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Non Raceday Inquiry RIU v T R Vince - Decision on a Request for a Ruling dated 11 December 2020 - Chair, Mr G Jones

Created on 14 December 2020




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

BETWEEN Racing Integrity Unit (RIU)


AND Mr Timothy Robin Vince (Licensed Trainer)


Information: A8487

Judicial Committee: Mr G Jones (Chairman), Mr A Godsalve (Member)

Venue: Alexandra Park, Auckland

Present: Matter dealt with ‘on the papers’ at venue

Date of Decision: 11 December 2020


The request

[1] This is a Request for a Ruling filed by the RIU pursuant to R 1009(3) seeking:

a) the disqualification of HAPPY PLACE from its first placing in Race 1 the “Thursday $20 Steak Night at The Alex Mobile Pace 4yo + R55 Junior Drivers 2200 metres” at the Auckland Trotting Club meeting at Alexandra Park on 13 November 2020; and

b) the forfeiture of any stakemoney paid out as a result of finishing in first place in the said race.

Information Number A8487 provides:

Pursuant to Rule 1106(1)(c) that in accordance with Rule 1004D(1) of the New Zealand Rules of Harness Racing, the horse “HAPPY PLACE”, be disqualified from Race 1, the ‘Thursday $20 Steak Night At The Alex Mobile Pace 4YO + R55 Junior Drivers 2200 metres’ held by the Auckland Trotting Club at Alexandra Park on Friday the 13th November 2020, following the said horse having been taken to a racecourse for the purpose of engaging in a race and being found to have administered to it, or ingested by it, a prohibited substance, namely Phenylbutazone and Oxyphenbutazone

Determination on the papers

[2] Pursuant to r 21.1 of the Fifth Schedule – of the Rules of Practice and Procedure for the Judicial Committees, with the consent of the Informant (Mr Westerlund) and Respondent (Mr Vince), this matter is dealt with ‘on the papers’ and therefore without the need for an oral hearing.

The relevant rules

[3] Rule 1004D provides:

(1) Any horse taken to a racecourse for the purpose of engaging in a race which is found to have administered to it or ingested by it a prohibited substance (which includes out of competition prohibited substances) must be disqualified from that race.

(2) The mandatory disqualification under sub-rule (1) applies regardless of the circumstances in which the substance came to be present in or on the horse.

(5) The owner or trainer of the horse subject to a positive result may notify in writing the General Manager of the Racing Integrity Unit that they intend to challenge the analysis and the basis for that challenge. The notification must be within 10 working days of being advised of the results of the analysis, or the result of the reserve sample (if applicable). The Judicial Committee shall then determine whether the horse is to be disqualified after hearing from the parties.

(6) Disqualification and changes of placing under this rule, will take effect from the immediate Monday following the judicial decision or such other time as the Judicial Committee determines.

[4] Rule 1106(1)(c) provides that an information may (c) request a ruling.

[5] Rule 1109(3) provides that other than during a race meeting, an information requesting a ruling may only be filed by a Stipendiary Steward or Racecourse Inspector.

Effect of Disqualification

The effect of the disqualification from a race is contained within R1308(1).

R1308 provides that:

(1) Where a horse is disqualified from a race its handicap shall be adjusted by deducting the penalty incurred for the race in which it was disqualified.

(2) No horse shall be eligible to start in any race after its disqualification when as the result of the reverting of its handicap it would no longer be eligible to enter that race.

R1308A provides that:

(1) Where a horse is disqualified from a race any stake money available to all other starters shall be paid in respect of such horse.

(2) Sub-rule (1) does not apply when the horse is disqualified in connection with a breach of these rules relating to prohibited substances.

Summary of Facts

[6] On Friday 13 November 2020 HAPPY PLACE was correctly entered and presented to race by Licensed Mr Vince in Race 1, the Thursday $20 Steak Night at The Alex Mobile Pace 4yo + R55 Junior Drivers 2200 metres, at the Auckland Trotting Club meeting held at Alexandra Park.

[7] HAPPY PLACE is co-owned by Mr Vince and Ms S WIgg and is trained by Mr Vince.

[8] HAPPY PLACE finished first of the seven runners, winning a stake of $6,600. The official results for the race were:


2nd - JEMMA




[9] HAPPY PLACE underwent a random post-race urine swab. Mr Vince does not contest the swabbing process.

[10] All swab samples from the meeting were couriered to the New Zealand Racing Laboratory and were analysed for the presence of substances prohibited under the Rules of New Zealand Harness Racing.

[11] On the 26th November 2020 the Official Racing Analyst reported in writing that the sample from HAPPY PLACE had tested positive to ‘Phenylbutazone’ and ‘Oxyphenbutazone’.

[12] Phenylbutazone, commonly known as ‘bute’, is a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug commonly used to treat short term pain and fever in horses. Oxyphenbutazone is a metabolite of Phenylbutazone.

[13] Phenylbutazone is a Prohibited Substance within the meaning of the Rules and its presence in a raceday sample is, prima facie, a breach of the Rules.

[14] On Friday 27 November 2020 Mr Vince was spoken to at his stables in Kumeu. He was shocked to learn of the positive result and was unable to assist in determining how the Phenylbutazone had got into the horses’ system. He further stated that one of his horses was prescribed by the local Vet (Vets Associates) the product ‘Phenylbutazone’. The product is administered orally with a syringe. In the absence of any evidence the contrary, it is highly likely cross contamination has occurred.

[15] HAPPY PLACE is not being treated for any ailments or given Phenylbutazone.

[16] A search of the stables located a half empty container labelled- “Phenylbutazone 500 grams - withholding times 8 days”.

[17] Dr Andrew Grierson the Chief Veterinarian for HRNZ, forwarded a formal report, confirming that Phenylbutazone and Oxyphenbutazone are classed as prohibited substances under the Rules of HRNZ.

[18] A written statement was obtained from Mr Vince consenting to the horse HAPPY PLACE to be disqualified from the said race on the 13 November 2020.

Ruling – Decision

[19] The request is upheld.

[20] Pursuant to r1004D (6) HAPPY PLACE is disqualified from 1st place in race 1 at Alexandra Park on 13 November 2020.

[21] The disqualification is effective as of 13 December 2020.

The new placings are:

1st - JEMMA




Placing and stakemoney are to be adjusted in accordance with out ruling.

G R Jones


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