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The man who might stand between the All Stars Stables and an almost unfathomable clean sweep of the Harness Jewels says he won't be backing down come Saturday. In what might be close to a first anywhere in the racing world, the all-conquering Mark Purdon and Natalie Rasmussen stable are favoured to win eight of the nine group ones at the $1.2 million Jewels meeting, and have the second favourite in the other race. The law of averages suggest at least a couple of their charges will perform below their best, suffer bad luck or simply not be good enough but it is still realistic they could win all nine group one races. Considering the Jewels is an open raceday, with no Sires' Stakes or sales restrictions and has attracted six Australian invites, an All Stars whitewash would be extraordinary and rank as one of the greatest training performances in history. But, and it is an awfully big but, they still have to win the races and local driver John Dunn says he is going to make that as difficult as possible for them. Dunn has eight drives, all on horses trained by his father Robert, whose Canterbury team he does much of the work with and included among them is the only non-All Stars favourite in Sundees Son. He deserves to be top elect for the 4-year-old trot after stunning wins in both the Anzac and Rowe Cups at Alexandra Park four weeks ago and if he races up to that level it is hard to see him beaten, especially if he brings his manners. He did just that in a sedate trial at Addington last Saturday but trotted home a quick last 800m and has the benefit of a good draw on Saturday. "While he has had some manners issues in the past he has usually been good off the mobile and I think it won't be an issue on Saturday," says Dunn, the older brother of champion driver Dexter Dunn, who is now based in North America. "He has come back from Auckland and not missed a beat so I think he will lead and they will need to be good to beat him." As solid as Sundees Son's trial was last Saturday what was just as reassuring for punters is that he didn't roll into his usual gallop after the finish line, suggesting he is a sound, happy horse at the end of his long season. Dunn crucially has the advantage of the ace draw in the 3-year-old male pace and says he will use it to try for an all the way win with Heisenberg. "I am going to drive him like I did in the Sires' Stakes Final in November," Dunn says firmly. On that occasion, over the same track and distance as Saturday, Heisenberg led and gave both eventual winner Ultimate Sniper and Jesse Duke a lot to chase before finishing third. Ultimate Sniper is spelling but Jesse Duke is the hot favourite for Saturday's race and if Dunn is true to his word and launches Heisenberg then favourite punters could be in for an uncomfortable watch. Dunn also has inside draws with Henry Hubert in the 4-year-old Emerald and Spellbound in the juvenile fillies pace, where he opts for Tiffany Rose as the stable's better chance. But it is in the very open 2-year-old trot that he has his next best chance of upsetting the All Stars dominance. One Majic Kenny has been more interested in galloping than trotting in recent starts but has the motor to match it with the favourite if he behaves as well as he did when second at the trials last Saturday. "He is good enough but I actually want the mobile to go faster. "I think it goes too slow sometimes and that trips some horses up," says Dunn.   Michael Guerin

 Sundees Son will be asked to add a new weapon to his growing arsenal this week and it is one that could ultimately win him the Harness Jewels. The last-start Rowe Cup winner has been the surprise package of the trotting season, his late-season group one double giving him a shot at the Trotter of the Year title. He could almost put that battle to bed if he wins the 4-year-old Ruby at Addington on Saturday week and a crucial step will be the official Jewels trials on the same track this Saturday. While Sundees Son was stunning coming from well back to win both the Anzac and Rowe Cups he can't afford to be giving the likes of Winterfell, Majestic Man and King's Landing a big start over the 1980m mobile. So Sundees Son is, draw permitting, going to be asked to use his gate speed at Saturday's trials.  "We would like him to be able to run the gate this week to give us the option to do that if he draws well at the Jewels," says trainer Robert Dunn. "If he can develop that, and he hasn't had many good draws in mobile races to try in the past, then it is another string to his bow which could be really helpful." Harness Racing New Zealand has had plenty of Jewels withdrawals this week, mainly from horses who weren't likely to make the final 12 or younger horses who have hit the wall. Hardly any major players near the head of the markets have come out. But while some horses are showing signs of wear and tear this deep into the season, Dunn says his four-year-olds Sundees Son and Henry Hubert (pacer) are in great shape. "They both had scintigraphy at Matamata after the Rowe Cup carnival and we are really happy with the results."  Dunn and son John have 11 qualified for the Jewels and expect all to be there. "The one we had a setback with last week was Spellbound, who had a really high white blood cell count after she raced at Addington," he explains. "Her heart rate was 120 bpm 20 minutes after the race and even higher 10 minutes later. "So the blood tests showed what we thought they might but she has been treated and we will look after her to get her blood right and get her back on track for the Jewels." While the Jewels trials will impact the markets of far greater importance will be the draws, set to released at noon on Friday. And in a surprise move the two hottest Jewels favourites, Turn It Up (4-year-old male pace) and Elle Mac (4-year-old mares pace) will clash in a free-for-all at Addington on Friday night. Both were expected to trial this week but will instead race against a former Jewels winner in Ashley Locaz just hours after the draws are released. Meanwhile, the chances of their stablemate Oscar Bonavena making the field for the three-year-old trot are diminishing as he still sits 14th with the trainers of those above him indicating they will start, meaning he is unlikely to even make the ballot.   Michael Guerin

Meet the new Trotting Master – Sundees Son. The rising New Zealand star has capped a great season by being crowned the 2018/19 Australian Pacing Gold Trotting Master champion following his heroics in Auckland over the past week. Prepared by father/son combination Robert and John Dunn, the Majestic Son gelding claimed both North Island features at Alexandra Park which catapulted him to the lead passing Victorian mare Dance Craze in the process. With Auckland playing host to the two final legs of the six race series, the title was very much alive with connections of Dance Craze electing to remain local while New Zealand’s best gathered in preparation of claiming the rich prizes on offer. And Sundees Son took the lot. The four-year-old scored a brilliant victory in the $100,000 ANZAC Cup before returning a week later to take the $150,000 Rowe Cup in devastating fashion which also propelled him to victory in the race to be crowned the Totting Master for the current term. The Trotters Grand Circuit commenced in 1999. In 2012, the Grand Circuit was revamped with the Trotters competing in a stand-alone branded series, Trotting Masters. Points are awarded during the Circuit, 100 points for a win, 60 points for second, 40 points for third, and so on, to last placing. In his 12 starts throughout the season, Sundees Son amassed more than $183,000 while taking his overall earnings past $243,000. Sundees Son will next start in the $125,000 Ruby on Jewels day at Addington on June 1. The six leg Australian Pacing Gold Trotting Masters series starts in November with the Dominion in Christchurch before heading to Melbourne for the Inter Dominion, Great Southern Star and Australian Grand Prix while the series concludes in Auckland with the Anzac and Rowe Cups. The full list of Australian Pacing Gold Trotting Masters winners for the season were Marcoola (Dominion), Tornado Valley ( Inter Dominion), Dance Craze (Great Southern Star), Big Jack Hammer (Grand Prix) and Sundees Son (ANZAC & Rowe Cups). The top five point scorers were; Sundees Son (200 points) Dance Craze (160) Speeding Spur (143) Lemond (120) Marcoola (108) Sundees Son is raced by his North Canterbury based breeders Colin and Nancy Hair while being prepared by Robert and John Dunn.   Chris Barsby

Harness racing driver John Dunn grabbed the biggest race of his career when Sundees Son won the $156,000 Gr1 Rowe Cup tonight at Alexandra Park. Fresh from his dazzling win in the Gr1 Anzac Cup last week over the mobile sprint trip of 2200m, Sundees Son had to prove his toughness tonight over the extreme distance of 3200m from a standing start and he did so in convincing fashion. The Majestic Son gelding was away quickly from his unruly second row draw and Dunn bided his time near the back of the field before taking closer order with a lap to go. After finding the front at the winning post for the last time, all John Dunn had to do was sit quietly and the horse did the rest. Sundees Son had the field in trouble at the final turn and he cruised home under his own steam to win in what could only be described as a dominant victory for the Robert Dunn trained 4yo. For John Dunn the win meant a lot. "I settled a lot closer than I thought I would and they sort of backed off the speed a little bit and this horse he can stay as well as sprint so it went a bit to plan. "This race is like the New Zealand Cup for trotters, and I got beat so narrowly in the New Zealand Cup, so this would have to be my best win," he said. "Dad deserves this one. Last week was his first group one with a trotter so tonight will be massive for him as well," he said. Gallant in defeat was defending champion Speeding Spur who trailed and battled on well for second. The John and Josh Dickie trained trotter was having his last race in New Zealand and is now heading for a North American campaign before returning to New Zealand to stand at stud next season. Sundees Son trotted the 3200m stand in 4-06.2. The last 800m was run in 58.2 seconds and the final 400m in 28.5. Sundees Son winning the Rowe Cup   Harnesslink Media  

Four year old trotter Sundees Son put on a powerful display to win tonight's Gr1 $102,000 H R Frisken & Sons Anzac Cup at Alexandra Park. Trained in Canterbury by Robert Dunn and driven by John Dunn, Sundees Son looked a forlorn chance in the feature trot after he settled last in the 13 horse field while another classy Canterbury trotter Marcoola ran smart sectionals at the head of the field. Still a clear last at the 900m Sundees Son showed dazzling speed to loop the field to the death seat at the 600m before putting a gap in them at the turn and running home to win easily under his own steam. Lemond went his usual honest race for second with Majestic man running home well for third. Sundees Son (Majestic Son - Stardon) trotted the mobile in 2-41.6 only 0.3 outside the New Zealand record of 2-41.3 held by Marcoola. The last 800m was trotted in 57.6 with a closing 400m in 28.4 seconds. The mile rate was a slick 1-58.2 for the 2200m. John Dunn put his improvement this season down to the hard racing the gelding had as a two and three year old.  "He got harded up as a 2yo with a lot of racing and then at three he backed up with more racing. It really mentally and physically toughened him up," he said. "It was a good effort for a four year old to take on the open class trotters and beat them. "A lot of credit has to go to Craig Edmonds. He has done a great job around home mucking around with his shoeing and mentally getting this horse ready as well, so credit to him," he said. Sundees Son is currently at the top in the 4yo Harness Jewels Ruby Leaderboard with Majestic Man sitting in second place.   Harnesslink Media

The Robert Dunn filly Spellbound continued on her winning way yesterday in the Caduceus Club of Southland/Alabar Fillies Classic but she was pressured at the finish by first starter Stylish Memphis. Spellbound lead from the start and was allowed to get away with some soft sectionals. Stylish Memphis, a half-sister to the 2016 winner Delightful Memphis, got within a head of the winner but the post came up just in time for Spellbound. “That horse (Stylish Memphis) had trialled well so it wasn’t a surprise. It was a stroll around and a sprint up the straight. Halfway down the straight I was confident. The last wee bit I wasn’t” said driver John Dunn whose father Robert trains Spellbound. She was sold at the 2018 Sale of the Stars for $17,000 as Major Return, but was renamed Spellbound. The the Witches Of Westview Syndicate share in the ownership of the Art Major filly with the Westview Racing Number 19 Syndicate.The syndicates have some Southlanders as members, including Bruce Sutherland, local breeder Mark O’Connor; his brother Stephen O’Connor, Mike Pero Real Estate Agent Daryl Spence and the Manager of McCallum’s Dry Cleaning Paul Harrington. The winning syndicating watching her come into the birdcage - Photo Bruce Stewart. The official group photo - Photo Bruce Stewart    She’s out of the Armbro Operative mare Return To Gold which won four races and it's the filly’s third win in as many starts. It was the second time father and son have won this race. Yankee Dream won the classic in 2009. “Right from day dot she showed a bit. She’s well gaited and has good manners and that’s why we’ve had a go at these early two year old races. She’ll have a wee break now and we’ll look at a Sires Stakes Heat.” Dunn’s second win came in the $40,000 Yaldhurst Hotel Northern Southland Cup with Henry Hubert. After bungling the start Henry Hubert finally settled into his gait with only favourite Funatthebeach behind him. Royal Bengal lead early before Smokin By took over. Alta Maestro was then taken to the front ensuring there was plenty of early pace in the 2700 metre feature. Smokin By then popped out of the trail and took up the running again with 1600 metres to go. With a lap to run the one off line started to form lead by Tact Maggie, Eamon Maguire, AG’s White Socks and Henry Hubert got onto the train. Funathebeach took up the inside running line. With 600 metres to run Henry Hubert was last and nothing in front was wanting to move. So in what turned out to be the winning of the race Dunn let Henry Hubert run and he showed sharp speed to move within striking distance of a battling Smokin By and Tact Maggie. Dunn pinched a bit of a break at the top of the straight and held on to win. In a driving finish Henry Hubert and John Dunn on the inside hang on to beat Ricky May and A G's White Socks - Photo Bruce Stewart.  “I couldn’t really get him going early in the race after missing away so I had to wait for the 600. He felt super once he got pacing and to hold off A G’s White Socks was a good effort,” he said. A G’s White Socks got within a head of Henry Hubert with Funatthebeach a further three and a quarter lengths back in third. Dunn says the horse will go home now and head towards the Easter Cup. “We just have to get that standing start ironed out. We’re also looking at perhaps the Taylor Mile and The Messenger then the Jewels.” The winning time was 3-20.6, 0.5 outside the race record held by Isaiah. The win was the four year old's fourth this season and puts him in the top five for the end of season Harness Jewels.   Bruce Stewart

As reported by Stuff, one of harness racing's brightest young prospects is one of seven people charged after a long-running inquiry into alleged race-fixing and drugs in the industry.  Police confirmed they have charged seven people in relation to Operation Inca, which culminated in raids on 10 harness racing stables in Canterbury, ManawatÅ« and Invercargill on Tuesday. More raids are understood to be happening on Wednesday.    Read the full story here   Martin van Beynen and Mat Kermeen  

As reported by Stuff a wealthy Christchurch punter whose home was raided in a high-level police investigation into corruption in harness racing says police will come up empty-handed.  Harness racing identities have been interviewed by police following morning raids on 10 stables throughout the country, following a long-running inquiry into alleged race-fixing, corruption and drugs in the sport.  Police executed search warrants on stables in Canterbury, Invercargill and ManawatÅ«. Figures interviewed included Natalie Rasmussen, John Dunn, Blair Orange, Nigel McGrath and Andrew Stuart.  Christchurch car industry king pin, racehorse owner and major punter Graham Beirne, speaking to Stuff from Bali where he is on holiday, said he had heard about the raids on Canterbury trainers and knew police wanted to interview him. "I'm a suspect put it that way. The police have been to our place this morning but I'm not there. All I have to say is one word: nonsense. Read the full Stuff story here   Martin van Beynen and Mat Kermeen Stuff Website

The pressure is on to find genuine open class pacers for Cup Week and the lead up to the November feature. So it's good news to hear that one of the real up and comers from last season Captain Dolmio is close to racing. Former trainer Matt Brinsdon jogged the horse up for six weeks before he was sent north to John Dunn at Woodlands Beach. “He’s been there near a month. There are no signs of any niggles at this stage,” he said. Last season the Grinfromeartoear gelding won three races including the Summer and Tuapeka Cups. In his last two starts of the season he ran third behind Lazarus and Heaven Rocks in the Superstars Championship. Lazarus’s winning time was 2-16.7 for the 1950 metres a mile rate of 1-52.8. He finished his season off by running second to Heaven Rocks in the Easter Cup which was won in 3-58.7. He then came back for the new season and won a workout and trial in August last year but unfortunately suffered a leg injury and his preparation towards the New Zealand Cup had to be scrapped. “His injury was a lot like bone concussion and shin splints on his hind leg, if you can imagine the top of your bone having a whole lot of pin cracks in it. Once we found the problem we injected the bottom and the top with pain killers. He was as sound as a bell. Never though we could have raced him, he could have ended up shattering the leg so we had to give him four months. But we ended up giving him the best part of eight months. He’s done very well during his time out. He’s strengthened and developed.” Brinsdon thinks Captain Dolmio may be at the workouts in a few weeks and says the aim at this stage is to have him back at the races in the middle of next month.   “John is happy. He’s jumping around so that’s a positive start.” The rising seven year old is raced by the enthusiastic and well travelled Captain Dolmio Syndicate. “She’s been a quiet old time for the syndicate.” The Dolmio Grin at Addington                              The Syndicate has bred from Captain Dolmio’s dam Kates Rock. They have an Art Major colt which is a weanling and the mare is in foal to Always B Miki. Brinsdon hasn’t started jogging his new seasons team which includes an Art Major mare, a Mach Three brother to Phantom Grin ‘that broke in pretty nice’ and an A Rocknroll Dance two year old out of the Pacific Rocket mare Shezza Duchess. “He just needs a bit of time. He’s a big gangly horse so he might be a late three year old or four year old. He paces along nice and wants to run. He had a few issues with steering when I got him back in the cart. He wasn’t playing the game but he’s come right.”    Bruce Stewart Southland Harness Racing

Harness racing trainer Robert Dunn and his son John Dunn have each been fined $7000 for producing horses to race when not free of a prohibited substance. The horses in question were Billy Badger, Rishi and Hayden's Meddle and all have been disqualified from their race wins at the Nelson two day meeting in June last year, with Billy Badger disqualified in both wins he had at the meeting. On the 4th July 2017 the New Zealand Racing Laboratory issued Analytical Reports indicating the presence of caffeine in four swabs taken from horses racing at Nelson on the 9th and 11th of June 2017. This started a lengthy investigation into why and how this stimulant (caffeine) came to be in the system of the winning horses. Full details below:   BEFORE A JUDICIAL COMMITTEE OF THE JUDICIAL CONTROL AUTHORITY UNDER THE RACING ACT 2003 IN THE MATTER of the Rules of Harness Racing BETWEEN RACING INTEGRITY UNIT Informant AND RJ DUNN Respondent AND JR DUNN Respondent Judicial Committee: Mr Tangi Utikere (Chairman) Mr Russell McKenzie (Committee Member) Parties: Mr Neil Grimstone (for the RIU) Dr Leo Molloy (Lay Advocate for the Respondents) Informations: A6412, A6413, A6414, A6415, A6416, A6417, A6418 and A6419 WRITTEN DECISION OF JUDICIAL COMMITTEE DATED 28 MARCH 2018 FACTS [1] The Respondents, Mr RJ Dunn (Licensed Public Trainer) and Mr JR Dunn (Licensed Open Horseman) each face four charges under the New Zealand Rules of Harness Racing. [2] The charges are detailed in Informations A6412, A6413, A6414, A6415, A6416, A6417, A6418 and A6419. They collectively allege breaches of the Prohibited Substance Rule: Rules 1004(1), (1A), (3), (3A) and (4) of the New Zealand Rules of Harness Racing. [3] The relevant Rules are as follows: “Rule 1004 (1) For the purpose of this rule a horse is presented for a race during the period commencing at 8.00 a.m. on the day of the race for which the horse is nominated and ending at the time it leaves the racecourse after the running of that race. (1A) A horse shall be presented for a race free of prohibited substances.… (3) When a horse is presented to race in contravention of sub-rule (1A) or (2) the trainer of the horse commits a breach of these Rules. (3A) When a person is left in charge of a horse and the horse is presented to race in contravention of sub-rule (1A) or (2) the trainer of the horse and the person left in charge both commit a breach of these Rules. (4) A breach of sub-rule (1A), (2), or (3A) is committed regardless of the circumstances in which the. . . prohibited substance came to be present in or on the horse.” [4] The relevant Penalty Provision provides as follows: “Rule 1004(7) Every person who commits a breach of sub-Rule (2) or (3) shall be liable to: (a) a fine not exceeding $20,000.00; and/or (b) be disqualified or suspended from holding or obtaining a licence for any specific period not exceeding five years.” [5] The specific Informations alleged: Information No A6412 THAT, on 9 June 2017 Robert John DUNN (together with John Robert DUNN) being the trainer or person left in charge of the standardbred RISHI presented the horse to race in Race 2, the CAVALIER TROTTING PRODUCTS/THE POINT OF SALE CO. MOBILE PACE, at the Nelson Harness Racing Club’s meeting with a prohibited substance, namely caffeine, in its system in breach of the Prohibited Substance Rule: rules 1004(1), (1A), (3), (3A) and (4). And you are therefore liable to the penalties which may be imposed under rule 1004(7). The horse, RISHI, is subject to a mandatory disqualification from the race under rule 1004D or rule 1004(8) and is liable to disqualification up to 5 years under rule 1004(8). Information No A6413 THAT, on 9 June 2017 Robert John DUNN (together with John Robert DUNN) being the trainer of the standardbred HAYDEN’S MEDDLE, presented the horse to race in Race 7, the HARDY'S BAR & TAB MOBILE PACE, at the Nelson Harness Racing Club’s meeting with a prohibited substance, namely caffeine, in its system in breach of the Prohibited Substance Rule: rules 1004(1), (1A), (3), (3A) and (4). And you are therefore liable to the penalties which may be imposed under rule 1004(7). The horse, HAYDEN’S MEDDLE, is subject to a mandatory disqualification from the race under rule 1004D or rule 1004(8) and is liable to disqualification up to 5 years under rule 1004(8). Information No A6414 THAT, on 9 June 2017 Robert John DUNN (together with John Robert DUNN) being the trainer of the Standardbred BILLY BADGER presented the horse to race in Race 10, the SPEEDY SIGNS MOBILE PACE, at the Nelson Harness Racing Club’s meeting with a prohibited substance, namely caffeine, in its system in breach of the Prohibited Substance Rule: rules 1004(1), (1A), (3), (3A) and (4). And you are therefore liable to the penalties which may be imposed under rule 1004(7). The horse, BILLY BADGER, is subject to a mandatory disqualification from the race under rule 1004D or rule 1004(8) and is liable to disqualification up to 5 years under rule 1004(8). Information No A6415 THAT, on 11 June 2017 Robert John DUNN (together with John Robert DUNN), being the trainer of the standardbred BILLY BADGER presented the horse to race in Race 8, the NELSON PINE INDUSTRIES NELSON WINTER CUP, at the Nelson Harness Racing Club’s meeting with a prohibited substance, namely caffeine, in its system in breach of the Prohibited Substance Rule: rules 1004(1), (1A), (3), (3A) and (4). And you are therefore liable to the penalties which may be imposed under rule 1004(7). The horse, BILLY BADGER, is subject to a mandatory disqualification from the race under rule 1004D or rule 1004(8) and is liable to disqualification up to 5 years under rule 1004(8). Information No A6416 THAT, on 9 June 2017 John Robert DUNN (together with Robert John DUNN) being the person left in charge of the standardbred RISHI presented the horse to race in Race 2, the CAVALIER TROTTING PRODUCTS/THE POINT OF SALE CO. MOBILE PACE, at the Nelson Harness Racing Club’s meeting with a prohibited substance, namely caffeine, in its system in breach of the Prohibited Substance Rule: rules 1004(1), (1A), (3), (3A) and (4). And you are therefore liable to the penalties which may be imposed under rule 1004(7). The horse, RISHI, is subject to a mandatory disqualification from the race under rule 1004D or rule 1004(8) and is liable to disqualification up to 5 years under rule 1004(8). Information No A6417 THAT, on 9 June 2017 John Robert DUNN (together with Robert John DUNN) being the person left in charge of the standardbred HAYDEN’S MEDDLE presented the horse to race in Race 7, the HARDY'S BAR & TAB MOBILE PACE, at the Nelson Harness Racing Club’s meeting with a prohibited substance, namely caffeine, in its system in breach of the Prohibited Substance Rule: rules 1004(1), (1A), (3), (3A) and (4). And you are therefore liable to the penalties which may be imposed under Rule 1004(7). The horse, HAYDEN’S MEDDLE, is subject to a mandatory disqualification from the race under rule 1004D or rule 1004(8) and is liable to disqualification up to 5 years under rule 1004(8). Information No A6418 THAT, on 9 June 2017 John Robert DUNN (together with Robert John DUNN) being the person left in charge of the standardbred BILLY BADGER presented the horse to race in Race 10, the SPEEDY SIGNS MOBILE PACE, at the Nelson Harness Racing Club’s meeting with a prohibited substance, namely caffeine, in its system in breach of the Prohibited Substance Rule: rules 1004(1), (1A), (3), (3A) and (4). And you are therefore liable to the penalties which may be imposed under rule 1004(7). The horse, BILLY BADGER, is subject to a mandatory disqualification from the race under Rule 1004D or rule 1004(8) and is liable to disqualification up to 5 years under rule 1004(8). Information No A6419 THAT, on 11 June 2017 John Robert DUNN (together with Robert John DUNN) being the person left in charge of the standardbred BILLY BADGER, presented the horse to race in Race 8, the NELSON PINE INDUSTRIES NELSON WINTER CUP, at the Nelson Harness Racing Club’s meeting with a prohibited substance, namely caffeine, in its system in breach of the Prohibited Substance Rule: rules 1004(1), (1A), (3), (3A) and (4). And you are therefore liable to the penalties which may be imposed under rule 1004(7). The horse, BILLY BADGER, is subject to a mandatory disqualification from the race under rule 1004D or rule 1004(8) and is liable to disqualification up to 5 years under rule 1004(8). PRELIMINARY MATTERS [6] In a Minute (dated 24 February 2018), the Committee noted that it was in receipt of the Notices of Appointment, copies of the Informations, the Charge Rules and Penalty Provisions and an Authority to Charge Letter from the General Manager of the Racing Integrity Unit, Mr M Godber. It also detailed that following a teleconference on 23 February, guilty pleas were entered to all charges on behalf of the respondents. A timeframe for the provision of written Penalty Submissions from both parties was set, and they have now been complied with. As such, we are now in a position to issue a full decision. SUBMISSIONS [7] The RIU have submitted the following agreed Summary of Facts: Mr Robert John DUNN is a Public Trainer with Harness Racing New Zealand and runs two stables. Mr Robert DUNN primarily runs the North Island stable in Pukekohe while son John Robert DUNN is the stable foreman at the Woodend Beach stable. John DUNN was the person in charge of the horses that raced out of the Woodend Beach stable at the Nelson HRC meeting on 9th and 11th June 2017. Informations A6412, A6416. RISHI is a 4 year old Bay gelding and is trained by Public Trainers C D Edmonds and Miss A D Edmonds. RISHI went to the Woodend Beach stable of R J Dunn on 5 April 2017. C D & Miss A D Edmonds entered a horse movement notification for RISHI to trainer R J Dunn from 17 May 2017 to 30 May 2017 and 6 June 2017 to 11 June 2017. RISHI was owned by Miss M F Nunan. RISHI has raced 5 times for 4 wins and stakes of $19,450 as at 1 September 2017. RISHI was correctly entered and presented to race at the Nelson Harness Racing Club meeting at Richmond Park Raceway on 9 June 2017. RISHI was driven in Race 2, the CAVALIER TROTTING PRODUCTS/THE POINT OF SALE CO. MOBILE PACE by Mr J Dunn, winning the race and a stake of $5,000. Following the race the Stipendiary Stewards ordered that RISHI be post-race swabbed. The race was programmed to start at 11.38am with the gelding entering the swab box at 11.58am. Swabbing Steward Ms A Daly obtained a urine sample from the gelding at 12.00pm. The urine sample was taken in the presence of stable representative M Johnson. The urine sample was recorded with the Sample number 133342. Mr John Dunn does not contest the taking of the sample. Informations A6413, A6417. HAYDEN’S MEDDLE is a 4 year old Bay gelding and is trained at the Woodend Beach stable of Public Trainer Mr Robert John DUNN. HAYDEN’S MEDDLE is owned by W S Sparks and Mrs U I Sparks. HAYDEN’S MEDDLE has raced 22 times for 3 wins and 10 placings and stakes of $25,625 as at 1 September 2017. HAYDEN’S MEDDLE was correctly entered and presented to race by trainer Mr Dunn at the Nelson Harness Racing Club meeting at Richmond Park Raceway on 9 June 2017. HAYDEN’S MEDDLE was driven in Race 7, the HARDY’S BAR & TAB MOBILE PACE by Mr J Dunn, winning the race and a stake of $4,125. Following the race the Stipendiary Stewards ordered that HAYDEN’S MEDDLE be post-race swabbed. The race was programmed to start at 2.22pm with the gelding entering the swab box at 2.40pm. Swabbing Steward Ms A Daly obtained a urine sample from the gelding at 3.00pm. The urine sample was taken in the presence of stable representative Mr G Lane. The urine sample was recorded with the Sample number 133351. Mr John Dunn does not contest the taking of the sample. Informations A6414, A6418. BILLY BADGER is a 4 year old Bay stallion and is trained at the Woodend Beach stable of Public Trainer Mr Robert John DUNN. BILLY BADGER is owned by R K Gordon and Mrs A L Gordon. BILLY BADGER has raced 32 times for 6 wins and 8 placings and stakes of $74,328 as at 1 September 2017. BILLY BADGER was correctly entered and presented to race by trainer Mr Dunn at the Nelson Harness Racing Club meeting at Richmond Park Raceway on 9 June 2017. BILLY BADGER was driven in Race 10, the SPEEDY SIGNS MOBILE PACE by Mr J Dunn, winning the race and a stake of $4,400. Following the race the Stipendiary Stewards ordered that BILLY BADGER be post-race swabbed. The race was programmed to start at 4.04pm with the gelding entering the swab box at 4.25pm. Swabbing Steward Ms A Daly obtained a urine sample from the gelding at 4.30pm. The urine sample was taken in the presence of stable representative Mr G Lane. The urine sample was recorded with the Sample number 133345. Mr John Dunn does not contest the taking of the sample. Informations A6415, A6419. BILLY BADGER was correctly entered and presented to race by trainer Mr Dunn at the Nelson Harness Racing Club meeting at Richmond Park Raceway on 11 June 2017. BILLY BADGER was driven in Race 8, the NELSON PINE INDUSTRIES NELSON WINTER CUP by Mr J Dunn, winning the race and a stake of $6,875. Following the race the Stipendiary Stewards ordered that BILLY BADGER be post-race swabbed. The race was programmed to start at 2.59pm with the gelding entering the swab box at 3.21pm. Swabbing Steward Ms A Daly obtained a urine sample from the gelding at 3.25pm. The urine sample was taken in the presence of stable representative Mr W Sparks. The urine sample was recorded with the Sample number 133363. Mr John Dunn does not contest the taking of the sample. On the 4th July 2017 the New Zealand Racing Laboratory issued Analytical Reports indicating the presence of Caffeine in four swabs, 133342, 133345, 133351 and 133363 from the Nelson HRC meeting on 9th June and 11th June 2017. On 5th July 2017 Racing Integrity Unit Staff went to the Woodend Beach stable of Mr R Dunn, 39 Woodend Beach Road, R D 1, Kaiapoi, and advised stable foreman Mr John Dunn of the four irregular swab results returned from RISHI, HAYDEN’S MEDDLE and BILLY BADGER from the first day of the Nelson HRC meeting on 9th June 2017 and BILLY BADGER on the second day of the meeting on 11 June 2017. Mr J Dunn could not offer an explanation for the presence of Caffeine in the four swabs. Mr Dunn advised that they do not use any products that contain Caffeine. Mr Dunn and the staff were interviewed and numerous samples were taken and forwarded to the Racing Laboratory for analysis for the presence of Caffeine. Mr Dunn confirmed they had not changed any of the feed products or pre raceday treatments prior to the Nelson meeting. The horses were given boost on arriving at the course and all feed was taken to the meeting and prepared by Mr J Dunn. Precautions were taken to clean the feed bins on course prior to use. Mr Dunn provided the diary that is used to note all treatments given to the horses. None of the horses had been treated in the month prior to the race meeting. This was confirmed by the stable veterinarians from the Rangiora Vet Centre. On the 6th July 2017 the New Zealand Racing Laboratory issued Certificates of Analysis confirming the presence of Caffeine in the four swabs 133342, 133345, 133351 and 133363 from the Nelson HRC meeting on 9th June and 11th June 2017. Enquiries were made at the Richmond track and samples were taken for analysis. On 23rd August 2017 the New Zealand Racing Laboratory confirmed that none of the samples taken from the Richmond track contained Caffeine. On 24th August 2017 the New Zealand Racing Laboratory confirmed that none of the samples taken from the stable contained Caffeine. Since the notifications were received from the NZRL and to this point extensive and exhaustive investigations have been conducted by the RIU and the Respondents into the possibility of a third party being involved in the “knobbling” (the Committee assumes that the RIU refer to "nobbling"; we hereby refer to as such through the remainder of the Decision) of these horses. There was no evidence found to support this position. How the Caffeine came to be in the horses has not been established. This investigation unfortunately became public knowledge prior to the RIU visit to the Dunn stable at Woodend Beach. This “leak” was also investigated and found to have come from an overheard telephone conversation between two RIU staff members which was inadvertently overheard due to the “Bluetooth” capability of his vehicle whilst parked at the Rangiora Raceway. This has been dealt with internally. Mr R J Dunn has held a Public Trainer’s licence since 1977 and has trained over 1200 winners for stakes in excess of $13,000,000. Mr R J Dunn has had a previous breach of Rule 1004 for presenting WAIT AND SEE at the Westport TC on 28th December 2004 with an elevated TCO2 level and was fined $500. Mr J R Dunn has not held a trainers licence and was first licensed as a Junior Driver in 2000/01 and an Open Driver in 2007/08. Mr J R Dunn does not have a previous breach of Rule 1004. DECISION [8] As indicated in the Minute of the Judicial Committee dated 24 February 2018, as all charges have been admitted, we deem the charges to be proved. PENALTY SUBMISSIONS The RIU [9] For the RIU, Mr Grimstone filed written Penalty Submissions, which referred to the Sentencing Principles that are outlined in NZTR v Dyke (2008) at [2.2]; NZTR v Daly (2008). While these principles pre-date the passage of the Sentencing Act 2002, he also refers to the purposes and principles outlined in ss 7 and 8 of that Act. [10] Mr Grimstone identified that the investigation had been lengthy and detailed, due to the unusual circumstances of the positive swabs, which raised a possibility that the four horses in question had been ‘nobbled’. The RIU’s investigation had been unable to ascertain the source of the positive swabs or how the Caffeine came to be in the horses’ systems. He notes that while ‘nobbling’ cannot be ruled out, there is no evidence to support that proposition. They rely on the fact that the ‘nobbling’ aspect of the RIU investigation had been reviewed by a senior member of the Christchurch Criminal Investigation Branch, which found the RIU’s investigation to be “detailed, thorough and robust” (Para 3.4 of RIU Written Penalty Submissions dated 7 March 2018). [11] The RIU do acknowledge that neither of the respondents intentionally administered Caffeine to the horses in order to gain any competitive advantage. They found no animal remedies, or over the counter products containing Caffeine, nor evidence of any such items ever being purchased, upon inspection of the Dunn stables. [12] The RIU adopt the position, that although there are four breaches and two respondents, due to the nature of the substance and the surrounding circumstances, they should be viewed as one breach for the purpose of penalty. They also rely on the ‘totality principle’ as referred to in RIU v Finn (Para 55 of RIU v B Finn, 18 August 2015) to support this position. [13] The RIU has not specified any particular aggravating features, apart from the suggestion that the circumstances under which the four positive swabs returned a positive to Caffeine cannot be explained, despite extensive investigation. [14] In mitigation they identify that the respondents admitted the charges at the first opportunity, along with Mr J Dunn’s clear record under the rule and the fact that Mr R Dunn’s previous breach of the rule occurred in 2004. [15] The RIU have identified the cases of RIU v Whittaker (17 August 2015), RIU v Finn (18 August 2015) and RIU v Blackburn (18 August 2015)  as comparatives to the current offending. These cases span the harness and greyhound codes, but relate to instances where the prohibited substance involved was that of Caffeine. [16] In conclusion, the RIU submissions state that the culpability for a breach of the Prohibited Substance Rule can vary greatly. At one end of the spectrum there are cases where the respondent will be without fault, for example, where the trainer makes full and proper inquiries including with their vet, but received erroneous advice. The degree of culpability will be higher where there is a failure to make any enquiries and at the other end of the spectrum is where the trainer has been grossly negligent. [17] They contend that the circumstances surrounding the current charges are unique. As such, the RIU submit that due to the origin of the Caffeine remaining unknown, that this matter should sit at the mid to lower level regarding penalty. [18] Adopting the ‘totality principle’, they submit that the starting point should be a $6,000 fine, with reductions for early pleas and no previous similar breaches. They submit a total fine of $4,000 as appropriate, and do not seek any costs in this matter. The Respondents’ Penalty Submissions [19] Dr Molloy has filed written Penalty Submissions in his capacity as Lay Advocate for the respondents. [20] In those submissions, he identifies that the entire situation has been unfortunate and that the Dunns’ wish to focus on moving forward in a manner that minimises the impact that these charges have had on the Dunn stable and the wider reputation of the industry. [21] He identifies Caffeine as a ‘ubiquitous’ substance and provided documentation to support the suggestion that some equine bodies had argued that Caffeine was no longer considered as a performance enhancer. Dr Molloy goes on to suggest that Caffeine is everywhere and that the RIU could find no evidence to suggest that the Dunns’ administered or were involved in the administration of that substance. [22] In mitigation the submissions cite the early entering of guilty pleas simultaneously as the charges were laid and the fact that the Dunns had co-operated with the investigative process, assisting the RIU by providing statements and other associated documentation. Their good record was also cited, noting that the Dunns had led the harness premiership in recent times. [23] The Lay Advocate identified that as a family brand, the Dunns had been ‘shining lights’ across the standardbred code for 40 years and that both had excelled in the driving ranks, with Robert Dunn also having been an outstanding trainer of many champions. [24] Dr Molloy submitted that the RIU had found no evidence that the respondents were involved in this matter, other than that they had inadvertently presented the horses in question. No animal remedies or prescription medication containing Caffeine had been found at the Dunn stable. The Dunns had also sought to have this matter determined on the papers to minimise costs and inconvenience to all parties. [25] The respondents rely on two similar cases as comparators: RIU v Burrows (22 December 2013) and RIU v McGrath (22 December 2013) and have helpfully supplied copies of both decisions for the Committee. In both those cases, the prohibited substance in question was that of Caffeine. The only difference suggested by Dr Molloy was that the source of the Caffeine was identified in Burrows and McGrath. In both of those instances, the RIU did not pursue charges, but rather sought a ruling from the JCA for the disqualification of those runners. He submits that the same course of action should have applied in relation to the current charges. [26] Dr Molloy identifies that Mr R Dunn is the trainer of the horses in question and that Mr J Dunn ‘merely works for his father’. He also submits that the training operation is fully compliant with the New Zealand Harness Rules of Racing and specifically refers to Rule 823(2). In doing so, he suggests that the RIU “claim incorrectly that Robert trains the Auckland based team whilst John trains those based in Christchurch (sic)”. (Written Penalty Submissions of Dr Leo Molloy on behalf of the Respondents). [27] He goes on to submit that all charges against Mr J Dunn should be dismissed as there is no basis for the charges against him, and that he had no role in this matter. Further, it is suggested that a failure to do so would be “totally inappropriate, out of proportion, and grossly unfair.” (Written Penalty Submissions of Dr Leo Molloy on behalf of the Respondents). [28] In relation to penalty, Dr Molloy identifies that the Dunn brand has been “damaged beyond repair” (lbid). He also asks us to consider the fact that there is a considerable cost to the Dunns as a result of the loss of stake monies following the disqualification of the four runners. [29] We are also told that the Dunns have had to invest in surveillance systems and associated hardware at their Woodend stable as a result of these investigations. They have also incurred significant legal costs associated with advice that they had sought. Dr Molloy also questions why the RIU did not exercise rights available to them under Rules 505D, 211(2)(a), 224, 226(2)(b)(c) and 303(2) to follow up alternative avenues of investigation. [30] In summary, Dr Molloy’s written submissions sought a minimal penalty along with the dismissal of charges against Mr J Dunn “...simply because he’s not the trainer of these horses, never has been, and thus he should never have been charged with these offenses (sic). The RIU can give no rational or reasonable explanation as to why John has been charged.”  (lbid) [31] He also concurs with the RIU that if a financial penalty is to be imposed, then there should only be one penalty. The Lay Advocate described the RIU submission of a $4,000 fine as “risible” and referred specifically to the Australian Kavanagh and O’Brien cases. In those cases, multiple presentation offences involving cobalt attracted $4,000 and $8,000 penalties. REASONS FOR PENALTY [32] The Committee has considered all of the submissions placed before it and is grateful to both parties for the provision of written penalty submissions along with relevant decisions that they have referred to in those submissions. We have also been referred to an extensive number of previous cases, which we have reviewed, alongside other cases of relevance. [33] These charges relate to the Nelson Harness Racing Club’s Meetings in June 2017. While there has been some passage of time since this event, the relevant documentation was lodged with the JCA in late February. This lengthy time frame prior to lodgement indicates that attempts have obviously been made to fully explore matters during the investigation process. [34] It is clear that Messrs R Dunn and J Dunn have been involved in the harness racing industry over many years. They have entered guilty pleas to all charges, and the Committee proceeds to consider what is an appropriate penalty on that basis. [35] While the agreed Summary of Facts provides the context surrounding the charges, the Penalty Submissions of both parties have required a detailed level of analysis by this Committee. We also note that we are also very familiar with the Sentencing Principles that have been identified in the RIU’s submissions. [36] It is clear that the source of the Caffeine has been unable to be determined or explained, despite what appears to have been a vigorous and robust level of investigation. An inability to identify the source is not unusual in Prohibited Substance cases and is not peculiar to this case. In light of this, there obviously remains the possibility that the Dunns’ cannot be excluded as being responsible. The suggestion that the horses in question had been ‘nobbled’ has been reviewed by a member of the Police’s Criminal Investigations Branch and we are told that as a result, there appears to be no evidence to confirm that position. [37] The comparable cases that the RIU have submitted have one thing in common: the prohibited substance in each was that of Caffeine. While those cases are of some interest, they differ in that the source of the Caffeine was able to be identified in each of those cases. That is quite different to the circumstances surrounding the current breaches. The Committee has also referred to the decision of RIU v CD & AD Edmonds, 2016. In that case, the source of the prohibited substance, namely Ketoprofen, could not be determined, so has been of interest to us. [38] Dr Molloy has suggested that the cases of Burrows and McGrath are suitable comparisons. We reject that submission. Both of those cases relate to a ‘Request for a Ruling’ from the JCA, not a charge alleging a breach of the Rules. The prosecutorial discretion lies with the RIU as the Prosecuting Agency as to whether or not charges are laid. As indicated in the Letter authorising the charges, the RIU General Manager Mr Godber had indicated that: “After considering all the circumstances put forward…” (Authority to Charge Letter circulated to all parties, dated 20 February 2018), in relation to these charges, he authorised the lodging of the charges against Mr R Dunn and Mr J Dunn. Consequently, the Respondents have entered guilty pleas to all charges. [39] At para 11 of Burrows, it indicates that: “Syncrofen is an additive that is sold in feed merchants and on line in New Zealand. It is manufactured by SYNCROFLEX, a Blenheim based company that makes supplements to “support the human body as well as the canine & equine friend/ athlete during hard and demanding work and or simply to maintain and compliment a balanced diet to support optimum health and perform to full potential.” The product was advertised as “the natural and safe alternative, 100% free of banned substances, safe for competitions”. The content of para 11 of the Burrows decision was also evident in the McGrath decision (para 15). [40] Further, at para 13 of Burrows, it identifies that "Mr Burrows advised that he had asked his Vet, Mr Mike Brown, about “Syncrofen” and whether it would be safe to use on his horses. Mr Brown advised that it appeared safe to use.” The same advice was tendered by the trainer’s vet in McGrath (para 17). [41] It is clear that the source of the Caffeine (Syncrofen) was known in both of those cases, a point of difference with the current case, and the trainers were not regarded as being at fault. [42] While we have looked at the specific rules that Dr Molloy has referred to in paragraph [29] of this decision, we do not need to consider the inability of the RIU to exercise its regulatory discretion to follow up any of the alternative avenues of investigation that he suggests, as that is irrelevant for the purposes of determining penalty. [43] In a similar vein, Dr Molloy invites us to dismiss the charges that Mr J Dunn is facing, submitting that he has no responsibility for these offences. We find it curious that this request has been promulgated at this stage of proceedings as Mr J Dunn has accepted his responsibility via his guilty pleas. To indicate otherwise could be seen as a lack of remorse; however, we do not intend to delve further into that line of thought. It seems appropriate for us to again refer to Rule 1004(3A) which states: “When a person is left in charge of a horse and the horse is presented to race in contravention of sub-rule (1A) or (2) the trainer of the horse and  (emphasis added) the person left in charge both commit a breach of these Rules.” [44] In this context it is not an ‘either or’ situation, as both the trainer and the person left in charge bear responsibility. It is accepted that Mr J Dunn was the person “left in charge of a horse” and that the horses were “presented to race in contravention of sub-rule (1A)” at the Nelson HRC Meetings on 9 and 11 June 2017. Accordingly we decline the request to dismiss the charges against Mr J Dunn at this late stage of proceedings. [45] It is accepted that these are ‘presentation’ offences, rather than the more serious ‘administration’ offences. The RIU submit that due to the nature of the substance and the surrounding circumstances, this should be viewed as one breach for the purposes of penalty. We disagree. Effectively, three horses have been affected over four races, and all four races were won by the horses in question. All of the affected horses are owned by different connections, who have had to refund any stake monies they had received, as a result of the requirement to disqualify their horses from the Nelson HRC Meetings in June 2017. [46] We are not persuaded that the loss of stake monies as a result of the horses’ disqualifications, allegedly coming at a considerable cost to the Dunns, is to be considered as a significant factor in mitigation. As articulated in RIU v Bambry  (at para [37] of RIU v A Bambry, December 2017) we place little weight on this submission as any financial benefits gained were as a result of not racing in accordance with the Rules; by being presented to race with the Prohibited Substance Caffeine in the horses’ systems. This is part of the proper process as a result of the requirement to disqualify the horses from the races. [47] While it appears that the source of the Caffeine is unable to be identified, despite intensive investigation, the fact remains that RISHI, HAYDEN’S MEDDLE and BILLY BADGER have been presented to race in four races with a prohibited substance in their system. The strict liability lies with Mr R Dunn as the trainer and Mr J Dunn as the person left in charge to ensure that the horses were presented to race free of Caffeine. They have not discharged that responsibility and have pleaded guilty to all eight charges. We accept that the culpability for a breach of the Prohibited Substance Rule can vary greatly, but in our assessment, given the multiple nature of this failure, we place the level of offending at above the mid-range. [48] We also reject any suggestion that “the Dunn brand has been damaged beyond repair” (Respondents' Written Penalty Submissions). It is clear that the Dunns are long-standing industry participants; Context is important to any judicial matter, and it is evident that the RIU have accepted that they are unable to determine with certainty how the Caffeine came to be present in the horses’ systems. In our view, this does not lead to damage to a licence holder’s reputation to the extent put to us by Dr Molloy. [49] While we agree that the ‘totality principle’ is an appropriate consideration; we take the view that in the circumstances specific to this case, that principle can best be engaged when considering penalty, rather than when considering whether it would be more appropriate to treat the four positives as one breach. While the nature of the substance is relevant, and Dr Molloy points out that Caffeine is ubiquitous, we also note that it remains a prohibited substance under the Rules (New Zealand Rules of Harness Racing). [50] Previous cases, have identified that there are a number of approaches when arriving at an appropriate penalty for multiple breaches. In RIU v Lynch (RIU v A L J Lynch, 16 October 2015), when referring to another case, the RIU identified that: “In RIU v B Towers (15 May 2015), which related to 2 charges where the Defendant Towers failed to present his horse free of the prohibited substance namely Clenbuterol, the Committee in its written decision considered options for determining penalty for multiple charges. The Committee in Towers referred to RIU v McInerney noting that it was submitted to support the submission that when setting a quantum, the Committee could look to set the financial penalty for the second breach at a level which was half that of the original breach. An approach in line with that adopted in McInerney supports the view that to impose a quantum for each breach, albeit resulting from the same on-going action. As with the Beck decision the circumstances of Towers are slightly different to the present case, albeit the discussion on rationale for decision making offers something for this Committee to consider in determining penalty quantum for all 3 charges.”  (Emphasis added). [51] We have also reviewed and considered the Edmonds case, in which the respondents remained unaware of how the prohibited substance (Ketoprofen) came to be in the horse’s system. That case centred around one horse returning a positive on two occasions; 15 and 29 January 2016. In Edmonds, the RIU identified the JCA Penalty Guidelines starting point of an $8,000 fine for a first ‘presentation’ offence, and that was the final quantum they sought. The Committee in that case was unable to, on the facts, reach any conclusion as to how the prohibited substance came to be present in the samples taken (at para 28 of RIU v CD & AD Edmonds, 2016). [52] Further approaches regarding the application of the starting point for each breach in a multiple-breach situation have been articulated in RIU v Dalgety, 16  May 2017 and the recent case of RIU v Brosnan, 13 February 2018. In the Brosnan decision, the Committee stated: “As already noted the penalty guide proposes a fine of $8,000 for a so-called first presentation. If that were applied in respect of each of the three (3) breaches the fine would be $24,000.” The Committee then went on to apply a discount for mitigating factors, arriving at a fine of $19,000. [53] The JCA Penalty Guidelines identify a starting point of a $8,000 fine for a first ‘presentation’ offence. Given the eight charges relate to three horses over four races, we consider it appropriate to adopt a hybrid approach when determining an appropriate starting point. [54] The RIU have sought a total fine of $4,000 for this offending. In our view, that submission is far too lenient when the specific circumstances of this offending is taken into consideration. In our assessment, a total fine at this level for eight charges would fail to have regard to the very sentencing principles that the RIU have placed before us. [55] We have considered the two very recent cases of RIU v KD Townley, 12 March 2018 and RIU v BR Negus, 20 March 2018  where the prohibited substance was that of Ketoprofen. Each of those decisions involved only one horse in a singular race, for which the RIU in each case sought a monetary penalty of a $6,000 fine. The end result in Townley was a $7,000 fine and in Negus a $5,500 fine. [56] When these and other penalties, such as those applied in Edmonds and Brosnan, are considered alongside the $4,000 penalty being sought by the RIU, we consider the RIU submission to be significantly disproportionate to penalties applied for similar prohibited substance offending. [57] In a Minute (dated 26 March 2018) we provided the RIU with the opportunity to elucidate and/or expand on the rationale and reasoning that informed the position they had adopted in submitting a total fine of $4,000 as appropriate. [58] Their response (dated 27 March 2018), also made available to Dr Molloy, identified the following: “The J.C.A penalty guide provides for a starting point of an $8000 fine for first presentation in Harness and Thoroughbred Racing Codes. In this case the R.I.U took a reduction of 25% on the J.C.A penalty guide reflecting the R.I.U’s view that the positive result was a contamination but the R.I.U could not rule out third party involvement.”  (Para 3 of Informant's Further Penalty Submissions, 27 March 2018). “From that starting point the R.I.U considered a $4000 fine was reasonable, taking into account the trainers good record as previously mentioned, and that they pleaded guilty at the first available opportunity.”  (Para 4 of Informant's Further Penalty Submissions, 27 March 2018). [59] After considering those further Penalty Submissions, we maintain the view that the position of the RIU still fails to have regard to the multiple nature of these breaches. While the RIU indicate that they could not rule out third party involvement, we make the observation that that is often a consideration in presentation breaches where the source of the prohibited substance is not known. In this particular case, while a possibility, we are not prepared to make such a definitive finding. [60] In our view, we consider it appropriate to apply the $8,000 JCA Penalty Guidelines figure in respect of each of the breaches for RISHI, HAYDEN’S MEDDLE and BILLY BADGER on 9 June 2017. In relation to the second breach for BILLY BADGER on 11 June 2017, we apply a $4,000 figure; which is half of the starting point for BILLY BADGER’s first breach. This results in an initial starting point of a $28,000 fine. When we apply an appropriate adjustment to reflect the circumstances surrounding these breaches in accordance with the ‘totality principle’, we reduce that figure by just over one-third to $18,600. This becomes our amended starting point. [61] In mitigation, we have considered the early admissions of the breaches, the co-operation of the Dunns with the RIU investigation process, along with the previous records of both respondents, as confirmed by the RIU. While Mr R Dunn has a previous breach of the Prohibited Substance Rule (specifically Rule 1004), this dates back to 2004 and given the number of horses he has trained since then, we attach little weight to it for the purposes of this penalty. For these combined factors, we apply a discount of approximately 25 percent to the $18,600 starting point, resulting in a total fine of $14,000. This total is to be apportioned equally across both respondents. Having regard to the specific circumstances of these breaches, we consider this penalty to be fair, reasonable and proportionate to the offending. PENALTY [62] The end result is a total fine of $14,000, which is to be equally apportioned across both respondents. As such, Mr RJ Dunn is fined the sum of $7,000. Mr JR Dunn is also fined the sum of $7,000. COSTS [63] The RIU have indicated they are not seeking any costs, which is a generous position to adopt. While these charges have been dealt with on the papers, there has been a cost to the JCA. Each Respondent is ordered to make a partial contribution to JCA costs, that sum is set at $500 each. ORDERS [64] The disqualification of the four horses in question (RISHI, HAYDEN’S MEDDLE, BILLY BADGER and BILLY BADGER) has already been made under the provision of Rule 1004D, which was directed in an Order of the Judicial Committee dated 24 February 2018. Signed at Palmerston North this 28th day of March 2018. Mr Tangi Utikere Chairman   HARNESSLINK MEDIA

John Dunn knows American Tart may need every favour she can muster to claim group one glory at Addington tonight but believes she has already got the biggest one. The speedster mare is drawn wide on the front line in the $100,000 Breeders Stakes and while that doesn't sound ideal, driver Dunn sees it as a major tactical advantage over his three main rivals. Because American Tart has high gate speed and Dunn thinks that gives him a chance to at least get in front of Bonnie Joan, Better B Amazed and Utmost Delight, all of whom are drawn the second line. "She gets her chance now because even though she is wide I reckon I can stay in front of those other good mares," said Dunn. "And the way she went last start then she can probably win. But she is going to need nothing to go wrong because Bonnie Joan was super last start too." The latter clearly outpointed American Tart two weeks after sitting parked, with Utmost Delight a booming late third in the same race. So if American Tart is made to burn early by those inside her to get to the markers tonight, then Bonnie Joan would be favoured to beat her again. Better B Amazed worked too hard last start so might enjoy her second line draw tonight and ran third in this race last year to two Jewels winners in The Orange Agent and Piccadilly Princess so is good enough to win if the other favourites work too hard. Dunn warns punters to expect improvement from Yagunnakissmeornot, the trotting mare he unofficially co-trains with his father Robert, in the opening race at Alexandra Park tonight. "She badly needed her run last week but still made good ground in a fast last 800m," says Dunn. Back to her favourite 1700m distance and off the front line in a race where her fellow open class opponents are not at their peak, the sit-sprint specialist appeals tonight. Meanwhile, the Kiwis almost all have great draws at Menangle tomorrow night as some of our biggest pacing names try to qualify for Sydney harness racing's richest night. Lazarus (drawn the ace) and Heaven Rocks (unruly) contest preludes of the Miracle Mile, where if they both race up to anything like their best they should confirm their invites to next week's A$750,000 Miracle Mile. Their stablemates All U Need Is Faith, drawn the ace in a weakish heat of the NSW Derby and The Devils Own, also drawn the ace in a stronger heat should cruise through to next week's Derby. But Our Bare Knuckle, who was below peak fitness when beaten last week, has a wide draw and will probably be driven to qualify for the final in her Oaks heat. The barrier draw for the Miracle Mile will be held around 3pm NZ time on Sunday. Michael Guerin

Henry Hubert didn't like his one draw at Wyndham today (Sunday). After being well off the gate when it dispatched in the Nuggets Final, starter Ben Ward deemed that the horse behind Henry Hubert - Franco Rebel, was disadvantaged at the start and he called a false start. Henry Hubert was then sent to the outside of the second row for the re-run. But at the end of the day it didn't matter. Driver John Dunn settled the three year old last after the early rush with Vin Scully taking up the early lead. At the 1000 metre mark Dunn followed up a couple of improving horses and was putting the pressure on Vin Scully at the 800 metres. At the 600 metres Henry Hubert had taken the lead and there he stayed beating Vin Scully by two and a quarter lengths.  Easy winner in the rain - Henry Hubert - Photo Bruce Stewart. "The last two weeks he's drawn one which was probably the worst I could have drawn. He's been really good from outside the front line. There's no need for it (his behaviour) but he'll come to it," said Dunn. The Group Two Alabar Southern Supremacy Stakes in April on Diamonds Day is certainly one of the Bettor's Delight colt's late season aims.  "He's got the ability but his manners and his gate manners would need to improve for us to bring him down. But that's definitely the aim. He went massive in the Sires Stakes Consolation getting home in the sectionals like he did."  Dunn was full of praise for the Southern Harness scene, complimenting the area on it's various series. "We have Pitch Black trained by father in-law (Craig Edmonds with his daughter Aimee) and Borntobeastar which we hope to bring down for the Southland Trotting Oaks."  The $20,000 feature will be held at the Northern Southland Trotting Club's feature day on Saturday 10th March. Bruce Stewart Southland Harness Racing  

Driver John Dunn had a day to remember when he drove six winners on the ten race card at the Blenheim harness racing meeting yesterday. Dunn drove Loveyoutodoit to win the first race of the day, then won the last five races for his six win total. His other winners were Summer Wealth, Tyron Bettor's Ella, Diamonds N Cash, Lovetodream and Franco Saxon. John's father Robert trained five of the six winners, taking him to within four wins from Mark Purdon and Natalie Rasmussen who currently lead in the national trainers premiership. The Marlborough Cup was won by the Dunn trained mare Lovetodream (Bettor's Delight - Sue Dreamer) who finished powerfully from midfield to beat Franco Tristan by a half a length. Earlier in the day the Ben Waldron trained trotter One Over Dover easily won his third race in a row flying home from midfield to easily account for a large field in the R40 & faster trot. The meeting was notable for running all the races on the grass track, where traditionally they have been on the grit surface. The large fields and great racing suggest this idea was a success and might be a good option for future meetings. Lovetodream winning the Marlborough Cup   Harnesslink Media  

Harness racing trainer Colin DeFilippi edged closer to 2000 winners when Izmok won easily at Addington last night. Izmok (Muscles Yankee - Belle Galleon) is a half-brother to brilliant trotter Stent who won thirty races for DeFilippi and owner Trevor Casey. Last night Izmok had a good sit on the outer and finished best when produced wide in the straight. He trotted the mobile 1950m race in a mile rate of 2-04.6 with closing splits of 61.7 and 30.7. Colin was confident Izmok would go a good race but said before the race, "he has missed some work because of the weather and was no certainty but he should go a nice race all the same".  DeFilippi is now sitting on 1999 wins after the win of Izmok and will surely reach the milestone of 2000 in the coming weeks if Izmok can carry on his winning way. Eden Franco put up a good stayers run later in the evening when winning for trainer Steven McRae. Driven by Craig Thornley, Eden Franco (Christian Cullen - Elisit Franco) led from the start and set up a torrid tempo in front. She was attacked by Sheree Tomlinson on Bet On A Rascal for the last 1000m but staved that horse off and went on to win in a quick 2-00.0 mile rate for the 2600m stand. The overall time was for the race was 3-14.0 with a closing 800m in 57.9 and 400m in 29.5 seconds Leigh Major caused a major headache for the TAB bookmakers when she pulled off a betting coup in the junior drivers mares race. Stephen Richardson from the TAB advised Harnesslink that Leigh Major had opened at $43.00 on the fixed odds win market the night before and there had been steady and late money for her right up until the race started.   Leigh Major closed at $10.00 on the final field win market and came from outside the second line to win narrowly by a nose beating another S.McRae trained runner in Tara Tutaia. Earlier in the night Black Art also had the punters cheering, dropping in from an opening quote of $6.00 the night before to close a clear favourite at $2.70 on the fixed odds win market. John Dunn the driver off Black Art had to survive an enquiry for possible breach of the push out rule with 1600m to go, but survived and gave young trainer Andrew Fitzgerald his first training win.   IZMOK winning at Addington Harnesslink Media

Young North Island harness racing participants will now have the opportunity to up-skill themselves thanks to the financial support of Croon Bloodstock and the NZ Equine Education Trust. Spokesperson, Anne Phillips, termed the concept as an "exciting one" for the future of harness racing in the North Island. She said the new industry initiative, known as the 'Croon Bloodstock Award' will enable North Island harness racing participants from all sectors of the industry to apply to the award fund for grants towards up-skilling. "The successful candidates will be people with a long-term future in harness racing, and who will use their expanded knowledge or experience to add value to our industry. "As well as targeting stud staff, drivers and trainers for stable or stud work experience opportunities, the grants will also be available to people who want to learn more about running a small business, not only to assist in their current positions but also to up-skill them to follow career paths in club/industry administration. A way to keep successful and talented young people in our industry," Phillips said. She said courses such as farrier, dentistry, computer skills and communication/media were just some options. The Award fund will be administered by New Zealand Equine Education Trust (NZEET), which has charitable trust status. To kick start 2017, the Croon Bloodstock Award Sub-Committee of NZEET Board Trustee; myself, sponsor; Rod Croon and Northern Region Harness tutor; Sally Waters have selected initiatives to get the grants underway," Waiau Pa-based Phillips said. Meanwhile, Phillips said current 'Premier Harness Racing Cadet', Mark Johnson, has had the opportunity to spend two weeks with the 'All Stars Stable' in Rolleston, as well as time with John Dunn at Woodend. Johnson thanked Croon Bloodstock and the Waikato Harness Racing Trust for the opportunity to have two weeks in the South Island learning new things from the different stables. "It was a good experience seeing how other trainers train their horses and vary their training strategies, and the different ways they liked having their horses driven in work. The opportunity to drive at Nelson, being around exciting horses like Smolda and Cash N Flow, and driving work on the beach were certainly highlights of the trip," Johnson said. "Thank you to the All Stars team and John for their willingness to teach me,” he added. In other news Phillips said Waiuku horsewoman, Michelle Hackett, is currently working on a computer course focusing on Excel to up-skill her for the work she has been doing with the northern cadets. "A communication and media course will be held at Franklin Park on August 12 and 13. Many of our younger drivers will remember the very popular and successful media training courses, held a few years ago with Dick Weir. Unfortunately, a lack of funding brought these to a halt but with the Croon Bloodstock Award we are again able to offer this opportunity. "A vibrant and enthusiastic facilitator Dick builds on each individual’s strengths, giving them strategies to improve their communication skills and develop confidence in media situations. In recent years Dick has worked with Trackside providing training for presenters, and in an on-going mentoring role. “Since 1996 Dick has been employed by New Zealand Racing Board to train not only Trackside presenters, but also studio directors, executives and bookies in communication and media skills," said Phillips. As Weir put it: “Everyone can be an excellent communicator in their own way, it’s just that training can help them reach their potential," Weir said The scholarship is available for 2017 and 2018, at the end of this period Croon will evaluate and review the scholarship. Croon is a Current Director of the New Zealand Racing Board, a former Chairman of Northern Harness Racing, former Auckland Trotting Club President and current vice president of the Auckland Trotting club. Phillips said he was a successful owner and breeder in New Zealand and a leading vendor at the Australasian Yearling Sale. "Rod has said that this award fund is a way to give back to an industry that he is passionate about and that has given him much pleasure and excitement over many years. It is also a way of giving something to the future of harness racing, by helping people in the industry up-skill and to be better prepared for the times ahead. For anyone interested in attending the communication / media course in August, or accessing the grant, please contact Anne or Sally for further details on how to apply. Anne Phillips: phillips@heritagefarm.co.nz   |   Phone: 021 672 959 Sally Waters: sallywaters@xtra.co.nz   |   Phone: 027 494 2850

As far as exceeding expectations go, Bite The Bullet well and truly met the brief at Addington on Sunday. So much so in fact that John Dunn considered himself more than impressed with the four-year-old’s effort to produce a dashing final furlong to win in his first appearance since April of last year. “After such a long time away from the track, to produce an effort like that first up was pretty impressive,” Dunn said.  The Mach Three gelding, who ran sixth behind Lazarus in the Sires’ Stakes Final as a three-year-old, is owned by the Ashburton trio of Alan and Ian Neumann along with Brent Clarke and has endured a rather tumultuous last couple of years. He’s had two wind operations, the second coming after the first was unsuccessful and it’s been a long and slow build up to get back to the track. But judging by Sunday’s win, the wait has been worth it. “His work and everything leading up to the weekend had been really good, we thought he would go a good race. “But even half-way down the straight I thought he was just going to finish the race off strongly, but I didn’t really expect him to pick them up in the way he did. “He really flattened out and sprinted, to get to them as quick as he did left me pretty impressed.” With a record of four wins and seven placings from 23 starts and his wind issues, hopefully, behind him there’s a good platform from which Bite The Bullet can now launch from - although the direction he’s headed is still up in the air. As a Rating 70 pacer, options are limited but not scarce and being a part of the dual-located Dunn stable will has its advantages. Auckland is an option, particularly with the stake levels on offer, but Dunn is happy to take it day by day and see what transpires. “We haven’t worked that out what we will do next,” Dunn said. “There are options there but it’s a case of sitting down and figuring them out.” Bite The Bullet was one half of a driving double for Dunn on Sunday. He also saluted with the ever-improving son of The Pres, Red Hot Poker for Graeme Telfer. With 68 wins next to his name for the season, it’s not going to end quite as fruitful as some of his recent seasons but Dunn is still a happy man and he and his father Robert will go close to triple figures again in the training ranks. “We’ve got a really nice team due to come back to the track soon, some really talented types so that’s always exciting. “But it’s been a good season, the wins have come again and we have to be happy with what we have achieved.” Dunn sighted the emergence of the talented Captain Dolmio as one of his real highlights from the season. The former Southlander is back in work at Woodend Beach and will be aimed at a New Zealand Trotting Cup campaign in the spring. Matt Markham

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