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Non Raceday Inquiry RIU v M Smolenski - Penalty Decision dated 20 October 2017 - Chair, Mr S Ching

Created on 24 October 2017



New Zealand Rules of Harness Racing

IN THE MATTER of Information No. A09866


Stipendiary Steward for the Racing Integrity Unit


AND MR M SMOLENSKI, Licensed Trainer


Date of Hearing: 20 October 2017

Venue: Addington Raceway

Judicial Committee: S Ching (Chair)

R McKenzie, (Committee Member)

Present: Mr N Ydgren, Chief Stipendiary Steward, for the Informant

Mr P Lamb, Registrar

Date of Decision: 20 October 2017


The Charge

[1] Information No. A09866 alleges that:

On Sunday, 15 October 2017, at a race meeting conducted by the Methven Trotting Club, Mr Smolenski failed to scratch LACHIE MCCOOL (Race 4) and CORAL BEACH (Race 6) by the required time. As a result, DEVILICIOUS was denied a start in Race 4.

The Rules

[2] Rule 834 (1) provides as follows:

Any person intending to scratch a horse from a race after it has been deemed to have accepted therefore, shall give notice to the Secretary of the Club to that effect before the official scratching time which shall also be the official right of re-entry time for any race meeting.

The Plea

[3] The information was served on Mr Smolenski on 17 October 2017.

[4] Mr Smolenski had endorsed the information that the breach was admitted. Mr Smolenski had also endorsed the information that he did not wish to be present at the hearing.

Informant’s Summary of Facts

[5] Mr Ydgren produced documentation dated 17 October 2017, from the General Manager of the RIU, Mr M Godber, authorising Mr Ydgren under Rule 903(2)(d), to lodge the information against Mr Smolenski.

[6] Mr Ydgren stated that Mr Renault had made enquiries into the circumstances of the late scratchings. He said that Mr Smolenski had a veterinary surgeon attend to CORAL BEACH in the previous week where he took blood and took that blood away for analysis. Mr Smolenski had told Mr Renault that the results of the blood test were sent to Mr Smolenski at 6.15pm on Saturday 14 October just over an hour after right of re-entry time. Mr Ydgren stated that this was found to be incorrect and that the Stewards had received information that the blood test had been sent to Mr Smolenski on the Friday night at 7.15pm which he said was well outside the re-entry time. He said that Mr Smolenski had scratched CORAL BEACH at 9.35 am on race morning well outside the 5pm official scratching time.

[7] Mr Ydgren stated that LOCHIE MCCOOL was treated with a cortisone injection leading up to the race and due to the withholding period required, the horse became ineligible on the advice of Mr Smolenski’s veterinary surgeon, a different vet from the one that treated CORAL BEACH. This information was conveyed to Mr Smolenski on Friday or Saturday with Mr Smolenski forgetting to scratch that horse until he scratched both horses late at 9.35am on Sunday, race morning.

[8] Mr Ydgren stated that the late scratching of CORAL BEACH did not affect a runner gaining a run in the race but the scratching of LOCHIE MCCOOL did. He said DEVILICIOUS was denied a start by LOCHIE MCCOOL through Mr Smolenski’s negligence and that is the reason the Stewards have preferred a charge against Mr Smolenski.


[9] As Mr Smolenski had admitted the beach the charge was found proved.

Submissions of Informant on Penalty

[10] Mr Ydgren stated that the JCA Penalty Guide provides for a mid-range breach of this rule, a starting point of a $400 fine. He said that a similar case where a runner was denied a start due to a trainer’s negligence, by not scratching on time, was RIU v P Bagrie at Banks Peninsula on 12 April 2015, where a fine of $350 was imposed. Mr Ydgren submitted that taking all factors into consideration and for the sake of consistency a fine of $350 be considered as penalty in this case.

Reasons for Penalty

[11] The JCA Penalty Guide provides a starting point for a mid-range breach of this rule, a fine of $400. We determined that this breach was mid-level and therefore an uplift in starting point was not warranted. There were no aggravating factors to warrant an uplift in penalty only mitigation to consider. The only mitigating factor was Mr Smolenski’s admission of the breach which warranted a discount which we set at $50. We therefore determined that a fine of $350 was an appropriate penalty in this case and was consistent with the Bagrie penalty.


[12] Mr Smolenski is fined the sum of $350.

S Ching


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