You are here: Home / Non race day hearings / Non Raceday Inquiry RIU v L Hall - Decision dated 19 August 2017 - Chair, Mr A Dooley

Non Raceday Inquiry RIU v L Hall - Decision dated 19 August 2017 - Chair, Mr A Dooley

Created on 22 August 2017

BEFORE A JUDICIAL COMMITTEE OF

THE JUDICIAL CONTROL AUTHORITY

UNDER THE RACING ACT 2003

AND IN THE MATTER of the New Zealand Rules of Thoroughbred Racing

BETWEEN THE RACING INTEGRITY UNIT (RIU)

Informant

AND MR L HALL

Class B - Permit to Train License

Respondent

Information No: A8457

Date of hearing: 19 August 2017

Venue: Te Rapa Racecourse

Appearing: Mr O Westerlund - Investigator, Racing Integrity Unit

Mr L Hall – Licensed Trainer

Judicial Committee: Mr A Dooley, Chairman - Mr N McCutcheon, Committee Member

Date of Decision: 19 August 2017

Charge

The Informant Mr O Westerlund, Racing Investigator alleged that on the 30th day of May 2017, at Te Awamutu, being the registered trainer for the time being in charge of the horse “Iffraaj – Ain’t No Illusion”, which was brought to the Waipa Racing Club Trials held at the Te Awamutu Racecourse for the purpose of engaging in, and did engage in Heat 12, conducted by the Waipa Racing Club, when the said horse was found to have in its metabolism a Prohibited Substance, namely Meloxicam which is in breach of New Zealand Thoroughbred Racing Rule 804(2) and is therefore subject to the penalty or penalties which may be imposed pursuant to Rules 804(6) and 804(7) of the said Rules.

Rule 804(2)

When a horse which has been brought to a Racecourse or similar racing facility for the Purpose of engaging in a Race or trial to which the Third Appendix hereto applies is found by a Tribunal conducting an inquiry to have had administered to it or have had present in its metabolism a Prohibited Substance, as defined in Part A of Prohibited Substance Regulations, the Trainer and any other person who in the opinion of such Tribunal conducting such inquiry was in charge of such horse at any relevant time commits a breach of these Rules.

Penalty Provisions

Rule 804(7)

A person who commits a breach of sub-Rule (2) or (3) or (4) or (5) or (6) of this Rule shall be liable to:

(a) be disqualified for a period not exceeding five years; and/or

(b) be suspended from holding or obtaining a Licence for a period not exceeding 12 months. If a Licence is renewed during a term of suspension, then the suspension shall continue to apply to the renewed Licence; and/or

(c) a fine not exceeding $25,000.

Mr Hall acknowledged that he understood the Rules and he admitted the breach.

Mr Hall acknowledged that all the relevant documents from the RIU had been disclosed to him. Mr Hall said he accepted the contents of the documents and consented to them being admitted as evidence.

The proposed procedure was for this hearing was explained to Mr Hall and he had no concerns or objections.

Mr Westerlund produced a letter from Mr M Godber, General Manager for the Racing Integrity Unit, authorising the filing of the Information pursuant to Rule 903(2)(d).

Summary of agreed Facts by the Informant

Mr Logan David HALL is the holder of a Class B Trainer Licence issued by New Zealand Thoroughbred Racing (NZTR).

On Tuesday the 30th day of May 2017 the horse “Iffraaj – Ain’t No Illusion” was correctly entered and started in Heat 12 of the Waipa Racing Club Trials at the Te Awamutu Racecourse.

At the time the horse was owned by Mr HALL.

The three year old gelding “Iffraaj – Ain’t No Illusion” finished 4th of the five horse trial.

The horse “Iffraaj – Ain’t No Illusion” was randomly selected for a post-race swab. The horse was accompanied by Mr HALL. A blood sample was obtained at 12.40pm approximately 9 minutes after the trial commenced at 12.31pm.

Both Mr HALL and the RIU Veterinarian, Dr Len Smith reported that there were no difficulties or irregularities with the collection of the blood from the horse “Iffraaj – Ain’t No Illusion”.

At the conclusion of the Trials the samples were checked by a Racecourse Investigator and then placed in a tamper proof security bag with other samples taken that day and forwarded to the New Zealand Racing Laboratory in Auckland.

On the 28th June 2017, a Certificate of Analysis signed by Mr Rob Howitt, the Official Racing Analyst at the New Zealand Racing Laboratory advised that the sample taken from the horse “Iffraaj – Ain’t No Illusion” had been analysed and contained the Prohibited Substance, Meloxicam.

Meloxicam is a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug commonly used to treat short term pain and fever in horses and has a withholding period of 4.2days.

Meloxicam is therefore a Prohibited Substance within the Rules of Racing. The presence of Meloxicam at a race day or trial is therefore prima facie, a breach of the Rules.

On the 11th July 2017 Mr HALL was interviewed at his property.

He stated that the horse concerned had a slightly sore shoulder so he asked his local veterinarian Dr Sam Smalley if he could give it something.

Dr Smalley who was there to undertake branding on the property gave the horse 15mls of Meloxicam to the horse on the 29th May 2017. Dr Smalley was spoken to and he was adamant that he would have advised Mr HALL of the withholding period and would not have administered the drug had he known that the horse was trialling the following day.

Mr HALL has been training for 29 years in New Zealand.

Mr HALL is aged 67 years and has not previously appeared.

Submissions by the Respondent

Mr Hall advised the Committee that Dr Smalley was on his farm branding 4 foals and in the spur of the moment he asked his Veterinarian if he had anything that would get his Iffraaj gelding through some soreness. He said that the horse needed to be it the right frame of mind to get through its trial. He was not sure if he had informed Dr Smalley that the horse was trialling the next day. Mr Hall added that due to his speech impediment Dr Smalley may not have understood him.

Decision

As Mr Hall admitted the breach the Committee found the charged proved.

Submissions on Penalty by Informant

1. INTRODUCTION:

1.1 The respondent Logan David HALL is a Class B Licensed Trainer under the New Zealand Rules of Thoroughbred Racing.

1.2 He has been involved in the racing industry all his working life and a licensed trainer for 29 years.

1.3 Mr HALL is 67 years of age with a date of birth of 13th January 1950.

1.4 The Racing Integrity Unit seek a penalty of $3000.

2. OFFENDING:

2.1 Mr HALL has admitted a breach of the rules in relation to a charge of entering, presenting and racing a horse in a trial at the Te Awamutu Racecourse when that horse had within its body a Prohibited Substance namely Meloxicam.

2.2 The details of Mr HALL's offending are contained in the Summary of Facts which have been agreed to.

3. PENALTY PROVISIONS:

3.1 The penalties which may be imposed are fully detailed in the Charge Rule Penalty provisions document.

4. SENTENCING PRINCIPLES:

4.1 The four principles of sentencing can be summarised briefly:

- Penalties are designed to punish the offender for his/her wrong doing. They are not meant to be retributive in the sense the punishment is disproportionate to the offence but the offender must be met with a punishment.

- In a racing context it is extremely important that a penalty has the effect of deterring others from committing similar offences.

- A penalty should also reflect the disapproval of the JCA for the type of offending in question.

- The need to rehabilitate the offender should be taken into account.

4.2 All four principles apply in this matter.

5. PRECEDENTS:

5.1 In support of this penalty I will refer to three previous decisions by the JCA which may be of some assistance.

5.1.1 RIU v G F BRICK (15.09.16) – related to a positive test to Phenylbutazone and Oxyphenbutazone at the Whakatane Trials on the 2 August 2016. The penalty imposed was a fine of $3000 and the horse disqualified.

5.1.2 RIU v M FRASER-CAMPIN and C CAMPIN (1.04.16) - related to a positive test to Phenylbutazone and Oxyphenbutazone at the Matamata Trials on 9 February 2016. The penalty imposed was a fine of $3000 and the horse disqualified.

5.1.3 RIU v S MUNRO (16.04.16) –related to a positive test to Phenylbutazone and Oxyphenbutazone at the Matamata Trials on the 9 February 2016. The penalty imposed was a fine of $4000 and the horse disqualified.

6. MITIGATING FACTORS:

6.1 That he has admitted the breach at the first opportunity.

6.2 That he has been fully co-operative throughout the process.

6.3 This is not a situation where the drug in this case ‘Meloxicam’ was administered to enhance performance. This is a case where Mr HALL has made an error of judgement by not informing the Veterinarian Dr Smalley that the horse was going to trial the next day.

6.4 That although careless in his actions Mr Hall has acted without intent and has made a regrettable mistake.

6.5 That he has been a trainer for 29 years and has no previous disciplinary history.

7. AGGRAVATING FEATURES:

7.1 Mr HALL is an experienced trainer who is well aware of the caution required when using medicine in the management of his race horses.

8. CONCLUSION:

8.1 The RIU believe that this breach can be dealt with by way of a fine. It is submitted that a fine of $3000 should be imposed.

8.2 None of the ‘B’ samples have been tested and the RIU is seeking no costs.

8.3 An order for the disqualification of the horse ‘Iffraaj – Ain’t No Illusion’ from the trial is sought pursuant to Rule 804(8).

Submissions of Penalty by Respondent

Mr Hall produced a letter from Dr Smalley which states that Meloxicam is less commonly used in equine practice compared to phenylbutazone and anecdotally is considered to have less of an effect on musculoskeletal pain when compared with phenylbutazone.

Mr Hall provided the Committee with a reference from Veterinarian, Phillip Robinson. The reference stated that Dr Robinson had known Mr Hall for 40 years and he had not requested a Veterinarian to undertake any action that would contravene the Rules of Racing.

Mr Hall advised the Committee that he had invested $150,000 in bloodstock during the last 3 years. He said racing was his lifelong dream and he did not want to jeopardise that in anyway.

Reasons for Penalty

The Committee have carefully considered all the evidence and submissions presented.

The JCA Penalty Guide effective 1 May 2015 states the starting point for presentation offences with a Prohibited Substance is an $8,000 fine. However, we believe it would be disproportionally severe to apply that sum given the circumstances of this particular breach.

The Committee was conversant with the 3 precedent decisions referred to by the RIU. It is important to note that in all 3 cases the starting point adopted was a $4,000 fine. The primary reason being that all those breaches occurred at the trails and not at a race meeting and we have no evidence placed before us to deviate from that starting point.

The mitigating factors were Mr Hall’s admission of the breach, his unblemished record over a long period of time and his co–operation with the RIU during their investigation. It was also evident that Mr Hall showed genuine remorse for his actions.

The Committee was mindful that trials differ from race days as there is no betting and stake money involved. However the integrity of the industry is paramount and even in the case of trials there can be significant financial rewards for owners and trainers. Authorised trials are generally used to educate young horses and provide the opportunity to get horses of all ages fit and ready for raceday assignments. It is also accepted that many young horses are sold based on their potential shown at trials meetings. It is imperative that, regardless of raceday or trials meetings, all horses competing run free of any prohibited substances. The safety of horse and rider is the same regardless, and remains paramount.

The Committee was satisfied there was no intent on Mr Hall’s part to gain an advantage by asking his Veterinarian to administer a prohibited substance namely Meloxicam. We accept that Mr Hall made a bad judgement in allowing his horse to race in the trial. It is relevant to note that the 3 year old gelding finished unplaced in his trial. Any penalty however has to be of a sufficient level to ensure that trainers do not become complacent or assume that trials meetings are different to race meetings in regard to prohibited substance use.

The circumstances of this case are comparable to M Fraser – Campin, C Campin and Mr Brick therefore in the interest of consistency the same penalty should be imposed.

Penalty

After taking into account all of the above factors the Committee deemed that a fine was an appropriate penalty. Accordingly, Mr Hall was fined $3,000.

Further the Committee order the disqualification, under the provisions of the Rule 804 (8) of the NZTR, of the unnamed “Iffraaj – Ain’t No Illusion ” 3 year old gelding from Heat 12 at the trails held at the Waipa RC on 30 May 2017.

Costs

The RIU made no application for costs.

As this charge was heard on a raceday, there was no order for JCA costs.

Adrian Dooley        Noel McCutcheon

Chairman              Committee Member

Document Actions