Non Raceday Inquiry – Written Decision dated 21 June 2022 – Clinton Isdale

ID: RIB9587

Clinton Isdale - Trainer

Oscar Westerlund - Racing Integrity Board Investigator

J H Lovell-Smith (Chair), G R Jones

Persons Present:
Nil - on the papers

Information Number:

Decision Type:
Race Related Charge

Prohibited Substance

804(2) - Prohibited substance


Animal Name:


Race Date:

Race Club:
Racing Tauranga Inc

Race Location:
Tauranga Racecourse - 1383 Cameron Road, Greerton, Tauranga,

Race Number:

Hearing Location:
On the papers

Outcome: Proved

Penalty: Licensed Class A Trainer Clinton Isdale is fined $2,000


[1]  Clinton Isdale, Licensed Class A Trainer, the Respondent faces one charge that he breached Rule 804(2) of New Zealand Thoroughbred Racing Rules, in particular:

On Sunday, the 20th March 2022 at Tauranga being the Registered Trainer for the time being of the horse “Explosive Miss” the 3 year old bay filly, which was brought to the Racing Tauranga meeting for the purpose of engaging in, and did engage in Race 2: “Boyd Mitchell Memorial Maiden 1200m” when the said horse was found to have present in its metabolism a prohibited substance, namely Caffeine, which is in breach of New Zealand Thoroughbred Racing Rule 804(2) and is therefore subject of the penalty or penalties which may be imposed pursuant to s 804(7) of the said Rules.

[2]  Rule 804(2) provides:

When a horse which has been brought to a Racecourse or similar racing facility for the Purpose of engaging in a Race or trial to which the Third Appendix hereto applies is found by a Tribunal conducting an inquiry to have had administered to it or have had present in its metabolism a Prohibited Substance, as defined in Part A of Prohibited Substance Regulations, the Trainer and any other person who in the opinion of such Tribunal conducting such inquiry was in charge of such horse at any relevant time commits a breach of these Rules.

[3]  Rule 804(7) provides:

A person who commits a breach of sub-Rule (2) or (3) or (4) or (5) or (6) of this Rule shall be liable to:
(a)  be disqualified for a period not exceeding five years; and/or
(b)  be suspended from holding or obtaining a Licence for a period not exceeding 12 months. If a Licence is renewed during a term of suspension, then the suspension shall continue to apply to the renewed Licence; and/or
(c)  a fine not exceeding $25,000.

[4]  Rule 804(1) provides:

A horse which has been brought to a Racecourse or similar racing facility and which is found by a Tribunal conducting an inquiry to have had administered to it or have had present in its metabolism a Prohibited Substance shall be, in addition to any other penalty which may be imposed, disqualified for any Race or trial to which the Third Appendix hereto applies in which it has started on that day

[5]  The Respondent has admitted the charge and accepted the Summary of Facts. Both parties agree that the hearing as to penalty is to be dealt with “on the papers” without the need for a formal hearing. The Applicant and the Respondent have provided written submissions as to penalty.

[6]  We have considered all relevant documents which include Information Number A16410, the RIB Sample Identity Record 162530, Certificate of Analysis dated 4 April 2022, report of Dr Andrew R Grierson, Chief Veternarian, NZTR, Analytic Report dated 14 April 2022, Notification Race Day Box Contamination (NZTR and HRNZ) and the Summary of Facts.

Summary of Facts

The Respondent in this matter, Clinton ISDALE, is the holder of a Class A Trainers Licence issued by New Zealand Thoroughbred Racing (NZTR).

On Sunday the 20th of March 2022, the horse “Explosive Miss” was correctly entered and presented to race in Race 2 — ‘Boyd Mitchell Memorial Maiden 1200m’ at the Racing Tauranga meeting at Tauranga.

“Explosive Miss” is a 3-year-old bay filly (by Jakkalberry — Ultra Explosive) and is trained by the Respondent.

“Explosive Miss” underwent a random Post Race blood swab. Mr ISDALE does not contest the swabbing process.

“Explosive Miss” finished first of the twelve horse field winning a stake of $15,000.

All swab samples from the meeting were couriered to the New Zealand Racing Laboratory and were analysed for the presence of substances prohibited under the Rules of New Zealand Thoroughbred Racing.

A Certificate of Analysis signed by Mr Rob Howitt, the Official Racing Analyst reported in writing that the samples from “Explosive Miss” had tested positive to the prohibited substance ‘Caffeine’.

Caffeine is a Prohibited Substance within the meaning of the Rules and its presence in a race day sample is, prima facie, a breach of the Rules.

Dr Andrew Grierson, the Chief Veterinarian for NZTR, forwarded a written report, which confirmed ‘Caffeine’ was a prohibited substance under the Rules of NZTR.

Mr ISDALE was spoken to on Friday the 8th of April 2022 at his stables on Racecourse Road, Cambridge. He stated that he has no idea how the Caffeine got into the horse’s system.

He further stated that he has about three cups of coffee he drinks every day at the stables and that every morning he urinates in the same corner of the stables behind the stalls and paddock that he uses. The horse “Explosive Miss” was highly likely to have been contaminated from where he urinates prior to attending the Racing Tauranga meeting.

Investigators took soil samples from the areas concerned. The samples were sent to the NZ Racing Laboratory Services for analysis.

A written report was issued by the NZ Racing Laboratory Services on the 14th of April 2022 confirming the presence of ‘Caffeine’ and associated metabolites in the soil sample taken from behind the stalls.

Mr ISDALE was advised of the result.

It is believed that the probable cause of “Explosive Miss” positive has been via contamination by Mr ISDALE urinating in the corner of the stables by the stalls.

Inquiries with the RIB Betting Analyst did not detect any irregular betting patterns.

Mr ISDALE has been involved in the Thoroughbred Racing Industry all his adult life and has had no previous charges for breaching the Prohibited Substance Rule.

On the 29th of October 2018, the Racing Integrity Unit (now known as the RIB) had notified the respective Codes to advise Licence Holders and Clubs of the possibility of contamination through urination in boxes.

An order is sought for the horse “Explosive Miss” to be disqualified from the race and the stakes money to be repaid.

Racing Investigator

Aggravated Factors identified by the RIB

[7]  An advisory was sent by the RIU to the respective racing codes on 29 October 2018 which was subsequently relayed to Clubs and License Holders via their respective websites. The Advisory was in relation to contamination which had occurred at racecourses where horses had been contaminated with prohibited substances through sawdust, the need to ensure the sawdust was replaced on a regular basis, and to ensure license holders desist from urinating in boxes. This information had also been placed on the various racing websites.

Mitigating factors identified by the RIB

(a)  The Respondent’s early admission of the breach.
(b)  The Respondent’s cooperation throughout these proceedings.
(c)  The Respondent does not have previous record of breaching the Rules of Racing.
(d)  The Respondent has advised the Adjudicative Committee that he has improved his systems in order to avoid any further contamination to ensure he presents his horses free of prohibited substances in the future.

Penalty Submissions – Applicant
[8]  The RIB have referred to the principles on sentencing in the Appeals Tribunal decision of RIU v L which brings a disciplinary approach to the imposition of sanctions for breaches of the Rules, in particular:

(a)  Penalties are designed to punish the offender for his/her wrong doing. They are not meant to be retributive in the sense the punishment is disproportionate to the offence, but the offender must be met with punishment.
(b)  In the racing context it is extremely important that a penalty has the effect of deterring others from committing similar offences.
(c)  A penalty should also reflect the disapproval of the JCA (now the Adjudicative Committee) for the type of offending in question.

[9]  Importantly, the RIB does not consider the Respondent to be a habitual offender, nor a person of low moral character that he would bring the Thoroughbred Racing Code into disrepute should he remain in the profession.

[10]  However, breaches of the Rules should be penalised and that such penalty should reflect the industry’s “clean racing image” and to remind participants of their obligations under the Rules.

[11]  The RIB seeks a fine for this breach of $2,000. It does not seek a period of disqualification.

Penalty Submissions – Respondent

[12]  In response, in his penalty submission the Respondent asked the Adjudicative Committee to take into account the following factors:

“I have been cooperative throughout the matter.

I have had a clean record in all my time of being in the Thoroughbred Industry.

I am a person of good character and have since improved my stables systems in relation to the matter.

I wish to apologise to anyone that’s been involved in this matter and feel a fine would be appropriate.

I am a hard working young Trainer in the Industry and have worked tirelessly to get to this position in racing.

I’m truly sorry this happened and take full responsibility and have thoroughly improved my stable practices to insure nothing like this happens again.”


[13]  The offence is one of absolute liability.

[14]  We have been referred to the following cases:

(a)  RIU v B Wallace and G Cooksley (NZTR March 2021) – positive test for Caffeine, race meeting in Pukekohe 31 October 2020, fine $2,000.
(b)  RIU v R & J Vance (NZTR December 2019) – positive test for Caffeine, race meeting Auckland, fine $1,250.
(c)  RIU v Dickie (HRNZ December 2019) – positive test for Satalol, race meeting Auckland, fine $2,000, cost for B sample $1,253.80, JCA costs.

[15]  The Judicial Committee’s decision in RIU v B Wallace and G Cooksley is particularly relevant to this case as the facts are similar. For these reasons, taking all matters into account, we adopt the same starting point of a fine of $2,000.00 and do not place any weight on the aggravating and mitigating factors identified by the RIB.


[16]  We order that “Explosive Miss” is disqualified from Race 2 at the Racing Tauranga Meeting held on 20 March 2022 pursuant to Rule 804(1). Any stake monies which may have been paid to the connections should be forthwith refunded and amended placings determined having regard to this disqualification.

[17]  The Respondent is fined $2,000.

[18]  The RIB does not seek costs. There is no order for costs as this matter has been determined on the papers.

JH Lovell-Smith (Chair)

Decision Date: 21/06/2022

Publish Date: 22/06/2022