Methven TC 30 January 2022 – R7 – ELO LOUISE

ID: RIB7175

Olivia Thornley - Junior Driver

Nigel McIntyre, Manager of Stewards

Russell McKenzie

Persons Present:
Mr McIntyre, Olivia Thornley, Tom Nally (Junior Driver) and John Dunn (Open Driver)

Information Number:

Decision Type:

870(3) and Breaking Horses Regulation - Riding/driving infringement



Animal Name:
Elo Louise


Race Date:

Race Club:
Methven Trotting Club

Race Location:
Methven Racecourse - 47 Mount Hutt Station Road, Methven, 7782

Race Number:

Hearing Date:

Hearing Location:
Mt Harding Racecourse, Methven

Outcome: Protest Upheld

Penalty: ELO LOUISE disqualified


Following the running of Race 7, Hygain Revell Douglas Memorial Series Mobile Pace  (Junior Drivers),  Manager of Stewards, Nigel McIntyre, filed an Information pursuant to Rule 870(3) and the Breaking Horses Regulation instigating a protest alleging that ELO LOUISE (Olivia Thornley), placed 3rd by the Judge, broke and galloped in excess of 150 metres racing into the first bend.

The Respondent was present at the hearing and indicated that the protest was contested. A Junior Driver, Miss Thornley indicated that she did not require assistance from a Senior Driver. Tom Nally, Driver of MARK DUNNETT, also a Junior Driver, was assisted at the hearing by Open Driver, John Dunn.

Rule 870(3) provides that:

Any horse which breaks from its gait shall promptly regain its proper gait.

The Breaking Horses Regulation provides that:

(a)  Any horse which breaks from its gait either at the start or during the running of any race and continues on in the break for a distance of 150 metres or greater, shall be deemed to be in breach of Rule 870(3) in that it has failed to promptly regain its proper gait.

Where a protest has been duly lodged against the placing of an offending horse, the Adjudicative Committee shall either:

(i)   relegate such horse under Rule 870(4) to behind any other horse in respect of which an advantage may have been gained ; or

(ii)  disqualify it from the race under Rule 1003(2)   

Provided that  where such first-mentioned horse is not in the correct gait as a result of interference to such horse or its driver, then such relegation or disqualification of the horse shall be at the discretion of the Adjudicative Committee.

Mr McIntyre told the hearing that the protest involved whether ELO LOUISE had galloped for a distance of 150 metres or greater and, if so, whether it had broken as a result of interference from MARK DUNNETT, driven by Mr Nally. However, he said that, if ELO  LOUISE had broken as a result of interference from MARK DUNNETT, then the Adjudicative Committee would also be asked to determine whether the latter runner should be relegated.

The Judge’s placings were as follows:

1st    5  Mark Dunnett

2nd   14  Mr Perfect

3rd     4  Elo Louise

4th    13  Motor Mouth

5th    3  Better Fly


Mr McIntyre said that it was quite clear that ELO LOUISE had galloped for an estimated 180-190 metres racing into the first bend. Using available video replays, Mr McIntyre identified ELO LOUISE, approximately 300 metres after the start of the 2300 metres mobile start race, improving to race outside the leader and then breaking from its gait. Miss Thornley did not dispute the alleged distance.

Mr McIntyre said Miss Thornley had indicated to Stewards that she had been placed in restricted room by MARK DUNNETT, improving 3-wide towards the lead, causing her runner to break. He said that it did appear that Miss Thornley’s runner had been pacing roughly and laying inwards, prior to going off stride. He could not see any contact, he said.

Miss Thornley said that her runner had galloped as Mr Nally had eased down in front of her. She had called to him, she said. She accepted that there had been no contact, but she had been forced to take hold of her horse, and that is when it had galloped, she said.

Mr Dunn, who is co-trainer of MARK DUNNETT and familiar with the horse, said that the horse is badly-gaited and hard to drive. Miss Thornley agreed that her runner was hanging, “slightly” she said, approaching the bend. Mr Dunn also submitted that there was “some distance” between Miss Thornley’s runner and the horse on its inside – a “good half cart”, he submitted. He repeated that there was no contact.

Mr Nally said that Miss Thornley had called to him while he was still alongside her. He did slightly tighten her but made no contact. He gave Miss Thornley room when he heard her call to him, he said.

Mr McIntyre said the videos clearly showed Miss Thornley’s horse’s head turned outwards, suggesting that it was hanging, prior to Mr Nally going past. It was unfortunate, he said, that the video replays were inconclusive as to whether there had been actual interference.


It was very clear from the video replay, and accepted by Miss Thornley, that ELO LOUISE had broken from its gait and continued on in the break for a distance greater than 150 metres. The Adjudicative Committee is required to disqualify the horse unless it is satisfied that it broke as a result of interference, in which case the Adjudicative Committee has a discretion.

The Adjudicative Committee then needed to determine whether the proviso to the Regulation applied and ELO LOUISE was not in its correct gait as a result of interference. Unfortunately, the available video replays were inconclusive and not completely determinative of the matter. The Adjudicative Committee has had regard, principally, to the following in finding, on the balance of probabilities, that ELO LOUISE had not suffered interference:

1. There was no contact;

2. ELO LOUISE had been pacing roughly and hanging prior to going off stride;

3. There was sufficient room to Miss Thornley’s inner for her to avoid any minor tightening.


ELO LOUISE was disqualified .

The amended final placings are:

1st     5  Mark Dunnett

2nd  14  Mr Perfect

3rd   13  Motor  Mouth

4th     3  Better Fly

5th    11  Arizona wildcat

Authority was given for stake money and dividends to be paid in accordance with the amended placings.

The Adjudicative Committee having found that no interference had taken place, the Stewards elected not to proceed with a protest against MARK DUNNETT’s 1st placing.

Decision Date: 30/01/2022

Publish Date: 01/02/2022