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On 19 May 2017, Harness Racing Victoria Stewards commenced an investigation, which resulted in a stable inspection being conducted in the presence of licensed trainer Mr Andrew Jordan and owner Ms Gaita Pullicino at the relevant stable address.    During the stable inspection, despite being directed by Stewards to do so, Ms Pullicino failed to produce an item, which had been located by Stewards whilst conducting an inventory of equine medications stored in a shipping container located at the aforementioned property. Following this, Ms Pullicino then failed to comply with a clear direction provided by Stewards for her to remain on the property to enable Stewards to conduct further enquiries, rather she elected to be deliberately obstructive to the Stewards in the course of their duties, by concealing the aforementioned 'item' from Stewards and immediately vacating the property. During the stable inspection a number of interviews were conducted with both Ms Pullicino and Mr Jordan regarding, amongst other matters, the treatment regime of horses part owned and trained by Mr Jordan and also owned by Ms Pullicino. In considering the evidence provided by Ms Pullicino and Mr Jordan during such interviews, the Stewards have serious concerns in relation to the compliance of both Ms Pullicino and Mr Jordan with the Australian Harness Racing Rules (AHRR), particularly regarding the husbandry practices currently being undertaken. HRV Stewards have given consideration to the serious nature of the investigation and the evidence obtained during the stable inspection on 19 May 2017 and in accordance with AHRR 15(1) (aa) and (k) have determined to bar from racing, all horses owned by Mr Jordan and Ms Pullicino being trained from the relevant stable address until such time as urine and / or blood samples obtained from such horses are free of prohibited substances. On 22 May 2017, HRV Stewards re-attended the relevant stable address where Ms Pullicino and Mr Jordan were informed of the decision of the HRV Stewards to invoke AHRR 15(1) (aa) and (k). HRV Stewards conducted further interviews with Mr Jordan and Ms Pullicino and samples from all relevant horses were obtained for further analysis. At the completion of this process, HRV Stewards will then consider the entirety of the evidence obtained during this investigation, including the relevant conduct of both Mr Jordan and Ms Pullicino.   Harness Racing Victoria

The Harness Racing Victoria (HRV) Racing Appeals and Disciplinary (RAD) Board yesterday heard a matter in regards to charges issued by HRV Stewards under Australian Harness Racing Rules (AHRR) 193 (1), 192 (1) and 194 against licensed driver Mr Michael Honson.  These charges related to a stable inspection conducted by Stewards in Mildura on 4 August, 2016 where Mr Honson was present with licensed trainer Mr Matt Schembri. During the stable inspection Stewards spoke to Mr Honson and observed two horses tied to a vehicle within a close proximity of a horse float. These horses were identified as “King of Dreams” and “Bronze Destiny” who were engaged that evening to compete at the Mildura Harness Racing meeting. Stewards inspected the horse float and shed where they located equipment and ingredients that could be used to stomach tube a horse. When interviewed Mr Honson admitted to owning and being in possession of the equipment. Mr Honson pleaded guilty yesterday to all charges before submissions by legal counsel engaged on behalf of HRV Stewards and Mr Honson were heard. The HRV RAD Board considered Mr Honsons’ guilty plea and co-operation with Stewards throughout the investigation, his good offence history and his personal and financial situation and general and specific deterrence. The HRV RAD Board imposed the following penalty: AHRR 193 (1) -         Fined $3500.00 AHRR 192 (1) -         Fined $500.00 AHRR 194      -         Fined $500.00           The charges against licensed trainer Mr Schembri for AHRR 193 (1), 192 (1) and 194 were withdrawn yesterday by Stewards before the HRV RAD Board.  VIC - RAD Board Hearing – Michael Honson 

Racing Integrity Unit general manager Mike Godber is defending his organisation's consistency around cobalt positives. Earlier this week, Canterbury harness racing trainer Cran Dalgety was hit with a $32,000 fine for presenting five horses to race with cobalt levels in excess of the 200 ug/L (micrograms per litre) threshold for the prohibited substance. Importantly, the Racing Integrity Unit (RIU) and the Judicial Control Authority (JCA), who handed down the penalty, agreed that Dalgety was guilty of negligence but did not intentionally administer cobalt or any other prohibited substance. Dalgety, a highly successful trainer best known for guiding the career of champion pacer Christen Me, questioned why Southland trainer Shane Walkinshaw escaped a presenting charge when two of his horses returned positive swabs for cobalt in late 2015. But Godber said attempting to compare the two cases was "drawing a long bow". Walkinshaw purchased an over the counter product and the label confirmed a small and legal amount of cobalt was present in the ingredients. However, the batch was contaminated and in fact contained 190 times the amount that was advertised. "In the Walkinshaw case we asked what more could he have done to prevent it and the answer was not a lot," Godber said. A raft of tests were done on the supplement and the Walkinshaw-trained Not Bad to determine that the product had been manufactured incorrectly. Both the supplier and the manufacturer took responsibility. Godber said the Dalgety case was different because the supplement, McGrouthers Equine Mineral Mix, was labelled as containing cobalt but it did not identify the amount. He said that put a significant responsibility on Dalgety to identify the level of cobalt in the product which he did not do. "If you look at the Dalgety case, it did not meet the criteria for there not to be a charge because there was clearly more he could have done," Godber said. He added that Dalgety's case was not helped by the fact the product was not being used by any other trainers in New Zealand and was not sold on a large commercial basis. Dalgety's counter to that argument was that he had been using the product without issue for more than 10 years and the label of the supplement said "will not return a positive swab" and "Licensed under Animal Remedies Act 1967 No 3392". It was later found to have not been licensed since at least 1997. The JCA decision said Dalgety's culpability was his failure to obtain appropriate advice on the use of a product containing cobalt after Harness Racing New Zealand (HRNZ) introduced a cobalt threshold 200 ug/L in May 2015. Godber added that products that were licensed under the act could still contain ingredients that were prohibited under the rules of racing. "It's really a case of buyer beware. The onus is on the trainer to make sure the product is free of any prohibited substances. "The message is, if you are in any doubt do not use the product until you have spoken to your vet." Dalgety also raised another case where two Canterbury trainers were not charged when they returned positive swabs for caffeine in 2013 that was also proven to be from a feed supplement. Godber said that was because the product did not show any signs of caffeine on its label and both trainers had sought veterinary advice. Dalgety described his $32,000 fine as excessive but Godber, who reiterated the value of the fine was set by the JCA, said he did not believe the fine was unreasonable given it was Dalgety's third offence in eight years. The RIU submitted for a fine between $36,000 and $86,250 but because it deemed the offence to be at the lower end of the scale, expected a penalty close to the $36,000 mark. Dalgety's two previous positives (caffeine and bute) were deemed to be unintentional with the caffeine being a result of contaminated feed and the wrong horse being treated with bute by stable staff. The RIU acknowledged Dalgety had been fully cooperative throughout their investigation. WHAT IS COBALT? Cobalt is an essential trace element that is naturally occurring in horses, dogs and other mammals but has been demonstrated to have an effect on the blood system by stimulating the production of red blood cells making for a similar effect to Erythropoietin (EPO) doping. By Mat Kermeen Reprinted with permission of Stuff

Harness Racing New South Wales (HRNSW) Stewards concluded their inquiries into certain activities of licensed trainer Dean Germon on Wednesday May 2, 2017. These inquiries resulted from an inspection of the trainer’s stables on Monday, February 6, 2017.  On Tuesday, February 28, 2017, Stewards took evidence from Mr Germon in regards to matters dealing with the intended lease of two registered standardbred horses, details of stable returns submitted by the trainer and his attempt to work a horse at the Tamworth Showgrounds when not officially included in his stable.  This hearing was adjourned to allow Stewards to fully consider the evidence. By letter dated March, 1, 2017, Mr Germon was informed of the charges laid against him. They included; Charges 1 and 2 issued under HR Rules 109 (1) & (2) which state; 109. (1)  Within 7 days of entering into a lease or prior to the horse next racing whichever is the earlier the lessee shall lodge a notification of the lease with the Controlling Body. (2)  Notification shall be made in the manner and form and be accompanied by such documentation, information and fees as the Controlling Body may determine. Charge 3 issued under HR Rules 25 (1)(a) & (4) which state; 25.  (1) (a) A stable return containing the true and correct particulars must be lodged with the Controlling Body by the connections of a horse within the time and in the manner and form determined by the Controlling Body and the connections shall ensure that all particulars on the stable return are true and correct. (4)  A person who fails to comply with any provision of this rule is guilty of an offence. Charge 4 issued pursuant to HR Rule 91(1)(c) which states; 91.  (1)  A person shall not carry on an activity regulated by licence – (c)  except in accordance with the terms and conditions of the licence. (2)  A person who fails to comply with any provision of sub rule (1) is guilty of an offence. As no response was received from the trainer despite an extension of time being granted to plea to the charges laid, on March 24, 2017, Stewards proceeded in his absence, found Mr Germon guilty of all charges laid and notified the trainer in writing.  The trainer was invited to make submissions in regards to penalty. In the absence of any response from the trainer in regards to penalty, on May, 2, 2017 Stewards announced the following penalties: Charges 1 and 2 – A fine of $300 in regards to each offence. Charge 3 – A fine of $2000. Charge 4 – A suspension of licence for a period of six (6) months to be served cumulative to a penalty presently the subject of appeal before the Racing Appeals Tribunal.  The commencement date of such suspension will be announced following the determination of that Appeal.  In determining these penalties Stewards considered the circumstances of the offences and the known subjective facts relevant to the trainer. Mr Germon was notified of the Stewards findings by letter on May, 3, 2017 and informed of his right to appeal these decisions. To arrange an interview or for further information please contact: MICHAEL PRENTICE | INTEGRITY MANAGER (02) 9722 6600 •  mprentice@hrnsw.com.au GRAHAM LOCH | CHAIRMAN OF STEWARDS (02) 9722 6600 •  gloch@hrnsw.com.au

Harness Racing Victoria (HRV) Stewards have today found licensed driver Simon Jardine guilty of breaching Australian Harness Racing Rule 248, which states: A person shall not say, publish or write or cause to be said, published or written anything malicious, intimidatory or otherwise improper about the Controlling Body, its members and employees or the Stewards or anyone else associated with the harness racing industry. The charge related to a series of Facebook posts published by Mr Jardine on or about 5 May 2017 that in the opinion of the Stewards were improper and malicious towards Harness Racing Victoria and the Stewards. Mr Jardine was fined the sum of $500 of which, $250 is suspended for a period of 2 years on the condition that Mr Jardine does not commit a similar offence during this period. Stewards Inquiry – Simon Jardine

On Thursday May 11, 2017, Harness Racing New South Wales (HRNSW) Stewards conducted an Inquiry into a report received from the Australian Racing Forensic Laboratory that plasma Total Carbon Dioxide (TCO2) above the prescribed threshold was detected in a pre-race blood sample taken from MINCARLIE prior to race 7, THE 102.9 KOFM BATTLERS STAKES (2030 metres) conducted at Newcastle on Saturday April 8, 2017. The “B” sample was confirmed by the Queensland Racing Integrity Commission (Racing Science Centre). Mr Potts appeared at the Inquiry. Evidence including the Reports of Analysis was presented.  Evidence was taken from Mr Potts regarding the training of MINCARLIE and his husbandry practices and also presented to the Inquiry by HRNSW Regulatory Veterinarian Dr Don Colantonio. Mr Potts was issued with the following charges pursuant to Australian Harness Racing Rules (AHRR): Charge 1:      AHRR 196A(1)(ii) for administering to MINCARLIE a prohibited substance which was detected in a sample taken from that horse prior to the running of a race. Charge 2:      AHRR 190(1),(2) & (4) for presenting MINCARLIE to race not free of a prohibited substance. Charge 3: AHRR 193(3) & (6) for administering to MINCARLIE a medication on race day prior to that horse running in a race. Mr Potts was found guilty of all charges.  Stewards issued the following penalties, and ordered the penalties be served concurrently: Charge 1:      2 years disqualification Charge 2: 5 years disqualification Charge 3: 9 months disqualification In considering penalty Stewards were mindful of the following; This was Mr Pott’s second Prohibited Substance offence; Class 2 Prohibited Substance; The level detected being greater than 39.0 mmol/L; Mr Pott’s licence history and other personal subjective facts. Acting under the provisions of Rule 195, MINCARLIE was disqualified from the abovementioned race. Mr Potts was advised of his right to appeal these decisions. Harness Racing NSW (HRNSW) is the controlling body for harness racing in New South Wales with responsibility for commercial and regulatory management of the industry including 33 racing clubs across the State.  HRNSW is headed by a Board of Directors and is independent of Government.   Michael Prentice                            Integrity Manager

Engulfed in a grubby sexual harassment scandal far from her doing, Barbara Scott stood at the crossroads of either running or fighting. But Ms Scott, who recently became WA’s first female harness racing stewards chief, needed only to look to her daughter Alana to realise she had little option. “I wanted to be a good role model to my daughter and show her that if you believe in something, you’ve got to fight for it,” Ms Scott told The Weekend West. “That’s what gets you through life.” Ms Scott’s story made national headlines in 2009 when she successfully brought a landmark wrongful dismissal claim against the NSW Greyhound and Harness Racing Regulatory Authority, claiming she had endured an 18-month campaign of being sexually harassed, bullied and even accused of leading on fellow steward Kevin Adams. She said Mr Adams had not only touched her inappropriately on several occasions and harassed her for sex, but also once locked her with him in a car at the Bankstown trotting track and told her he would not let her out unless she said “Ivan Milat”. “It was obviously a very difficult time in my life,” she said. “It changed me forever, in some good ways and some bad ways. But I am a fierce believer in justice and things being done correctly and I’ll always stand up for my rights. “I’ve tried to put it in the background and move on, but I’d be lying if I said it didn’t still have some impact on me. It was a huge emotional and financial cost to me, but not once did I regret it. “It’s just given me a sense of satisfaction to go on and prove to them I was capable of doing the job. I’m still here and I’m still doing what I love.” Ms Scott’s new role is another strong statement by Racing and Wagering WA about women in key roles in a traditionally male-dominated industry after Charlotte Mills was also this year appointed as the State Government agency’s first female racing general manager. Mrs Mills is due to give birth to her third child in June. By Steve Butler Reprinted with permission of The West Australian

A man's anger over alleged race fixing at a Queensland harness racing track led to assaults on three drivers, a court has heard. Grant James Gavin, 32, was fined $2000 at Southport Magistrates Court on Wednesday after pleading guilty to three counts of assaulting harness racing drivers at Albion Park Raceway in Brisbane last year. The court heard Gavin was angered after incidents in races involving horses trained by his father, approaching rival drivers before striking them and verbally threatening them. The first assault occurred on April 26, 2016, when Gavin approached a driver who had clashed with his father's horse during a race. "If you ever do it again it will be a bad idea," Gavin told the man before shoving him. On August 12, 2016, Gavin punched a driver and knocked his helmet off, and then on October 28, 2016, the father-of-three punched another driver in the mouth and accused him of lying about an arranged race result. The court heard two of three drivers assaulted by Gavin have since been charged with fixing races. Gavin was charged in February after an investigation by the Queensland Racing Crime Squad. Read more here.    

On 7, 8 and 9 February 2017, the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (VCAT) heard the application for review of Mr Daniel Neagoe in regard to the decision of the Harness Racing Victoria (HRV) Racing Appeals and Disciplinary (RAD) Board of 22 July 2016 to impose a six-month disqualification upon Mr Neagoe for a breach of Australian Harness Racing Rule (AHRR) 190(1). The VCAT simultaneously heard the review of registered owner Sloys Company Pty Ltd regarding the disqualification of ‘Hot Shot Woman’ from Race 5 at Tabcorp Park Melton on 30 August 2015. The details of the HRV RAD Board hearing of 22 July 2016 can be viewed here. Background In December 2015, HRV Stewards issued a charge against licensed trainer Daniel Neagoe alleging a breach of AHRR 190(1), being that he presented the horse ‘Hot Shot Woman’ to race in the ‘Betterthancheddar @ Alabar Breeders Crown Series 18 (2YO Fillies) Final (Group 1)’ at Tabcorp Park Melton on 30 August 2015 when not free of the prohibited substances amphetamine, hydroxyamphetamine, methamphetamine and hydroxymethamphetamine.   Following a HRV RAD Board hearing conducted on 27 May 2016 and subsequent penalty hearing on 22 July 2016, the HRV RAD Board imposed a disqualification on Mr Neagoe for a period of six months with immediate effect, and acting under AHRR 195 also disqualified ‘Hot Shot Woman’ from the relevant race. VCAT Hearing In August 2016, Mr Neagoe made application to the VCAT for a review of the HRV RAD Board decision to impose a disqualification. Mr Neagoe did not apply for a stay of proceedings and as such served out this particular period of disqualification prior to the hearing. Sloys Company Pty Ltd, the registered owner of ‘Hot Shot Woman’ at the relevant time, also applied to the VCAT for a review of the decision to disqualify ‘Hot Shot Woman’ from Race 5 at Melton on 30 August 2015. On 7, 8 and 9 February 2017, both applications were heard by VCAT Senior Member Gerard Butcher. VCAT Decision On 2 May 2017, Senior Member Butcher released his decision in relation to the review applications. The VCAT decision can be found here. In affirming the decision of the HRV RAD Board to impose a disqualification on trainer Daniel Neagoe for presenting ‘Hot Shot Woman’ to race not free of prohibited substances, Senior Member Butcher said that a breach of this rule ‘has consistently been found to be one of absolute liability’ and saw no reason to diverge from that approach. Senior Member Butcher also highlighted the mandatory provision of AHRR 195 which requires that ‘Hot Shot Woman’ be disqualified from the relevant race following a finding that the horse was presented to race not free of prohibited substances. As such the decision to disqualify ‘Hot Shot Woman’ was also affirmed. Harness Racing Victoria

Columbus, OH - Changes to United States Trotting Association rules and bylaws that were approved at the annual meeting of the harness racing Board of Directors in February 2017, were enacted and went into effect on Monday (May 1). The changes apply to venues in which the USTA is the sole regulatory authority. As specified in the USTA Rulebook's preface, "the rules...are applicable only to those non-pari-mutuel meetings over which no State Racing Commission, or other State Regulatory Body asserts primary jurisdiction." It is not uncommon, however, to see state racing commissions adopt USTA rules. The bylaw pertaining to procedures and eligibility for election of directors representing racetracks was approved to specify a variety of issues, including timing and eligibility of individuals for election. It was discussed and debated in Las Vegas in February, then remanded to an ad hoc committee for further review and amendment before being ratified by the full board again in early April. Track directors now will serve three-year terms, as opposed to the previous two-year standard. Districts 1 (Ohio) and 7 (Pennsylvania) each picked up one additional track director seat, with Dave Bianconi (Northfield Park) and Kevin Decker (The Meadows) both recently elected to fill those positions, while Districts 2 (Michigan) and 5 (Illinois) each lost one seat. Among the regulations pertaining to racing and breeding, dead heats in races where a point system is in place for eligibility to subsequent events, the points and purses will now be divided and/or shared. The components of an official chart are now expanded to include trainer's name, reason for a scratch, removal of hobbles from both trotters and pacers, and designation of a second tier starting position. The requirement for specifying monetary allowances for age and gender in claiming races has been eliminated; the overall claiming price remains in place. Regulations regarding horses that go inside the pylons were amended to specify the number of pylons crossed to constitute a violation, placing of horses that do so, and delineation of escalating fines and suspensions for drivers who commit pylon violations. The new regulations largely mirror those employed at racing venues in Ontario, Canada. Drivers who believe their horse's performance in a race has been compromised by another driver and wish to appeal the matter to their USTA District Board are no longer required to lodge the initial complaint before they dismount the sulky. They must still appeal to the District Board within 10 days of the decision or ruling they wish to appeal. For breeders, signature requirements for mare owners registering progeny have been simplified to remove the requirement when there is no change of ownership. Those seeking to register a horse as "Non-Standardbred" will no longer be required to spay or neuter their horse before such registration can be granted. Rule book production is currently in progress, and a PDF reflecting all of the changes will be posted online at www.ustrotting.com by the end of May. Ken Weingartner

Harness Racing Victoria (HRV) today announced Acting Legal Counsel John Briffa and Acting General Manager – Commercial Ryan Stanaway have been appointed to their positions permanently. Stanaway, who has been in the GM Commercial role since November last year, has an extensive industry background in the wagering and racing space. Briffa has been in the General Counsel role since November last year has been influencing a range of matters at HRV, including club governance. “Ryan and John are important members of the HRV team and I am looking forward to continuing to work with both of them as we guide the industry into the future,” HRV CEO David Martin said. Cody Winnell (HRV Media/Communications Manager)

A Marlborough harness racing identity says the Crown has failed to prove basic elements of charges alleging he was behind a scheme to deceive gambling licensing authorities. In a nearly two-month trial, it was alleged Department of Internal Affairs, which issues licences for pokie gaming machines and the trusts that distribute the profits, was kept in the dark about one man's involvement in a trust intended to channel gambling profits towards racing clubs. Michael (Mike) Joseph O'Brien​, 57, of Blenheim, was in the department's bad books. At the High Court in Wellington on Thursday, O'Brien's lawyer, Bruce Squire, QC, said the department and its inspectors held a "deeply entrenched conviction" that O'Brien was an unsuitable person to be involved in that type of gambling. READ MORE: * Deception alleged in control over pokie machine gambling and profits * Trial ends for elderly pokie gaming fraud defendant Pat O'Brien ​* Defence evidence given in pokie machine profit fraud trial * Long-running pokie gambling fraud trial enters final stages But O'Brien had never been convicted of a Gambling Act offence, and had never been given an opportunity to respond to the claimed unsuitability. The Crown has alleged O'Brien and two other men hid his involvement with setting up and running a trust, Bluegrass, to operate pokie machines and distribute the profits, and with three businesses where machines were sited. But Squire said another defendant had told the department of O'Brien's involvement, and they issued licences for the trust anyway. The court has heard that O'Brien was earning more than $1 million a year lobbying on behalf of racing clubs wanting grants from gaming money. He would invoice the clubs for his services at the start of the season and the Crown alleges O'Brien would then influence or control the grants process so that the clubs received about three times the amount they paid him. One of the men standing trial with O'Brien said there was evidence that the department knew of, and approved, the lobbying arrangement. There were no charges relating to the lobbying or the money received.  In his final address to Justice Robert Dobson, the man, who is representing himself, said he told the department what he knew of O'Brien's involvement helping in administration and advice for O'Brien's father, who was setting up Bluegrass. He said that alongside that information, he told the department O'Brien was not "directly" involved in the trust, which was correct in the context the statement was made. All three defendants pleaded not guilty. O'Brien faces five charges, two relating to the trust and three relating to the gaming machine venues.  Paul Anthony Max, 60, of Nelson, was charged in relation to the three gaming venues, and the 56-year-old man whose name was suppressed faced the two charges relating to the trust. The charges dated from between 2009 and 2013. When the trial began, 15 charges were laid but 10 were dropped. The trial had also begun with O'Brien's father, former New Zealand Harness Racing chairman Patrick O'Brien, 83, of Blenheim, facing charges. The charges against him were stopped due to ill-health.  The Crown alleged that Mike O'Brien in effect directed the grants made to racing clubs, but Squire said the evidence did not support that. One list suggested less than one-quarter of the amounts on O'Brien's "wishlist" were approved.  O'Brien could not have controlled or influenced the grants process without the complicity of the committee that approved grants, and no committee member said their independence was compromised, Squire said. Squire said there was no evidence to support the Crown allegation that O'Brien had influenced grants other trusts made. Reprinted with permission of Stuff  

A Blenheim-based harness racing personality earned more than $1 million a year as a result of influencing or controlling grants from pokie gambling machine profits, the Crown alleges. Horse trainer Michael Joseph O'Brien, 57, is accused of setting up a trust to operate pokie machines in pubs and clubs and being the unseen hand behind it, including controlling where gambling machine profits would be distributed. The Crown says O'Brien's scheme was to invoice racing clubs for "lobbying" for grants on their behalf, and then arrange for the clubs to receive grants of about three times the amount he invoiced them. It was alleged that, from 2006, O'Brien received "substantially more" than $1m per racing season through the invoicing scheme, totalling $11.5m by 2013. He did not face charges relating to the invoicing scheme. READ MORE: * Deception alleged in control over pokie machine gambling and profits * Trial ends for elderly pokie gaming fraud defendant Pat O'Brien ​* Defence evidence given in pokie machine profit fraud trial One racing club representative told the court he would rather not have paid O'Brien's invoices, but O'Brien was "really successful" in lobbying for funds for the club. O'Brien and two others are on trial at the High Court in Wellington facing charges relating to the way O'Brien's involvement in a grant-making trust, and bars and cafes that contained pokie machines, was concealed. The three have pleaded not guilty to all charges. Final addresses for all three were expected this week. On Wednesday, prosecutor Grant Burston said that, through O'Brien's hidden interest in businesses where the pokie machines were placed, and the trust, he could sway the grants process. It depended, however, on being able to conceal his involvement from the Department of Internal Affairs, which regulated the industry, because O'Brien believed the department would not approve the licences if it knew he was involved. There was evidence he had become frustrated with the difficulty of getting gambling money grants for racing clubs, which led to a decrease in his own income. From earning $1.74 million from the racing club invoices in 2007, his earnings dropped to $1.32 in the 2009 racing year. In 2009 he decided to set up his own trust, Bluegrass, to operate the pokie machines in venues he acquired, and control the grants process, it was alleged. From there, racing club income to him or an associated party swung up, and reportedly reached a high of $1.92m in the 2012 racing year.  O'Brien has pleaded not guilty to five charges dating from between 2009 and 2013. At the start of the trial, the Crown laid 15 charges against defendants including O'Brien, but later a decision was made not to proceed on 10 of the charges, dating from 2007 to 2010. O'Brien and a 56-year-old man whose name was suppressed faced two charges of obtaining an operator's licence for Bluegrass, and control over the proceeds of gambling, by falsely representing that O'Brien was not involved. O'Brien and Paul Anthony Max, 60, face three charges relating to getting venue licences for three businesses in 2009 and 2010 by concealing O'Brien's involvement. Max allegedly held O'Brien's interests in his name to conceal O'Brien's involvement. O'Brien's ailing father, Patrick Francis O'Brien, 83, had been one of the defendants but, soon after the trial started on February 27, the judge removed him on health grounds. Patrick O'Brien was a former chairman of Harness Racing New Zealand. The defendants begin their closing addresses to Justice Robert Dobson, sitting without a jury, on Thursday. Reprinted with permission of stuff.co.nz

Bathurst harness racing trainer Nathan Turnbull was won the right to continue to train despite a first sample taken from Destiny Warrior showing a irregularity to cocaine after he won at Dubbo in February. Turnbull told Fairfax Media that Destiny Warrior had returned a swab positive to cocaine in his first sample from his win on February 22, but said if the second sample confirmed the result, he would be defending the charge. "I can't make any comment about it at the moment," he said. Harness Racing NSW stewards had stood down Turnbull under rule 183 last week, but he appealed the ruling on Monday and the NSW Racing Tribunal overturned the decision after an admission by a third party who admitted using the drug on the way to the races. At Turnbull's appeal against the standing down, the third party – know as the user – "made full and frank admissions" to stewards that he had handled Destiny Warrior and its gear before the race after using cocaine. To read the full article written by Chris Roots click here

Leading WA trotting trainer Greg Bond has been charged with giving false information and behaviour detrimental to the harness racing Industry. Stewards inquired into the unplaced run of Bond-trained Fifth Edition and betting on the horse in a San Simeon Series heat over 2130m at Gloucester Park last December. Records showed Bond placed multiple wagers on the race, but did not include Fifth Edition in any of his bets. The inquiry has been adjourned to a date to be fixed. Bond and his wife Skye, who run a Forrestdale stable in partnership, have prepared more than 140 winners this season and are second on the Australian pacing trainers’ premiership. New Zealand import Fifth Edition was making his WA debut when he started $2.20 in the San Simeon heat. He hung in and faded from fourth at the bell to finish last of 12, almost 85m behind winner Limestone Bay. Racing and Wagering WA integrity general manager Denis Borovica said stewards began an inquiry after the race. Borovica alleged Bond gave false information to stewards. He alleged that Bond, in a phone conversation with then chief harness steward Carl Coady on December 5, falsely said he included Fifth Edition in a first four bet. Borovica said Bond had behaved in a way prejudicial to the industry after being told by reinsman Ryan Warwick the horse hung and cross-fired at trackwork on the prior Tuesday. In an interview on TABradio on the morning of the race, Bond said Fifth Edition was his stable’s best prospect that night. He did not mention Warwick’s information the horse had hung and cross-fired. However, Bond spoke of Warwick’s adverse comments in a phone call to a part-owner of Fifth Edition. Borovica said Bond had bets on Fifth Edition’s race, including a first four with multiple combinations and a quadrella. Ernie Manning Reprinted with permission of The West Australian

Further to events at Yarra Valley trots on 9 February, 2017, and the subsequent apology by Harness Racing Victoria (HRV) Board Member Danny Frawley, HRV wishes to advise the following. The matter was referred to the three independent members of the Integrity Council in February.  The HRV Board has accepted all recommendations from this Integrity Council investigation, including the imposition of a $4000 fine upon Mr Frawley for his conduct, which involved inappropriate comments made towards licenced participant Greg Sugars. In addition, Mr Frawley, of his own volition, has enrolled in an AICD Director’s course, which will take place in October this year. HRV CEO David Martin said: “We are pleased the independent members of the Integrity Council have reviewed this matter and this outcome provides closure for all parties. I thank everyone involved for their cooperation throughout this investigation.” HRV Board Member Danny Frawley said: “My comments were regrettable and I accept the decision of the independent members of the Integrity Council. My role is to serve the industry as a member of the HRV Board and I look forward to putting this behind me and getting on with the job of helping the industry thrive. I’d also like to reiterate that I have the utmost respect for Greg Sugars and I thank him for his candour throughout this process.”  Cody Winnell (HRV Media/Communications Manager) Harness Racing Victoria

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