Day At The Track

Racing Integrity Unit under fire

05:59 PM 10 Jun 2016 NZST
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Racing Integrity Unit
Racing Integrity Unit

Canterbury Harness Racing participants are starting to talk.

*Can we have faith in the Racing Integrity Unit?

*Will a racecourse investigator turn up on my home doorstep?

Those are just some of the questions being asked by drivers, stable hands and trainers.

Those with little faith in the RIU will now have almost none, after it was revealed that Racing Investigator Ms Kylie Williams turned up on Woodend based driver/trainer Bob Butt's door step and demanded that Butt travel to the Rangiora Racetrack to take a urine and saliva test for prohibitive substances.

That was after Butt had called in sick after being struck down with illness, meaning he was unable to take up his drive on Easy Rider at Rangiora.

Easy Rider is trained by his parents, David and Catherine Butt at their Woodend training establishment.

With the Racing Investigator testing a large range of drivers and stable hands at the Rangiora meeting, and Butt calling in sick, it appears as though they thought Butt had been tipped off and had called in sick to dodge being tested.

After arriving at the Woodend stables and repeatedly knocking on the door, the Racing Investigator was unable to raise Butt from a deep sleep, so continued to walk around the Butt's training centre until they found another license holder in Robbie Close, who works for Mark Jones.

Jones lease's a section of the Butt's establishment.

With the Racing Investigator demanding that Close enter the household and wake Butt up, they then requested that Butt travel to the Rangiora Course to undergo a drug test. With Butt refusing to leave his home due to his obvious illness, Racing Investigator Ms Kylie Williams then arranged for the testing equipment to be transported to Butt's house in Woodend.

"I'm not a big fan of them coming to home to do it because I was just sick and only had one drive so didn't bother going.

"But I also know why they test for it. So I'm moving on." said Butt, when spoken to by the NZ Herald.

With the Racing Investigator also wanting samples from Junior Driver Matthew Anderson, he was forced to travel from his Rolleston base to Woodend after already having left the racecourse after his driving engagement in Race 5.

It took over a hour to get the two tests they were after, which both returned negative readings for drugs and alcohol. What were they looking for?

David and Catherine Butt were reportedly upset by the events and wrote a letter to RIU general manager Mike Godber and was talked about at a recent HRNZ board meeting last week.

The RIU sent Butt a letter yesterday outlining that legal opinion.

When spoken to by Michael Guerin from the NZ Herald - RIU's Chief Investigator Neil Grimstone had the following to say: 

"When Mr Butt didn't attend the meeting, and only pulled out after it may have become obvious there was testing going on, that may have raised some suspicions,"

"But his test showed nothing irregular and he has no case to answer, we want to be very clear about that.

"We are not looking to catch people inside the racing industry who want to drink, even if they choose to do so to excess.

"We are about providing a safe environment at race and trials meetings and that can extend to all licenced racing people, but most importantly trainers and drivers.

"But this is not the start of some random, out of race or trials day testing of everybody in the racing industry for alcohol or drugs.

"Obviously drugs are illegal but alcohol isn't and what racing people do, within limits of course, away from race and trials days is their business."

Other questions that need to be answered:

How can Peter Lamb be a “Racing Investigator, Stipendiary Steward and a Starter?

Take a look at our recent article on the conflict of interest...

Why aren't the other three Racing Investigator's doing their jobs and testing for alcohol and drugs in their areas?

Why can't it become policy that each driver must sign in when they arrive on course and while they are doing that, then process to do a alcohol test?

Would this not be the best way to show the public that our drivers are free of any alcohol prior to their driving engagements.

Harnesslink Media

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