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NZGRA Request for Review A M Cleaver v RIU - Decision dated 4 October 2018 - Chair, Mr P Williams

Created on 05 October 2018



AND IN THE MATTER of the Rules of New Zealand Greyhound Racing Authority (Incorporated)





Judicial Committee: Mr Paul Williams (Chairman), Mr Adrian Dooley (Committee Member)

Appearing: Ms Philippa Kinsey, Stipendiary Steward, RIU, as the Informant

Mr Alan Cleaver, Licensed Trainer, as the Respondent

Venue: Manukau Greyhound Stadium

Date of Hearing: Tuesday 2 October 2018

Date of Decision: Tuesday 2 October 2018


1] On 13 September 2018 the Auckland Greyhound Racing Club held a race meeting at the Manukau Raceway. The Chairman of Stewards at the meeting was Ms Philippa Kinsey.

2] “Tuipuloto” is a greyhound trained by Licensed Public Trainer Mr Alan Cleaver of Te Kauwhata. The greyhound competed in Race 2, the “Trophies Plus Sprint”, for C1 greyhounds over 318 metres, and was stood down for 12 months and required to complete a satisfactory trial for failing to pursue the lure. This is an alleged breach of Rule 55.1.b of the GRNZ Rules of Racing.

3] Mr Cleaver’s grounds for review is that he disagrees with both that finding and the decision to stand down “Tuipuloto” for a period of 12 months and complete a satisfactory trial.

4] Rule 55.1 states: - “Where a Greyhound:

(a) Mars the running of any other Greyhound during a Race; or

(b) Fails to pursue the lure in a race;

the Stewards may impose the following periods of suspension:

(e) in the case of a third offence, 12 months and until the completion of a satisfactory trial”.

5] This was the third occasion “Tuipuloto had been stood down for a breach of Rule 55.1 – the other breaches occurring on 3 December 2017 and 11 March 2018 - both for marring. On neither of these two occasions was the period of suspension imposed on the day by the Stipendiary Stewards disputed by Mr Cleaver.

6] On the day in question (13 September 2018) “Tuipuloto” was referred to the on-course veterinarian post-race and cleared of any injury. Ms Kinsey and Assistant Stipendiary Steward Mr Van Kam also spoke with Mr Cleaver and outlined their views on the way “Tuipuloto” had raced and at the conclusion of that discussion Ms Kinsey charged the greyhound with failing to pursue the lure.

7] “Tuipuloto” has had 10 starts (including the race on 13 September 2018) for 2 wins, 2 seconds and 2 thirds.

8] After a discussion at the beginning of the hearing it was agreed Ms Kinsey would present the case for the RIU first.


9] Ms Kinsey played the side-on film of the full race at both normal speed and in slow motion adding it was the only available film as the head-on film had been wiped before the day of the hearing. She said there were no issues with the way “Tuipuloto” raced from the time it jumped from the boxes to just prior to entering the home straight. She said whilst she believed there was some slight inward movement by the greyhound on the point of turn (described in the Stewards Report on the day as “Angled in on the final bend) this was not the focus of the Stewards’ concern that led to the imposition of the 12 months stand down period.

10] Ms Kinsey said once ‘Tuipuloto was balanced at the top of the straight the film showed that its head was turned inwards for three strides in the final 50m of the race. She showed the film of the run to the line frame by frame and highlighted the 3 occasions when the greyhound’s head was angled inwards towards the greyhound on its inside – “Thrilling Ivy” wearing rug number 4. She said, “Thrilling Ivy” did not change its line over the final stages of the Race and there was no contact between it and “Tuipuloto”.

11] Ms Kinsey said “Tuipuloto” was racing behind “Thrilling Ivy” as the greyhounds entered the home straight but as “Tuipuloto” loomed up to go by he was distracted and lost momentum. She said that whilst “Tuipuloto” did win the race the margin was only a neck because of this loss of momentum.

12] Ms Kinsey confirmed “Tuipuloto” was checked by the vet after the race with Mr Cleaver present and no injuries were detected. She added that in terms of Rule 55.4 Mr Cleaver had not had a follow up vet check of “Tuipuloto” carried out within 72 hours after the Race.

13] After the Race Ms Kinsey said Mr Cleaver was shown the films with the head on and the side on in sync which, in her view conclusively demonstrated “Tuipuloto” turning its head. She said Mr Cleaver only questioned the severity of the punishment – why the greyhound would receive a 12-months stand down despite it having won the race.

14] Ms Kinsey showed films of a selection of “Tuipuloto’s” previous races. It is not intended to comment on any of them as the only issue before the Committee today is to determine whether “Tuipuloto” failed to purse on 13 September 2018.

15] To questions from the Committee Ms Kinsey said there were no issues with the track on the day of the races, the time recorded by “Tuipuloto” was similar to times in his previous races, that the greyhound had been racing in blinkers since mid-August 2017 and this was its third start wearing them. She also said that as per her normal practice she immediately reviewed the Race after it had finished to ensure the lure was the correct distance in front of the leading greyhound throughout and she confirmed that it was.


16] Mr Cleaver commenced by playing the film of the whole race at normal speed and then from the home bend to the finish several times in slow motion and frame by frame.

17] He said the film showed that as “Tuipuloto” and “Thrilling Ivy” on its inside came around the bend “Thrilling Ivy” moved out a fraction. He then added that, in the run to the finish line, “Thrilling Ivy” had crabbed outwards for one stride and upset the momentum of “Tuipuloto”. He maintained when that happened the head of “Tuipuloto” was still facing the lure and therefore the greyhound was not failing to pursue.

18] Mr Cleaver said that since the greyhound’s last stand down it had been neutered, had completed a solo trial and several other trials against his own dogs and also now raced in blinkers. He described the track on the day as slow as the times “were not electric”. He said “Tuipuloto” won the race in the fastest time of the day for a Class 1 race. He then expanded at length on this latter point in that, having won the race, the betting public had not been disadvantaged. He also said that with the use of modern technology and the ability to review a greyhound’s actions frame by frame – more greyhounds were being stood down which was not good for the industry. He added that on the day of the race meeting in question when other trainers became aware that “Tuipuloto” had been stood down for failing to pursue all had expressed their surprise at the decision. He said the film did not show where the lure was in relation to the leading greyhounds and how could it therefore be established that the greyhound was not facing the lure all the way down the home straight.

19] The Committee asked Ms Kinsey to freeze the film at each of the three points where she was alleging ‘Tuipuloto” turned its head inwards and then asked Mr Cleaver to comment on each frame. Not surprisingly he did not agree with her view, particularly commenting on the last of the three which he said was blurred and far from clear.

20] Mr Cleaver conceded he was aware of the Rule relating to, and definition of, failing to pursue and re-iterated his view expressed after the race to Ms Kinsey that the 12 months stand down for a third breach of marring and/or failing to purse was too severe and for that reason the Committee had to be sure that the stand down imposed was justified.


21] Ms Kinsey said: -

The films demonstrate “Tuipuloto” turning his head inwards towards another runner which is defined under the rules as Failing to Pursue. As defined in the definitions of the rules of racing state that ‘Failing to Pursue means the action of a greyhound voluntarily turning the head without making muzzle contact with another greyhound, or voluntarily easing up, or stopping during a race while free of interference’.

I also want to refer to 3 points raised in the interpretation of the Failing to Pursue guidelines.

*Failing to Pursue the lure is when a greyhound fails to pursue the lure with due commitment throughout the entirety of the race.

*Greyhounds which mar or do not chase the lure with due commitment throughout effectively negate the only “protection” mechanism the wagering public has over their investment.

*When viewing race replay footage in relation to a non-pursuit charge it is essential that there is no consideration afforded to the ultimate finishing position of a greyhound in a race. This of course conflicts with what can transpire or is the basis for equine racing inquiries, but in reality, the fact that a greyhound did or did not cost itself the opportunity of filling a better placing by not pursuing the lure is again completely irrelevant.

“Tuipuloto” has been distracted by another runner and voluntarily turned his head inwards which means he has breached the rules. If the Stewards had any doubt that this runner had turned its head but were not happy with the performance, we would have elected to stand the dog down for a satisfactory trial but in this case the footage was conclusive and Tuipuloto subsequently stood down accordingly. These are not decisions we make lightly.

In my opinion the betting public cannot have confidence wagering on this runner due to his racing tendencies as he has demonstrated in 5 of his 10 race day appearances. I also believe the betting public cannot bet with confidence on a race in which Tuipuloto is involved in as he voluntarily interferes with the chances of the other runners competing. This proves a safety risk to the other greyhounds involved and affects the betting public and the other trainers entering their greyhounds to compete in these events.

Stewards are satisfied that “Tuipuloto” did not chase the lure with due commitment throughout the entirety of the event and has breached the Rules of racing”


22] Mr Cleaver reiterated much of what he said when presenting his case earlier. He did say that “it might have looked like “Tuipuloto” turned its head a little bit” but he believed it had chased all the way. He again said he felt the penalty of a 12 month stand down for a third breach of the Rule was too harsh and inferred that if the penalty had only been for 6 months he might have reconsidered seeking a review of penalty imposed on 13 September 2018.


23] We have studied the only available film of the race from the side-on camera positioned above the finish line at length in both real time and frame by frame and considered the submissions of both parties.

24] There is no concern with “Tuipuloto’s” racing performance until it entered the home straight. At the top of the straight it was vying for the lead with the greyhound on its inside (“Thrilling Ivy”). The Committee believes that if there was any outwards movement by “Thrilling Ivy” in the home straight, as stated by Mr Cleaver but not accepted by Ms Kinsey, it is insignificant and had no bearing on the “behaviour” of “Tuipuloto”.

25] The Committee is satisfied that on balancing up for the run to the finish line “Tuipuloto” voluntarily turned its head inwards towards “Thrilling Ivy” on two separate occasions. The film is clear in showing that the head of “Tuipuloto” is not in line with the rest of its body on each occasion, a point that is emphasised when watching the actions of the other greyhounds in the race which were behind “Tuipuloto”. In relation to the third time alleged by Ms Kinsey we are not totally convinced it happened as the frame of that incident is not that clear.

26] Racing greyhounds are essentially bred for one purpose only and that is to chase or pursue a lure. It is in their physical and mental make-up to do this and they are programmed to do so from an early stage of their lives. Greyhounds which fail to pursue the lure with due commitment throughout the entirety of a race effectively negate the only protection mechanism the wagering public has over their investment.

27] Greyhound racing carries with it the weight of public money and the Stipendiary Stewards have to be seen to be appropriately protecting this. They are charged with the responsibility of enhancing public confidence and integrity within greyhound racing by imposing the right penalties/stand downs on greyhounds when required to do so. The Committee believes Ms Kinsey was correct to form the opinion that “Tuipuloto” had failed to pursue the lure by turning his head inwards - in her view on three occasions - while free of interference. Put simply, the greyhound was not chasing the lure at those times in the race.

28] We find that “Tuipuloto” has voluntarily turned his head while free of interference on at least two occasions and thus has failed to pursue the lure as is required by Rule 55.1.b.

29] The review by Mr Cleaver is unsuccessful and the raceday stand down imposed under Rule 55.1(b and e) is confirmed.

30] An oral decision as per paragraph 29 above was advised to Mr Cleaver and Ms Kinsey on the day of the hearing.

Dated at Wellington this 4th day of October 2018.

Paul Williams


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