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14 May 2021
Nz-Metro-Tc - R10

NZ Metro TC 14 May 2021 - R 10 (request for a ruling) - Chair, Mr R McKenzie

Created on 17 May 2021

RMcKenzie (chair)
Stipendiary Steward(s):
N M Ydgren, Chief Stipendiary Steward
Mr R D Close, Licensed Open Driver, Mrs J J A Young-Grant, Mr R Donnelly, Starter
Information Number:

Following the running of Race 10, Spectators Now Open Sundays! Handicap Trot, an Information requesting a Ruling was filed by Chief Stipendiary Steward, Mr N M Ydgren, “as to whether the race should be declared null and void as a number of runners were affected by the barrier [strand] not clearing the track”.

Present at the hearing were Drivers Mr R D Close (Driver of SHOW ME THE GRAY) and Mrs J J A Young-Grant (Driver of SUNDONS FLYER) and Starter, Mr R Donnelly.

Rule 1104 provides as follows:

(1) Except as provided in rule 1102 (1) a race day Judicial Committee shall from one hour prior to the advertised starting time of the first race until thirty minutes after the last race hear, adjudicate on, and determine any matter brought before it which arise during and relate to that day of racing including:

(f) declaring a race null and void and if so whether the race should be run again;

(k) all matters submitted to it by a Stipendiary Steward . . . 

Submission For Decision:

Mr Ydgren said that, shortly after the start of the Race, a 2600 metres standing start trot, a number of Drivers called to Clerk of the Course, Mr D Ferriman, that there had been a false start. Mr Ydgren said that he called the Starter, Mr Donnelly, to ask and Mr Donnelly replied that there had not been a false start.

After the race Drivers Messrs Dunn, Close and Orange and Mrs Young-Grant reported to Stewards that their runners had been denied a fair start and should be late scratched.

Mr Ydgren then showed to the hearing a video replay of the start of the race. He pointed out the barrier strand for the front row of runners, upon release, strike the legs of Mr Close’s runner, SHOW ME THE GRAY, which had drawn barrier position 5. The barrier strand never cleared the inside horses, Mr Ydgren said and fell in front of SUNDONS FLYER (J J A Young-Grant) and CHIEF OF STAFF (J R Dunn), which had drawn barrier positions 3 and 4 respectively. On the video replay Messrs Close and Dunn could be seen looking back at the Starter. Those Drivers had seen the flashing light, indicating a false start, flash once.

At the same time, Mr Orange, driving OUTAMYWAY, drawn behind those other three runners, had seen the flashing light and had ceased “driving competitively”, believing it to be a false start. Mr Orange eased his runner and it was not until 200 metres later that he realised that the Clerk of the Course was not stopping the race. He then began driving competitively but, by that time, he had lost ground and the opportunity to be in a more favourable position.

Mr Ydgren showed on the video replay Mr Morrison, driving TIME IN A BOTTLE which had begun well and was clear in the lead after 200 metres, look behind then ease his runner briefly, believing there had been a false start, before seeing the following runners coming and realising the race was on.

Mr Ydgren said that only four Drivers had claimed to have been denied a fair start. He believed that other runners had not been affected and there were only the four runners involved.

Mr Donnelly was asked to explain the reason for the false start light being activated. He explained that he had reached for the button but decided to let the race continue. He was not aware that more than one runner had been affected, he said. He thought that could be redressed by having that one runner declared a late scratching. He said that he had heard Mrs Young-Grant calling out but, he believed, the race was too far gone for the field to be called back.

Mr Close said that his runner, once it cleared the barrier strand, broke and continued in a gallop. He believed there had been a false start. He had seen a number of horses pulling up and had looked around but did not see the Clerk of the Course.

Mr Ydgren said that Stewards were looking at declaring the four horses affected non-runners/late scratchings. The Committee had a discretion to declare the race null and void. He pointed out that the eventual winner, TIME IN A BOTTLE, had also been affected but had won the race.

Reasons For Decision:

The Information filed by the Stewards requests a Ruling from this Committee as to whether the race should be declared null and void. This is clearly within the power of the Committee to do - see Rule 1104 (1) (f) above. However, that is a course of action not to be taken lightly and only when there is no other.

Having heard the submissions of the Stewards and the evidence of Mr Close, and having carefully viewed the available video replays, the Committee finds that the barrier strand on the front row did not clear the front row of runners but struck the legs of SHOW ME THE GRAY which immediately broke and continued in a gallop, losing all chance The two runners on its immediate inside, namely, CHIEF OF STAFF and SUNDONS FLYER both of which also broke, were affected and, we are satisfied, were both denied a fair start.

We believe that the other runner, OUTAMYWAY, which had started from 10 metres behind those three runners, was also affected by the melee and was held up to a significant degree when its Driver, Mr Orange, had to take hold of it for some distance, as a result of which it lost considerable ground and settled at the rear of the field. The Committee is satisfied that OUTAMYWAY was also denied a fair start.

The Committee is satisfied that the four runners, SHOW ME THE GRAY, CHIEF OF STAFF, SUNDONS FLYER and OUTAMYWAY, were all denied fair starts which materially prejudiced their chances, and we rule that they all be scratched from the race. The Committee is further satisfied that no other runner was denied a fair start and, accordingly, it was not necessary for it to declare the race null and void, as the remaining runners were able to compete on a “level playing field” and each had its chance, we believe, unaffected by the incident that has led to the late scratchings of the four horses mentioned.


The Ruling of the Committee is that the following runners are declared to be late scratchings from the race:

Horse No.   3  SUNDONS FLYER

Horse No.   4  CHIEF OF STAFF

Horse No.   5  SHOW ME THE GRAY

Horse No. 13  OUTAMYWAY

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