up the town is that innocent people get caught in the crossfire. The Labor Government’s decision to machine gun the entire racing industry this week certainly achieved the essential objective of wiping out the Queensland greyhound board after the live-baiting scandal. It had to happen. The dogs needed a steel bristled broom through their entire operation. But the carnage stretched much further than that, too far for the good of racing in this state. The sacking of the harness racing and galloping boards as well has created widespread uncertainty and, in some areas, total bewilderment. Take the trots as an example. Like the gallops they had nothing to do with the live-baiting scandal yet they will pay a high price for it. The cost of implementing new all-code integrity measures such as hiring four policemen, keeping extra data and a full-time integrity commissioner will be hefty and the three racing codes are set to stump up most, if not all of the cost. Prizemoney could even go backwards as a consequence. Racing Queensland harness chairman Greg Mitchell was told via a phone call from Racing Minister’s chief of staff that he and his board had been sacked. Mitchell told the chief of staff he would prefer to hear it directly from Racing Minister Bill Byrne but the request was rejected. Byrne’s profile during his time in charge has been compared to the Loch Ness monster: often talked about, rarely seen. Like a lot of harness and galloping board members, Mitchell is feeling like the farmer who saw his homestead burn down because his neighbour forgot to put out his camp fire. “It’s very disappointing that we are caught up in this given it had nothing to do with our sport,’’ Mitchell said. “We were just starting to gain momentum. The numbers indicated we were on the rise. Race turnover is the best it has been for seven to 10 years. “I have grave reservations about what will happen now that our industry will have just one man on the new seven-man board. The board will become very fractious and political.’’ If the trots think they are hard done-by, that is nothing compared to the gallops who will have just one person on the proposed new seven-man board despite generating more than 75 per cent of the annual betting turnover. Four positions on the new seven-man board will go to specialists in “fields of accounting, law, business, commercial and marketing development’’. That’s all well and good, but will they know anything about racing? They will, after all, be the powerbrokers of the three codes in this state. It is a tough, turbulent road ahead and what makes it even tougher is that in less than three years we will probably starting all over again because it will be election time in Queensland. Such is the one-term way of the world these days that Labor will probably lose power and out will go the men they install. The racing industry, because it needs so much government funding, is hopelessly at the mercy of the state government. Racing may be the sport of kings but it is kept alive by thousands of battlers who are famed for their resilience. That is just as well. Given what is happening in the corridors of power above them, they have to be. By Robert Craddock Reprinted with permission of the Courier-Mail 

New South Wale's racing codes are lining up to oppose any move to implement an independent regulatory authority in the state after an inquiry into the embattled Queensland greyhound racing industry recommended a similar model. Thoroughbred racing and harness racing officials are understood to be reluctant to consider such a template after the Queensland greyhound racing inquiry's commissioner Alan MacSporran, QC, was scathing in his criticism of Racing Queensland in the wake of the live baiting scandal. He has lobbied for an independent integrity model to be adopted north of the border. Fairfax Media understands the state government-triggered review into the NSW greyhound racing industry has discussed a similar framework to merge the integrity operations of all three jurisdictions under one umbrella. It potentially shapes as a back-to-the-future scenario in NSW after the harness racing and greyhound racing stewards worked under a failed government-controlled framework until its demerger in 2009. And thoroughbred racing and harness racing powerbrokers have just recently tabled strategic plans into their respective sports, with Harness Racing NSW only lodging their blueprint on Monday. Racing NSW published theirs late last year. They are believed to prefer the current system where NSW's thoroughbred, harness racing and greyhound racing control bodies are individually responsible for their own commercial and integrity units. Click on this link to read the full article written by Adam Pengilly on theage.com site 

Upstate New York congressman Paul Tonko plans to introduce a federal bill establishing uniform drug and medication standards in thoroughbred racing that would be overseen by the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency and begin in 2017. This announcement was made on Friday in Washington, DC.   The racing industry has been regulated on a state-by-state basis with a patchwork of rules and penalties, and he said it's time to set a level playing field at racetracks nationwide. The legislation would allow USADA to create a drug agency specifically for racing. USADA, an independent agency, is the national anti-doping organization in the U.S. for the Olympics.   Meadowlands Chairman Jeff Gural voiced his support for the bill, "I was extremely pleased to read about Congressman Tonko's plans to introduce legislation that will lead to much needed medication reform in horse racing and about the coalition that has been formed to move that initiative forward. As someone who has gone to great lengths to get performance-enhancing drugs out of the sport, including the implementation of "house rules," I fully support these efforts and I hope the standardbred industry will follow the Thoroughbred racing initiative."   This initiative also has the support of the Water Hay & Oats Alliance (WHOA) .   The complete Daily Gazette article may be read here.   (With files from the Schenectady Daily Gazette)   From Meadowlands Media Relations:

State Assemblywoman Carrie Woerner, D-Round Lake, announced the Assembly on Thursday passed legislation she introduced to make it possible for Saratoga Harness Racing to continue receiving payments from Capital Region Off-Track Betting. A corporate organization restructuring of Saratoga Harness Racing would have made it ineligible to receive funding, under state law. The legislation that passed the Assembly would add Saratoga Harness Racing to an exception that was previously established for Tioga Downs. "Harness racing is a vital component for our region's economy," Woerner said in a press release. "It helps create jobs in the agriculture, leisure and hospitality industries." The legislation, which previously passed the state Senate, now goes to Gov. Andrew Cuomo for consideration. Reprinted with permission of poststar.com    

Columbus, OH --- The U.S. Trotting Association announced today it has retained the services of the Thoroughbred Racing Protective Bureau to conduct a variety of integrity services. "The USTA is committed to integrity in harness racing and working with the TRPB will provide our industry with a wide variety of investigative, security and analytical services from the most experienced and professional integrity services organization in horse racing," said USTA Executive Vice President and CEO Mike Tanner. "We look forward to assisting and supporting the USTA's integrity initiatives in horse racing and wagering, and tapping our shared resources to better serve customers, participants, racetracks and regulators in the Standardbred industry," said TRPB Vice President J. Curtis Linnell. The TRPB will utilize its in-house resource database to provide investigative reports and intelligence on topics, organizations, vendors and people as requested by the USTA. The TRPB will also seek to expand and develop information relevant to the Standardbred industry. TRPB Senior Agent Douglas Murray, working out of the headquarters office in Fair Hill, Md., will be the primary contact for the USTA to coordinate research and information requested by the USTA. Murray will support the USTA's role in integrity issues, including allegations of illegal medications, the identification and investigation of suppliers of such, and involvement of organized crime in any aspect of Standardbred racing. Also, the TRPB Wagering Integrity Unit will consult with the USTA in the event of allegations of wagering integrity issues, including tote security lapses, alleged altered races, and possible betting malfeasance of any type. Among other services to be provided to the USTA, the TRPB will conduct due diligence and background examinations of selected associations and vendors in the pari-mutuel industry. The TRPB will include Standardbred matters of mutual concern in USTA's existing industry relationships in France, Sweden, Australia and New Zealand, as well as throughout the U.S. and Canada. Located in Fair Hill, Md., the TRPB operates as a multi-jurisdictional investigative agency in the horse racing industry. The mandate is to expose and investigate all activity prejudicial to horse racing and to maintain public confidence in the sport. The USTA Communications Department   

Five veterinarians presented their views on testing and medication issues at the Ohio State Racing Commission's (OSRC) monthly meeting on April 28 in Columbus. Early in 2015, the OSRC began listening to presentations from a wide variety of individuals concerning the development of model medication rules based upon scientific and fact-based analysis. Veterinarian Dr. John Piehowicz, who treats racehorses at his Cincinnati-based clinic said "the welfare of the horse must come first," mirroring the mindset of the other veterinarians in attendance. "I believe Ohio's policy is the most humane for treating horses," Dr. Piehowicz stated. "While uniformity is desirable, it is not practical. Currently I can help horses, but if we change to the RCI-RMTC rules, I can no longer effectively treat racehorses with safe, FDA-approved medications. We need a published curve based on real world information and rational decisions based on creditable research. The use of some medications, such as Clenbuterol, allow racehorses to live comfortably." "I commend the OSRC in the direction they are going regarding medication policies," stressed Dr. John Reichert, who practices on Standardbreds at Woodland Run clinic in Grove City, Ohio. "In Ohio we've had 122 positives from 12,000 tests in the past year, which is less than one percent. That says to me there are relatively few positive tests in Ohio and that the majority of people-vets and trainers-are playing by the rules. The hot issues with the RCI-RMTC are steroids and Clenbuterol, which we use primarily to treat inflammatory airway disease and joint issues." "In my practice, I'm addressing mainly soreness, lameness and breathing issues," Dr. Reichert continued. "Corticosteroids are used a lot in inflammatory airway disease and joint issues, and in the 25 years I've been a vet I have yet to see a catastrophic breakdown from the use of these steroids. Nobody wants a catastrophic breakdown-but unfortunately it is part of the athletic scene. We see more of these from backyard pleasure horses than we do in racehorses. "In regards to Clenbuterol, as vets, we have to be able to use Clenbuterol within reason," Dr. Reichert stressed. "My perspective as a vet is that I look at Clenbuterol as a therapeutic treatment of a racehorse. A five-day course of treatment is more of what is required for the Standardbred racehorse. Scientific research doesn't support performance-enhancement by the use of Clenbuterol." "It's difficult to obey the rules if you don't know what they are," explained Dr. Dan Wilson, a partner/practitioner at the Cleveland Equine Clinic. "We routinely test blood and urine, and the tests are sophisticated to the level of one grain of sand on a beach. There is nothing to suggest this level would enhance a horse's performance. Muscle and enzyme physiology is different for each breed: Thoroughbred, Standardbred and Quarter horses-they are all different. As proposed, the RCI & RMTC rules would alleviate all therapeutic medications for the use in Standardbreds. The loss of Clenbuterol and corticosteroids for treatment in Standardbred racing would compromise the industry and limit my ability to effectively treat horses." "We need uniform medication rules," agreed Dr. Brett Berthold, owner/practitioner at the Cleveland Equine Clinic. "Corticosteroids are used daily by my friends in the human medical field and we need the same tools as veterinarians. A uniform program needs to be in place for daily treatments, and there needs to be regulated medications we are allowed to use therapeutically. The question I have is in regards to dosage in surgical medications, that's an issue. Where is the safe zone? The emergence of newer therapeutic medications being adopted into the regulations is another main concern regarding the welfare of the horse." "There is not another commission in the country that has gone to the depths of what the OSRC is doing here." admitted Dr. Clara Fenger, a founding member of the North American Association of Racetrack Veterinarians (NAARV) and Kentucky practitioner. "Eighteen of the 26 drugs in the RCI-RMTC report have no published data. The idea of thresholds is great and we're all about uniform rules, but let's get things right first. "In 2013 for instance, 24 hours out was the standard time for Banamine (to be administered prior to a race) and then in 2014 a new study came out and the RCI-RMTC said 'oops! we were wrong and Banamine can now only be used 32 hours out,'" Dr. Clara Fenger. "All kinds of people got positives as a result and purses had to be redistributed and horsemen were in danger of losing their livelihood. There was just vagueness in their limits. "We use medications because we need to," she stressed. "For instance, 27% of yearlings that go through the Keeneland Sale already have arthritis in their hocks-and that's not limited to Thoroughbreds. It's in all breeds-as these are living, breathing animals we're dealing with. We need education so that other practitioners can learn what works best in practical situations. Based on our preliminary data, most vets are using the appropriate amounts. Most Ohio rules we can live with and the RCI should be looking to Ohio instead of the other way around." The OSRC will listen to chemists and scientists present their views on these same medication and threshold levels in Standardbred and Thoroughbred racehorses at its June 23 meeting, schedule for 10 am, 31st Floor,East-B, 77 South High Street, Columbus. Kimberly A. Rinker

The Australian Federal Police (AFP) and the Victorian Racing Integrity Commissioner (the Commissioner) are pleased to announce the signing of the Cooperation and Information Exchange Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) in Sydney today. AFP Deputy Commissioner Graham Ashton and Racing Integrity Commissioner Sal Perna signed the Cooperation and Information Exchange MOU at the Australian Institute of Police Management (AIPM) in Manly earlier today. AFP Deputy Commissioner Graham Ashton said the MoU formalises the cooperation between the AFP and the RIC and solidifies the strong ties between the two agencies. “The partnership will further the cooperation between the Commissioner and the AFP to support law enforcement activities and AFP investigations in regards to organised crime,” Deputy Commissioner Ashton said. The partnership underlines efforts to ensure the integrity of Victoria’s $2.8 billion racing industry, which employs approximately 60,000 people. “This agreement will be major benefit to both the AFP and the racing industry and will assist in the facilitation of sharing information between the two bodies,” Mr Perna said. “The MOU not only helps both agencies gather and share relevant information, but leads to increasing the public confidence in racing.” This MOU follows a recommendation made in the Commissioner’s 2012 Own Motion Inquiry into Race Fixing to identify the barriers to information sharing between police and racing bodies. The agreement will strengthen the cooperation between the participants, particularly with respect to information exchange, to assist law enforcement to achieve its objectives and reduce the threat posed by criminal infiltration of Australian borders.  Paul Stevens Manager Integrity Operations Level 27, 121 Exhibition Street Melbourne Victoria 3000 T: 03 8684 7775 F: 03 8684 7778 M: 0419 921 586 www.racingintegrity.vic.gov.au  

Hall of Fame trainer Bill Mott has filed a lawsuit in federal court as he seeks to overturn a 15-day suspension he received after one of his horses, Saratoga Snacks, tested positive for overages of the therapeutic medications furosemide (Lasix/Salix) and flunixin (banamine). Saratoga Snacks tested positive after finishing last in an allowance race at Belmont Park on Sept. 20, 2014. The suit, which names ten New York State Gaming Commission members, state steward Stephen Lewandowski, and New York Drug Testing and Research Program director Dr. George Maylin, alleges that the state failed to allow Mott due process in appealing the suspension and that the trainer’s livelihood is suffering as a result of the state’s unfair actions. Mott claims that when he requested a split blood sample to challenge the positives, the commission officials forwarded a urine sample, which was “completely useless to serve as a referee sample, given that only the quantitative levels allegedly found in the post-race blood sample served as the basis upon which Mr. Mott received his violation.” Mott attorney Andrew Mollica said Thursday his understanding is that urine samples are useful primarily to detect the presence or absence of a no-tolerance drug such as cocaine, not to determine the concentration of a therapeutic substance. To read the full article written by Natalie Voss on Paulick Report click on this link.

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