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NSW Racing Appeals Tribunal Decisions - Mr Shaun Simiana HRNSW Stewards commenced an Inquiry on 5 October 2016 into the results of the following Out of Competition blood samples taken from horses in the care of Trainer Mr Shaun (Anthony) Simiana:   FRANCO TIAGO NZ          Sample collected on 17 April 2016 WALKABOUT CREEK       Sample collected on 17 April 2016 FRANCO TIAGO NZ          Sample collected on 18 April 2016 WALKABOUT CREEK       Sample collected on 18 April 2016 WALKABOUT CREEK       Sample collected on 3 May 2016   Those samples were reported to contain the prohibited substance Peptide VNFYAWK. On 5 October 2016, HRNSW Stewards issued 8 charges against Mr Simiana and adjourned the Inquiry to allow Mr Simiana to consider those charges. The Inquiry resumed on 7 December 2016 at which time Mr Simiana’s legal representatives made a number of requests and further applications. Following correspondence between the parties, due to the fact that no submissions were received from Mr Simiana in response to the charges issued by 20 January 2017, HRNSW Stewards considered the matter on the evidence that was before them, in the absence of any submissions. Mr Simiana was found guilty of all charges and advised through his legal representative of that decision. Mr Simiana was provided with an opportunity to provide submissions in relation to the matter of penalty by COB 3 February 2017. Following an extension until COB 7 February 2017, no submissions were received and HRNSW Stewards considered the matter of penalty. On 15 February 2017, Mr Simiana was issued with the following penalties: In relation to Charges 1,2,3,4 & 7, pursuant to Australian Harness Racing Rule (AHRR) 190A(1)(a), Mr Simiana was disqualified for a period of six (6) years to be served concurrently. In relation to Charges 5,6 & 8, pursuant to Australian Harness Racing Rule (AHRR) 196A(1)(i) & (2) Mr Simiana was disqualified for a period of ten (10) years to be served concurrently. HRNSW Stewards ordered that the two (2) periods of disqualification imposed be served cumulatively. Therefore Mr Simiana was disqualified for a total period of 16 years to commence from 28 July 2016, the date upon which he was stood down. HRNSW Stewards also disqualified the subject horses from the following races pursuant to Australian Harness Racing Rule (AHRR) 190A(1)(b): ·      FRANCO TIAGO NZ be disqualified as the winner of Race 5 at Tabcorp Park Menangle on 19 April 2016.  ·      FRANCO TIAGO NZ be disqualified as the winner of Race 2 at Tabcorp Park Menangle on 30 April 2016. ·      WALKABOUT CREEK be disqualified from its fourth place at Tabcorp Park Menangle on 19 April 2016. ·      WALKABOUT CREEK be disqualified from its second place at Dubbo on 29 April 2016. ·      WALKABOUT CREEK be disqualified from its third place at Tabcorp Park Menangle on 14 May 2016 In addition, HRNSW Stewards ordered that Mr Simiana pay to HRNSW within 14 days of being advised of the Steward’s Decision, the sum of $15,000 as costs pertaining to the analytical tests that were costs borne by the Controlling Body in relation to the prohibited substances from his horses, pursuant to NSW Local Rule 256A. The decisions of the HRNSW Stewards were appealed to the NSW Racing Appeals Tribunal by Mr Simiana. Following an appeal hearing, on 16 June 2020 the NSW Racing Appeals Tribunal handed down the decision that the appeal against all eight (8) charges had been dismissed. On 5 August 2020, the NSW Racing Appeals Tribunal handed down the following penalty decisions: Charges 1,2,3,4 & 7 -        Severity appeal dismissed. Disqualification in each of the five charges of 5 years to be served concurrently; Charges 5,6 & 8 -          Severity appeal upheld. Disqualification in each of the three charges of 10 years to be served concurrently. In addition, the NSW Racing Appeals Tribunal ordered that the disqualification periods for charges 1,2,3,4 & 7 be served cumulative to the disqualification periods for charges 5,6 & 8. On 17 September 2020, the NSW Racing Appeals Tribunal ordered that the periods of disqualification be served as follows: In respect of charges 1,2,3,4 & 7 (being a concurrent disqualification period of 5 years) Mr Simiana was disqualified: (a) from 29 July 2016 to 5 February 2019 (being 2 years, 6 months and 8 days); and (b) from 5 August 2020 to 26 January 2023 (being 2 years, 5 months and 22 days). In respect of charges 5,6 & 8, Mr Simiana was disqualified from 27 January 2023 to 27 January 2033 (being 10 years). Further, the NSW Racing Appeals Tribunal ordered the following: ·      Mr Simiana to pay HRNSW analytical costs of $15,000; ·      Limited order for Mr Simiana to pay HRNSW costs and further directions issued; ·      25% of the appeal deposit to be refunded to Mr Simiana.   For further information on this matter contact: HRNSW Integrity Department (02) 9722 6655

The plan to spend money it doesn’t have to prepare to challenge integrity legislation. Did you know that the USTA is operating this year with a budget deficit of $219,940? I didn’t. Did you know that at the same time the USTA is operating under this deficit it has cut salaries by $170,000 and rejected at least two attempts to provide more funding for the protection of unwanted horses? I didn’t know that, either. I also didn’t know that while the USTA is taking these unfortunate steps it authorized $425,000 in funding to prepare itself to challenge the constitutionality of whatever racing integrity legislation ultimately emerges from Congress. In other words, the USTA is running a budget deficit, and saddling its employees with pay cuts or worse, while it spends beyond its means to take on Congress, the executive branch, the Thoroughbred industry, animal rights activists, and all the many other powerful entities who have lined up to support a meaningful change to the way horse racing operates in the United States. Did you sign up for such a use of your USTA membership dues? I didn’t. Did your USTA director ask you what you think of the pending legislation? Mine sure didn’t. The complex federal litigation the USTA is preparing for-- no one spends $425,000 to study the constitutionality of a statute it does not intend to subsequently challenge-- will take millions of dollars and many years to conclude. And even if after all that the USTA somehow wins, which is unlikely, the victory would likely mean some sort of return to the current system we all surely can agree is a total failure. Even if the USTA wins, in other words, we all will lose. Another kicker? Throughout the course of that litigation harness racing will be vulnerable to political attacks by powerful people who want less racing-- including the very legislators we are begging to continue purse subsidies. We all deserve more answers about the USTA’s expenditure of this money. What justifies it at a grim time when the USTA is telling its own employees they have to do with less? Why didn't USTA leaders ask members for their input before authorizing the expense? How much already has been spent? How exactly is it being monitored? How were these lawyers and lobbyists selected? What are their connections to harness racing or to members of the USTA’s board? What outreach did the USTA undertake to educate members about its decision to spend precious resources in this fashion?  I asked the USTA’s Dan Leary some of these questions last week. His response via email: “As the public record reflects, the funding was unanimously approved by the full USTA Board of Directors at the Annual Meeting in April and has been closely monitored by the Executive Committee since then. The purpose is to examine and analyze the legality and constitutionality of the Horse Racing Integrity Act. That examination is continuing. We will be prepared to discuss these efforts when the work is completed.” No organization committed to transparency and accountability would offer to “discuss these efforts” only after all the money is all spent. Russell Williams, over the weekend, in a condescending open letter to Jeff Gural, defended the expenditure and then hinted that the law firm he hired to do the work reached a conclusion that the legislation is legally vulnerable. Of course it did. Give any law firm $425,000 and you can expect its lawyers to cobble together an argument you want it to make. And, sure enough, on Monday the USTA announced online that its hired guns had concluded that the legislation is likely unconstitutional. The smart people who support the federal legislation say that their very own smart lawyers have vetted the measure and revised it to make it less likely to be struck down by the courts. Ultimately, federal judges will decide-- after the USTA exposes itself for years to lawmakers and animal rights activists as an industry that wasn't willing to embrace a new approach to racing safety and integrity. Imagine paying all that money for the privilege of becoming a target for lawsuits and new legislative attempts to end purse subsidies-- without first giving USTA members the chance to vote on whether we want to travel down this perilous road. Not in my name. If the legislation passes, and it looks like it will, then those in harness racing who believe it should be challenged in court can all pool their own money and litigate the matter privately. Good luck with that. This is what I think the USTA is getting at, in those April minutes linked to above, when we see this: “Once the analysis is completed, we will be looking for other outside support to fund the balance.” So why then is the USTA footing the bill for the first $425,000 of this dubious endeavor? Why is that “outside support” not paying now?  Here’s an idea. How about a vote of USTA members with a single question involving the expenditure of the $425,000: What's the best use for that money: Paying lawyers to fight popular and bipartisan federal legislation to improve racing integrity or helping horsemen and horsewomen offset some of the additional drug testing costs that will come from the legislation once it’s passed? Or, better yet, what's more important, paying the salaries of USTA employees or funding lengthy and expensive litigation that if successful brings us to where we are today. Even if you are queasy about the pending federal legislation you should be alarmed that the USTA is operating in this manner. I have heard from many horsemen and horsewomen over the past few weeks who are simply shocked to discover that the USTA’s vitriolic opposition to federal legislation-- seemingly any federal legislation-- has found such profound expression in the association’s budget. Many are growing less skeptical of the pending federal legislation-- in its new and improved form-- and more skeptical of the USTA’s divisive and dangerous antics in opposing it. Andrew Cohen    

I have no axe to grind with Woodlands, Nevele R, Alabar, nor for that matter their main supplier US harness racing studs in Blue Chip Farms and Diamond Creek. I love the stallion choices Woodlands have made in recent years, the majestic set up of Nevele R and the rich history of Alabar and its true two country operation. I thank Blue Chip Farms for agisting World Class Hanover on their farm and providing us with a magnificent Credit Winner Colt from her and I thank Diamond Creek for allowing their champion trotting stallion Father Patrick to be available down under. We, Australia, belong to an international trotting community that has adopted limited stallion books the world over. Examples are the US 140 stallion book limit (no free returns), France 100 limit (and that’s for the best stallions its less for many others) and Sweden 150 limit etc. Limited stallion books have helped improve numerous areas of their industry. I hear no talk of dispensing with limited stallion books internationally. Why, because it works. I commend HRA for its courageous decision to limit stallion books in Australia. I am disappointed that our (Australasia’s) three biggest and in many areas, best studs have chosen to fight this decision. I am also disappointed that these two beautiful studs in the US are happy to adhere to limited stallion books in the US, but do not appear to be encouraging their Southern counterparts to do the same. Let’s get back on stride, let’s get back in step and join the international harness community in limiting stallion books down under. Pat Driscoll  Haras Des Trotteurs  

The Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario (AGCO) is revising Standardbred Rule 22.01 to enhance the consistency of harness racing, so that participants and the betting public know where a horse will start from. Effective immediately, in races with two or more trailers, the driver of each horse in the second tier must follow in designated trailing positions; specifically, the driver of each horse in the second tier must follow the two horses in front of it as detailed in the rule below. This amendment is consistent with the Association of Racing Commissioners International (ARCI) model rules and the Standardbred Canada Rule Harmonization project. The AGCO is committed to providing consistency for trailing horse positions and, as such, has made this change in response to requests from industry representatives. New Rule: 22.01 (h) In the event there are two tiers of horses, the scratching of a horse that has drawn or earned a position in the front tier shall not affect the position of the horses that have drawn or earned positions in the second tier, except as provided for in handicap claiming races. Whenever a horse is scratched from any tier, horses on the outside move in to fill up the vacancy. When there is only one trailer, it may start from any position in the second tier. When there is more than one trailer, the inside trailer shall follow either the horse in the #1 or #2 position, the next trailer shall follow either the horse in the #3 or #4 position, the next trailer shall follow either the horse in the #5 or #6 position, the next trailer shall follow either the horse in the #7 or #8 position, the next trailer shall follow either the horse in the #9 or #10 position. In the event that there are more trailers than designated positions on the second tier, the Judges will determine where horses will line up. See also: Information Bulletin - Revision to the Standardbred Rules of Racing to Provide Consistency for Trailing Horse Positions, Rule 22.01 Rules of Standardbred Racing Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario  

Columbus, OH – “It’s a disaster for the harness racing industry and would be catastrophic, no two ways about it. It would cost thousands of jobs and be devastating for breeders,” said Meadowlands Owner Jeff Gural regarding the announcement that NJ Governor Phil Murphy’s revised budget proposal includes that elimination of the $20 million purse subsidy for horse racing. Gural emphasized that it’s critical that NJ horse racing stakeholders contact their legislators before the budget is approved. “Everyone in our industry needs to reach out to their local legislators,” urged Gural. “The budget won’t be finalized until the end of September.  We have a month to convince the governor and legislators not to eliminate the subsidy.” To contact your local NJ legislators, click here, enter your municipality and send an email to each one. To call your representatives in the NJ Senate and Assembly, click here and select your district for phone numbers. In Wednesday’s (Aug. 26) njonlinegambling.com story, John Brennan reported that among NJ Governor Phil Murphy’s revised budget proposal cuts to try to counteract the loss of revenue due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic “is a $20 million cut from an annual horse racing purse subsidy that was signed into law in February 2019. That money was to be split each year equally between the Thoroughbred horsemen at Monmouth Park and the harness racing communities of Meadowlands Racetrack and Freehold Raceway. “The subsidy is a mere fraction of the hundreds of millions in slot machine revenue subsidies allocated to racetracks in New York and Pennsylvania, but it has helped the bottom line of all three tracks in both 2019 and 2020,” wrote Brennan. In addition, AJ Sabath, President/CEO of the Advocacy & Management Group, which serves as a government affairs advisor to the Standardbred Breeders & Owners Association of New Jersey, issued the following statement: “Yesterday (Aug. 25), the Governor proposed what he wanted the budget to look like from his vantage point. I want to reassure you that this is only the beginning of the budget process. The budget is now in the hands of the Legislature. Between now and the September 30th budget deadline, the Legislature will be negotiating their own budget with the Governor. Legislative leaders have their own budget priorities with the power to add and remove what is in the final budget. “This is not the time to be discouraged that the $20 million for purse appropriation was not in the proposed budget. We need to keep advocating for our industry. The foundation of our years of advocacy has made it clear to policy makers that our industry is part of the fabric of what makes New Jersey the state it is in the Union.” To read the complete njonlinegambling.com story, click here. from the USTA Communications Department

Robert George McKay Burrows, a licensed Stablehand under the Rules of Harness racing New Zealand, faces the following charge: On 13 March 2020 at Christchurch, together with Nigel Raymond McGrath did attempt to administer “Steel The Show” which was entered in Race 8 at the NZ Metropolitan Trotting Club’s meeting at Addington that evening, a prohibited substance by way of nasal gastric tube, in breach of the New Zealand Harness Racing Rule 1004(I)(1) and Rule 1001(2). Full details below: BEFORE A JUDICIAL COMMITTEE APPOINTED BY THE JUDICIAL CONTROL AUTHORITY INFORMATION A7199 IN THE MATTER OF THE NEW ZEALAND RULES OF HARNESS RACING BETWEEN RACING INTEGRITY UNIT SIMON ANDREW IRVING RACECOURSE INSPECTOR Informant AND ROBERT GEORGE McKAY BURROWS STABLEHAND Respondent Judicial Committee: J H Lovell-Smith T Utikere DECISION OF JUDICIAL COMMITTEE DATED 21 AUGUST 2020 [1] The Respondent, Robert George McKay Burrows, a licensed Stablehand under the Rules of HRNZ, faces the following charge: On 13 March 2020 at Christchurch, together with Nigel Raymond McGrath did attempt to administer “Steel The Show” which was entered in Race 8 at the NZ Metropolitan Trotting Club’s meeting at Addington that evening, a prohibited substance by way of nasal gastric tube, in breach of the New Zealand Harness Racing Rule 1004(I)(1) and Rule 1001(2). Rule 1004(I)(1) provides: (1) A person commits a breach of the rules who administers a prohibited substance to a horse which is taken, or is to be taken, to a racecourse for the purpose of engaging in a race. (2) A breach of sub-rule (1) is declared to be a serious racing offence. Rule 1001(2) provides: Every person who commits a serious racing offence shall be liable to the following penalties: (a) A fine not exceeding $30,000; and/or (b) Suspension from holding or obtaining a licence, for any specific period or for life; and/or (c) Disqualification for a specific period or for life. [2] The Information and charge wording is amended to the updated Rule 1004(I)(1). [3] Mr Burrows advised the Judicial Committee by email dated 20 July 2020 that he wished to have nothing further to do with the “process” for financial and personal reasons. [4] The Judicial Committee is therefore dealing with this hearing on the papers and on the basis that Mr Burrows does not admit the charge. Standard of Proof [5] The standard of proof is on the balance of probabilities (Rule 1008A of Rules, of Rule 31.1 of the Rules of Practice and Procedure for the Judicial Committee and Appeals Tribunal (JCA Rules). Evidence for RIU [6] Simon Andrew Irving. Mr Irving’s evidential statement is set out in full as follows: I, Simon Andrew Irving of Masterton, am employed by the Racing Integrity Unit Limited (RIU) as a Racing Investigator. I have been appointed under the New Zealand Rules of Harness Racing (the Rules) as a Racecourse Inspector since 2014. I am also appointed as an Investigator under the Rules of NZ Thoroughbred Racing and a Racecourse Investigator under the Rules of NZ Greyhound Racing. Part of my role as a Racecourse Inspector is to investigate matters under the Rules. On 13 March 2020 I conducted surveillance on a green shed located on the property of Nigel McGrath, 502 Maddisons Road, Christchurch. At 5:40 pm I observed McGrath lead a horse from the covered yard at the end of the stable block and into the green shed. A few minutes later I entered onto the property and walked to the shed. I recorded my actions on my cellphone video. The recording was later transcribed. Located in the green shed was Mr McGrath, the horse now identified as ‘Steel The Show’, a male now identified as George (Robert) Burrows and a backpack containing tubing gear. I was handed the backpack by Mr Burrows and then followed Mr McGrath and the horse toward the stable complex. RIU staff Oscar Westerlund and Neil Grimstone entered onto the property and I informed them that an unknown male was in the green shed and needed to be spoken to. A short time later I examined the contents of the backpack and observed a coiled rubber hose, a plastic funnel, a twitch and an empty 800ml plastic drink bottle containing residue and a towel cloth. Mr McGrath refused to allow me to take the tubing kit for the purpose of analysis. [7] Video recording – 502 Maddisons Road 13.03.2020 Present: Simon Irving Nigel McGrath George Burrows Neil Grimstone Oscar Westerlund The video recording, recorded the discussion which took place between Simon Irving and Nigel Raymond McGrath, who at the time was a licensed Public Trainer and Open Driver under the Rules of New Zealand Harness Racing (HRNZ), at Mr McGrath’s stables. On Tuesday, 13 March 2020, Mr McGrath was observed at 5:40 pm leading the 3yo colt ‘Steel The Show’ from the covered yard at the end of the stable block into the shed, approximately three hours prior to its scheduled race start time. ‘Steel The Show’ was engaged in Race 8 at the NZ Metropolitan Trotting Club’s meeting at Addington Raceway at 8:48 pm. A few minutes later, Mr Irving entered the property and went to the shed where he located Mr McGrath and Mr Burrows, ‘Steel The Show’ and a backpack containing tubing gear including a coiled rubber hose, a plastic funnel, a twitch and an empty 800 ml plastic drink bottle containing residue. Mr McGrath immediately walked the horse from the shed and when confronted by another investigator a short distance away, let the horse go which ran back to the stables. Mr McGrath admitted that the horse was ‘Steel The Show’ and that it was racing that evening. He then refused to answer further questions regarding the tubing gear and the identity of the other person present in the shed. [8] Evidential statement of Neil Grimstone: Neil Grimstone is the Manager of Integrity Assurance employed by the Racing Integrity Unit. He is also appointed under the HRNZ Rules as a Racecourse Inspector and part of his role as a Racecourse Inspector is to investigate matters under the Rules. On 13 March 2020, Mr Grimstone was overseeing an investigation into the activities of Nigel McGrath, trainer, at his stable complex at 502 Maddisons Road, Christchurch. At approximately 5:45pm he entered onto Mr McGrath’s property. Also on the property were Racing Investigators Simon Irving and Oscar Westerlund. Mr Grimstone was advised that there was an unknown male that needed to be spoken to in the green shed on the property. Mr Grimstone went into the green shed and spoke to a male, who identified himself as George Burrows. Mr Burrows remained in the green shed and when questioned about the activity admitted that he and Mr McGrath were about to “tube” the horse “Steel The Show” which was racing that night with a substance he called “air supply” to assist with the horse’s breathing. Mr Burrows acknowledged that this was in breach of the Rules of HRNZ. When asked how many times he had been there to do this he said “very few.” [9] This interview between Mr Grimstone and Mr Burrows was recorded on video cellphone by Racing Investigator, Oscar Westerlund which was later transcribed. [10] A video containing images of the tubing kit contained in Mr McGrath’s bag which Mr Burrows had obtained from the washhouse inside Mr McGrath’s house was also recorded. [11] On 17 March 2020 at 10:00am, Mr Grimstone, together with RIU member Peter Lamb, interviewed Mr Burrows again at Riccarton Racecourse which was recorded (Exhibit 5). This recording was later transcribed. [12] In this interview, Mr Burrows gave a different account to the one he gave Mr Grimstone on 13 March 2020: Mr Burrows said he went to Mr McGrath’s stable, he guessed at around 5:00 pm, to drop off a couple of bridles which he had arranged to do earlier in the day. Mr Burrows also claimed to have gone to a bar and “had a couple of drinks” earlier that day. Mr McGrath told him he “was a bit worried about his horse, slight snotty nose and we got talking and decided to give it some air support.” Mr Burrows said it was a “herbal thing” to help with their breathing that could be bought anywhere. When asked how it could be given to the horse, Mr Burrows said “there’s different ways, squirt it down their throat or tube them or whatever. As long as it gets into their stomach.” He and Mr McGrath went into the shed so they could not be seen because it was against the Rules. Mr Burrows got the bag from Mr McGrath’s house with Mr McGrath’s air support in it and then went under the trees to get to the shed so he could not be seen. Mr Burrows said Mr McGrath normally had his tube, probably a twitch, the air support and his boost tubes to squirt it down within the bag. When asked why he was helping Mr McGrath, Mr Burrows said probably because it was “quite a stroppy horse.” He maintained he administered the substance over the tongue with a boost tube with air support in it not with a tube. He agreed he could not be sure what he had given the horse but said he knew what air support smells like as it has got “a real strong eucalyptus smell and comes in a brown bottle.” Mr Burrows accepted he could not be sure what was administered to the horse. Mr Burrows asked that his first statement be disregarded because he had been drinking and smoking weed and because he did not want to be there. He denied ever tubing a horse at Mr McGrath’s before. [13] Dr Andrew Grierson Dr Grierson has worked as a racing veterinarian for over forty years in both the harness and thoroughbred codes. He was appointed as NZTR and HRNZ Chief Veterinarian in 2004. Dr Grierson’s statement is set out in full as follows: Stomach tubing of horses on race day has a history in NZ and is what is called a ‘shake’ or ‘milk-shaking’. The mechanics of tubing require a funnel and a rubber or plastic tube. It usually requires two people as it can be difficult to hold the horse, and tip the mixture into the funnel and deliver down the tube. It is easier to stomach tube a horse when the solution is unpalatable or larger amounts of fluid are used e.g. 1-3 litres than to administer by oral syringe. A twitch may also be utilised to restrain the horse. A twitch is usually a stick-like handle with a loop of rope on the end which is wrapped around the upper lip of the horse and tightened. Without a sample of what was administered or about to be administered by Nigel McGrath and George Burrows three hours before race start time, there is no way of knowing for sure what it was. In my opinion what was stomach tubed is most likely a solution of chemicals for the purpose of alkalising the blood or increasing the TCO2 level. Sodium bicarbonate is the most commonly used alkalising agent. The timing and the amount would have been calculated to present a horse for races with a total carbon dioxide (TCO2) level just below the level of 36.0 millimoles per litre in plasma. Tubing alkalising substances became a banned a practice when horses were seen to perform better than their ability. Another substance with a history in NZ of being used close to racing is ammonium chloride but that is injected into the vein for its expectorant and diuretic properties on race day. It would be unusual to be stomach tubed as it can be irritant to the gastro-intestinal tract and that could counter performance. Performance enhancing drugs such as EPO or peptides including the ovine derived SGF-100 that has been topical recently are all administered by injection into the blood stream. Analysis [14] There is no issue that on 13 March 2020 Mr Burrows together with Mr McGrath attempted to administer a substance to the horse “Steel The Show” approximately three hours before the horse was scheduled to race in Race 8 at the NZ Metropolitan Trotting Club’s racing at Addington Raceway at 5:48 pm or that he and Mr McGrath endeavoured to conceal their actions. Mr Burrows had collected Mr McGrath’s “tubing” bag from inside Mr McGrath’s house and accessed the shed from under the trees so he could not be seen. [15] Mr McGrath had been observed by the RIU investigators at 5:40 pm leading the 3yo colt "Steel the Show" from the covered yard at the end of the stable block into the shed. Minutes later Simon Irving entered the property in his capacity as an RIU Investigator. When he went into the shed, he found Mr McGrath, Mr Burrows, "Steel the Show" and a backpack belonging to Mr McGrath containing a coiled rubber hose, a plastic funnel, a twitch and an empty 800ml plastic drink bottle containing residue. [16] Mr Burrows admitted that he and Mr McGrath were about to tube “Steel The Show” with “air supply” to assist with its breathing. Mr Burrows acknowledged that this was in breach of the Rules. In response to the question how many times had he been there to do this, his answer was “very few.” [17] We have considered Mr Burrows’ second statement on 17 March 2020 but find it to be unconvincing and self-serving. It was in our view a deliberate attempt on his part to discredit his first interview claiming that he had been drinking and had consumed two cannabis joints prior to going to Mr McGrath's stables that day. [18] We accept the evidence of Simon Irving and Neil Grimstone as credible and reliable witnesses and accept Dr Grierson’s expert opinion that what was to be stomach tubed was most likely a solution of chemicals for the purpose of alkalising the blood or increasing the TCO2 which is a prohibited substance. [19] Having considered the strength of all of the evidence, we are compelled to conclude on 13 March 2020 that Mr Burrows was in Mr McGrath’s shed with Mr McGrath, for the purpose of tubing the horse “Steel The Show” approximately three hours prior to its scheduled race start at the NZ Metropolitan Trotting Club's Meeting at Addington Raceway that evening. [20] Taking all these matters in account, we are satisfied, on the balance of probabilities, that Mr Burrows attempted to administer a prohibited substance to “Steel The Show” on race day and what was to be stomach tubed was most likely a solution of chemicals for the purpose of alkalising the blood or increasing the TCO2 which is a prohibited substance. For these reasons we find the charge proven. Submissions as to penalty [21] We direct that submissions from the Informant and Mr Burrows as to penalty be emailed to the Chief Executive Officer of the JCA. Submissions from the Informant to be emailed within 5 days of the date of this decision. Submissions from Mr Burrows as to penalty to be emailed within 10 days from the date of this decision. J H Lovell-Smith Chair 21 August 2020

NEW YORK -- Two years after filing a first-of-its-kind lawsuit, a harness racing bettor has received $20,000 in the settlement of his claims that he was cheated out of his winnings when a doped horse won a race in New Jersey in 2016. After the lawsuit was filed in March 2018, leading figures in harness racing said they had never before heard of such a lawsuit, which accused the trainer of fraud and racketeering. The general practice has been to reallocate the purse to other owners in the event a winning horse is later proved to have been doped but not to pay back bettors. The settlement, reached in July and made public Wednesday, resulted from extensive negotiations on behalf of the bettor, Jeffrey Tretter, and the lawsuit's two defendants -- trainer Robert Bresnahan Jr. and the horse's owner, J.L. Sadowsky. Under the settlement, the defendants agreed to pay Tretter $20,000 and Tretter agreed to donate $7,500 of that sum to a racehorse adoption program. The settlement bars the parties from making any future claims related to the case and stipulates that the agreement does not constitute an admission of liability. The lawsuit, filed in U.S. District Court in New Jersey, was financed by People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals to open the gates for more litigation by bettors, which the animal rights group hopes would dramatically curtail illegal horse doping. PETA contends that injured horses are sometimes dying on the tracks because they were doped illegally or overmedicated to keep them running when they should be recuperating. Tretter, an experienced gambler from Granite City, Illinois, said he hoped the lawsuit would strengthen efforts to "clean up harness racing." "We faced a lot of opposition because of the precedent involved, but I hope this will open the door for others to come forward and hold those responsible accountable for their blatant cheating at tracks across North America," he said in a statement. "Bettors must organize and go after the cheats for every verifiable dime that was lost." Andrew Benedict, one of Bresnahan's lawyers, described the case as "a David vs. Goliath type thing," with PETA able to finance extensive litigation against two defendants who were not major figures in harness racing and had far fewer resources. "It was rough for us to defend this case on all fronts, because of the amount of money that PETA was pouring into it," Benedict said. "It shows they had no evidence of criminal wrongdoing or they wouldn't have settled so cheaply." The lawsuit said Tretter placed wagers through an online betting site on a harness race at the Meadowlands Racetrack on Jan. 15, 2016. The horses he picked to place first through fourth instead finished behind Tag Up and Go, who had been a longshot in the race. Meadowlands later revealed that Tag Up and Go had tested positive for EPO, a banned performance-enhancing substance, based on blood samples taken in December. As a result, Bresnahan was barred from competing at Meadowlands, but there was no redress for bettors such as Tretter. According to his lawsuit, he correctly picked the horses that finished second, third, fourth and fifth behind the doped horse in a variety of wagers that would have paid a combined $31,835 if Tag Up and Go had been disqualified. The lawsuit alleged fraud on the part of Bresnahan and the company that owned Tag Up and Go. It also alleged violations of the federal and state anti-racketeering laws known as RICO (Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act), contending that the federal law was violated because Bresnahan was engaging in interstate commerce. The owner of Meadowlands, Jeff Gural, has been among the leaders in harness racing trying to curb doping. The Tag Up and Go doping case emerged through one of his initiatives, establishing "out of competition" drug testing that subjects horses to the possibility of testing at any time. PETA is critical of horse racing but is pushing for reforms rather than actively campaigning for an all-out ban. Reprinted with permission of ESPN

High-profile Canterbury harness racing trainer Nigel McGrath has been disqualified for 8 years for the attempted administration of a prohibited substance to a horse, refusing to supply information to a Racecourse Inspector and Obstructing a Racecourse Inspector during an investigation. Full details below: BEFORE A JUDICIAL COMMITTEE OF THE JUDICIAL CONTROL AUTHORITY Information Numbers: A11684, A11685, A11686 In the matter of the New Zealand Rules of Harness Racing BETWEEN RACING INTEGRITY UNIT Informant AND NIGEL RAYMOND MCGRATH Licensed Driver and Trainer Respondent Judicial Committee: J Lovell-Smith - Chair T Utikere - Member Present: Mr S Irving - Informant Mr B H Dickey - Counsel for the Informant Mr N R McGrath - Respondent Mr P H B Hall QC - Counsel for the Respondent RESERVED DECISION OF JUDICIAL COMMITTEE DATED 3 JULY 2020 [1] The Respondent, Nigel Raymond McGrath is a licensed Public Trainer and Open Driver under the Rules of New Zealand Harness Racing (HRNZ). He has been a Harness Trainer since 2000. [2] The Respondent admitted three charges of offending deemed to be serious racing offences under Rule 505(1) of the New Zealand Rules of Harness Law. These charges are: (a) Attempts to administer (A11684) Rule 1004(1). On 13 March 2020 at Christchurch together with Robert George Burrows did attempt to administer to “Steel The Show” which was entered in Race 8 at the NZ Metropolitan Trotting Club’s meeting at Addington that evening, a prohibited substance by way of nasal gastric tube. (b) Refuses to make a statement (A11685) Rule 1001(1)(i). On 13 March 2020 at Christchurch refused to supply information by answering the questions of a Racecourse Investigator regarding the tubing equipment located in his possession and the attempted race day administration of the horse “Steel The Show.” (c) Obstructing a Racecourse Investigator (A11686) Rule 1001(1)(j). On 13 March 2020 at Christchurch obstructed a Racecourse Investigator by preventing him from seizing tubing equipment as evidence in the course of an investigation into a race day administration and ordering Racecourse Investigators to leave his property. The Course of the Proceedings [3] As recorded in the Committee’s Minute of 19 May 2020, the Respondent pleaded guilty to all three charges but disputes two matters in the Summary of Facts. [4] The guilty pleas to all three charges were confirmed prior to commencement of the disputed facts hearing. By consent, charge 1 was amended to record the correct Rule as Rule 1004(1). (Rule 1001(1)(q) having been deleted on 25 November 2019) which states: A person commits a breach of the rules who administers a prohibited substance to a horse which is taken, or is to be taken to a racecourse for the purpose of engaging in a race. [5] Certain facts were agreed in accordance with Mr McGrath’s guilty pleas and a Statement of the Agreed facts was provided to the Committee and is set out in full in this decision. [6] The general matters in dispute are as follows: [7] The first two disputed matters relate to the attempting to administer breach (A11684). [8] First, there is a dispute as to the nature of the substance that was attempted to be administered. The Informant identified the substance as likely to be a solution of chemicals for the purpose of alkalising the blood or increasing the levels of TCO2, which is a prohibited substance. The Respondent denies this and says that the substance is a product known as “Air Support” which can be purchased at equine stores. [9] Secondly, there is a dispute as to the method of administration. The Informant alleges that the substance was attempted to be administered by a nasal gastric tube. The Respondent says that the substance was to be squirted through a tube on the horse’s tongue. [10] The third dispute is in respect of the RIU’s allegation that the Respondent became aggressive and obstructive, after the horse had been recaptured. The Respondent denies that he was aggressive and obstructive. [11] The evidence for the Informant consisted of video footage and transcript of the Informant’s inspectors’ attendance at the Respondent’s stable, transcripts of two interviews by the Informant of George Burrows, Licensed Stablehand, expert evidence from Dr A. Grierson, a veterinary surgeon, by AVL, regarding the likely type of drug administered and the method of administration. The Respondent, Mr McGrath gave evidence. [12] At the conclusion of the evidence, submissions were made by Counsel including submissions as to penalty. [13] The Committee reserved its decision at the conclusion of the hearing. Agreed Facts Parties [1] The Respondent Nigel Raymond McGrath (McGrath) is a licensed Public Trainer and Open Driver under the Rules of New Zealand Harness Racing (HRNZ). He is 46 years old and has been a harness trainer since 2000. [2] Robert George McKay Burrows (Burrows) is a Licensed Stablehand under the Rules of HRNZ. He is 54 years old and assists McGrath and has been employed in a number of different stables over many years. He is also employed as a barrier attendant by the Canterbury Jockey Club. Background [3] Over a period of time the Racing Integrity Unit (RIU) received confidential information indicating that the hours prior to the races McGrath would ‘tube’ horses in his shed between the stables and the main road. [4] It is common knowledge that ‘Tubing’ is the process of inserting a rubber or plastic tube through a horse’s nose into its oesophagus for the purpose of administering a liquid substance. A funnel is usually attached to the tube and the liquid poured into the funnel, using gravity to force the liquid into the horse’s stomach. The Facts [5] On Friday 13 March 2020 RIU Investigators conducted surveillance of the shed next to Mr McGrath’s stables. [6] At 5:40 pm Mr McGrath was observed leading the 3yo colt ‘Steel The Show’ from the covered yard at the end of the stable block into the shed, approximately three hours prior to its scheduled race start time. [7] ‘Steel The Show’ was engaged in Race 8 at the NZ Metropolitan Trotting Club’s meeting at Addington Raceway at 8:48 pm. [8] Minutes later RIU Investigator Simon Irving entered the property and went to the shed. [9] Located in the shed were Mr McGrath and Mr Burrows, ‘Steel The Show’ and a backpack containing tubing gear including a coiled rubber hose, a plastic funnel, a twitch and an empty 800 ml plastic drink bottle containing residue. [10] Mr McGrath immediately walked the horse from the shed and when confronted by another Investigator a short distance away, either the Respondent let the horse go or the horse got loose resulting in it running toward the stable complex. [11] Mr McGrath admitted that the horse was ‘Steel The Show’ and that it was racing that evening. [12] Mr McGrath refused to answer further questions regarding the tubing gear and the identity of his associate. [13] Mr Burrows remained in the shed and when questioned about the activity admitted that they were about to ‘tube’ the horse ‘Steel The Show’ with what he called “air supply”. [14] He acknowledged that this was in breach of the Rules of HRNZ and that it wasn’t the first time he had assisted in the procedure at the McGrath property. [15] Once the horse was recaptured and contained in its yard Mr McGrath’s demeanour changed from being resigned and he became obstructive. [16] He grabbed hold of the backpack held by Investigator Irving stating that it was his private property and initially would not release it even though he was repeatedly advised that it was being seized as part of an investigation into a racing matter. [17] Attempts were made to seize the tubing kit as evidence, but Mr McGrath continued to object and requested that Investigators leave his property and come back later. [18] Mr McGrath was repeatedly warned that Investigators were there lawfully under the Rules of HRNZ and his actions were making the matter much worse. [19] His strong objections continued, and to avoid further confrontation and to comply with his request RIU staff allowed Mr McGrath to recover the backpack and its contents and prepared to leave the property. [20] These interactions were recorded on RIU cell phones. [21] Video containing images of the tubing kit was also recorded. [22] Before Investigators left the property, Mr McGrath was advised that both his horses in Race 8 that evening would be scratched. [23] Due to Mr McGrath’s actions the RIU vet on standby was prevented from attending the property to gather further evidence and conduct drug tests on both ‘Steel The Show’ and Mr McGrath’s other runner engaged that evening ‘Cloud Nine’. [24] The Chairman of Stewards for the race meeting was advised of the incident and attempted to contact Mr McGrath by telephone (three times, two of which went straight to message so the Respondent may have only been aware of one call) and a text message requesting him a call regarding the scratching of his horses. [25] Mr McGrath did not respond to the request. [26] At approximately 3:00 pm the following day different RIU staff returned to the Mr McGrath stable to serve an Exclusion Notice on Mr McGrath and request he ‘hand over’ the tubing equipment from the previous day. [27] Mr McGrath refused to provide the tubing equipment, stating that he would contact his lawyer and that the RIU staff could come back later. [28] The tubing equipment has not been recovered and therefore could not be sent for analysis. Respondent’s Statement [29] The Respondent Mr McGrath refused to answer Investigators' questions on the day, despite being told that he had to respond, other than admitting that the horse he was found with was ‘Steel The Show’ and that it was racing that night. (a) The following day Mr McGrath attempted to contact another Investigator, Kylie Williams. He did not participate in interviews with the investigations involved. (b) He has subsequently provided a prepared, written statement to the RIU. Mr McGrath – Breaches of the Rules of HRNZ [30] Mr McGrath has committed the following offences against the HRNZ Rules: (a) Attempting to administer a prohibited substance on a raceday. (b) Refusing to supply information to a Racecourse Inspector. (c) Obstructing a Racecourse Inspector during an investigation. Conclusion [31] Mr McGrath has a previous serious racing offence charge from 2004 when he was disqualified for three years (reduced to 18 months on appeal) for three counts of administering a prohibited substance. [32] Mr McGrath also recently received a six-month suspension of his horseman’s licence after admitting a breach of the improper driving Rule, a result of Operation Inca. Evidence for the RIU [14] The video recordings of a visit to 502 Maddisons Road on 10 March 2020 made by Simon Irving, Racecourse Inspector were played. The transcript of the video recording was produced by consent. Present were Simon Irving, Nigel McGrath, George Burrows, Neil Grimstone and Oscar Westerlund. [15] Mr Irving introduced himself to Mr McGrath and asked him what was “going on “and “what was in the bag?” [16] George Burrows then hands the back pack to Mr Irving. [17] Mr McGrath walks horse out of shed. When asked what horse is that, Mr McGrath said it was racing tonight and that it was ‘Steel the Show’. Mr Irving asked Mr McGrath “You going to give it a tube tonight?” Mr McGrath said no. Mr Irving followed Mr McGrath with the horse toward the stables when the horse ran off toward the stable area. [18] Once the horse was safely tied up, Mr Irving looked inside the back pack and saw it had a twitch in it. He asked Mr McGrath to talk to him about it which he refused to do. Mr McGrath grabbed hold of the back pack again. Mr Irving said he was seizing the back pack as an exhibit, told him he was a racing inspector and that he must cooperate with them as it was part of an investigation. The request was repeated but Mr McGrath refused to hand over the back pack and asked Mr Irving and Mr Grimstone to leave his property and to give him the back pack. When Mr Grimstone told Mr McGrath they were taking the tube for analysis, Mr McGrath grabbed the rubber tube and walked off. Mr McGrath continued to argue and Mr Irving and Mr Grimstone let him take the contents of the back pack and walked away. [19] The contents of the back pack included a wooden twitch, coiled rubber tube, plastic 800 ml bottle, plastic bottle lid, plastic funnel, 2 x bags. [20] Mr McGrath indicated that he understood that both horses would be scratched that night. [21] Transcript of Cell phone Interview with George Burrows 13 March 2020 in the Green Shed at the stables of Nigel McGrath of George Burrows by Neil Grimstone and Oscar Westerlund was produced as an Exhibit by consent. Mr Burrows did not give evidence. [22] In the first interview, Mr Burrows told Mr Grimstone and Mr Westerlund that it was “stuff for its breathing” called ‘air supply’. When Mr Burrows asked if it was in accordance with the Rules, having said that he thought the horse was “Steel The Show” was running that night Mr Burrows answered, “probably not.” [23] Mr Burrows said that he had been there to do “tubing” the horse “very few times.” He agreed he was tubing the horse, that it was not ideal and that it was breaching the Rules. Transcript of Second Interview with George Burrows 17 March 2020 [24] The transcript of a second interview on 17 March 2020 with George Burrows, Neil Grimstone and Peter Lamb was produced as an Exhibit by consent. [25] Mr Burrows wanted his first statement to be disregarded as he had been smoking weed and drinking and did not want to be there. He agreed he could tube horses but denied ever tubing a horse of Mr McGrath’s. [26] In that second interview, Mr Burrows said he went to Mr McGrath’s premises the previous Friday about 5:00 pm to drop a couple of bridles off. Mr McGrath said he was a bit worried about his horse with a slight snotty nose and it was decided to give it some Air Support, a “herbal thing” to help its breathing. Mr Burrows said they went into the shed which is detached or remote because they did not want to be seen as it is against the Rules. He went under the trees so he could not be seen and Mr McGrath brought the horse around. Mr Burrows had got the tubing bag from Mr McGrath’s wash house in his home where it is kept. He said he did not know if the bag had a twitch in it but said it probably did with the Air Support and two boost tubes used to squirt it down with. Once he had the bag, Mr McGrath said to him “we’ll go to give it the Air Support.” [27] Mr Burrows was asked where was the bottle of air supply. Mr Burrows said it was still in the shed “in the far corner where he had taken it.” [28] Mr Burrows said the bottle was a “normal one.” He just “sucked it out and squirted it down” using the boost tube to squirt it on the horse’s tongue. [29] He said there was no plan with the other horse as there wasn’t any more air supply. [30] He agreed he could not be sure what the horse was given. He said he knew what Air Support smelt like as it has a strong eucalyptus smell and comes in a brown bottle. He did not see the label on the bottle which was used. He had administered the substance with the boost tube not the tubing gear in the bag. [31] Transcript of Kylie Williams, Racing Investigator and Scott Wallis, Chief Stipendiary Steward (Greyhounds) Visit to Mr McGrath’s stable 14 March 2020. [32] The following day, on 14 March 2020 Ms Williams and Mr Wallis visited Mr McGrath’s stable premises at 2:45 pm. On arrival, Ms Williams advised Mr McGrath that the reason they were there was to give him a Notice of Exclusion. She asked Mr McGrath to date it and she put the time on it at 2 56 pm. [33] Mr McGrath then said he was going to give her a statement on the Rule breach. Ms Williams explained that that she could only serve the Notice on him and that they had only one question: “would he give them the things he was using last night, the back pack, the twitch, the funnel, the tube and the bottle.” Mr McGrath said he would give them the bottle but not the tube or the twitch. [34] Mr McGrath was given a Notice of Exclusion from the Races but said he would not sign it. There was further discussion, but Ms Williams and Mr Wallis explained that they could only talk about the Exclusion Notice and ask for the items in the bag he had the previous day. Mr McGrath then admitted he had broken the 24 hour Rule but refused to hand over the bag or the items in it including the bottle. Ms Williams and Mr Wallis left at 3:02 pm. Dr A Grierson [35] Dr Grierson gave his evidence by AVL. He has worked as a racing veterinary surgeon for 20 years in both harness and thoroughbred racing. He was well versed in “tubing” and “milkshaking” from a veterinary point of view and physiologically, as it was not initially a prohibited substance or a prohibited procedure. [36] The mechanics of tubing required a funnel, stomach tube and a twitch which could be used to restrain the horse. It required two people as it could be difficult to hold the horse, the mixture and the tube. It is easier to stomach tube a horse than squirt with a syringe as a horse is able to be stomach tubed with any amount of fluid. [37] With regard to possible substances that could be administered within the time frame of 3 hours before a race as in this case, Dr Grierson identified EPO which is administered intravenously not via tubing but said the most common procedure was to tube alkalising agents in order to increase TCO2 levels. The TCO2 levels were set at a limit of 36.0, but under the Rule the level was limited by a guard band of 37.1. Tubing alkalising substances became a bad practice when horses were seen to perform better than their ability and is now banned internationally. [38] Dr Grierson believed that the most likely substance to be administered via tubing was an alkalising agent and sodium bicarbonate was the most common. [39] When asked in cross-examination about Air Support, Dr Grierson said he was familiar with the company but not personally familiar with that preparation. As no analysis had been undertaken by NZ Racing Laboratory Service on Air Support, he was unable to say if it was prohibited. If it was administered within one clear day then it was unlikely to be detected. He accepted that two people could be required to administer 60 mls of Air Support via a Boost tube on the tongue for a fractious horse. [40] When asked if he could not rule out Air Support being administered to this horse, Dr Grierson said without a sample there was no way of being sure what it was. Dr Grierson said he had no idea if energy or stamina in horse was improved by Air Support. In response to a question from Mr Hall he agreed that there was insufficient evidence to say what the substance was. Respondent’s Evidence [41] Nigel McGrath read his evidential statement and answered questions in cross-examination from Counsel for the Informant and the Judicial Committee. [42] Mr McGrath has been a licensed trainer for over 20 years and has trained over 570 winners with $6,000,000 in stakes, including a win in the New Zealand Derby in 2018. [43] He owns his training establishment in Weedons. [44] Although he pleaded guilty to charge 1, namely attempting to administer a prohibited substance by way of nasal gastric tube, he denies that it was the prohibited substance alleged by the Informant which was administered to “Steel The Show” on 13 March 2020 and that any substance was intended to be introduced by way of gastric tube. He did commit a breach of the Rules by introducing or attempting to introduce a substance known as “Air Support” in an oral syringe commonly known as a boost tube, a substance that was vet approved and was not intended to improve the speed, stamina or courage of the horse. [45] The allegation that “he attempted to introduce an alkalinising agent via a nasal gastric tube in order to elevate the TCO2 levels of “Steel The Show” to improve his speed, stamina or courage is “not correct.” [46] Late afternoon on Friday, 13 March 2020 Mr McGrath said he was “getting organised for the races at Addington that evening.” He had “Cloud Nine” and “Steel The Show” engaged in the same race. [47] The horse “Steel The Show” has been marginally slower in recovering after fast work in the week leading up to 13 March blowing more than usual with phlegm and mucous in his nose. [48] Mr McGrath did not consider this too serious but more likely a symptom arising as a result of the abnormally dusty week which was dry and warm. He had been treating this horse with “Air Support”, a herbal remedy he had purchased from Equine 2000. It is a registered horse product which is marketed on the HRNZ website. [49] Mr McGrath said it had been approved by his veterinary surgeon who confirmed this in a letter to the Committee. According to Mr McGrath, it was a substance which contained no prohibited substances and was for the wellbeing of horses. [50] Mr McGrath said that while he was preparing the two horses, George Burrows called in to drop off some mounting bridles he had agreed to deliver earlier. They talked about the evening ahead for the two horses and it was during his discussion Mr McGrath said he “stupidly decided” to give Steel The Show some Air Support as per the manufacturer’s instructions in order to assist his wellbeing that evening and his subsequent recovery after the race.” [51] He accepted “fully that to do so was in breach of the one clear day Rule” and it was for that reason the free standing shed in a paddock behind the main block of stables was used because “we would not been seen.” [52] Mr Burrows was going to assist in introducing “Air Support” because “Steel The Show” can be difficult to handle and is a wilful horse. [53] Mr McGrath said his “motive was not financial or to improve the performance of the horse but rather to aid his post-race recovery.” Mr McGrath described a cupboard in the laundry of his house as “a dumping ground for storing stuff like supplements, empty syringes and tape.” A bag which has “Air Support” in it and equipment for salining of horses was also in this cupboard. Mr Burrows collected this bag from the cupboard and carried it into the shed. [54] Mr McGrath denied attempting to administer an alkalising agent. He said his horses were often swabbed at race meeting and have never returned TCO2 levels at or above the level of 36.0 millimetres per litre in plasma C +/- point for error and usually the levels returned were well below the threshold. [55] He emphasised that he would not put himself or his owners into such a situation. He acknowledged that he was disqualified in respect of three charges of administering a prohibited substance approximately 15 years ago. Mr McGrath said the substance he had administered at that time was “Propantheline” added to horse feed which he had bought from a chemist and cleared with his vet. He believed it did not breach the Rules. [56] Mr McGrath maintained that the Air Support was administered by Mr Burrows via a large plastic tube, commonly known as a boost tube for the oral administration of a paste and liquid substance. [57] Mr Burrows squirted the “Air Support” over the tongue of the horse. Neither a twitch nor a nasal gastric tube was used. There was no damp residue in any of the equipment apart from the boost tube. Mr McGrath said he found the boost tube together with the empty container of “Air Support” on the floor in the corner of the free standing shed where the administration had occurred, after the RIU staff had left. He picked up both items and put them inside his home. He produced both items as exhibits during the hearing. [58] Mr McGrath explained that he “did not want to part with the gastric tube, twitch and bottle because they had not been used by him or Mr Burrows. He said he told Mr Irving who was asking about the tube and twitch in the bag “there’s no substance so I didn’t do it. Out please.” [59] Mr McGrath said that when he led the horse out of the shed, he was “shocked to come face to face with a number of RIU employees.” He said he was overwhelmed at having been caught breaching the Rules, that is, the one clear day administration Rule and felt he had lost everything. His shock and bewilderment was such that he said he was not in the right state of mind at the time to discuss the matter with the RIU and I asked them to leave.” He did tell them to come back later and that he said, “I was also not prepared to part with any of my property and told them so.” [60] Mr McGrath believes that those intense feelings were due to the “stress” he has felt under since 4 September 2018 when the police arrived with search warrants as part of Operation Inca, involving himself and the persons associated with the Harness Racing industry. The only criminal charge against him was dismissed. However, subsequently he was charged by the RIU and pleaded guilty to a charge of improper driving. The penalty imposed was a six-month suspension. The psychological and economic impact on him has continued to today. [61] Mr McGrath accepts his conduct was obstructive due to his state of panic, shock and resignation and was in breach of the Rules. He regrets his behaviour because it inflamed the situation and resulted in the further charges to which he has pleaded guilty. He did expect the RIU veterinary surgeon would return and examine the horse which he was willing to have done but that did not happen. [62] Mr McGrath contacted Kylie Williams the following morning as he respected her and preferred to make a statement to her. When she visited his stables later that day with Scott Wallis, she told Mr McGrath they had been directed not to take a statement from him. [63] Mr McGrath said he has been licensed since he was 15 years old and never charged with offences relating to obstructing racecourse inspectors or refusing to make a statement. [64] His motivation to breach the Rule was solely based on his concern for the horse’s wellbeing. He was not motivated by financial gain as he had no financial share in “Steel The Show” and he does not bet on harness racing horses. If the horse had won the race, he would have earned approximately $400 only. [65] It was his belief that he breached the one day (24 hour) Rule by introducing or attempting to introduce a prohibited substance “Air Support” hence his guilty plea to charge 1. [66] In his statement, Mr McGrath said he “took immediate steps to hand over his Public Trainers Licence and move all the horses due to race in the near future to other trainers to help maintain public confidence in the industry and do the right thing in the circumstances. I very much regret my foolhardy actions. My whole working life has been devoted to the racing and training of magnificent horses. It is a seven day a week commitment to demanding work. However, it is a lifestyle that I am passionate about. I do not want to leave the profession. I believe I have more to offer the industry in the future and I ask for a further chance to prove I am not the cheat as portrayed. I am passionate about horse welfare and wellbeing. I have volunteered my time and resources to the agency HERO which is a recently launched initiative to assist the rehousing of horses after they have finished their racing careers.” [67] Mr McGrath produced an empty bottle of Air Support and a boost tube. Mr McGrath said the “Air Support” bottle and boost tube “lived” in the bag together with funnel, twitch and tube for salining. [68] Counsel for the Informant, Mr Dickey asked Mr McGrath about the improper driving charge penalty hearing in January 2020. At the penalty hearing Mr McGrath had apologised and told the Judicial Committee he was committed to adhere to the Rules of Harness Racing. However, in his evidence at this hearing, Mr McGrath denied responsibility for the Rule breach he had conceded in January this year. Mr McGrath’s response was that he believed he was not guilty of race fixing. [69] When asked by Mr Dickey about the 2004 charge for which he was disqualified for 18 months, Mr McGrath maintained the substance that was administered was an ulcer treatment used for horses. [70] When Ms Williams and Mr Wallis visited his stables the following day, Mr McGrath denied he was abusive or aggressive. He said he never touched or threatened them. [71] Mr McGrath’s explanation for telling both of them to get off the property and refusing to hand over the property the subject of this enquiry, as requested under the Rules was that he could not handle the situation and that he had asked them to come back later. He sought to deflect the responsibility for his response on a friend who was present and who he described as not helpful and if he had given Ms Williams and Mr Wallis the equipment that person “would have been even more abusive.” [72] Mr McGrath agreed that he knew that Mr Ydgren was the Chief Steward and in charge of the race meeting. He was asked why he did not respond to Mr Ydgren’s phone call and text in respect of the harness racing meeting on 13 March 2020. He admitted he did not respond and said there was no urgency in the text and no suggestion that if he failed to do so he would be in breach of the Rules of Harness Racing. Standard of Proof [73] The standard of proof is on the balance of probabilities (Rule 1008A of Rules and Rule 31.1 of the Rules of Practice and Procedure for the Judicial Committee and Appeals Tribunal (JCA Rules). Analysis [74] On Friday, 13 March 2020 the horse “Steel The Show” trained by Mr McGrath was engaged in Race 8 at the NZ Metropolitan Trotting Club meeting at Addington Raceway at 8:48 pm on Friday, 13 March 2020. There is no issue that Mr McGrath took the horse “Steel The Show” into a green shed some distance away from his stables in order to conceal the administration of a prohibited substance or that Mr Burrows a licenced stable hand was assisting him. Mr Burrows accessed the shed from under some trees to conceal his movements having got the tubing back pack from Mr McGrath’s wash house inside his house, where the bag is kept. [75] The tubing back pack belonging to Mr McGrath was located in the shed and contained tubing gear including a coiled rubber hose, a plastic funnel, a twitch and an empty 800ml plastic drink bottle containing residue. When Mr McGrath was surprised by the racing inspectors in the shed with Mr Burrows and the horse, he refused to answer further questions regarding the tubing gear and the identity of his associate. [76] The transcript of the video footage of Mr Burrows’ first statement records that he was assisting Mr McGrath to tube the horse “Steel The Show” with Air Support to assist the horse’s breathing. [77] When Mr Burrows asked if it was in accordance with the Rules, having said he thought the horse was “Steel the Show” which was running that night, Mr Burrows’ answer was “probably not’. [78] Mr Burrows said he had been there to do “tubing” the horse “very few times.” He agreed that he was tubing the horse, that it was not ideal and that it was breaking the Rules. [79] In his second statement, Mr Burrows clearly regretted making the earlier statement and sought to retract it on the basis he was under the influence of alcohol and cannabis. [80] Mr Burrows said he did not know what the substance was in the bottle as he did not look at the label and could not be sure that what he administered to the horse was in fact Air Support. When asked where the bottle was as it was not in the bag he said it was in the far side of the shed. He claimed that the substance had been administered using the boost tube. [81] Mr Burrows did not give evidence. We accept his account of the events of 13 March in his first interview when he was cooperating with the Investigators. Mr Burrows remained in the shed and in response to questioning admitted that they were about to “tube” the horse “Steel The Show” with what he called “Air Supply”. He acknowledged this was in breach of the Rules of HRNZ and that it was not the first time he had assisted in the procedure at Mr McGrath’s property. [82] We do not accept Mr Burrows’ subsequent claim that he gave the first interview while under the influence of alcohol and Cannabis and that he wished to retract what he said. In our view, the second interview was self-serving and a deliberate attempt on his part to discredit his first interview. We are satisfied on the balance of probabilities that he was in the shed for the purpose of tubing the horse “Steel The Show” assisting Mr McGrath. [83] Once the horse was caught and contained in its yard, Mr McGrath’s demeanour changed from being resigned and he became obstructive. He grabbed hold of the back pack held by the Investigators stating it was his private property and initially would not release it even though he was repeatedly advised that it was being seized as part of an investigation into a racing matter. [84] Mr McGrath refused to hand over the bag as requested by the racing Investigators and would not allow the racing Investigators to take it away. He immediately walked the horse from the shed and when confronted by another Investigator, either he let it go or the horse got loose resulting in it running towards the stable complex. [85] Although attempts were made by the Investigators to seize the tubing kit as evidence, Mr McGrath continued to object and requested that the Investigators leave his property and come back later. [86] The Investigators warned Mr McGrath repeatedly that they were there lawfully under the Rules of HRNZ and that his actions were making the matter much worse. Despite these warnings, Mr McGrath continued to strongly object. To avoid further confrontation and to comply with his request, the Investigators allowed Mr McGrath to recover his back pack and its contents and prepared to leave the property. [87] Ms Williams and Mr Wallis went to his stable the following day to serve an Exclusion Notice on Mr McGrath and request he hand over the tubing equipment from the previous day. Mr McGrath refused to provide the tubing equipment stating he would contact his lawyer and that the RIU could come back later. Mr McGrath’s explanation was that due to the abusive behaviour of a visitor to his stable, he was unable to comply with their instructions. We find his explanation unconvincing. [88] As a direct result of Mr McGrath’s deliberately aggressive and obstructive conduct and refusal to comply with the instructions of the RIU Investigators who were lawfully at his stables, no analysis could be carried out of the tubing equipment and the substance which was to be administered. [89] There is no issue the RIU veterinary surgeon on standby was also prevented from attending the stables to gather evidence and conduct tests on both “Steel The Show” and Mr McGrath’s other runner engaged that evening “Cloud Nine”. [90] We accept Dr Grierson’s evidence and his conclusion that the most likely substance to be administered via tubing was an alkalising agent and that sodium bicarbonate was the most common. Although Dr Grierson acknowledged in cross examination in response to questions from Mr Hall QC, he could not rule out that the substance Air Support was being administered to the horse, he clearly stated that without a sample there was no way of being sure what it was. [91] Dr Grierson was familiar with the manufacturer but not with their product Air Support. He was aware of its contents but as no analysis had been undertaken by the NZ Racing Laboratory Service there was insufficient evidence to say what the substance was. [92] Properly qualified expert witnesses such as Dr Grierson are permitted to give opinion evidence on subjects within their area of expertise beyond the general knowledge of the Tribunal of fact provided a proper evidential foundation has been laid as in this case. [93] We find that there is a clear inference to be drawn from all of the evidence that the most likely substance which to be administered via a nasal gastric tube was an alkalising agent. [94] We do not accept either Mr McGrath’s or Mr Burrows’ evidence that the substance Air Support was to be squirted using a boost tube over the horse’s tongue. [95] No boost tube or bottle of Air Support such as the one Mr McGrath produced at the hearing was visible. Although Mr McGrath produced a bottle of Air Support and a boost tube as part of his evidence at the hearing, we find his actions to be unconvincing and self-serving. Mr McGrath was given every opportunity to hand over the boost tube and the bottle of Air Support to the racing Investigators for analysis not only on 13 March but on the following day, 14 March. [96] Mr McGrath’s explanation was that he was under considerable stress at the time as a result of previous investigation by the RIU and that on 14 March, the day after race day, he was not able to cooperate with the Investigators due to the conduct of another person who was present at his stable that day. [97] In our view, Mr McGrath’s evidence was unconvincing and self serving. Mr McGrath has been a licenced trainer since 2000. He was given every opportunity to cooperate with the RIU investigation, but on being located in the green shed with Mr Burrows, “Steel The Show” and tubing equipment after the horse had been recaptured, he deliberately embarked on an aggressive and disruptive course of action to disrupt the RIU investigation to the extent that neither the horse nor the contents of the tubing bag could be tested. As a direct result, the substance could not be analysed and the horse could not be examined by a veterinary surgeon on behalf of the Informant. Mr McGrath has never surrendered to the Investigators the bottle of Air Support and boost tube he claimed to be the substance and method of administration. [98] With regard to the transcripts of the two interviews with Mr Burrows and taking into account Mr Burrows did not give evidence, we find that in Mr Burrows’ first interview he was cooperative and he admitted that they were about to tube the horse “Steel The Show” with what he called “Air Supply.” He acknowledged that it was in breach of the Rules of HRNZ. Furthermore, it was not the first time he had assisted in the procedure at Mr McGrath’s property. [99] Having considered the strength of all the evidence, we are compelled to reach the following conclusions. We find that there is strong and clear evidence the substance was an alkalising agent taking into account Dr Grierson’s evidence, Mr McGrath’s actions in concealing the horse, “Steel the Show”, the tubing bag, himself and Mr Burrows in the shed some distance from the stables on raceday, the contents of the back pack which contained tubing equipment including a funnel, gastric tubing, twitch and 800ml bottle, the involvement of Mr Burrows, and Mr McGrath’s intentional and deliberate behaviour which included his refusal to answer the Investigator’s questions, his obstructive and aggressive behaviour towards the Investigators including directing the Investigators to leave his property. As a direct result of his conduct, Mr McGrath prevented any analysis of either the substance or the tubing gear in Mr McGrath’s back pack and any veterinary examination of the horse. [100] For these reasons, we are satisfied in respect of the disputed facts on the balance of probabilities that: (a) The substance to be administered was a solution of chemicals for the purpose of alkalising the blood or increasing the levels of TCO2 which is a prohibited substance; (b) The substance was attempted to be administered via a gastric tube; (c) The Respondent became aggressive and obstructive when the horse had been recaptured. Penalty [101] The Appeals Tribunal in RIU v Habraken, 13 May 2019, at [15] stated that: [15] The life blood of racing depends upon millions of dollars wagered in New Zealand. Loss of confidence of punters and the community in the integrity of the sport/industry inevitably carries grave risk to its wellbeing. [102] With regard to the charge of attempted administration of prohibited substance Mr McGrath has accepted through his plea of guilty that the substance attempted to be administered was a prohibited one. Rule 1004(6) contains an absolute prohibition on administering any substance whatsoever to a horse on a race day. [103] We agree with Counsel for the Informant’s submission that Mr McGrath’s motivation for doing so can only have been financial in order to enhance the horse’s performance. [104] Mr McGrath involved Mr Burrows, another licenced holder, in the deliberate administration of a prohibited substance to a horse which was to race three hours later. In RIU v Lawson, 13 May 2019 at [42] an Appeals Tribunal noted that involving other licence holders so as to place them in jeopardy of facing charges was an aggravating feature. [105] Dr Grierson’s expert opinion was that he believes the most likely substance to be administered via tubing was an alkalising agent which improves a horse’s performance and is now banned worldwide. [106] Furthermore, such conduct has a significant impact on the racing industry’s reputation for high standards of animal welfare. The industry cannot maintain its social licence in order to continue to operate without maintaining high standards of animal welfare. [107] We agree with Counsel for the Informant’s submission that in addition to the attempted administration of a prohibited substance, Mr McGrath’s conduct when dealing with racecourse Investigators warrants a condign response. [108] Rule 1001 applies to actions involving some element of dishonesty, corruption, wilful neglect or breaches of duty or Rules, all serious racing offences. [109] The Appeals Tribunal of the Judicial Conduct Authority said in RIU v Lawson at [25]: Proceedings under the Rules are designed “not simply to punish the transgressor, but crucially are to protect the profession/public/industry and those who are to deal with the profession…The Harness and Thoroughbred racing “industry” is a profession where key participants are required to be licenced in order to practice in various ways within that sphere. Comprehensive rules of practice. behaviour, procedure and the like are set down in extensive detail in the Rules which govern the codes and behaviour. As with most professions, a careful internal disciplinary and regulatory process is set up. Those who practice within the professions (whether law, accountancy, medicine, teaching, real estate, and the like) are subject to sanctions for breaches of standards of conduct or rules designed to protect members of the profession as well as the public. Such sanctions can be at the highest end include removal from a profession for serious breaches of professional rules and standards involving dishonest or immoral conduct. Such behaviour if unchecked may greatly harm the reputation of the profession and bring it into disrepute”-that is the public loses confidence in it. [110] Mr McGrath knew that as a licenced trainer that the Rules of Harness Racing requires compliance with the horse Rules and cooperation with the RIU, the industry body charged with managing integrity issues. It is also important that all those in the industry are also deterred from acting in a similar way, contrary to the conditions of their licences and the Rules. [111] The Appeals Authority stated at [25] that disqualification is frequently imposed: Where the professional has acted dishonestly or unethically, or so far outside the standards required of him/her as to forfeit the privilege of working within the profession. Aggravating Factors of the Offending [112] There is no issue that the RIU Investigators who attended Mr McGrath’s stables on 13 March 2020 and were acting lawfully and reasonably and were entitled to take possession of the tubing gear Mr McGrath had concealed and to question Mr McGrath. Mr McGrath’s response was deliberately aggressive and obstructive culminating in him ordering the RIU Investigators off his property. We do not accept Mr McGrath’s evidence that it was not an outright refusal to cooperate, although it is correct that when he declined to be interviewed on 13 March 2020, he did say the twitch and nasal gastric tube had not been used. [113] We reject Mr McGrath’s evidence that he was in no state to be questioned at that time. Given his conduct we do not accept that the RIU Investigators could have arranged for a swab of the horse which was caught when they were present and secured it its stable. His statement was given to the Informant before he was charged with any offence. [114] Mr McGrath’s actions on 13 March 2020 and on the following day 14 March 2020 breached the Rules in ordering RIU Investigators off his property and refusing to supply information including the tubing equipment prevented the RIU Investigators obtaining the very evidence that resulted in the need for a disputed facts hearing. His deliberate actions prevented the RIU Investigators performing their functions and undermine the Rules and Licensing regime which ensure the integrity of the industry as a whole. [115] We do not agree with Counsel for Mr McGrath’s submission that while conceding that the (attempted) administration was deliberate, the nature of the substance and the manner of administration falls at the lower end of the spectrum because the substance is not a drug, rather a multi-herbal remedy which Mr McGrath believed would assist the horse’s recovery and wellbeing after a hard race rather than providing an unfair advantage to the horse. Dr Grierson’s evidence was that the most likely substance to be administered via tubing was an alkalising agent and sodium bicarbonate was the most common. Mr Burrows’ confirmed that he was assisting Mr McGrath to “tube” the horse and that he knew it was breaching the Rules. He and Mr McGrath endeavoured to conceal their actions by taking the horse and tubing gear into a shed away from the stables. When discovered by the RIU Investigators, Mr McGrath refused to cooperate as required by the Rules in any way, including behaving aggressively and obstructing. [116] Further, was Mr McGrath’s deliberate and intentional actions in withholding evidence that prevented the Investigators gathering the very same evidence which has resulted in the need for the disputed facts hearing. We regard this as a serious aggravating feature. [117] In our view there are no mitigating factors relating to the offending. Aggravating Factors relating to Mr McGrath [118] Mr McGrath was suspended from driving for six months on 10 February 2020 having pleaded guilty an improper driving breach. While subject to the suspension from driving, he incurred the current breaches of the Rules as a licensed trainer. [119] In 2004-2005, Mr McGrath was disqualified for 18 months following a breach in which two horses tested positive for Propantheline Bromide, a performance enhancing substance referred to colloquially as “Blue Magic.” [120] The current breaches of the Rules occurred within a few months of the six month suspension from driving for an improper driving breach. Mitigating Factors relating to Mr McGrath [121] Counsel for Mr McGrath, submitted that Mr McGrath’s reaction to what occurred is significant, in that he indicated within a short time he would plead guilty to a breach of the 24 hour Rule and on 18 March 2020 provided a statement to the RIU which included advice that he intended to hand in his public training licence as a demonstration of his remorse and acceptance of the consequences of his actions on Friday, 13 March 2020. [122] Mr McGrath’s reaction was “off the cuff” and later very much regretted. He offered to make a statement and offered to be interviewed the following day but the RIU decided not to engage with him. [123] The attempted administration was not an attempt to gain an unfair advantage over other competitors and the horse was scratched so no actual loss was incurred by the punters although the owners lost the opportunity to a share of the prize money. [124] Mr McGrath’s Counsel submitted a 25% discount was appropriate for his plea of guilty and the attempted administration charge is clearly a less serious charge than an administration charge. [125] Mr McGrath is saddened and apologetic. He had admitted the charges and realises that the consequences of suspension or disqualification of his licence would put his family’s investment in horses and the training facility in jeopardy because he could not meet his business commitments without a training licence. He is passionate about horses and the sport which he loves. Since he became a Licensed Public Trainer, he has had many quality horses and a loyal and long standing customer base. He has trained winners in many of New Zealand’s feature races including the Great Northern Oaks and Trotting Derby, the NZ Derby Multiple Sires Stakes and Yearling Sales finals, the Young Guns, Breakers Stakes, NZ Jewels and over 20 Country Cups in the South Island. [126] With no other qualification or work experience he would find it difficult to obtain alternative employment. The complete loss of his business and income would be out of all proportion to the gravity of the offending, if a disqualification was imposed. [127] The Judicial Control Authority Penalty Guidelines suggest a three-year disqualification starting point is appropriate for a second offence of administering but that the starting point should be lowered significantly if the earlier offending was 15 years previously as in this case. Submissions as to Penalty [128] Counsel for the Informant seeks a disqualification of up to 10 years of Mr McGrath’s trainer’s licence if the substance administered to the horse “Steel The Show” was an alkalising agent and was introduced by way of a gastric nasal tube. [129] Counsel for the Respondent submits that the cases cited by the Informant namely RIU v Morgenrood  (RIU v B Morgenrood decision dated 9 June 2020) and the RWWA case do not involve raceday administration. The RWWA case is under appeal and the Morgenrood case was described by the Judicial Committee as “difficult to find any similar offending by a licenced rider.” Conclusion [130] The starting point for these three offences, before allowance is made for mitigating factors, must be sufficient to reflect the gravity of the offending, the interests of the industry, profession of harness racing as a whole and the need for deterrence, both specific and general. [131] This is a case where clearly the interests of the professional code/industry participants and the sport outweigh mitigating factors in deciding that disqualification is necessary. The evidence is largely uncontradicted and overwhelming. Mr McGrath attempted to administer an alkalising agent via a gastric tube to “Steel the Show” on raceday. In order to do this, he involved another licence holder, Mr Burrows. When surprised by the Investigators, Mr McGrath’s intentional aggressive and obstructive conduct undermined the Rules and the licensing regime and rendered the RIU investigation redundant in that they were unable to perform their core functions. If the industry cannot be effectively regulated, there are serious consequences of public confidence in the sport. In our view, disqualification is the appropriate penalty. [132] We agree with Counsel for the Informant’s submission that licence holders must not be given the impression that they can withhold or destroy evidence, so that they can argue the facts and receive a lesser penalty than otherwise would be appropriate. [133] Taking into account the submissions of Counsel for the Informant and Counsel for Mr McGrath, we adopt a global starting point of 10 years disqualification, which includes a small uplift for previous breaches of the Rules in 2004 and for further offending against the Rules while subject to a suspension as a driver imposed on 10 February 2020. [134] We take into account the fact Mr McGrath is suffering from severe stress and is genuinely remorseful. There will be very significant financial and personal implications for Mr McGrath, as a direct result of any suspension or disqualification. We also take into account his admission of the charges. [135] However, in respect of the mitigating factor we allow only a small discount given the overwhelming and largely uncontradicted evidence that Mr McGrath’s intention was to undermine the Rules and the licensing regime and render the RIU’s investigation redundant in that they were unable to perform their core functions maintaining the integrity of sport/industry and the publics confidence in it. [136] Taking into account all mitigating factors, we order that Mr McGrath be disqualified for a period of 8 years concurrently, in respect of the three charges. RIU Costs [137] The RIU is entitled to costs. The Informant’s submissions as to costs are directed to be filed within 10 days and the Respondent’s submission in response are to be filed within 10 days of receipt of the Informant’s submissions. JCA Costs [138] JCA costs are sought and will be provided to Counsel within 10 days from date of this decision. J Lovell-Smith CHAIR 

Since the indictment of more than two dozen thoroughbred and harness racing trainers, assistants, veterinarians, and pharmacists in connection with a horse doping ring this March, rumors have swirled that more names could be forthcoming in connection with the federal investigation. Speaking at a status conference for the case on Tuesday morning, Assistant U.S. Attorney Andrew Adams told U.S. District Judge Judge Mary Kay Vyskocil that a superseding indictment could be around the corner, but did not provide details as to the timing. “We are looking seriously at superseding indictments,” said Adams. “For the moment, and I made this point at least to some defense counsel previously, the nature of what we're looking at is largely in the same kind of criminal conduct as what is in the current indictment. We're looking at expanding timeframes for certain of the conspiracies. We're looking at potentially adding different statutory charges with respect to certain of the defendants. What I do not anticipate for the moment is that those superseding indictments, if and when they come, would require the production of some substantial large set of materials not already produced to date or already in the queue of things we expect to produce.” A superseding indictment is one which replaces an existing indictment, and could add charges against already-named defendants and/or could name new defendants. Vyskocil reminded Adams that the court would not hold things up while the government finishes its investigation. Adams said he understood and that he would not ask to hold up the proceedings for that reason. The charges on the current indictments, which names former top trainers Jorge Navarro and Jason Servis, among others, focus on drug adulteration, misbranding, and conspiracy. The indictments claim a network of horsemen, veterinarians and pharmacy reps sold, distributed and used drugs in racehorses for the purpose of performance enhancement. Other than a potential superseding indictment, there are not likely to be many updates in the case until late fall. Currently, attorneys are going through the discovery process, meaning each side is requesting and providing requested evidence in the case. Adams said he believes his office will be able to provide the last of the discovery material requested by defendants by the end of September. Already, the office has provided some 90 gigabytes' worth of data to all defendants in three different volumes, and has fielded 20 additional individual requests. That data includes the results of 30 different search warrants, intercepted phone calls and text messages, geolocation information for various devices, email accounts, file transfer accounts, inventory lists, shipping records, veterinary records, drug promotional and marketing material, and much more. The Federal Bureau of Investigation is still extracting data from devices like cell phones and tablets seized from defendants at the time of their arrests. Adams mentioned that labs inside and outside the United States had been asked to conduct testing on samples related to the case, although it was not immediately clear whether that referred to samples of substances seized in searches of pharmacies or biological samples from horses, or both. Those results were not all known to the federal government as of yet, and some defense attorneys expressed a desire to work out some sort of split sampling process where possible, acknowledging there was a finite amount of some samples available to test. After the government produces requested evidence, it is sent to a coordinating discovery attorney for organization and distribution. One defense attorney pointed out that it generally takes the coordinating discovery attorney roughly a month to process large document releases before they are given over to defense counsel, so a late September target for discovery completion means they will get a look at the last of the evidence in early November. Vyskocil scheduled a status conference for Nov. 19. Most participants on the call agreed it would be impractical to set a trial date or motion schedule until the defense has seen all the government's evidence against their clients. Read more about the federal indictments in this March 9 piece from the Paulick Report. By Natalia Ross Reprinted with permission of The Paulick Report

Columbus, OH – The U.S. Trotting Association announced Sunday (June 21) the relaunch of the USTA Integrity Tipline for industry participants to alert the organization of any concerns they have regarding integrity issues in harness racing. The toll-free number is 833/USTATIP (833/878-2847).  All callers have the option to remain anonymous or leave their contact information for a follow-up call from an investigator. “As indicated by USTA President Russell Williams in his published response to several prominent horsemen’s concerns about the care of horses and integrity in harness racing (read here), we are reestablishing our integrity tipline,” said USTA Executive Vice President and CEO Mike Tanner in making the announcement. “With the plans for implementation of the Hanover Shoe Farms matching fund grant integrity initiative nearing announcement early next month, that could provide funding to assist with the costs of investigations for legitimate information obtained through the tipline,” added Tanner. When contacting the USTA Integrity Tipline, callers will be asked to provide as many specific details as possible regarding the situation that are important for the USTA to be aware of including names, horses, dates and locations as well as any other circumstances. from the USTA Communications Department

Department of Agriculture funded Veterinary Welfare Commission leads Irish Harness Racing industry to become world leader for horse welfare and anti-doping. In light of the Programme for Government set out by Fine Gael, Fianna Fail and the Green Party to have funding to the equine industry be related to horse welfare outcomes the newly established Veterinary and Welfare Commission (VWC), funded by the Department of Agriculture to help regulate the integrity of the Irish Harness Racing industry, are announcing that all regulatory medical records for the Irish standardbred community will be moving from paper to a digital system. This will ensure that records can not be lost, damaged or tampered with once closed on the system greatly increasing transparency and accountability in relation to anti-doping and equine welfare for the sport of harness racing across Ireland. Together, thanks to support from the Irish Department of Agriculture, VWC and the Irish Harness Racing Association (IHRA) have commissioned world leaders in anti-doping and equine welfare software, Equine MediRecord, and are mandating this system for all of the horses that fall under their regulatory scope. While other regulators have switched to digital records for horses in training and competition, Harness Racing under the remit of the IHRA and its integrity arm, the VWC, is now the first equine sport to make it a mandatory regulation that digital medical records be maintained by breeders and keepers of standardbred horses, ensuring a continuous flow of data on the horse throughout its life. This is the first time that an equine industry will ensure that the records of a horse are digitally kept from birth to death. It is the first equine sport to do so, anywhere in the world. These changes ensure proper tracking of medical histories, making it easier for vets, trainers, keepers and owners to ensure better outcomes for horses under their care. This ensures that Irish Standardbred Industry is a world leader in animal welfare for all of its horses from birth to the end of their days.  “Funding for animal welfare in any sport that involves animals is always welcome and it is especially welcome in these formative years of the exciting sport of Harness Racing in Ireland” said Peadar Ó Scanaill, MVB, Chairman of the Veterinary and Welfare Commission. “Harness Racing in Ireland is growing and maturing into an extremely exciting equine racing sport and it has always set itself the highest and best of standards with regard to animal welfare from the very outset. It carries out all its racing on the track and it strives to instil public confidence in Harness Racing as it distances itself from any form of horses running on the road”. The VWC was established in 2015 by the IHRA as the integrity body within the sport of Harness Racing. Its funding comes from within the sport itself through a Memorandum of Understanding agreed with the Board of the IHRA with some financial assistance from the Department of Agriculture. Its aim is to ensure animal welfare reaches the highest standard possible and its mission is to instil public confidence both inside and outside the sport of Harness Racing in Ireland. Its role within the IHRA is to cover all aspects of the integrity of the sport of Harness Racing in Ireland, with similar duties to the Irish Horseracing Regulatory Board for thoroughbred racing.  The VWC, with this newly announced Department of Agriculture funding, boasts some of the top equine veterinarians in Ireland. Peadar Ó Scanaill, the founding head of the VWC, was the President of the Veterinary Council of Ireland in 2018 - 2019. The Veterinary Council is mandated by the government to regulate and manage the practice of all veterinary medicine and veterinary nursing in Ireland in the public interest. This means that Mr Ó Scanaill, MVB,  brings the perfect experience and expertise for this new regulatory role. He is joined by Marcus Swail, MVB, the founder of EquiVET and Team Ireland Equestrian Olympic team’s veterinary surgeon, who is the deputy head of the new VWC. The formation of the VWC is a great boost to ensuring and improving the integrity of the sport of Harness Racing in Ireland.  Pierce Dargan, CEO of Equine MediRecord stated, “We are delighted to see further steps towards better equine care in the world. We are proud and delighted that the VWC and the IHRA decided to partner with us for this project and we hope this will be the beginning of meaningful change that helps improve outcomes for horses and the industry as a whole.” The Irish Harness Racing Association is the internationally recognised governing body of harness racing in Ireland. It is a member of the Union of European Trotting (UET) and World Trotting Association. The IHRA works closely with the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine (in Dublin) to develop the sport both domestically and internationally. Equine MediRecord is the global leader in equine anti-doping and horse welfare software. It currently operates in Ireland, the UK and France and recently partnered with the Arabian Racing Organisation (ARO) in the UK to make the ARO the first in Europe and second in the world to mandate electronic medical records be kept by their registered trainers. Equine MediRecord based on the Curragh, county  Kildare, has availed of many Local Enterprise Office Kildare financial and advisory supports as well as representing Kildare in the National Final for Ireland’s Best Young Entrepreneur Competition. For more information about Equine MediRecord, see: https://www.equinemedirecord.com/    

In a bid to limit data used by offshore bookmakers, the New Zealand Transport and Infrastructure Select Committee has proposed that changes be made to the charges imposed for using betting information. The Select Committee introduced more than 30 changes to the Racing Industry Bill when it submitted its report to the House of Parliament, with the legislation only set to be signed into law a month later than originally intended. The Committee outlined plans to work with the three racing codes-New Zealand Thoroughbred Racing (NZTR), Harness Racing New Zealand (HRNZ) and Greyhound Racing New Zealand (GRNZ)-to ensure that measures are placed in place to allow offshore bookmakers to pay for the use of New Zealand racing data. Once the law has been codified, the committee suggested that Racing NZ, consisting of the three codes, be established which could assume some of the functions of the codes. The group has also suggested a TAB NZ Board reshuffle. On the recommendation of the codes the TAB is proposed to have three out of seven members appointed. A selection panel was introduced, and the Board ‘s overall required skill set would typically remain consistent with what was previously in the Bill. In a statement, the Racing Industry’s Transition Agency (RITA) said: “There are over 30 areas where the Committee have recommended changes and it will take us some time to work through and understand each of the different proposals. “Our initial view of the Select Committee’s recommendations is that the overall direction and structure of the Bill remains the same as it was before the Committee and is still in line with the direction of the Messara Report. “The TAB will be established as a pure betting, broadcasting and gaming entity, and the Codes will have greater roles and responsibilities for developing and promoting their sport.” By John Stewart Reprinted with permission of Inkedin

The investigation into Propulsion is ongoing and it is too early to determine what the outcome will be in all parts. For the time being, however, Svensk Travsport has decided to ban Propulsion from Harness Racing. Swedish Travsport also receives many questions regarding Propulsion's breeding operations and in doing so Propulsion still has a valid breeding certificate, based on previous breeding evaluation. A new breeding valuation can, according to Chapter 25. Section 6 Registration Regulations, become relevant when the investigation is complete. This means that already born offspring as well as the coverings made this year will not be affected, regardless of the final decision in the case. Swedish Travelsport will also launch an internal investigation to review the union's process and management. It will be led by an external independent party.

Harness racing driver Simon Lawson has had his appeal to cancel a two and a half year ban dismissed in a recent JCA hearing. Lawson copped a two and a half year ban from the JCA back in March of 2019 for betting on another horse in a race he was driving in.  Lawson did not intend to seek a licence to drive or train “at this stage” but wished the application to be granted to allow him “the ability to support his partner who is a llicensed jockey at the racetrack and her place of work.” Full details of the appeal hearing below:  BEFORE AN APPEALS TRIBUNAL OF THE JUDICIAL CONTROL AUTHORITY INFORMATION NUMBERS: A 8707 and A 8708 IN THE MATTER of the Racing Act 2003 AND IN THE MATTER of an application under Rule 1205 of the NZ Harness Rules of Racing BETWEEN SIMON LAWSON (Applicant) AND THE RACING INTEGRITY UNIT (Opposing – Respondent) Appeals Tribunal Hon J W Gendall QC (Chair) L N McCutcheon (Member) Hearing on the papers (by consent of the parties) at Levin on 27 May 2020 1. This was an application made on 10 May 2020 seeking cancellation of an order made by an Appeals Tribunal on 10 May 2019 for disqualification for a period of 2 years 6 months commencing on 11 May 2019 against Mr Lawson. His period of disqualification ends on 11 November 2021. 2. The background to the offending of Mr Lawson is fully set out in the decision of the Appeals Tribunal and does not need repeating here. We simply record that it involved two charges of Serious Racing misconduct in placing bets (successful as it happened) on two horses in Harness races in which Mr Lawson drove other horses who were unplaced. The Tribunal said that the offending struck at the heart of the integrity of the Code, and damaged its reputation with the community, being seriously dishonest. RULE 1205 3. The Rule relevantly provides: (1) A person who has been disqualified for more than 12 months or who owns a horse that has been disqualified for more than 3 months may apply in writing to the Appeals Tribunal for a cancellation of the remainder of the disqualification. (2) An application under sub rule (1) shall not be considered by the Appeals Tribunal until the expiration of: (a) 5 years from the date the disqualification was imposed where the person was disqualified for Life. (b) 12 months from the date the disqualification was imposed where the person was disqualified for more than 12 months. (c) [not relevant]. 4. The written submissions by Mr Lawson’s lay representative advanced on his behalf can be distilled to the following: (a) He has faithfully complied with the order for disqualification and adhered to the conditions attaching to disqualification and promptly paid the significant costs ordered against him. (b) The Rule provides a similar mechanism to that of the Criminal Justice System in that a person sentenced by a court will usually be entitled to parole after serving a certain period of that sentence so “is released”. (c) He has accepted his sanction and “learnt“ that the offending behaviour was unacceptable. His behaviour has been exemplary, and the Tribunal should have sufficient confidence that he will not reoffend. (d) He has not had an easy transition following the cessation of his training involvement but has found good employment in the thoroughbred breeding industry, has purchased a property with his partner, but has mortgage commitments. His partner is a licensed jockey and he is unable to support her in the sense of watching her ride in races and trackwork. (e) His disqualification penalty is disproportionate to a penalty of suspension imposed on another harness racing driver for an improper driving offence. (f) He does not intend to seek a licence to drive or train “at this stage” but wishes the application to be granted to allow him “the ability to support his partner at the racetrack and her place of work.” 5. The submissions advanced on behalf of the RIU opposing the application are summarised as follows: (a) He has served less than one half of the term of disqualification imposed and there are no significant changes of or existing circumstances that mandate cancellation. Otherwise the fundamental purpose of the penalty for serious offending would be undermined. (b) The penalty decision took into account the deliberate and dishonest actions, and the aggravating and personal mitigating factors relevant to Mr Lawson, was alive to the impact on him and his career, and allowed a 15 month discount for personal factors and his plea. (c) The decision highlights the view that where a professional forfeits the privilege of being licensed, it is inevitable that he and others will suffer effects but that is of little significance when viewed against the public interest. No evidence is presented as to how serving the remainder of a proper disqualification will seriously affect Mr Lawson. (d) Comparison with the Criminal Parole system is inappropriate. Even if parole does occur, the sentence remains extant until the time period ends and recall to prison can, and does, occur if breaches of conditions occur before the actual sentence ends. As the Tribunal said in its decision, “the imposition of sanctions does not necessarily equate to that of the criminal sentencing process”. (e) Generally, to cancel the significant balance of the sanction would severely undermine the penalty regime and public and industry confidence, if an applicant such as Mr Lawson could have a penalty reduced by 50% or more where no change or special circumstances exist. Any cancellation would also undermine the deterrent effect on other licence holders in the harness racing industry, and the need to uphold proper standards of conduct, being the key purpose of the penalty regime. 6. The representative of Mr Lawson was given the opportunity of making submission in reply to those of the RIU which we have considered and taken into account. These emphasise that Mr Lawson has changed his profession, is not seeking to obtain licences in the industry, has taken steps to rehabilitate himself. He submits that, if minded to do so, the Tribunal might cancel the disqualification for a later specific date with conditions imposed. The reply contends that another later case involving a harness racing driver/trainer imposing only a suspension (Mr Lawson says a “Claytons” penalty) illustrates how this disqualification is disproportionate. DECISION 7. We have given careful consideration to all the submissions of the parties set out above and, in evaluating all the circumstances, have determined that the application be declined. Our reasons follow. 8. Whilst the Rule provides the jurisdiction to make an application after 12 months, for the cancellation of the balance of a disqualification, it is solely a discretionary matter for the Tribunal, as no criteria are provided. It is the task of the Tribunal in evaluating all the material facts and circumstances and reaching a considered decision. The exercise of that discretion, of course, cannot be arbitrary or capricious, but a proper evaluation and consideration of all the relevant circumstances is required. These will vary widely, depending on the particular individual, the offending, the length of the disqualification and period of time remaining to be served, the interests of the profession/code/community, the purpose of the sanction and any matters of compassion – and there may be infinite other factors relevant to the exercise of a discretion such as this - there can be no limitation in advance of matters to be taken into account. It will always depend on the particular or unique circumstances that exist at the time of the application. An evaluation of all relevant matters is necessary. This we have done. 9. The analogy with the parole system sought to be advanced by the applicant is not apt. As the RIU says, a prison sentence is not cancelled if a person is granted parole. It continues to run until the sentence end date. A prisoner must be released from a “short term sentence” (a term of 2 years or under) after serving 50% of that term, and a prisoner sentenced to a longer term may be considered for parole after 1/3 of the sentence (unless the sentencing court fixes a longer non eligibility period) but only if he/she is deemed to not be an undue risk to the community and they are subject to conditions which if not met results in recall to prison, usually to serve the balance of the sentence. The regime for permitting cancellation of the balance of a professional disciplinary disqualification (whether cancellation of the right to practise law, medicine, accountancy, or participate in the Harness Racing Industry) is entirely different to the prison regime which relates, amongst other things, to removal of a person’s liberty. 10. Whilst the consequences of the penalty imposed have been, and will be, painful, in some respects Mr Lawson’s circumstances may have taken a turn for the better, in the sense that he has a good position at a thoroughbred stud, and he has a sound relationship with a partner and acquired a home. These are to his credit and continuation of the disqualification would not apparently impact upon those matters. As he argues he cannot watch her ride in races, (although no doubt could do so on TV) but this is an inevitable consequence of his offending and sanction. If he were hereafter to return to racecourses, and be seen there by licence holders and others after serving less than 50% of his sanction, those observers would be entitled to look askance and query the purpose of the racing judiciary function in imposing a deservedly stern penalty yet cancelling it after such a period. The argument of the RIU that this would tend to undermine the sanction regime is well founded. The remaining length of time to serve of the disqualification is a significant consideration. 11. The fact that Mr Lawson has paid the costs awarded against him and served his disqualification so far is a matter that carries lesser weight on the evaluation process for consideration, as he would have been expected to comply. We accept it does illustrate a proper approach, for without an applicant having done so, no application under the Rule could properly be made. 12. We do not accept the submission that a sanction imposed on another licence holder at a judicial hearing can have any relevance to this application for cancellation. It was for a different breach of a different rule, with a different (and very much lesser) penalty provision of suspension, and it did not involve any proven or admitted charge of a serious racing offence, (with the RIU accepting the penalty imposed). The Tribunal is well aware of the accepted facts and plea of the licence holder. Mr Lawson’s submissions and efforts to seek to draw some advantage by making comparisons are without avail. And, in any event, that “disproportionate” submission by Mr Lawson has no bearing on an application for cancellation under Rule 1205, which cannot be used in a roundabout way to appeal the penalty imposed. 13. The essence of Mr Lawson’s wish to have his term of disqualification now cancelled appears to be his natural desire to support his partner as she rides. But in evaluating this, and all the other past and present circumstances of Mr Lawson, we are not persuaded that the discretion to cancel the balance, namely 18 months, of the 2 years 6-month disqualification should be exercised. We do not see that the provisions in Rule 1205 enable the Tribunal to adopt the process, suggested in Mr Lawson’s reply, of fixing a later date for cancelling the disqualification, with conditions. The Rule is quite clear. 14. Accordingly, the application is dismissed. There is no order as to costs. Hon J W Gendall QC Chair 29 May 2020

On 28 May 2020, the Victorian Racing Tribunal (VRT) considered a charge issued by Harness Racing Victoria (HRV) Stewards against licensed trainer-driver David Aiken under Australian Harness Racing Rule (AHRR) 190(1). AHRR 190(1) reads as follows:      A horse shall be presented for a race free of prohibited substances. The charge related to a urine sample collected from the horse ‘Divine Diva’ after it won Race 8, the ‘Alabar Pace’, at the Shepparton harness racing meeting on 1 November 2019. Racing Analytical Services Limited (RASL) reported the sample contained arsenic in excess of the allowable threshold. Mr Aiken pleaded guilty to the charge before submissions on penalty were heard from the HRV Stewards and Mr Aiken. Penalty Mr Aiken was fined $2000, with $1500 of that fine suspended for a period of 12 months. The VRT also ordered that, under AHRR 195, ‘Divine Diva’ be disqualified from Race 8 at Shepparton on 1 November 2019 and that the placings be amended accordingly. Further to that, the VRT ordered that under AHRR 200(1) any prizemoney won by ‘Divine Diva’ from the race be returned. VRT Panel: Judge John Bowman (Chairman) and Mr Robert Abrahams The written decisions of the VRT can be found here. (Please note that VRT Decisions will generally be published within 7-10 days of the date of hearing)

The Australian Anti-Doping Authority has taken an interest in the family of Bronson Xerri and its colourful history as it investigates criminal links around the supply of anabolic steroids following the Cronulla teenager’s positive drugs test. Xerri, 19, has been provisionally stood down and is facing a suspension of up to four years after returning a positive A-sample to the banned substances exogenous testosterone, androsterone, etiocholanolone and 5b-androstane-3a,17b-diol when target tested following a tip-off last November. While the doping violation is yet to be confirmed with a B sample, the attention of ASADA investigators is now very much on trying to establish whether there are criminal links to the distribution of the substances found in Xerri’s system. It was a year-long Australian Crime Commission investigation into sports, prohibited substances and organised crime that preceded the Cronulla and Essendon doping scandals in the last decade. According to a source with knowledge of ASADA's Xerri probe, there is a particular interest in the player's family. The Herald can reveal the Sharks youngster’s 28-year-old brother Troy was sentenced to an aggregate term of five years imprisonment in 2014 over drugs charges. Troy was initially one of eight men, including two teenagers, who were charged over drugs supply in south-west Sydney eight years ago. An array of illegal substances from prescription drugs including steroids, valium and xanax, ammunition and a bayonet knife were seized during raids on premises in Merrylands, Greystanes, Ermington and Granville. Police also found more than $50,000 in cash. It resulted in Troy Xerri facing Parramatta Local Court on charges of supplying a commercial quantity of a prohibited drug and take part in supply of a prohibited drug. His jail term included a non-parole period of two years and six months. ASADA investigators seized Bronson Xerri’s phone briefly this week to download data from it. A call to the Xerri home on Friday went unanswered. Xerri has previously spoken of the importance of his family, which has connections to the harness racing industry, during his rapid rugby league rise. His other older brother Dylan presented him with his maiden first-grade jersey before his NRL debut last year. To read the full article in The Sydney Morning Herald click on this link.

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