Auckland RC 1 January 2022 – R3 – Protest – PACIFIC DRAGON

ID: RIB6701

Tony Pike - Trainer, Roydon Bergerson - Trainer

Mr J Oatham - Chief Stipendiary Steward

Mr G Jones and Mr B Mainwaring

Persons Present:
Mr Oatham, Mr B Jones, Mr R Bergerson (Trainer of WOLVERINE), Ms D Johnson (Rider of Wolverine), Mr T Pike (Trainer of PACIFIC DRAGON), Mr M McNab (Rider of PACIFIC DRAGON)

Information Number:

Decision Type:

642(1) - Riding/driving infringement - Protest Rule


Second (WOLVERINE) versus first (PACIFIC DRAGON)

Animal Name:


Race Date:

Race Club:
Auckland Thoroughbred Racing

Race Location:
Ellerslie Racecourse - 100 Ascot Ave, Ellerslie, Auckland, 1050

Race Number:

Hearing Date:

Hearing Location:
Auckland RC

Outcome: Protest Upheld

Penalty: PACIFIC DRAGON relegated and WOLVERINE promoted


Following the running of Race number 3, an Information was filed Instigating a Protest pursuant to Rule 642(1). The Applicant, Chief Stipendiary Steward Mr Oatham alleged that horse number 8 (PACIFIC DRAGON) placed 1st by the Judge interfered with the chances of horse number 5 (WOLVERINE) placed 2nd by the Judge.

The interference was alleged to have occurred in the final straight.

The Judge’s ‘provisional placings were as follows:


2nd – No. 5 WOLVERINE

3rd – No. 7 I CHOOSE YOU


The official margin between first and second was a nose.

Rule 642(1) provides:

“If a placed horse or its rider causes interference within the meaning of this rule 642 to another placed horse, and the Judicial Committee is of the opinion that the horse so interfered with would have finished ahead of the first mentioned horse had such interference not occurred, they may place the first mentioned horse immediately after the horse interfered with”.

The standard of proof is on the balance of probabilities. In Thoroughbred Racing this standard is reached when the Adjudicative Committee is satisfied, on the basis of credible evidence, that the requirements of the Protest Rule have been met.

Submissions For Decision

Prior to hearing submissions from the respective parties, the Adjudicative Committee requested that Stewards show all available race films of the alleged interference and identify the runners.

On behalf of the Applicant, Stipendiary Steward, Mr Jones referred the race films and demonstrated that at the 200-metre mark PACIFIC DRAGON, who was racing on the inside of WOLVERINE, commenced to drift from the fence to the centre of the track.  In doing so, he said that WOLVERINE was dictated about 5 horse-widths wider on the track.

Using the back-on films, Mr Oatham submitted that PACFIC DRAGON shifted out several horse-widths.  He said that WOLVERINE came from behind PACIFIC DRAGON early in the straight.  He said from the 200-metre mark PACIFIC DRAGON shifted out causing WOLVERINE to shift away.  Inside the final 50 metres PACIFIC DRAGON impeded WOLVERIVE who was forced 3 or 4 horse-widths wider.  He believed that WOLVERINE was going to go on and head PACIFIC DRAGON and given the nose margin at the finish, Stewards believe that WOLVERINE would have won the race.

The Rider of WOLVERINE Ms Johnson stated that her mount came from behind PACIFIC DRAGON. She said her mount reacted to the shift of PACIFIC DRAGON and was full of running when dictated wider.  She submitted WOLVERINE would have won the race had it not been dictated wider.

The Trainer of WOLVERINE, Mr Bergerson submitted that the films clearly show that the interference cost his horse at least half a length and the winning of the race.

The Trainer of PACIFIC DRAGON, Mr Pike used the race films to demonstrate that at the 200-metre mark both horses were racing on level terms.  He said that from that point WOLVERINE was racing on the “wrong leg” and at no point was there contact between the two horses through to the winning post.  He said that both horses did lay out and at the 100 metres PACIFIC DRAGON clearly headed WOLVERINE, who was under pressure; and had every chance to win the race.

The Rider of PACIFIC DRAGON said that WOLVERINE was laying out on his own accord.  He added that his mount has come from behind WOLVERINE and both horses never touched.

Reasons For Decision

In accordance with the requirements of the Protest Rule the Adjudicative Committee must firstly establish that interference occurred; and secondly, if interference is established, the horse interfered with would have beaten the other runner, had such interference not occurred.

After hearing submissions and reviewing the video footage the Committee established that PACIFIC DRAGON shifted out 5 or 6 horse-widths and in doing so dictated WOLVERINE outwards.  Although there was no apparent contact between the horses, the Committee is of the view that the outward shift forced WOLVERINE wider on track, and this could have been avoided had Mr McNab taken correction action.  It is of significance that the outward movement continued for some distance between the 200-metre mark and winning post.

The Committee is satisfied that PACIFIC DRAGON did interfere with the chances of WOLVERINE, and having considered the degree and nature of the interference; the way both horses finished the race off and the nose margin at the finish the Committee is of the opinion that, free of interference, WOLVERINE would have beaten PACIFIC DRAGON.

On that basis, in the exercise of our discretion, the protest is upheld.


The protest was upheld and the amended placings were:

1st – No. 5 WOLVERINE


3rd – No.  7 I CHOOSE YOU


The Adjudicative Committee authorised the payment of stakes and dividends in accordance with its decision.

Decision Date: 01/01/2022

Publish Date: 02/01/2022