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Request for Review D Voyce v RIU - Written Decision dated 27 September 2017 - Chair, Prof G Hall

Created on 27 September 2017

BEFORE A JUDICIAL COMMITTEE OF

THE JUDICIAL CONTROL AUTHORITY

FOR RACING

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

BETWEEN

DYLAN VOYCE, Licensed Owner Trainer

Applicant

AND RACING INTEGRITY UNIT (RIU)

Respondent

Judicial Committee: Prof G Hall, Chairman

Mr A Smith, Member

Hearing: 21 September 2017 at Addington Raceway

Present: Mr D Voyce, Applicant

Mr R Quirk, Stipendiary Steward, for the Respondent

Mr S Wallis, Registrar

Date of oral decision: 21 September 2017

WRITTEN DECISION OF JUDICIAL COMMITTEE

[1] The applicant, Mr Voyce, the trainer of KOROIBETE, has filed a Notice for Review of the penalty of a stand down for 28 days ordered by the Stipendiary Stewards on 12 September last with respect to a breach of r 55.1.b. by the dog KOROIBETE in Race 11 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 Voyce’s reason for disagreeing with the decision of the Stewards was that KOROIBETE had never failed to pursue the lure.

[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 21 September 2017. After discussing the issue with the parties, the Committee decided that Mr Quirk would present the RIU’s case first.

Respondent’s case

[5] Mr Quirk 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.

[6] Mr Quirk also referred to the online Collins dictionary definition of “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.

[7] Mr Quirk showed a video of the race in question. KOROIBETE was correctly nominated and started from Box draw 2, in race 11, The ISLINGTON TAVERN DASH, which was a Class 1 race ran over 295 metres. KOROIBETE finished 5th, 2.8 lengths from the winner, ANOTHER FAN.

[8] Following the event, the Stewards conducted an inquiry into the racing conduct of KOROIBETE. Of particular concern to Stewards were the greyhound’s manners when racing around the bend where it was observed to ease up in its stride, free of interference, when racing to the inside of GOLDSTAR BRYTON (1).

[9] As part of this investigation, Stewards directed that KOROIBETE be subjected to a post-race Veterinary examination as per r 55.2. There were no apparent findings of injury reported from the on-course Veterinarian after this examination took place.

[10] Stewards also viewed all of the available films and heard submissions from Mr Voyce and Trainer Mrs K Taylor regarding the racing conduct of KOROIBETE at this stage of the race. After taking into account these submissions, the clear Veterinary report, and the viewing of available films, the Stewards were satisfied that KOROIBETE had breached r 55.1.b. and that it had failed to pursue the lure as defined under r 1.

[11] Mr Quirk demonstrated on the films that KOROIBETE in the Stewards’ opinion had reduced its intensity and changed the action of its stride. Therefore, the RIU contended, that the greyhound had eased up while free of interference rounding the bend, in breach of r 55 1.b.

[12] Mr Quirk emphasised the following matters when showing the films:

1. The track was rated as Good, weather was Cloudy.

2. There had been some interference in the run to the bend, but not to KOROIBETE and, at the time of the easing, KOROIBETE had improved to the inside of GOLDSTAR BRYTON, had cleared that runner, and shifted up the track.

3. KOROIBETE was then seen to ease by changing its action with 3-4 “bounds” with its head clearly not focussed on the lure. There was no evidence at this stage of any contact from another runner.

4. Dogs 4 (ANOTHER FAN), 6 (READY TEDDY) and 5 (HOMEBUSH HAZEL) all made ground at this stage and passed KOROIBETE, which had been leading, on its inside. KOROIBETE then put its head down and continued to chase the lure.

5. There was a discernible change in the racing action of KOROIBETE for 3-4 strides, which was where Stewards had their concerns. Mr Quirk described these as “loping strides” where KOROIBETE was not concentrating on the lure.

6. KOROIBETE had gone from leading to 4th in the space of some 30 metres due to this easing. KOROIBETE then made ground again when it saw dogs to its inside, but received a check in the home straight when finishing off the race in good fashion.

[13] Mr Quirk emphasised that KOROIBETE was free of interference when there was a gap between it and the 1 dog. He said KOROIBETE shifted outwards on the track with its head looking outwards when the dog should have been focussed on the lure. He said the Stewards were not alleging there was any marring. The dog’s head and body were both angled outwards. KOROIBETE had eased. The dog’s head was up for 3 or 4 strides. Although there was tightening, there was no contact at this time or earlier which might have accounted for the change in stride.

[14] Mr Quirk concluded his submission by stating the RIU were firmly of the belief that KOROIBETE had breached r 55.1.b by virtue of its easing at this stage of the race. Thus, the RIU believed the decision on the day to suspend KOROIBETE was the correct one and therefore that the review should be dismissed.

Applicant’s case

[15] Mr Voyce stated the video showed that KOROIBETE had made ground to the inside of the 1 dog on entering the bend when a gap had presented itself. He said that KOROIBETE had raced wide on the bend, as dogs do.

[16] Mr Voyce believed the 1 dog, GOLDSTAR BRYTON, was pushing down and was trying to get to the rail. KOROIBETE was an inexperienced dog and wanted out.

[17] The issue was thus KOROIBETE was wanting out and the 1 dog was wanting in. He did not believe KOROIBETE had eased. He believed the dog had always looked at the lure. KOROIBETE had found itself in an awkward situation. It was a young dog and had had a “brain explosion” and had wandered off more than it should.

[18] Mr Voyce stated that the Stewards had never previously had an issue with KOROIBETE. Mr Quirk confirmed this.

[19] Mr Voyce accepted there was no clear evidence that KOROIBETE had made contact with another dog due to tightening but he emphasised he believed the 1 dog had placed pressure on KOROIBETE.

Decision

[20] We believe there is evidence that KOROIBETE has voluntarily eased and that the dog has failed to pursue. This is shortly after KOROIBETE has raced through the gap to the inside of the 1 dog, GOLDSTAR BRYTON, after that dog had moved away from the rail. Both the head and the body of KOROIBETE are angled outwards away from the lure and there is a clearly discernible change in the dog’s running action. Mr Quirk’s description of the dog “loping” for 3 or 4 strides is a fair summation.

[21] We accept there was general tightening of runners and that KOROIBETE is an inexperienced dog, but there is no video evidence that KOROIBETE has come into contact with any other dog either immediately before or at the time of its change of stride, for the 3 or 4 strides that are at issue.

[22] There was, as Mr Quirk has alleged, a change in the intensity of KOROIBETE’s stride and the dog was passed by 3 dogs at this time. Once these dogs were past, KOROIBETE changed its running action, concentrated on the lure once more, and ran on satisfactorily until receiving a check.

[23] We are satisfied that for 3 or 4 strides KOROIBETE has run wider on the track and, more significantly, has eased at this time and consequently has failed to pursue the lure.

[24] The review is not successful.

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

Dated at Dunedin this 27th day of September 2017.

Geoff Hall, Chairman

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