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Harness racing trainer Kevin Townley has avoided disqualification but has been fined a further $15,000 for producing another horse to race when not free of a prohibited substance (Ketoprofen). The horse in question was Well Defined who won at the Timaru Harness Racing Club’s meeting held at Addington Raceway on 26 April 2018. This was Townley’s third breach of the same rule in less than three months. Full details below:   BEFORE A JUDICIAL COMMITTEE HELD AT CHRISTCHURCH IN THE MATTER of the New Zealand Rules of Harness Racing IN THE MATTER of Information No. A6425 BETWEEN Racing Integrity Unit KYLIE WILLIAMS Informant AND KEVIN DAVID TOWNLEY Public Trainer Respondent Judicial Committee: DM Jackson (Chair), RG McKenzie (Member) Rule Breach: 1004 (1A)(3)(4) RESERVED DECISION OF JUDICIAL COMMITTEE DATED 24 JULY 2018 1. Mr Townley admits a charge that he breached Rules 1004(1A)(3) & (4) by presenting WELL DEFINED at the Timaru Harness Racing Club’s meeting on 26 April 2018 with a prohibited substance in its system, namely Ketoprofen. Mr Townley admitted the breach at the first available opportunity and countersigned the information recording same and a penalty hearing in respect of this charge was scheduled for and heard by this Committee on 5 July 2018. 2. This is Mr Townley’s third breach of this rule in less than three months. The two previous breaches involved positive swabs for Ketoprofen taken from the same horse, WELL DEFINED, on 3 February 2018 and GEENA’S GIRL on 2 March 2018. Mr Townley was fined $7,000 by a Judicial Committee for the first breach and $11,000 by a different Judicial Committee for the second breach. That is a total of $18,000 in fines to date for ketoprofen breaches. 3. The rule provides: “1004 … (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. … (4) A breach of sub-rule (1A), (2), (3) or (3A) is committed regardless of the circumstances in which the TCO2 level or prohibited substance came to be present in or on the horse.” 4. Clause 5 of the Prohibited Substance Regulations provides that the therapeutic substance, Ketoprofen, is not prohibited when present at or below the mass concentration of 100mcg per litre in urine. 5. The consequences of a breach of the Rule are outlined in 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.” 6. The Rule also requires the mandatory disqualification of the horse pursuant to Rule 1004(8) and 1004D. The facts 7. The Summary of Facts presented by Mrs Williams records that the horse WELL DEFINED is owned by Mr Townley’s wife, Mrs M E Townley and is trained by Mr Townley. The horse was entered and presented to race by Mr Townley at the Timaru Harness Racing Club (at Addington) Meeting on 26 April 2018. It won the race it was entered in but the stake has not been paid out. 8. Following the race, the Stipendiary Stewards ordered that WELL DEFINED be post-race swabbed, which occurred. On 10 May 2018 the New Zealand Racing Laboratory reported Ketoprofen was detected in the sample taken. 9. Upon confirmation of the positive swab, Mrs Williams and the Manager of Stewards, Mr Nigel McIntyre, visited Mr Townley’s property and spoke with him. He advised that he took WELL DEFINED to the races in his own float and that the horse was one of two horses that he had raced that day. He could not offer an explanation for the presence of Ketoprofen in the urine sample taken from WELL DEFINED and could not advise when the horse was last treated with Ketoprofen. 10. The last bottle of “key injection” containing ketoprofen on the property was taken for testing by the Racing Integrity Unit on 16 March 2018. 11. A urine sample was taken from WELL DEFINED on 11 May 2018 with the laboratory reporting that sample as negative to Ketaprofen. 12. In accordance with his rights, Mr Townley asked that the reserve sample taken during the initial testing on race day be tested, which occurred in Sydney and which test confirmed the presence of Ketoprofen in the reserve sample. 13. Mr Townley has had 14 horses swabbed since the first positive swab with WELL DEFINED on 3 February 2018. Aside from the two subsequent further breaches, all other tests have been clear. 14. Mr Townley keeps a diary in which he enters treatments that have a withholding time and all of his drugs are kept in a safe. The safe is an initiative implemented after the first positive swab. Mr Townley now primarily uses a vet for pre-race day treatments that have a withholding time, although it seems that was not the case before the return of the earlier positive swabs when he administered treatments himself. 15. The Summary of Facts records that the source of the Ketoprofen cannot be accurately determined despite considerable enquiries. 16. Mr Townley has been training since 1986-87 initially in partnership with his father Mr D J Townley and then on his own from 1994/95 on to the present day and has trained over 460 winners in that time. He has held a licence in one form or another for over 50 years. 17. The Summary of Facts was largely accepted by Mr Townley although he informed the Committee that he did give Investigators an explanation for the presence of Ketoprofen in the urine sample, which was that he could not account for it because there was no record of it in his diary, which diary he has always kept, and further, because there was no Ketoprofen on the property (having been taken away on 16 March 2018). Mr Townley confirmed to the Committee that he had not treated the horse with Ketoprofen prior to the race. 18. Mr Townley openly conceded that he had used Ketoprofen in the past and that he had had bottles of Ketoprofen in his stables during the period of his two earlier swabs. However, the third positive swab had caused him to engage a vet, at considerable expense, to not only administer pre-race treatments, but also to advise him on the keeping of his stables, the use of treatments and the possible sources of Ketoprofen contamination. 19. Mr Townley was at pains to explain to the Committee that he had removed all possible contaminants, be they ointments, be they food, anything which he thought the Ketoprofen may have come into contact with or which by some process, created or transformed into Ketoprofen. Mr Townley emphasised that since he had involved a vet and disposed of these items he has had 7 horses swabbed, all of which have tested negative. He emphasised that this was a brief and isolated incident in the history of his stable for which he could offer no real explanation. Penalty Submissions 20. Mrs Williams presented written penalty submissions for which the Committee is grateful. Mrs Williams submitted that Mr Townley should be disqualified for a period of one (1) year or fined $18-20,000.00 or otherwise be penalised by way of a period of disqualification and fine. 21. Mrs Williams identified that the JCA guidelines suggest a starting point of $8,000.00 for a first offence of this kind and for a second offence a starting point of 2 years disqualification and a fine of up to $10,000.00. 22. Mrs Williams identified by reference to Mr Townley’s earlier fines of $7,000.00 and $11,000.00 that a fine on this occasion ought to be at least a fine of $18,000.00 (being the total of those two earlier fines). 23. Mrs Williams submitted that an aggravating factor here was the third positive swab in a two-month period and further, Mr Townley’s earlier breach in 2003 for a prohibited substance in Australia. 24. Mrs Williams referred the Committee to four decisions concerning breaches of this rule namely RIU v TW Mitchell (12 July 2012), RIU v R Brosnan (13 February 2018), RIU v C and A Edmonds (31 March 2016) and RIU v B Negus (20 March 2018). The Committee will discuss those decisions below. 25. Mrs Williams said that Mr Townley was to be given credit for the manner in which he had conducted himself during the enquiry, his admitting the breach at the first opportunity and otherwise being cooperative but the end result was that he had breached the rules for the third occasion and that that was unacceptable. Mrs Williams also sought the disqualification of WELL DEFINED under rule 1004(8) and costs of $1,250.00 for the testing of the reserve sample. 26. Mr Townley relied upon his explanation which the Committee has recorded above, and also brought two character witnesses with him, namely Mr Dean Hunter and Mr Bruce Dawson. 27. Mr Townley’s primary submission was that he ought not to be disqualified because it would be devastating to him not only because of the consequences (being at this age, the end of his training career), but also the personal pride and reputational damage which he will suffer. Mr Townley reiterated to the Committee that he was flabbergasted as to how this had occurred and could offer no explanation for the presence of the Ketoprofen in the horse’s system on this third occasion. 28. Mr Townley explained that he had purchased two bottles of “Key Injection” containing Ketoprofen in July 2017 and that he had only half a bottle left by the time the second positive swab was returned, which meant of a total of 15 doses available, he had given more or less one dose per horse in his team for approximately 10 or so months. 29. He emphasised that after the second swab and the removal of the bottles by Racecourse Investigators there was no Ketoprofen on the property. The absence of Ketoprofen from the property post 16 March 2018 was not disputed before this Committee. 30. Both parties addressed the Committee on the relevant penalty principles with Mrs Williams emphasising the key principles of denunciation and deterrence, that the punishment ought not to be disproportionate to the breach, the need to rehabilitate the offender and the overall interests of racing in promoting the presentation of horses for racing which are free from prohibited substances. Mr Townley accepted that those were the relevant sentencing principles and understood that the Committee must mark its disapproval of any breach of this rule, let alone a third breach of this rule, but emphasised that there was no need to further deter him given the fines already imposed on him and the steps he has taken to address the problem after the second positive swab. 31. Mr Townley called two men to give character evidence for him. The first was a Mr Dean Hunter who was a member of the New Zealand Police for 21 years and thereafter involved in asset recovery and otherwise the holder of a licence to train for many years. He told the Committee that he had known Mr Townley for 45 years and that he found him to be honest and trustworthy, that he was a man of considerable training skill and prowess who was a great mentor to him and someone who had, in Mr Hunter’s experience, always been careful around supplements and additives and was something of a stickler for compliance with the rules and in particular, the prohibited substance rule. Like Mr Townley, Mr Hunter suggested that after the second positive swab and the removal of Ketoprofen from the stables by the Racecourse Investigators the only possible source for the third positive swab was contamination. 32. Mr Hunter was at pains to emphasise Mr Townley’s integrity. 33. The second man who gave character evidence to the Committee was a Mr Bruce Dawson. Mr Dawson was for many years a Justice of the Peace and sat in a judicial capacity in the District Courts of the Otago/Southland area. Mr Dawson had visited Mr Townley’s stable on a number of occasions and was impressed with how clean it was and how well it was run and commented that he found Mr Townley to be “very fussy”. He said that given his personal experiences of dealing with Mr Townley, he was extremely surprised that he suffered three positive swabs in quick succession and in circumstances where there was no real explanation for the third positive swab at all. Mr Dawson suggested that this third charge should be dealt with more leniently because Mr Townley had done all he could reasonably do after the second positive swab to ensure compliance with the Rules. Mr Dawson was concerned for Mr Townley’s financial position noting the level of fine proposed and emphasised that disqualification would be catastrophic to Mr Townley. 34. Mr Townley concluded his penalty submissions by commenting that only a fool would continue to use or otherwise present horses to race with a prohibited substance when under investigation or otherwise charged for presenting horses with the same prohibited substance. He noted that this period of two or so months during which three positive swabs were returned, had already cost him $18,000.00 in fines and that the Committee ought to deal with this third breach differently than the two earlier breaches where he was perhaps slow to react. Mr Townley was distressed at the prospect of disqualification. Fixing a starting point 35. The JCA penalty guide provides suggested tariffs for a first and second breach but does not go further and suggest penalties for further or multiple breaches. That the guide does not go further is reflected in the penalties imposed in the decisions referred to by Mrs Williams, which vary both as to type and quantum or length. No two cases are alike and the Committee must start the penalty exercise by determining the level of culpability in the instant case. 36. We believe Mr Townley’s culpability to be in the low to mid range on this occasion. The Committee accepts that Mr Townley made a number of changes to his stable operation following the earlier positive swabs, which have seen his horses pass a number of subsequent urine samples with clear results. Mr Townley has hired a vet to administer all pre-race treatments and otherwise to advise on the possible source of the ketoprofen in the third positive swab noting that it is not disputed by the parties that there was no ketoprofen on Mr Townley’s property after the bottle of “key injection” was removed from the stables by Investigators on or after 16 March 2018. 37. In fixing culpability and accepting Mr Townley’s submissions as to his reduced culpability on this third occasion, the Committee has had particular regard to the evidence of Messrs Hunter and Dawson as to Mr Townley’s character. They gave credible character evidence which enables the Committee to accept that Mr Townley is at a genuine loss as to how Ketoprofen entered the horse’s system and that this was neither a deliberate or negligent act on his part. Further, that he has done everything he could do since the two earlier positive swabs to root out the problem and remove it. That Mr Townley has succeeded is supported by the clear swabs since enjoyed by his team of horses. This is not a case of Mr Townley stumbling on blindly to the problem and taking no steps to address it after the second positive swab. 38. Accordingly, we fix the starting point fine for this breach in isolation but having regard to the JCA Penalty Guide at $12,000.00. Aggravating Factors 39. We find the sole aggravating factor to be the third breach of the Rule within a period of no more than three months. For that aggravating factor alone we increase the starting point fine by $8,000.00 to $20,000.00. We disregard the Australian breach as historic and no longer relevant. Mitigating Factors 40. We find the following as mitigating factors: Mr Townley’s frank and prompt admission, the changes he has made to the recording and storing of medications, the removal of a large number of old medications and treatments from his stable, his use of a vet and otherwise his good history and reputation. 41. For those factors combined we will deduct $5,000.00 from the fine for mitigation. 42. If we approach the penalty on the basis of a fine only therefore, we would get to a fine of $15,000.00. However, the circumstances of a third breach within a short timeframe and the nature of the two earlier breaches mean that we must consider whether a fine is the appropriate remedy or whether, as is submitted by Mrs Williams, Mr Townley ought to be disqualified. Analysis – whether to go further and disqualify? 43. It is important at this juncture to record the primary purpose of disciplinary proceedings under the Rules of Harness Racing. Punishment is not the primary purpose. Rather, the purposes of disciplinary proceedings are set out in Clause 5, Fifth Schedule, Rules of Harness Racing and include: a) to ensure that racing is conducted in accordance with the code rules; b) to uphold and maintain the high standards expected of those participating in the sport of racing and the racing industry; c) to uphold and maintain the integrity of the sport of racing and the racing industry; d) to protect the participants in the sport of racing, the racing industry, and the public. 44. These principles originate from the Supreme Court judgment in Z v Complaints Assessment Committee [2009] 1 NZLR 1 and have been expressly adopted by the Code in the Rules. They are binding on a Judicial Committee and must be observed. 45. As already noted the decisions referred to by Mrs Williams varied significantly as to penalty and highlight that disqualification is, in fact, rare even in cases of multiple breaches. Indeed the only case of disqualification presented to the Committee was that of Mitchell whose original disqualification for three charges of presenting horses with elevated TC02 results of 12 months disqualification was reduced on appeal to 9 months and a fine of $4,500.00 noting that Mr Mitchell had previously been charged with presenting a horse with an elevated TC02 and fined earlier such that on that occasion it was in effect Mr Mitchell’s second, third and fourth offence across a period of several months. This case is different in kind to Mitchell in terms of duration, substance and culpability. 46. That this is the third breach in a short period means that the Committee ought to also consider the overall effect of the penalty on Mr Townley across the three penalties imposed on him in total. The Committee has considered Mr Townley’s submission to this effect and has determined that the totality principle is relevant and applicable here. 47. At the heart of the totality principle is the need for the punishment to meet the crime and that when arriving at an appropriate penalty for several breaches, a Committee must not only assess each breach individually, but also assess the licensee’s overall culpability and determine what effective penalty is appropriate for the totality of the licensee’s conduct. 48. Again, this is an acknowledgement that the penalty analysis is driven by the need to match the penalty with the gravity of the overall conduct. Further, factors such as age are relevant considerations that should be taken into account when ensuring that the overall end penalty is not crushing or unfair. 49. The totality principle is not limited to assessing one penalty for multiple breaches and extends to assessing successive but proximate penalties for separate events. Here where there have been three breaches that have resulted in three penalty hearings before three different Committees, the proper approach is for this Committee to reflect on what the appropriate overall penalty would have been if Mr Townley had been sentenced on all matters at the same time, and to adjust the penalty imposed for the third breach accordingly. What is required is an assessment of the cumulative effect of the penalties in combination with earlier penalties, so that the end penalty for the overall offending is not wholly disproportionate. 50. We have done this. The Committee accepts that the effect of disqualification on Mr Townley would have a crushing effect, would see him forced into early retirement and ruin his reputation. It would be a tragic end to a notable training career. It would see his stable cease operation and horses transferred to other stables. We accept that that is too harsh a penalty and would be wholly disproportionate to Mr Townley’s overall culpability. 51. This third breach is different in kind to the two earlier breaches and, stepping back, the Committee determines that denunciation and deterrence are served by a further fine on this occasion. Mr Townley confirmed to the Committee that he could afford to pay another fine. 52. We have considered totality in terms of a fine too. Adopting the end point fine outlined above and then stepping back and viewing the three fines together ($7,000.00 plus $11,000.00 plus $15,000.00) means a total overall fine of $33,000.00. 53. A fine sum of $33,000.00 is not disproportionate to the gravity of his breaches overall, namely across the three breaches of the Rule to date. 54. That is a great deal of money. It will hurt Mr Townley but it will not break him and importantly, it will serve as a warning to all licensees of the importance of strict adherence to the prohibited substance rule. 55. Accordingly, while Mr Townley has avoided disqualification on this occasion, the fine will not be further reduced for totality purposes. 56. Mr Townley is fined $15,000.00 for this third breach of the Rules. 57. The Committee further orders that the horse WELL DEFINED is disqualified per Rule 1004(8) from Monday, 30 July 2018. 58. Mr Townley is ordered to pay the costs of the reserve sample in the amount of $1,250.00. There will be no other orders for costs either of the Informant or of the Committee. DM Jackson Chair ________________________________________________ Harnesslink Media

Harness racing trainer Kevin Townley has been fined $11,000 for producing a horse to race when not free of a prohibited substance (Ketoprofen). The horse in question was Geen's Girl who won at Addington on the 2nd March 2018 but has since been disqualified. Mr Townley cannot categorically confirm how the Ketoprofen came to be in the horse’s system on race day but believes that a bottle of E-SE may have been contaminated after giving a horse both Ketoprofen and E-SE that was drawn up into the same syringe. Mr Townley believes that after drawing up the Ketoprofen and then drawing up the E-SE some of the Ketoprofen has been forced into the bottle of E-SE. This is the second breach of the same rule this season for Townley who was also fined $7000 back in March this year when another of his horses Well Defined tested positive to Ketoprofen after winning at Geraldine. The Committee was satisfied that a fine of $11,000 is an appropriate penalty in this case. They believed that such a penalty will satisfy the principal requirements of sentencing – that is to say, to punish the offender, to deter the offender and others in the industry and the need to maintain integrity and public confidence in harness racing.   Full details below: BEFORE A JUDICIAL COMMITTEE IN THE MATTER of the New Zealand Rules of Harness Racing IN THE MATTER of Information No. A7221 BETWEEN KYLIE ROCHELLE WILLIAMS, Racing Investigator for the Racing Integrity Unit Informant AND KEVIN DAVID TOWNLEY of Christchurch, Licensed Public Trainer and Open Driver Respondent Date of Hearing: 28 April 2018 Venue: Ashburton Racecourse, Ashburton Judicial Committee: Mr SC Ching (Chairman) Mr GJ Clapp (Committee Member) Present: Mrs KR Williams, the Informant Mr KD Townley, the Respondent Mr R Quirk, Stipendiary Steward (Registrar) Date of Decision: 30 April 2018 RESERVED DECISION OF JUDICIAL COMMITTEE The Charge [1] Information No. A7221 alleges that: On the 2nd March 2018, Kevin David TOWNLEY, being the registered trainer of the standardbred GEENA’S GIRL presented the horse to race in Race 8, the PAM & IVAN LAWSON HANDICAP TROT, at the New Zealand Metropolitan Trotting Club’s meeting with a prohibited substance, namely Ketoprofen, in its system. This is in breach of the Prohibited Substance Rule, Rule 1004(1A) (3)(4). The Rules [2] Rule 1004 of the Rules of Harness Racing provides as follows: (1) A horse shall be presented for a race free of prohibited substances. (2) Where a horse is taken, or is to be taken, to a racecourse for the purpose of engaging in a race otherwise that in accordance with sub-rule (1) the trainer of the horse commits a breach of these Rules. (4) A breach of these Rules under sub-rule (2) or sub-rule (3) is committed regardless of the circumstances in which the prohibited substance came to be present in or on the horse. [3] Mrs Williams presented a letter signed by Mr MR Godber, General Manager of the RIU, pursuant to Rule 1108(2) authorising the filing of the information. The Plea [4] Mr Townley had signed the Statement by the Respondent at the foot of the information form indicating that he admitted the breach of the Rule. He confirmed this at the hearing. Summary of Facts [5] (1) GEENA'S GIRL is a 4-year-old Brown mare and is trained by Mr Kevin David TOWNLEY. GEENA'S GIRL is owned by Mr Townley’s wife, Mrs M E Townley, Mrs K J Thomas, R N Campbell and G C Rugg. GEENA'S GIRL has raced 20 times for 2 wins and lifetime stakes of $17,237 as at 20 April 2018. (2) GEENA'S GIRL was correctly entered and presented to race by trainer Mr Kevin Townley at the New Zealand Metropolitan Trotting Club meeting on 2 March 2018. GEENA'S GIRL was driven in Race 8, the IVAN LAWSON HANDICAP TROT by Ms S Ottley, winning the race and a stake of $5,300. This stake has not been paid out. (3) Following the race, the Stipendiary Stewards ordered that GEENA'S GIRL be post-race swabbed. GEENA'S GIRL entered the swab box at 9.19pm and Swabbing Steward Mr G Johnston obtained a urine sample from the mare at 9.22pm. The race was programmed to start at 9.00pm. The urine sample was taken in the presence of stable representative Mr K Stevens. The urine samples were recorded with the Sample number 133764. Mr Stevens and Mr Townley do not contest the taking of the sample. (4) On the 14th March 2018 the New Zealand Racing Laboratory reported Ketoprofen was detected in Sample Number 133764. The Control Sample was clear. (5) On the 16th of March 2018 Racecourse Investigators Mrs K R Williams and Mr PR Lamb went to the training establishment of Mr Townley, 59 Russley Road, Christchurch, and advised him of the positive swab returned by GEENA'S GIRL. (6) Mr Townley was given a copy of the Certificate of Analysis, Copy of the Swab Card, RIU Swabbing Record Book and Race Results. (7) Mr Townley advised that he took GEENA'S GIRL to the races in his own float and that the mare was one of two horses he had racing that night. (8) Mr Townley could not initially offer an explanation for the presence of Ketoprofen in the urine sample taken from GEENA'S GIRL and could not advise when the mare was last treated with Ketoprofen. (9) Mr Townley keeps a diary in which he enters treatments. There were no treatments recorded for Ketaprofen or E-SE for GEENA’S GIRL, but she was treated with Alamycin on 28 February 2018. Mr Townley does not record all treatments of E-SE as this does not have a withholding time. (10) Mr Townley now keeps his medication in a safe since his previous positive swab with WELL DEFINED on 3 February 2018. One bottle of Key Injection and two bottles of E-SE were in the safe. (11) The bottle of “Key Injection” which contains Ketoprofen was in the safe which noted a 4 day withhold on the box and this was also written on the bottle by the administering Veterinarian. It was written by the Veterinarian on the bottle to use 10ml I/V (intravenously). On the box it states 10ml per 450kg bw (body weight). The bottle was one of two supplied on 26 July 2017. (12) Mr Townley advised that he sometimes treats the horses one/two days out from racing with E-SE. (13) Mr Townley advised that he has previously given horses a mixture of Ketoprofen and E-SE at least 4.2 days out from racing with the products being drawn up into the same syringe. Mr Townley advised that he generally draws up the E-SE first and then the Ketoprofen but he believes that he may have drawn them up the other way around thus contaminating the bottle of E-SE. (14) The bottle of Key Injection and the two bottles of E-SE Injection were sent to the New Zealand Racing Laboratory for testing. (15) Mr Townley advised that GEENA'S GIRL had never had any lameness issues, but he makes a point of going over his horses once they have worked and checks for any muscle soreness or any signs of tying up for which Mr Townley then administers Ketoprofen if needed outside the withholding time. (16) Mr Townley is well aware of the 4.2 day withholding time for Ketoprofen and is particular to adhere to any withholding time of any drug. (17) Mr Townley when administering Ketoprofen always administers 10ml as directed by the Veterinarian. (18) The New Zealand Racing Laboratory advised on 3 April 2018 the results of the three bottles taken from Mr Townley’s safe. The Key Injection bottle contained Ketoprofen with the concentration as stated on the label. One of the E-SE Injection bottles had broken in transportation so could not be tested. Ketoprofen was not detected in the second bottle of E-SE. (19) Mr Townley has had five horses swabbed since the first positive swab with WELL DEFINED on 3 February 2018. Swabs: - WELL DEFINED - 3 February 2018 - positive - RUNNING FREE - 23 February 2018 - clear - GEENA’S GIRL - 2 March 2018 - positive - NURBURGRING - 9 March 2018 - clear - ETHEREAL - 16 March 2018 - clear (pre-race) - RUNNING FREE - 16 March 2018 - clear (pre-race) Mr Townley advised that those that have returned positive swabs were given E-SE while those that were clear were not given E-SE. The 16th of March was the day that Mr Townley was advised of the positive swab returned by GEENA’S GIRL. (20) Mr Townley has been training since 1986/87 initially in partnership with D J Townley and then on his own from 1994/95. Mr Townley has trained over 460 winners. (21) Mr Townley was charged with a breach of the prohibited substance rule in Australia in 2003 for Clenbuterol and was fined $2,000 with a three-month suspension, suspended for 12 months. (22) Mr Townley admitted a breach of presenting WELL DEFINED with Ketoprofen in its system on 3 February 2018 and was fined $7,000. Submissions of Informant on Penalty [6] (1) Mr Townley has pleaded guilty to a breach of Rules 1004(1A) (3)(4) after presenting GEENA'S GIRL at the races with a prohibited substance in its system, namely Ketoprofen, at the New Zealand Metropolitan TC meeting on the 2nd March 2018. (2) The penalty provisions that apply in this case are outlined in Rule 1004(7). 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; and/or (b) be disqualified or suspended from holding or obtaining a licence for any specific period not exceeding five years. (3) The rules also require the mandatory disqualification of the horse: Rule 1004(8) states: 1004(8) Any horse connected with a breach of sub-rule (1), (2), or (3) shall be disqualified from any race entered and/or liable to a period of disqualification not exceeding five years. 1004D Any horse which has been taken to a racecourse for the purpose of engaging in a race which is found to have administered to it or ingested by it any prohibited substance shall be disqualified from that race. (4) Sentencing Principles - The four principles of sentencing can be summarised briefly ● Penalties are designed to punish the offender for his / her wrongdoing. They are not retributive in the sense that the punishment is disproportionate to the offence but the offender must be met with a punishment. ● In a racing context it is extremely important that a penalty has the effect of deterring others from committing like offences. ● A penalty should also reflect the disapproval of the J.C.A for the type of behaviour in question. ● The need to rehabilitate the offender should be taken into account. The first three principles are particularly important here. (5) Relevant Precedents – In addition to the sentencing principles the Judicial Committee should have regard to relevant precedence. R.I.U. v C & A Edmonds – 31 March 2016 Subject: Ketoprofen positive with two horses – fined $9,000. Extract from Edmonds’decision: “The Committee finds that it was negligent on the part of the Respondents to leave their medication cabinet unlocked and this is an aggravating factor.” NZTR v A Scott – 22 November 2010 Subject: Ketoprofen positive with a thoroughbred – fined $6,000, costs $750 NZTR, $600 JCA. NZTR v K & L Rae – 28 May 2009 Subject: Ketoprofen positive with a thoroughbred – fined $4,000, costs $3,000 NZTR, $500 JCA. NZTR v AW Pike & M Donoghue – 22 August 2008 Subject: Ketoprofen positive with a thoroughbred – fined $6,000. R.I.U v KD Townley - 12 March 2018 Subject: Ketoprofen positive with a standardbred - fined $7,000. R.I.U. v JM Whittaker – 17 August 2015 Subject: Caffeine positive with a horse – fined $1,000, costs $1,800. Extract from Whittaker decision: “RIU v L J Justice (2011) where that Committee stated ….. penalties will be imposed for breaches of the rule which will recognise, reinforce and give effect to the pivotal significance of the rule in maintaining the integrity of racing, whether or not culpable conduct is involved. Naturally where culpable conduct is involved, penalties imposed will normally be greater than in cases where such conduct is absent, but we think it is wrong and contrary to the intent and purpose of the rule to assume the absence of culpable conduct should attract no, or only a token penalty.” R.I.U. v PM Williamson – 10 December 2012 Subject: Procaine positive with a horse – fined $3,500, costs $350 to JCA. The source of the positive swab was not identified. “Against those factors is the ever-present need to maintain the integrity of and public confidence in harness racing by adequately punishing the breach and deterring Mr Williamson and others from offending in a similar manner in the future.” The EVA withholding time of 4.2 days is only a guideline. Veterinary Council of New Zealand v Dr P Casey - 8 July 2013 “In October 2011, a revised list entitled “NZEVA Prohibited Substance Recommended Withholding Times” was issued. Amongst other cautionary statements, it stated: “The information in this list is predominantly derived from NZ practitioner experience and not necessarily from scientific studies with adequate numbers of animals. This guideline includes a buffer time to allow for individual variation between horses’ drug excretion times. The list does not however, account absolutely for the possibility that an individual horse may have a delayed elimination period for a substance because of the slow metabolism of that animal, delayed hepatic conjugational renal clearance, the interaction of more than one treatment use concurrently, the “stepping” of multiply (sic) treatments over days accumulating to high body levels, or the normal statistical variations seen in individuals…. adherence by veterinarians to the administration guidelines in the NZEVA Prohibited Substance Recommended Withholding List will ensure that their obligations under the NZEVA Professional Code of Conduct are being met.” Aggravating Features [7] Mr Townley cannot categorically confirm how the Ketoprofen came to be in the horse’s system on race day but believes that a bottle of E-SE may have been contaminated after giving a horse both Ketoprofen and E-SE that was drawn up into the same syringe. Mr Townley believes that after drawing up the Ketoprofen and then drawing up the E-SE some of the Ketoprofen has been forced into the bottle of E-SE. The amount forced into the bottle would need to be significant to cause a future positive, especially for it to be over the regulatory limit of 100 micrograms per litre. This is unlikely as a half amount of Ketoprofen (5ml) would need to be administered for it still to be in its system on race day two days later or 2.5ml if given one day out. Any ketoprofen would also be diluted by the E-SE that was still in the bottle. The Racing Laboratory reported no presence of Ketoprofen in the bottle of E-SE that was tested with the other bottle being unable to be tested. The same bottle that was previously found on the property after Mr Townley’s positive with GEENA’s GIRL was still present and Mr Townley continued to treat horses without seeking Veterinary advice. This bottle was not purchased for a specific horse but was to be used on any horse in the stable that showed signs of muscle soreness or tie up. Again, at Mr Townley’s discretion. Trainers run the risk of errors and must bear the consequence if they elect to mix and/or self-administer drugs without the continued guidance of a Veterinarian. The bottles of Key Injection were purchased in July 2017, several months earlier. Mr Townley cannot confirm what day he may have treated or when GEENA'S GIRL was last treated with Ketoprofen or E-SE as there is no note in his diary. Mr Townley keeps a diary but admits that he does not always record treatments. Mr Townley previously admitted a breach of the rule only a month earlier with the same drug and the only change he has implemented since then was to put the drugs in a safe. Mr Townley has not improved his recording of any administration as there is no record of GEENA’S GIRL being treated with Ketoprofen or E-SE. Mr Townley was charged with a breach in 2003 for Clenbuterol in Australia. Mitigating Factors [8] Mr Townley admits full liability as the trainer and admitted the breach at the first opportunity and has cooperated fully throughout the investigation. Mr Townley has been training for over 30 years and has trained over 460 winners. Conclusion [9] The Racing Integrity Unit seeks a monetary penalty of a fine of $12,000. The reason for this figure is that the JCA guidelines, 1st May 2015, have a starting point of $8,000 for a first offence of presenting a horse with a drug in its system. This is Mr Townley’s second offence within a month. Mr Townley has to be given credit for the manner in which he has conducted himself during this enquiry and admitting the breach at the first opportunity however the onus is on trainers at all times to ensure that a horse in their care and control is completely drug free when presented at the races. We also seek the disqualification of GEENA'S GIRL under Rule 1004(8). The RIU are not seeking to recover any costs in this matter. Respondent’s Submissions Mr Townley presented the following written submissions; [10] This is a devastating turn of events and to explain it I must return to my previous case in February as the two are intertwined. In the case of Well Defined I was shocked and bewildered as I had no memory of giving him Ketaprofen. I also consulted my diary and there was also no record of it. I “could not offer an explanation for the presence of Ketaprofen in the urine sample taken from Well Defined and could not advise when the gelding was last treated with Ketaprofen”. Shock and circumstances at the time forced me to say, “I must have given it to Well Defined, but I am very sure I did not administer it to him inside the guidelines as I am extremely aware and careful when I have horses racing”. I said this as there appeared to be no other explanation. 10 days after receiving this news I lined up Geena’s Girl and ended up here again. I did not treat Geena’s Girl with Ketaprofen and had no entry in my diary. Who in their right mind would do this after what had just happened and of course knowing we would be swabbed if winning. There is not a shadow of doubt in my mind now as to what has happened. I did not knowingly give Well Defined or Geena’s Girl Ketaprofen at all and my diary was correct in both cases. The cause can only be this: I quite often give my horse injectable vitamin E + selenium known as E-SE. On odd occasions I may get a horse show signs of muscle tie-up and if NOT RACING I will mix ESE and Ketaprofen in one syringe and treat them. I have done this for decades with no problems, but I must always be careful to take the E-SE first, then the Ketaprofen, so as not to contaminate the E-SE. Doing this the reverse way has to be the cause of these two positive swabs with Well Defined getting E-SE about 28hrs before racing and Geena’s Girl I believe about 36hrs. I am guilty of making ONE mistake, genuine human error, causing BOTH of these cases. As we did not realise at the time that this was the cause of Well Defined being positive, I have innocently done the same thing again. During this time, I had several negative swabs with horses I did not give E-SE. I was gutted when a bottle taken by the RIU for testing was broken and my proof gone. I use very little Ketaprofen. Mrs Williams has established that I bought 2 bottles in July 2017 and in 9 months since I have used about 1.5 bottles. 15 doses, which equates to 1 dose per horse in my team over 9 months. I have never given it to a horse less than 4.2 day from a race. It is normally only used on horses not racing. I have been licensed and training for 52 years to reach this low point and sincerely hope you can see this as the result of 1 mistake I have made and have already paid a hefty price for. Respondents submissions on Penalty [11] Mr Townley said he took issue with the aggravating features stated in the Penalty submissions as presented by Mrs Williams, which stated that Mr Townley could “not categorically confirm how the Ketaprofen came to be in the horse’s system on race day”. Mr Townley stated that he now has no doubt at all how the Ketaprofen came to be in the horse’s system. He said there were two things that could prove his point, firstly, the used bottle of E-SE that went away to be tested, as his luck would go, was broken and there was no way to know whether the used bottle of E-SE was contaminated with Ketaprofen as he submitted. The only other way he could get proof was to ask his vet if he could do a blind test on a horse, to which the vets reply was that the RIU would not let him use the lab for testing. Mr Townley stated that the two things that could have proved his explanation were taken away. He said the only way that GEENA’S GIRL had Ketaprofen in her system on race-day was the cross contamination of the 2 bottles where he mistakenly drew the Ketaprofen first, then whilst drawing the E-SE, Ketaprofen contaminated the bottle of E-SE. He said he would normally draw the ESE first and top off the syringe with the Ketaprofen but was certain he had mistakenly reversed this procedure leading to the contamination of the E-SE bottle. He said both WELL DEFINED and GEENA’S GIRL were treated the day before the races with ESE out of the same bottle which he said was contaminated and caused both positive swabs. Mr Townley also took issue with the statement in the Summary of Facts where the RIU stated that such a small amount of Ketaprofen from a contamination would not return a positive reading of 157micrograms per litre, 100 micrograms per litre being the regulatory threshold limit. He submitted a drop could cause a positive. In answer to a question from Mr Townley, Mrs Williams stated that in order for enough Ketaprofen to show above the threshold of 100 micrograms per litre, the amount forced into the bottle by cross contamination would have to be significant. She reiterated, as stated in Penalty submissions, that with a 4.2 day withholding time for Ketaprofen, with a standard dose, submitted that at least 1ml would need to be administered the day before the races to show as above 100 micrograms per millilitre. This she said, in her opinion, made contamination of the E-SE bottle unlikely. Mr Townley refuted this and said he knew a lot about Ketaprofen. He submitted that a tiny drop of Ketaprofen would be detectable and cause a positive swab. He also stated that not a lot of testing had been done and there was no science to prove what level of Ketaprofen would show as over the threshold the next day. He said that there was also no science or proof that what he said did not happen. Mr Townley said there was no intent to administer and submitted that both the WELL DEFINED and GEENA’S GIRL cases should be treated as the same case with the same mistake happening with both horses, that being the contaminated bottle of E-SE. He said he made one mistake and got two horses with positives. Mr Townley also stated that he had raced other horses in between the positive swabs which were clear swabs and he had not treated any of those with E-SE. This, he said, supported the cross-contamination explanation he had submitted. He submitted that both positives were from the same contaminated bottle of E-SE. Disqualification of the horse [12] (1) Mrs Williams referred to Rule 1004D of the Rules of Harness Racing which provides: Any horse which has been taken to a racecourse for the purpose of engaging in a race which is found to have administered to it or ingested any prohibited substance shall be disqualified from the race. (2) Mrs Williams said that the winning stake has not been paid out. Mrs Williams sought disqualification of GEENA’S GIRL. (3) The Committee ordered that GEENA’S GIRL be disqualified from Race 5, Pam and Ivan Lawson Handicap Trot, at the meeting of NZMTC held at Addington on 2 March 2018, effective Monday 30 April 2018. As a consequence of the disqualification, the amended result for the Race is as follows: 1st Tehoro Dazzle 2nd Rachmaninov 3rd Chivision 4th Motu Great Sensation 5th Beyond The Horizon 6th Natives Lasting Love The Committee ordered that stakes for the Race be paid in accordance with that amended result. Reasons for Penalty [13] The relevant penalty Rule is Rule 1004 (7) which provides: (1) 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. (2) The Committee notes that the maximum fine under Rule 1004 (7) (a) was increased by Harness Racing New Zealand from $10,000 to $20,000 in 2011, reflecting the desire of that body to provide a greater deterrent. In the Committee’s view, penalties imposed for breaches of the Rule prior to March 2011 need to be looked at in the light of that. (3) The principal mitigating factors, to which the Committee has had regard in determining penalty, are Mr Townley’s early admission of the breach and the way in which he has conducted himself throughout the enquiry. (4) Against those factors is the ever-present need to maintain the integrity of and public confidence in harness racing by adequately punishing the breach and deterring Mr Townley and others from offending in a similar manner in the future. (5) The previous breach by Mr Townley in February 2018, a month prior to this breach, is an obvious significant aggravating factor. Mr Townley was then fined the sum of $7,000. (6) Mr Townley’s lengthy submissions on what he believed happened to cause GEENA’S GIRL to have Ketaprofen in her system were taken into consideration. Mr Townley put to the Committee an explanation for the positive for GEENA’S GIRL which he also submitted was the reason for the WELL DEFINED positive to Ketaprofen, being the contamination of the bottle of E-SE. This Committee has doubt and attaches little or no weight with this explanation as the amount of Ketaprofen detected in both horses was above the regulatory threshold of 100 micrograms per litre. We, however, agree with the submissions of the RIU and determined that on the balance of probabilities, it would be highly unlikely that a contamination of the bottle of E-SE, as described by Mr Townley, would produce positive readings of Ketaprofen at the levels detected. It is therefore difficult to know what actually happened to GEENA’S GIRL to have Ketaprofen in her system on 2 March 2018. What is obvious to this Committee is that Ketaprofen has been administered to the mare inside the 4.2 day withholding period to produce a reading of 157 milligrams per litre and that Mr Townley is ultimately responsible for that, however it got into the horse’s system. (7) The Informant has not alleged that Mr Townley had deliberately administered the prohibited substance to GEENA’S GIRL and the Committee has no basis for any finding that he did so. (8) Nevertheless, the Committee finds that Mr Townley was negligent in a number of respects, as submitted by Mrs Williams. Mr Townley had 10 days between the notification of the WELL DEFINED positive and the race in question for GEENA’S GIRL, but only elected to make 1 change to his procedures and routines by way of a medication safe. WELL DEFINED’s positive should have been a “red flag” to Mr Townley to investigate what had led to this. We believe that after a positive is detected in a stable, a prudent trainer would immediately stop all current practices and procedures and engage in a thorough review of these until it could be established what had caused the wrongful administration. We also believe that a prudent trainer should also seek the professional assistance and guidance of a veterinary surgeon and not continue on self-administering drugs until it could be again, established what process had caused the positive. Mr Townley, however, continued on with his established procedures and practices and has found himself with this breach, a second within a month. (9) The JCA Penalty Guide provides a starting point for a 2nd breach of this rule with a 2-year disqualification and a $10,000 fine. The RIU are not seeking disqualification and we, also, are not considering disqualification with this case. Mr Townley was fined the sum of $7,000 for his breach in February 2018, only 1 month prior to this breach for the same drug, Ketaprofen. Having regard to this being the second breach of this Rule by Mr Townley, we adopted the $10,000 starting point and determined that the aggravating factors in this case warranted an uplift in penalty. This we set at $3,000. The mitigating factors are also worthy of consideration, being Mr Townley’s early admission of the breach and his full cooperation throughout the investigation. For these factors, Mr Townley is deserved of a discount which we set at $2,000. (10) Having regard to all of the matters referred to above, the Committee is satisfied that a fine of $11,000 is an appropriate penalty in this case. We believe that such a penalty will satisfy the principal requirements of sentencing – that is to say, to punish the offender, to deter the offender and others in the industry and the need to maintain integrity and public confidence in harness racing. Penalty [14] Mr Townley is fined the sum of $11,000.00. Costs [15] Mrs Williams did not seek any award of costs in favour of the Racing Integrity Unit and, accordingly, no order is made. [16] As this hearing was heard at a race meeting there was no order for costs to the JCA. S C Ching Chairman   Harnesslink Media

Harness racing trainer Kevin Townley has been fined $7000 for producing a horse to race when not free of a prohibited substance. The horse in question was Well Defined who won at Geraldine on the 3rd February 2018 but has since been disqualified. The Committee was satisfied that a fine of $7,000 was sufficient to satisfy the general purposes of sentencing and to hold Townley accountable for his actions, to promote in him a sense of responsibility, as well as acting as a deterent to other persons from committing the same or a similar offence.    Full details below.   BEFORE A JUDICIAL COMMITTEE OF THE JUDICIAL CONTROL AUTHORITY IN THE MATTER of the New Zealand Rules of Harness Racing IN THE MATTER of Information No. A7220 BETWEEN KYLIE ROCHELLE WILLIAMS, Racing Investigator for the Racing Integrity Unit Informant AND KEVIN DAVID TOWNLEY of Russley, Licensed Public Trainer Respondent Judicial Committee: Mr RG McKenzie (Chair), Mr DJ Anderson (Committee Member) Venue: Addington Raceway, Christchurch Present: Mrs KR Williams, the Informant Mr KD Townley, the Respondent Mr SP Renault, Stipendiary Steward (Registrar) Date of Hearing: 2nd March 2018 Date of Decision: 12th March 2018 RESERVED PENALTY DECISION OF JUDICIAL COMMITTEE The Charge [1] Information No. A7220 alleges that: On the 3rd day of February 2018, Kevin David Townley, being the registered trainer of the standardbred WELL DEFINED, presented the horse to race in Race 2, Michael Jones Geraldine Butchery / Team Teal Trot, at the Geraldine Trotting Club meeting, with a prohibited substance, namely Ketoprofen, in its system. This is in breach of the Prohibited Substance Rule, Rule 1004(1A) (3) & (4). The Rules [2] Rule 1004 of the Rules of Harness Racing provides as follows: (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. (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. [3] The penalty Rule is Rule 1004 (7) which provides as follows: (1) 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. [4] Mrs Williams presented a letter signed by Mr M R Godber, General Manager of the Racing Integrity Unit, pursuant to Rule 1108(2) authorising the filing of the information. The Plea [5] The information was served on Mr Townley on 1 March 2018 and he had signed the Statement by the Respondent on the information form indicating that he admitted the breach of the Rule. [6] Mr Townley was present at the hearing of the information. The charge and relevant Rules were read to him, after which he confirmed that he admitted the breach. The charge was found proved accordingly. Summary of Facts [7] Mrs Williams presented the following Summary of Facts: 1. WELL DEFINED is a 3-year-old brown gelding and is trained by Mr Kevin David Townley. WELL DEFINED is owned by Mr Townley’s wife, Mrs M E Townley. WELL DEFINED has raced 10 times for 1 win and lifetime stakes of $7,545 as at 28 February 2018. 2. WELL DEFINED was correctly entered for and presented to race by trainer, Mr Kevin Townley, at the Geraldine Trotting Club meeting on 3 February 2018. WELL DEFINED was driven in Race 2, the MICHAEL JONES GERALDINE BUTCHERY/TEAM TEAL TROT by Mr D J Dunn, winning the race and a stake of $5,415. This stake has not been paid out. 3. Following the race, the Stipendiary Stewards ordered that WELL DEFINED be post-race swabbed. WELL DEFINED entered the swab box at 1.15pm and Swabbing Steward, Mr M P McCann, obtained a urine sample from the gelding at 1.20pm. The race was programmed to start at 12.58pm. The urine sample was taken in the presence of stable representative, Mr K Stevens. The urine samples were recorded with the Sample number 134362. Mr Stevens and Mr Townley do not contest the taking of the sample. 4. On the 15th February 2018, the New Zealand Racing Laboratory reported Ketoprofen was detected in Sample Number 134362. The Control Sample was clear. 5. On the 20th of February 2018, Racecourse Investigators Mrs Kylie Williams and Mr Peter Lamb went to the training establishment of Mr Townley at 59 Russley Road, Christchurch, and advised him of the positive swab returned by WELL DEFINED. 6. Mr Townley was given a copy of the Certificate of Analysis, copy of the Swab Card, RIU Swabbing Record Book and Race Results. 7. Mr Townley advised that he took WELL DEFINED to the races in his own float and that the gelding was one of three horses he had racing that day. 8. Mr Townley could not offer an explanation for the presence of Ketoprofen in the urine sample taken from WELL DEFINED and could not advise when the gelding was last treated with Ketoprofen. Mr Townley keeps a diary in which he enters treatments but admits that not all treatments are recorded. 9. A bottle of “Key Injection” which contains Ketoprofen was found in the stables which noted a 4-day withhold on the box and this was also written on the bottle by the administering Veterinarian. It was written by the Veterinarian on the bottle to use 10ml I/V (intravenously). On the box it states 10ml per 450kg bw (body weight). The bottle was one of two supplied on 26 July 2017. 10. Mr Townley advised that WELL DEFINED had never had any lameness issues, but he makes a point of going over his horses once they have worked and checks for any muscle soreness or any signs of tying up for which Mr Townley then administers Ketoprofen, if needed. 11. Mr Townley is well aware of the 4.2 day withholding time for Ketoprofen and is particular to adhere to any withholding time of any drug. 12. Mr Townley advised that he weighed WELL DEFINED on 21st February and that the gelding only weighed 355kgs with a rug on. 13. Mr Townley, when administering Ketoprofen, always administers 10ml as directed by the Veterinarian. Mr Townley cannot discount that he may have given WELL DEFINED 10ml of Ketoprofen earlier in the week after fast work. This would have been outside the withholding time of 4.2 days from raceday. Mr Townley concedes that, due to the gelding’s small stature and weight, it should be given a smaller dose. The appropriate dose for the gelding would be 7.9mls based on its weight. 14. On 23rd February 2018 Mr Townley was given a report from Dr Andrew Grierson, Chief Veterinarian HRNZ, confirming that Ketoprofen is a prohibited substance under the Prohibited Substances Regulation. 15. Mr Townley has been training since 1986/87, initially in partnership with D J Townley and then on his own from 1994/95. Mr Townley has trained over 460 winners. 16. Mr Townley was previously charged with a breach of the prohibited substance rule in Australia in 2003 for Clenbuterol and was fined $2,000 with a three-months suspension, suspended for 12 months. [8] Mr Townley said that he accepted the facts as set out in the summary presented by Mrs Williams, but he wished to make a comment. He said that the summary, based on the interview he gave at the time he was originally spoken to, stated that he had no idea how the prohibited substance got in the horse’s system. In fact, he said, he was now sure that he was responsible for it, as he was in the practice of administering the “Key Injection” to his horses but is always very aware of the withholding period. He would have treated WELL DEFINED on the Tuesday morning before Saturday’s race, he said (see also Mr Townley’s submissions in para [11] hereunder). [9] Mrs Williams confirmed that she had received an email in response to her question to Dr Andrew Grierson as to whether the weight of the horse would affect the withholding period which stated: “Dose rate should have been 8.3 for a 375 kilogram horse [7.9 mls based on the actual weight of the horse, 355 kilograms] but because a plasma elimination half-life is 18 minutes that dose should not affect the result unless there are damaged tissues. Ketoprofen is known to store in affected tissues exudate and not all stored in plasma and eliminates slowly over time. This is a classic two-compartment model so in theory a high dose rate can affect the detection time (see the Casey case below). In summary, a high dose rate may possibly increase the detection time in some horses especially if they had inflammatory tissues in a drug bound to the exudate. Perhaps this is the explanation depending when he said he actually administered”. Informant’s Penalty Submissions [10] Mrs Williams presented the following penalty submissions: 1. Mr Townley has pleaded guilty to a breach of Rules 1004(1A), (3) & (4) after presenting WELL DEFINED at the races with a prohibited substance in its system, namely Ketoprofen, at the Geraldine TC meeting on the 3rd February 2018. 2. The penalty provisions that apply in this case are outlined in Rule 1104(7). 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; and/or (b) be disqualified or suspended from holding or obtaining a licence for any specific period not exceeding five years. 3. The rules also require the mandatory disqualification of the horse: Rule 1004(8) states: 1004 (8) Any horse connected with a breach of sub-rule (1), (2), or (3) shall be disqualified from any race entered and/or liable to a period of disqualification not exceeding five years. 1004D Any horse which has been taken to a racecourse for the purpose of engaging in a race which is found to have administered to it or ingested by it any prohibited substance shall be disqualified from that race. 4. Sentencing Principles - The four principles of sentencing can be summarised briefly ● Penalties are designed to punish the offender for his / her wrongdoing. They are not retributive in the sense that the punishment is disproportionate to the offence, but the offender must be met with a punishment. ● In a racing context it is extremely important that a penalty has the effect of deterring others from committing like offences. ● A penalty should also reflect the disapproval of the JCA for the type of behaviour in question. ● The need to rehabilitate the offender should be taken into account. The first three principles are particularly important here. 5. Relevant Precedents – In addition to the sentencing principles the Judicial Committee should have regard to relevant precedents. R.I.U. v C & A Edmonds – 31 March 2016 Subject: Ketoprofen positive with two horses – fined $9,000. Extract from Edmonds’ decision: “The Committee finds that it was negligent on the part of the Respondents to leave their medication cabinet unlocked and this is an aggravating factor”. NZTR v A D Scott – 22 November 2010 Subject: Ketoprofen positive with a thoroughbred – fined $6,000, costs $750 NZTR, $600 JCA. NZTR v K & L Rae – 28 May 2009 Subject: Ketoprofen positive with a thoroughbred – fined $4,000, costs $3,000 NZTR, $500 JCA. NZTR v A W Pike & M Donoghue – 22 August 2008 Subject: Ketoprofen positive with a thoroughbred – fined $6,000. R.I.U. v J M Whittaker – 17 August 2015 Subject: Caffeine positive with a horse – fined $1,000, costs $1,800. Extract from Whittaker decision: “RIU v L J Justice (2011) where that Committee stated ….. penalties will be imposed for breaches of the rule which will recognise, reinforce and give effect to the pivotal significance of the rule in maintaining the integrity of racing, whether or not culpable conduct is involved. Naturally where culpable conduct is involved, penalties imposed will normally be greater than in cases where such conduct is absent but we think it is wrong and contrary to the intent and purpose of the rule to assume the absence of culpable conduct should attract no, or only a token penalty.” R.I.U. v P M Williamson – 10 December 2012 Subject: Procaine positive with a horse – fined $3,500, costs $350 to JCA. The source of the positive swab was not identified. “Against those factors is the ever-present need to maintain the integrity of and public confidence in harness racing by adequately punishing the breach and deterring Mr Williamson and others from offending in a similar manner in the future.” The EVA withholding time of 4.2 days is only a guideline. Veterinary Council of New Zealand v Dr P Casey - 8 July 2013 “In October 2011, a revised list entitled “NZEVA Prohibited Substance Recommended Withholding Times” was issued. Amongst other cautionary statements, it stated: “The information in this list is predominantly derived from NZ practitioner experience and not necessarily from scientific studies with adequate numbers of animals. This guideline includes a buffer time to allow for individual variation between horses’ drug excretion times. The list does not however, account absolutely for the possibility that an individual horse may have a delayed elimination period for a substance because of the slow metabolism of that animal, delayed hepatic conjugational renal clearance, the interaction of more than one treatment use concurrently, the “stepping” of multiply (sic) treatments over days accumulating to high body levels, or the normal statistical variations seen in individuals. … adherence by veterinarians to the administration guidelines in the NZEVA Prohibited Substance Recommended Withholding List will ensure that their obligations under the NZEVA Professional Code of Conduct are being met.” 6. Aggravating Features – Mr Townley cannot categorically confirm how the Ketoprofen came to be in the horse’s system on raceday but believes that the gelding may have been given the recommended 10ml dose for a 450kg horse outside the 4.2 day withholding time. WELL DEFINED is only a small horse weighing approximately 355kg and should be given a smaller dose of 7.9mls. By giving a larger dose this may lead to an increase in the withholding and detection time which may result in the horse returning a positive swab. A bottle was found on the property with the recommended dose rate of 10mls written on it. This bottle was not purchased for a specific horse but was to be used on any horse in the stable that showed signs of muscle soreness or tie up. Mr Townley cannot confirm what day he may have treated or when WELL DEFINED was last treated with Ketoprofen. Mr Townley keeps a diary but admits that he does not always record treatments. Mr Townley kept Ketoprofen on the premises in an unlocked area. Mr Townley has a clear record in New Zealand however was charged with a breach in 2003 for Clenbuterol in Australia. 7. Mitigating Factors – Mr Townley admits full liability as the trainer and admitted the breach at the first opportunity and has cooperated fully throughout the investigation. Mr Townley has been training for over 30 years and has trained over 460 winners. 8. Conclusion – The Racing Integrity Unit seeks a monetary penalty of a fine of $6,000. The reason for this figure is that the JCA guidelines, 1st May 2015, have a starting point of $8,000 for a first offence of presenting a horse with a drug in its system. Mr Townley has to be given credit for the manner in which he has conducted himself during this enquiry and admitting the breach at the first opportunity however the onus is on trainers at all times to ensure that a horse in their care and control is completely drug free when presented at the races. We also seek the disqualification of WELL DEFINED under Rule 1004(8). 9. The R.I.U. is not seeking to recover any costs in this matter. Respondent’s Submissions [11] Mr Townley presented to the hearing the following written submissions: I was shocked and dismayed to hear that a horse of mine had received a positive swab. Although I had not written it down I must have given it to WELL DEFINED but I am very sure I did not administer it to him inside the guidelines as I am extremely aware and careful when I have horses racing. The vet’s sticker label wraps around the bottle and it said to give it 10 ml, 4.2 day withholding. When it is needed, I have always done it as directed. After giving the situation a lot of thought I wonder if the very small size of WELL DEFINED could have anything to do with it. On looking into further I found that a 10 ml dose was recommended for a 450 kg horse. No vet I have ever had has ever said to vary the dose so I do as per label. I then weighed the horse and he was found to be 355 kg with a cover on. Perhaps he should have had a smaller dose? Although I know I am responsible, I offered this to Mrs Williams as an explanation who emailed Dr Grierson for his opinion. Mrs Williams will have his reply (see para [9]) which does indicate that this could be the trouble. I am sure that this is what went wrong. I understand the seriousness of this, both for myself and our industry and have already taken steps to make sure it never happens again. Although not relevant to this case, I know I should have had my medications locked up and to that end I have now purchased a safe. Reasons for Decision [12] Mr Townley has admitted a charge of presenting WELL DEFINED, trained by him, to race at the Geraldine Trotting Club’s meeting at Orari on 3rd February 2018 not free of prohibited substances. Ketoprofen, a non-steroidal analgesic and anti-inflammatory agent and a prohibited substance under the New Zealand Rules of Harness Racing, was detected in a post-race urine sample taken from the gelding. [13] The facts, as set out in paragraph 7 above, are not disputed by the Respondent. [14] It was established that the source of the Ketoprofen was “Key Injection”, a bottle of which was found at Mr Townley’s stables. [15] Mr Townley, initially, could offer no explanation for the presence of Ketoprofen in the urine sample and was unable to say when WELL DEFINED had last been treated with the product, “Key Injection”. During the hearing before the Committee, he admitted that he was responsible for it, having treated WELL DEFINED with a 10ml injection of “Key Injection” on the Tuesday prior to the Geraldine race on the Saturday. [16] In doing so, Mr Townley said, he was cognisant of the 4.2 days withholding period for the product. However, he had used a dose of 10ml, the stated recommended dose for a 450kg horse. He attributes the positive swab to this – the quantity of the dose was possibly, in hindsight, greater than ought to have been given to a horse of WELL DEFINED’s weight which, he claimed, was only 355 kg with a cover on. [17] The Committee is satisfied that the most likely cause of the positive swab returned by WELL DEFINED was indeed the “Key Injection” administered by Mr Townley on the Tuesday morning prior to the race. It does Mr Townley little credit that it was only as an afterthought that he realised that the dosage may have been excessive for a smaller horse – on the product’s box it was stated that the appropriate dosage was 10ml per 450kg body weight. Furthermore, it seems to the Committee that it was fraught with risk to use the product a bare 4 days before the horse was to race, leaving little margin for error, the recommended withholding period being 4.2 days. Finally, the Committee notes that Mr Townley kept the “Key Injection” in an unlocked and insecure area. The Committee finds that Mr Townley was negligent in each of these respects and has identified them as aggravating factors. [18] We note that Mr Townley conducted himself well during the investigation and admitted the breach at the first opportunity. We regard Mr Townley’s record as being a good one and, in this respect, we have not had regard to the breach in Australia in 2003, which is historical. These are mitigating factors. [19] The Penalty Guide suggests a starting point of an $8,000 fine for a mid-range breach of presenting under the Prohibited Substance Rule. We have taken that as a starting point for determining penalty in this case. The aggravating factors referred to in para [17], in the view of the Committee, call for an uplift in that starting point and we have fixed that uplift at $1,000. [20] For the mitigating factors referred to in para [18], we have allowed Mr Townley a discount of $2,000 from the starting point of $9,000 arrived at. [21] The Committee is satisfied that a fine of $7,000 will suffice to satisfy the general purposes of sentencing which are well-established – to hold the offender accountable for his actions, to promote in the offender a sense of responsibility, to denounce the conduct of the offender and to deter the offender or other persons from committing the same or a similar offence. The Committee has also had regard, as always, to the important consideration of the need to maintain integrity and public confidence in Harness Racing. Penalty [22] Mr Townley is fined the sum of $7,000. Disqualification of the Horse [23] The disqualification of WELL DEFINED from Race 2, Michael Jones Geraldine Butchery / Team Teal Trot, at the meeting of Geraldine Trotting Club on 3rd February 2018 was earlier ordered by a Minute of this Committee dated 2nd March 2018. Costs [24] No order for costs was sought by the Informant and, since the hearing of the information took place on a raceday, there will be no order for costs in favour of the JCA. R G McKenzie  

There are few Southlanders more passionate about their horses than Ben and Karen Calder. They breed from a small band of broodmares, and often top up their harness racing stock by purchasing at the national sales. And it’s one of their homebred pacers, Mr Mojito that’s providing them with much satisfaction at the moment. Ben Calder is a no fuss sort of guy who shies away from the limelight and just goes about breeding and purchasing horses whilst enjoying racing them either with his wife Karen and good friends and family. The first horse the Calders raced of any note was Grinaldi the winner of ten races, and $162,712. He also owned Sunning which won eight races including the Group One Victorian Trotters Oaks, Bought In The Pub, New Zealand Kindergarten Stakes winner, and The Oyster Man which won five races. And there have been a host of others. Ben and Karen live at Ryal Bush 10 minutes north of Invercargill where they’ve set up their show piece property Grinaldi Lodge. Southland’s leading trainer Nathan Williamson currently works out of their stable. The latest Grinaldi Lodge horse to emerge from the same bloodlines as Grinaldi is Mr Mojito; a rising star in the Mark Purdon and Natalie Rasmussen stable. Mr Mojito was always highly rated by Ben and original trainer Brett Gray. He won a workout then qualified at Young Quinn Raceway in January 2015 as a two year winning by four lengths and running a mile in 1-59.5. He was purchased that day by Butterworth Racing Syndicate. He was put aside to mature, and his much anticipated debut came later in the year on the same course in November. Sent out third favourite, he settled last and never improved, to finish over 200 lengths from the winner. Stewards ordered a post-race veterinary examination which confirmed the gelding had suffered an atrial fibrillation. He returned to racing in April this year, winning easily at Central Southland Raceway. Shortly afterwards he was transferred to the Purdon-Rasmussen’s Rolleston stable. Since joining that stable he’s been in hot form running second behind the highly talented Heaven’s Rock before putting a picket form line together of four impressive wins. “He appears to have the X factor. He’s looked super and going forward in richer company he says to me that he can do it,” said Ben. He was bred by the Calders out of their In The Pocket mare Wanaka Bay. “All of the In the Pocket mares had a bad attitude. Wanaka Bay was trained by Becky (Alan Beck). She lay down on the track after one of her early workouts but won her first race.” The Calders also have a two year old half-brother to Mr Mojito by American Ideal but had the misfortune to lose a Bettor’s Delight foal recently. “It was slipped in the paddock and was about seven week premature.” Sunning has also been a good broodmare for the Calder with only one of her seven live foals of racing age not winning races. She’s left Burano (10 wins), Medora (3 wins), Sunny Vacation (5 wins), No Potato (5 wins), Santorini Sunset (5 wins) and Agnes Brown (2 wins). Her two year old Breaking Bad (by Angus Hall) is about to come back into work with Kevin Townley. As well as breeding from a handful of mares Ben was active at the last round of yearling sales purchasing six yearlings, all with rich pedigrees. Paramount King (Love You – Paramount Star) is with northern training partnership John and Josh Dickie who share in the ownership of the colt. Paramount King           His dam won seven races and is the mother of Paramount Geegee the winner of fourteen races including the Harness Jewels Thee Year Old Trotting Ruby, Great Northern Trotting Derby and New Zealand Trotting Derby and $357,236, and Paramount Queen which won eight races and $122,612. It’s a family that the Dickie’s have had a huge amount of success with. They also have a Betterthancheddar – Baptism of Fire colt which is a half-brother to Highview Tommy the winner of fifteen races and $885,062. “He’s broken in nicely and shows a bit. They like him.” Other stock in the north for the Calders includes a two year old Art Major – Gretna’s Best colt who’s with Brent Mangos. Named Bronco Banner he’s closely related to Smooth Gretna the winner of fifteen races.  “He also broke in nice.” Another sales purchase is Nuburgring (Bettor’s Delight – Cullen’s Creation) “He’s trained by Kevin Townley and is related to Courage Under Fire. He got an infection in his tendon sheath and is coming home to heal.” Townley a long time trainer and friend of the Calders also trains another yearling purchase Swoon (Monarchy – Hot Vacation). “His second dam is the mother of Sheemon and Karen and I have a half share in him with Kevin and Margaret Townley. We may have to change his name.” Robinson Crusoe (Somebeachsomewhere – Asabella) was also bought by Grinaldi Lodge at the sales. This is the mare’s seventh foal and she’s the dam of four winners including Ohoka’s Bondy (22 West Australian wins), Dancing Diamonds (9 wins and $343,276) and Code Red (12 wins). “He’s trained by Brad Mowbray who shares in the ownership with his wife Mel and was strong minded and difficult to break in. He was big but so was Brad. He was put out for a spell and he’s come back as a true gentleman. I’ve tried to breed a Somebeachsomewhere a couple of times but didn’t have much luck so it’s nice to have one.” Outside of their sales purchases this year the Calders have plenty of other horses ready to hit the racetracks. Ash is a three year old Ben is looking forward to getting to the races. He’s by The Pres out of Tamarix and is a half-brother to Larix, Given and Larch. His four dam Haakondahl is the mother of Sapling (22 wins including the Great Northern Pacing Derby). “We’ve had to wait on him as he’s gone through a growing spurt.” Another trotter on the books is a Muscles Yankee colt out of Classic Armbro - a daughter of the great Merinai. Named Sertorius he’s also on the books of John and Josh Dickie. Tour Director an Art Major gelding out of Bremner Bay who won once from five starts is also back on the active list. “He’s stranded a tendon and is being worked up at Nathan’s.” Foo Fighter an American Ideal gelding out of Lucy’s Way which is a full sister to Wanaka Bay (dam of Mr Mojito) qualified at Wyndham as a two year old. He’s owned by Juliette Earl, Karen Calder, Katie Williamson, Neville Cleaver, Kevin Strong, Sid Slee, Robyn Jones and Alan Jones. His first start is eagerly awaited as he qualified well. He’s a half-brother to Treble Cone which won impressively at her first start when trained by John Earl. She had two other starts before heading to the broodmares paddock. She has a nice American Ideal colt called You Too which is owned by the Calders and Earls. So between homebred stock and young horses purchased at the sales Ben and Karen Calder have plenty to watch this season. And hopefully plenty more pleasurable moments to share with friends and family without too much fuss, which is just the way they like it.   Bruce Stewart Southland harness racing      

Watching star trotter Sheemon jog home dead last was disheartening for Kevin Townley but he is confident there will be no repeat at the harness racing meeting at Addington Raceway on Friday night. The Russley trainer was as puzzled as punters were when Sheemon was last to see the post in the DG Jones Trotting Cup on a boggy track at Motukarara on September 27. "I don't think it took that much out of him," Townley said. He is putting the run down to the boggy grass track and doing plenty of work in the running but is happy to put it behind him when Sheemon contests Friday's Group III Canterbury Park Trotting Cup over 2600m at Addington. "The way he has worked this week I think he will be back to his best," Townley said. Sheemon's third in a workout behind Alley Way and Majestic Time back at Motukarara on the grit six days later on October 3 did not set the world on fire but Townley believes in hindsight he was probably too easy on the 6-year-old son of Monarchy between the runs. Sheemon won his first two starts back but did not strike any of his fellow big guns in those fields. He starts from the 20m line along with Master Lavros and Habibti. Habibti hit the line strongly last week in her first run back in 11 months to remind everyone of her class but may need one more run. Master Lavros went straight to the front last week but that will be much more difficult from 20m with four runners off the front and another four off 10m. Colin and Julie DeFilippi have opted not to start last week's impressive winner Stent off a 30m handicap but they have subbed in Alley Way for his first run for their stable. Owner and breeder Neville Skinner has trained the 7-year-old son of Monarchy for all of his previous 25 starts but moved him north from his Winton base in the leadup to the Dominion Handicap. Kincaslough will get her chance to impress second up with a 10m head start on her main rivals from the 10m tape. Mat Kermeen Reproduced with permission of Stuff NZ   -   Check site here

Star New Zealand reinsman Dexter Dunn has continued his sensational Trans Tasman form at Tabcorp Park Melton tonight. In what has been a sensational week, Dunn has captured the World Drivers’ Championship at Menangle, journeyed home to secure the Auckland Cup before crossing back to Australia for tonight’s meeting. As for his latest triumph, Dunn combined with the Kevin Townley-trained Sheemon to score an upset victory in one of the program’s Group Ones. The feature also doubles as a heat of the Great Southern Star, with the $300,000 Final scheduled for 10pm tonight Victorian time. After leading from the pole, Sheemon was eased to take the trail behind defending champion Keystone Del in what proved a winning move. Angled into the clear at the top of the home straight, the daughter of Monarchy sprinted to a three-metre win from Keystone Del, with Brunelleschi a metre away third. “I’m very happy with that run,” Townley said. “She got to the line well and was driven perfectly by Dexter. “Now we just have to see how she handles racing again later tonight. “She’s come off the track in pretty good order and hasn’t been knocked around, so I don’t see it being a problem.” PAUL COURTS

Harness racings pin up driver Dexter Dunn gets plenty of plaudits for his skills in the bike and after the Group 1 National Trot at Alexandra Park you can see why. Drawing barrier one with perennial placegetter Sheemon in the 2700 metre mobile, Dexter had the misfortune to have his main race rival Stent drawn on his back on the second line. Leading from the gate, Dexter kept a couple of early challenges at bay before handing up after 700 metres to the smart Love You mare Kincaslough which put Stent three back on the inner. Kincaslough did the rest by staying in front and getting Sheemon and Dexter to the passing lane from where Sheemon slowly wore down Kincaslough close to home for a well deserved victory with the unlucky Stent flashing home for third. Sheemon trotted the 2700 metres from the mobile in 3:21.8, a mile rate of 2:00.2 with closing sectionals of 58.2 and 28.2 It was win number fourteen from start forty six for the son of Monarchy from the former outstanding trotting mare Solar Fire. Apart from winning fourteen races Sheemon has also been placed in twenty four of those forty six starts and todays victory took his earnings to $369,878. Trainer Kevin Townley was quick to heap praise on Dexter post race. " Dexter is such a big plus in races like this." "You just know he is going to get a run like that," Kevin said. Kevin thought drawing one helped Sheemon after a series of poor draws. " It is a hell of a lot easier drawing one and not having to go around them for a change." " He is such a wee tradesman and deserves a big race like today," Kevin said. Sheemon is now about to get his passport stamped as Kevin prepares to take him to Australia for the Glenferrie Challenge and the Southern Star. "I wouldn't say he would win one of the big ones  but he is right up with the very best and will more than pay his way." "They will know he is there, thats for sure," Kevin said. Sheemon has proven a thorn in the side of the elite trotters in New Zealand as he is so reliable and never goes a bad race and he is just the type to snare a big win in Australia if Keystone Del or Stent were to be unlucky. Harnesslink Media   

The combination of less grass, more work and the ace draw give Sheemon a rare shot at revenge over Stent in the $80,000 National Trot today. And while trainer Kevin Townley isn’t getting cocky, he agrees his pony-like trotter has a lot in his favour today. Sheemon is one of the most consistent trotters in the elite ranks but has run into a rampant Stent of late, having to bow to him three times in his last four starts. The most comprehensive of those was at Cambridge last Wednesday when Sheemon tracked Stent in the Flying Mile but as it turned out only one of them was flying. Stent sprinted to a stunning win, leaving Sheemon flatfooted at the 400m, with the latter only making ground late. “To be honest I was disappointed with that,” says Townley. “I am not sure we could have beaten Stent because he was super there but I was surprised he dropped us so quickly. “All I can put it down to is maybe he had eaten too much grass and I had been too easy on him. “So I have cut back his food, stepped up his work and I am pretty confident he will be fitter this time.” A sharper Sheemon will take a power of beating as he has the gate speed to use barrier one and then Dexter Dunn can be the master of his own destiny. “I would never tell Dexter how to drive but I’d love to see him following the right horse,” says Townley. “We probably can’t try for an all the way win because Stent is drawn right behind us so I wouldn’t want to give him the perfect trail but if we get that sort of run then I think we have a really good shot at beating him. “Still, the way Stent is going if he gets off the markers and gets around we could be flat catching him again.” Several of Stent’s performances since he burst onto the open class scene have suggested he is far more potent in sprint trips than today’s 2700m mobile but he is in such great form he can probably still thrive just outside his comfort zone today. If trainer-driver Colin De Filippi takes the gamble to stay on the markers punters will be in for some nervous times but with clear air, often easier to find in trotting races, he is still clearly the one to beat. The big improver could be last year’s winner Irish Whisper, who was adaquete last start but looks set to be handy today, which suits his grinding racing style today. He is part of a very strong driving book for Tony Herlihy today, who has big winning hopes with Darcee, San Diego Love, Express Stride, Ohoka Punter, Walk Of Fame and The Fascinator as well. Courtesy of Michael Guerin - Harness Racing New Zealand

Blair Orange finished at the All Stars stable in July after a decade associated with the best stable in the country- and he has plenty to show for it. He finished on a high breaking into the "100 club" for the first time, the latest in a string of records he has established over the years. "My target was 50 at the start of the season. I thought I was doing well when I got to 75 and then I thought, well I might as well go for the 100. I might not get a chance to get that close again" With help from the Mark Jones stable he achieved his target -well ahead of any previous season. The stimulus All Stars gave his young driving career speak for itself. He had of course helped make his own luck, making marked improvement to rein 37 winners in the 2002 season mostly for smaller trainers like Trevor Craddock, Mike Austin, Craig Buchan, Kevin Townley, Andrew Stuart, Brian Kerr, John Parsons, Michael House and Peter Cowan. It is significant that his 100th winner for this  season was for Austin and his last driving night under the All Stars banner features a drive for Buchan. But the chance to work with Mark Purdon was going to another level and Blair has always aspired to go to the next level. "Mark rang me out of the blue. I had never driven for him. We talked, he made me an offer and I accepted. " Ohoka Atom was his first winner for the stable but one of his biggest thrills came a month later when Waihemo Hanger won at the Cup meeting. "I had never driven a winner on Cup Day so that was special ." Ironically one of his earlier regular drives for Mike Austin, Ado's Invasion, was second handled by Mark Jones. Blair's career had started nearly seven years earlier when he was with Tim Butt and drove Whizza Nova to win at Reefton in 1996. He won 18 races in his first season for All Stars but by 2007 topped $1m in stakes won thanks chiefly to Ohoka Arizona, Fiery Falcon and Steve McQueen. In only one season since have his stakes won been less than seven figures. His best season for the stable in  terms of wins was 2012 when he won 46 for All Stars from a season driving  total of 81. However even in his final season with Mark and Natalie driving many of the A graders he won 39 races for the stable.  Altogether he has won $12.6m in stakes for owners over the years. His biggest month for All Stars was in March of 2009 when he drove 11 winners for the stable going close with 10 in the same month this season. So as he heads for his own training career -though with plenty of free lance driving still part of the package-what has he learned. Naturally the answer is "a lot". "Obviously the overall organisation is something you don't work with often. I have worked in other top stables such as Tim and Anthony's but there is always something different they do, something you can pick up on. The handling of the two year olds has been one of the great experiences for me. How they are brought along and managed and each one assessed for what they can handle as youngsters. Then how they are managed during their campaigns. There was a lot in that'' "But the overall routines and stable management was just as important. So much to learn and adapt when I go out on my own training. Mark is a master at planning a programme so the horses peak for the big days. Not many can do it like he and Natalie can'' " From a driving viewpoint the horses at All Stars give you confidence in what you are going. That is a hell of an advantage and it carries over to your other drives " If it was so good why leave ? "I would have been quite happy to stay to be honest if an offer like Ken's (Barron) had not come along. But I was going to have to strike out a bit more on my own sooner or later and this was a deal I thought too good to let pass. It could open the way for me to have my own training operation which is the long term aim. In the meantime I will still be doing a lot of free lance driving and some of that for Mark Jones who has been such a boost to me this season." Blair is aware there are plenty with doubts he is doing the right thing but that is of no concern to him. "While I was mulling over the offer I had a few doubts myself but once I made the decision I was confident it was the right one and what anybody else thinks is not important to me.  It would be fair to say Blair Orange came to All Stars still an apprentice and left as graduate with honours on the driving track. So what were his five most memorable experiences at the stable ? In no particular order: LENNON "I won a lot of races with Lennon in my first season with Mark and races like the Kindergarten, Welcome, Sapling and the Sires Stakes. He was a class horse and he gave me a lot of confidence that I could measure up in the big stuff" WAIHEMO HANGER  "He have me my first winner at the Cup meeting and that was a huge thrill for me at the time. You don't forget things like that" AUCKLAND REACTOR- "I won the Taylor Mile behind him. He was just a terrific horse. He had that something extra you never forget " ADORE ME -"Winning the Easter Cup gave a thrill like Auckland Reactor had. A special horse to drive" HIGHVIEW TOMMY " He might have only run second in the Cup but second in the Cup was a big thing for me. It is the race everyone wants to win and we went close. He gave me a lot of other big moments too and Tommy could be full of surprises so you never knew quite what was going to happen" (Blair set some sort of record with Highview Tommy too driving him to win in five successive seasons. Maybe not even Mark has done that with one of the team in Blair's era). Courtesy Of All Stars Racing

Solar Fire was an outstanding two and three year old trotter in the late 1990s, and a harness racing star on both sides of the Tasman. By the time the daughter of Yankee Reb went to stud she had won 14 races and amassed $213,205 in stakes. There was an expectation that her foals would carry on in the footsteps of their dam but in the early days it wasn't to be. From her first seven foals, Solar Fire produced just two winners with Hot Vacation (2 wins) her best performer. And then Sheemon appeared and all her previous foals were forgotten. To date Sheemon has had 36 starts for 12 wins and 19 placings for $249,273 in stakes and looks set to be a major player in all the elite trotting races as a five year old. The next foal from Solar Fire after Sheemon was a filly by CR Commando named Shell Seeker.  Raced extensively at three, she showed glimpses of real ability coupled with a lack of ringcraft. Slowly but surely her trainer Kevin Townley who is a renowned conditioner of trotters, has moulded Shell Seeker into a racehorse. A couple of good thirds in strong fields recently pointed to her being a big chance in the Alabar Super Series Consolation at Addington tonight. ( August 8th) Sent to the lead early by driver Dexter Dunn in the artic like conditions, Shell Seeker was attacked by Innes Boyz and took a trail after 800 meters. Fifty meters later Dexter whipped her out of the trail and back to the front with 1500 meters to run. From their she kept up a steady clip and turning for home it was obvious Shell Seeker had the field in trouble. Dexter just kept her up to the mark in the straight as she held on for a comfortable win.  She trotted the 2600 meters from a stand in terrible conditions in 3:23.8, a mile rate of 2:06.1 with closing sectionals of 62 and 29.5. While there are obviously more wins in store for Shell Seeker before she retires to the broodmare barn, it is there that her real value lies. Not only is Shell Seeker a half sister to Sheemon from a champion racemare in Solar Fire, but her grand dam is a half sister to none other than the champion racehorse and sire in Sundon ( 27 wins) ($264,085). It is a family thats continues to excell and is keenly sought after by breeders in New Zealand. Harnesslink Media  

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