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NZGRA Request for Review S Evans v RIU - Written Decision dated 16 August 2017

Created on 16 August 2017




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


STEVE EVANS, Licensed Trainer




Judicial Committee: Prof G Hall, Chairman

Mr S Ching, Member

Hearing: 14 August 2017 at Addington Raceway

Present: Mr S Evans, Applicant

Mr S Wallis, Stipendiary Steward, for the Respondent

Registrar: Mr R Quirk

Date of oral decision: 14 August 2017


[1] The applicant, Mr Evans, the trainer of GOLDSTAR LINKIN, has filed a Notice for Review of the penalty of a stand down for 28 days ordered by the Stipendiary Stewards on 11 August last with respect to a breach of r 55.1.b. by the dog GOLDSTAR LINKIN in Race 7 at the meeting of the Christchurch Greyhound Racing Club at Addington.

[2] The review of the decision of the Stipendiary Stewards is in accordance with rr 55.11 and 62.20. Mr Evans’ reason for disagreeing with the decision of the Stewards was that GOLDSTAR LINKIN had never failed to pursue.

[3] Rule 55.1 provides:

Where a Greyhound:

b. Fails to pursue the Lure in a Race;

the Stewards may impose the following periods of suspension:

(a) in the case of a first offence, twenty-eight (28) days and until the completion of a Satisfactory Trial.

[4] The matter was heard at Addington Raceway on 14 August 2017. After discussing the issue with the parties, this Committee decided that Mr Wallis would present the RIU’s case first.

Respondent’s case

[5] Mr Wallis stated that GOLDSTAR LINKIN was correctly nominated and started from Box draw 7, in race 7, The ISLINGTON TAVERN SPRINT at the meeting of the Christchurch Greyhound Racing Club at Addington on 11 August. This was a Class 2 race run over 295 metres. The race was won in a time of 17.52, which was a personal best for the dog by .08 of a second but the slowest of all 4 c2 sprint races of the day by .26 of a second. (The fastest race was won in 17.26.)

[6] At the conclusion of the race, Stewards conducted an inquiry into the racing conduct of GOLDSTAR LINKIN. Of particular concern to Stewards were the greyhound’s manners when racing round the bend where it was observed to ease up in its stride, free of interference when racing to the outside of HOMEBUSH KELSO (10).

[7] As part of this investigation Stewards directed that GOLDSTAR LINKIN be subjected to a post-race veterinary examination pursuant to r 55.2. There were no apparent findings reported from the on-course Veterinarian after this examination took place.

[8] Stewards viewed all of the available films and heard submissions from Mr Evans regarding the racing conduct of GOLDSTAR LINKIN. After taking into account Mr Evan’s submissions, the veterinary report and the films, Mr Wallis stated the he and the other Stipendiary Steward officiating on the day, Mr Renault, were satisfied that GOLDSTAR LINKIN had breached r 55.1.b in that it had failed to pursue the lure.

[9] Mr Wallis identified the definition of “fails to pursue the lure” as set out in cl 1 of the Rules:

“FAILS TO PURSUE THE LURE” means the action of a Greyhound voluntarily turning the head without making contact with another Greyhound, or voluntarily easing up, or stopping during a Race while free of interference.

[10] Mr Wallis also referred to the Online Collins dictionary which defines EASING UP as:

1. If something eases up - it is reduced in degree, speed, or intensity.

2. If you ease up - you start to make less effort.

[11] Mr Wallis showed the videos of the race in question. GOLDSTAR LINKIN was the number 7 dog and won the race, which was over the sprint distance of 295 metres. The winning margin was a nose and the time was 17.52. The track was rated as good, and the weather was fine.

[12] Mr Wallis demonstrated to this Committee on the films the point in the race where, in the Stipendiary Steward’s opinion, GOLDSTAR LINKIN had reduced the intensity in its stride and therefore had eased up, while free of interference.

[13] This point in the race was when GOLDSTAR LINKIN was rounding the bend. GOLDSTAR LINKIN had not shifted up the track. In his opinion, HOMEBUSH KELSO had not made ground, its action did not change, and it was the action of GOLDSTAR LINKIN, which did.

[14] Mr Wallis demonstrated on the side-on and back straight films that GOLDSTAR LINKIN and HOMEBUSH KELSO were head to head as they entered the bend and racing through the bend he believed GOLDSTAR LINKIN was as much as a length in front of HOMEBUSH KELSO. GOLDSTAR LINKIN then eased until they were again head to head exiting the bend, before GOLDSTAR LINKIN went on to win the race narrowly.

[15] Mr Wallis stated there was a discernible change in the racing action of GOLDSTAR LINKIN for a noticeable period and this was why the Stewards had their concerns. When questioned by this Committee, Mr Wallis stated he believed the dog had eased for 4 to 5 strides. He stated the bend was cambered and the dog did not appear to be showing any difficulty in handling it. He reiterated the track was rated as good.

[16] The bend summary on the day for GOLDSTAR LINKIN read 2-2-1. Mr Wallis said this re-inforced the fact that the greyhound had eased. At the first bend point HOMEBUSH KELSO was only just in front of GOLDSTAR LINKIN and, at the point the Stewards believed the easing commenced, the greyhound was a clear length in front of HOMEBUSH KELSO. This distance then declined to the extent that HOMEBUSH KELSO was back in front of GOLDSTAR LINKIN at the second bend point.

[17] Mr Wallis produced a written summary of the dog’s racing record. This evidenced that GOLDSTAR LINKIN had had 19 race day starts as at 14 August 2017: 12 starts at Addington over 295 metres for 4 wins, with the fastest time being 17.52 recorded on the day in question. The dog had had 2 starts over 520 metres for no wins, and 5 starts at Dunedin over 310 metres for one win in a time of 18.20.

[18] GOLDSTAR LINKIN had been stood down on race day for failing to pursue the lure previously on 2 occasions: on the 7 April 2017, which was the greyhound’s 5th start. GOLDSTAR LINKIN then went on to have 10 clear runs and on 4 July 2017 this endorsement was cancelled. On 21 July 2017, which was the dog’s 12th start since its cancelled endorsement, GOLDSTAR LINKIN was again charged with failing to pursue. Mr Evans successfully challenged this by way of a review. GOLDSTAR LINKIN had had 2 starts since that time, on 3 August and the day in question, 11 August.

[19] Mr Wallis concluded his submission by stating it was the firm belief of the Stewards that GOLDSTAR LINKIN had breached r 55.1.b. It was a low level breach as the greyhound had gone on and won the race, however this was not a mitigating factor under the Rules when assessing whether a breach of this rule had occurred.

[20] Mr Wallis submitted the decision on the day to suspend GOLDSTAR LINKIN was the correct one and therefore the review should be dismissed.

[21] Mr Evans questioned whether GOLDSTAR LINKIN was ever one length clear of HOMEBUSH KELSO. He stated the video angle that Mr Wallis had principally relied upon was misleading. He believed it was ½ a length at best. He said GOLDSTAR LINKIN was clearly a lot wider on the track, perhaps 3 or 4 wide, than the dog running to its inside. HOMEBUSH KELSO was a well-performed experienced dog that had railed well.

[22] Mr Evans said GOLDSTAR LINKIN had never changed stride although he later stated that the dog was being “singled out” by the Stipendiary Stewards and had perhaps put in “one bad stride”. He said the dog had become awkwardly placed on the corner when HOMEBUSH KELSO, which was a very fast open class dog, was railing inside of him.

[23] Mr Evans reiterated this was just one bad stride. The dog had won and those persons that had invested on the dog were not affected.

[24] Mr Evans concluded by saying the dog had not eased and thus had not failed to pursue. GOLDSTAR LINKIN had struggled around the corner and he did not know why. The dog did not appear to have changed stride this time, as it had when the last review had been successful.


[25] We viewed all 4 available angles and found the trackside and side-on films to be the most helpful. We believe there is a clear slowing in momentum by GOLDSTAR LINKIN for 2 perhaps 3 strides as the dog traverses the bend. There is a discernible change in the dog’s running action.

[26] The distance that GOLDSTAR LINKIN loses is between ½ a length to a length. We hesitate to be more precise because while it looks to be a length, we accept the camera angle may be a little deceptive.

[27] The easing or shortening of GOLDSTAR LINKIN’s stride can be seen when viewing both the normal and slow speed films. There is no evidence the dog has changed stride on the bend or that the track itself has been an issue for the dog.

[28] We are of the view that GOLDSTAR LINKIN has voluntarily eased for at least 2 strides and in so doing has failed to pursue the lure. It is a low end breach of r 55.1.b, but a breach nevertheless.

[29] The review is unsuccessful.

[30] There was no application for costs and no award is made.

Dated at Wellington this 16th day of August 2017.

Geoff Hall, Chairman

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