Non Raceday Inquiry – Written Decision dated 21 November 2022 – Tim Williams

ID: RIB12943

Tim Williams - Driver

Nigel McIntyre, Chief Stipendiary Steward

Russell McKenzie

Information Number:

Decision Type:
Race Related Charge

Failing to take all reasonable and permissible measures

868(2) - Riding/driving infringement

Not Admitted

Animal Name:
Fernleigh Cash


Race Date:

Race Club:
NZ Metropolitan Trotting Club Inc

Race Location:
Addington Raceway - 75 Jack Hinton Drive, Addington, Christchurch, 8024

Race Number:

Hearing Date:

Hearing Location:
Rangiora Raceway, Rangiora

Outcome: Not Proved

Penalty: N/A


Chief Stipendiary Steward, Nigel McIntyre, has filed an Information alleging that, in Race 13, Spectators New Menu Mobile Pace, at the meeting of New Zealand Metropolitan TC at Addington Raceway on 11 November 2022, the Respondent Driver, Tim Williams, as the Driver of FERNLEIGH CASH in the race, failed to take all reasonable and permissible measures near the 400 metres when electing not to shift outwards prior to being covered by STEEL THE SHOW, when it was reasonable and permissible for him to do so.

Mr McIntyre produced an Authority to Charge signed by Mr Mike Clement, Chief Executive of the Racing Integrity Board.

The charge was heard at the meeting of Rangiora HRC at Rangiora Raceway on 16 November. The Respondent was offered the opportunity by the Adjudicative Committee to have the hearing adjourned but he declined.

The Respondent endorsed the Information “I do not admit a breach of the Rule”  and confirmed he understood the Rule and the nature of the charge.

Rule 868 provides:

(2)  Every driver shall take all reasonable and permissible measures at all times during the race to ensure that his horse is given full opportunity to win the race or to obtain the best possible position and/or finishing place.


Chief Stipendiary Steward, Nigel McIntyre, showed video replays from all available angles of the relevant part of the race, passing the 400 metres. He pointed out FERNLEIGH CASH, driven by the Respondent, passing the 600 metres racing in the one-one position behind DASHING MAJOR (John Dunn). It was evident that the Respondent had turned his whip round and flicked his runner, Mr McIntyre said. As the field got to the 500 metres, it appeared that the Respondent’s runner was back on the bit. At that stage it was both reasonable and permissible for the Respondent to shift ground outwards to put his horse into clear racing room, prior to being covered by the improving STEEL THE SHOW. The Respondent elected not to do so and thereafter had been held up until approximately 60 metres from the finishing line, Mr McIntyre alleged, and had made ground on the runners in front. The Respondent had left it too late and, as a result, has been blocked for a run. It was not a split-second decision but, rather, the Respondent  had an opportunity over a distance of 100-150 metres to shift out into a clear run, Mr McIntyre submitted.

The Respondent asked for a replay of the race from the 1400 metres. He pointed out that when he improved to go 3-wide, his horse had lugged in. When he reached the parked position and then got cover, his horse was caught flat-footed, and he lost his trail before activating the ears plugs to get the horse back on the bit and turned his whip, he said. The horse was still “aggressive” on the outside rein. He saw STEEL THE SHOW coming and had plenty of opportunity to come out, but could not do so because of the way the horse was “holding” the rein and lugging and making it an awkward drive, he said. STEEL THE SHOW had improved quickly and, as he was covered, his horse had attempted to race it. He had got outside the wheel of DASHING MAJOR and, had his horse been going good enough, the gap was there. He was unable to improve into that gap. He left it late to come out because of “steering issues”. STEEL THE SHOW had got past him and he had got onto its back. His horse’s head was turned in because it was hanging in, he said. He had no reason not to come out, he said.

In the straight, he had the opportunity to ease the eventual winner, CYRUS, wider on the track, had his runner been steering well enough, he said. He submitted that it was not too late to ease out at that stage, 200 metres from the finish. He had been fighting with his horse for some distance, he said. His horse was not steering well enough to enable him to ease CYRUS out. Mr McIntyre said that he did not disagree that the Respondent was having difficulty coming out at that stage. When he stopped fighting with the horse and took an inside run, it had become an “easier steer” for him, and the horse had run on quite well as the placegetters were coming back to him.

Mr McIntyre agreed with the Respondent that there was a point near the 400 metres when the Respondent did attempt to come out, but submitted that it was too late and the run had gone.


The charge was dismissed.


On a viewing of the video replays, it appeared that the Respondent had an opportunity to shift his runner out near the 400 metres as alleged. It also appeared that it was both reasonable and permissible for him to do so. The Stewards have charged the Respondent on that basis.

The standard of proof to establish a charge under the Rules of Harness Racing is on a balance of probabilities. However, it is well-established that the more serious the charge, the higher is the standard of proof. A charge under Rule 868(2) is a serious charge because of the penalty provisions that apply when a breach is proved – a 20 drives suspension or a $1,000 fine. The Adjudicative Committee needs to be comfortably satisfied.

The Respondent’s defence to the charge was that,  during the part of the race out of which the charge arose, he had in fact attempted to shift out ahead of the advancing STEEL THE SHOW. He accepted that it was reasonable and permissible for him to attempt to shift out at that point and he had attempted to do so. He had no reason not to do so, he said. However, he told the Adjudicative Committee, his horse was “holding the rein” and hanging in, proving a difficult drive. He had got part of the way out but the horse would not go further, he said.

The Adjudicative Committee finds that it was not unreasonable for the Respondent to delay shifting out until STEEL THE SHOW commenced his run but, when he made the decision to shift out, his horse did not respond sufficiently quickly. The Adjudicative Committee finds that there was no error of judgement on the Respondent’s part and it is necessary for the Stewards to establish an error that is capable of being described as “culpable” or blameworthy”.

There was some evidence that the Respondent’s horse had been hanging. The Respondent had the video replay of the race from about the 1400 metres to the 400 metres played to the hearing which lent support to that. He then showed a video replay of part of the run home, during which he had the opportunity to ease out the eventual winner, CYRUS, with approximately 200 metres to run, and he could be seen to attempt to ease out with some vigour, but again the horse was reluctant to respond, forcing him to take an inside run. Mr McIntyre did not disagree with this.

The Adjudicative Committee found the Respondent’s explanation to be credible. Furthermore, that Adjudicative Committee was not satisfied that there had been any clear evidence presented that he had made no attempt to shift out. The burden of proof is on the Stewards to prove this.

The charge was properly brought by the Stewards, but the Adjudicative Committee was not satisfied to the required standard that the charge has been proved.

Decision Date: 16/11/2022

Publish Date: 22/11/2022