Non Raceday Inquiry – Written Decision dated 24 August 2022 – MR FARENHEIT

ID: RIB10678

Scott Wallis - Other (Chief Stipendiary Steward)

Mr Wayne Morris (Owner)

Appeal Committee Member(s):
Mr R McKenzie

Persons Present:
The Applicant, Mrs Carol Morris (Trainer) and Mr Scott Wallis, Chief Stipendiary Steward

Decision Type:
Greyhound Review

Review Request:
Greyhound, MR FARENHEIT, stood down for 28 days for Failing to Pursue

55.1(b) - Other

Animal Name:


Race Date:

Race Club:
Christchurch Greyhound Racing Club

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

Race Number:

Hearing Date:

Hearing Location:
Manawatu Raceway, Palmerston North

Outcome: Determination

Penalty: Request for Review dismissed


[1]  Following the running of Race 11, 2022 GRNZ NZ Nationals Distance, at the meeting of Christchurch Greyhound Racing Club held at Addington Raceway on 11 August 2022, the Greyhound, MR FARENHEIT, owned by the Applicant and trained at Pahiatua by Mrs Carol Morris, was stood down by Stewards pursuant to Rule 55.1.b for failing to pursue the lure.

[2]  The Applicant has lodged a Request for Review of the Stewards’ decision on the grounds that “it was his [MR FARENHEIT’s] first time under lights, first time on track, and most of all inadequate lighting, lighting shadows and one bright new light causing further conundrum”.


[3]  Rule 55.1 of the GRNZ Rules of Racing provides:

Where a Greyhound:

(b)   Fails to pursue the Lure in a Race:

the Stewards may impose the following periods of suspension:

(c)   in the case of a first offence, twenty-eight (28) days and until the completion of a Satisfactory Trial.

Fails to Pursue the Lure is defined in the Rules as meaning “the action of the Greyhound voluntarily turning the head without making contact with another Greyhound, or voluntarily easing up, or stopping during the Race while free of interference”.


[4]  Mr Wallis began by explaining the Rule. He submitted that the question before the Committee is whether the Stewards were correct in forming the opinion that MR FARENHEIT had failed to pursue the lure. Mr Wallis referred to the definition of  “easing up” in the Online Cambridge Dictionary as “to start to work less or do things with less energy”.

[5]  He then showed video replays of the race (from three available camera angles). He showed that MR FARENHEIT jumped from Box 2 from the 732 metres starting point. It settled 3rd in the run to the first bend, before shifting up the track and losing ground with the field, settling 7th entering the home straight on the first occasion. Mr Wallis then showed that, entering the kennels bend with a lap to run while racing in 6th position, MR FARENHEIT again shifted up the track where, he alleged, it visibly and voluntarily eased up free of interference for 4 or 5 strides, losing several lengths, before regaining its natural gallop. It appeared that the Greyhound was pulling up thinking the race was over, Mr Wallis said. He then played the video replay of the race to the finish of the race, showing that MR FARENHEIT had remained in last position and finished last (15.8 lengths from the winner).

[6]  Mr Wallis alleged that MR FARENHEIT had, clearly, eased up rounding the kennels turn. He submitted that no consideration should be afforded to the fact it was the Greyhound’s first time on the track or first time under lights. He pointed out that, earlier at the meeting, five other Greyhounds had been having their first starts without attracting the attention of the Stewards. Neither was it relevant the degree to which the Greyhound has eased. The Rules permit only one situation that is relevant to a Greyhound failing to pursue the lure – if a Veterinarian determines that it has sustained a serious injury, being an injury which will result in a period of incapacitation of 21 days or more (Rules 55.2 and 55.3).

[7]  Mr Wallis submitted that the Committee needed to consider three questions:

1.  Did MR FARENHEIT ease up?

2.   Was it free of interference and subsequently free of an injury?

3.   Was the correct decision made by the Stewards on the raceday?

If the Committee is satisfied that the answer to those questions is “yes”, then the review should be dismissed, Mr Wallis submitted.


[8]  Mr Morris said that, prior to its race, when MR FARENHEIT went through to the kennel block from the scales, at no stage was the greyhound vet-checked, which he thought was strange, and in fact it was not vet-checked until after the race. He submitted that the Review should be upheld for this reason. His local veterinarian told him, he said, that a post-race vet check is irrelevant, as an injury cannot be detected while the dog is still warm. The next day, the dog did not eat up. Trainer, Carol Morris said that MR FARENHEIT was not running comfortably at any stage of the race and, when she checked him the next day, he was sore.

[9]  Asked by Mr Wallis, Mr Morris said that he had been in the Greyhound industry for about 20 years and should have been aware that the dog should have been vet-checked before the race. Mr Wallis put it to him that this was not mentioned in the post-race discussions concerning the dog’s performance in the race. Mr Morris agreed but said that it had not occurred to him at that time.

[10]  Mrs Morris said that all of the Greyhound’s previous races had been during the day, and every track had been fenced. She had been confident that he would handle the Addington track.

[11]  Mr Morris was asked by the Committee why the matter of the injury that was discovered the day following the race was not given as a ground for the review. His explanation was that he had completed the Request for Review on the journey home, being unaware of the injury at that time.

[12]  Mrs Morris then submitted that the Greyhound had caught sight of persons standing on a path near the track and it was, at that stage of the race, that it “propped”. Mr Morris added that the track was “dark”, but for one bright LED light at the point where the dog “propped”. It was submitted that MR FARENHEIT is a “sight dog” and he had lost sight of the lure. There was a black shadow on the track, he said.

[13]  Mr Morris referred to the previous decision in the case of Big Time Prada, in which the Adjudicative Committee set out a number of factors which might influence the Stewards in the exercise of their discretion whether to stand a Greyhound down for failing to pursue the lure. The Committee, in that case, found that there was no consideration given to those matters by the Stewards in exercising their discretion and the Review was successful. (Further reference to the Big Time Prada decision will be made later in this decision).

[14]  Mr Morris referred to Rule 55.1 which gives the Stewards a discretion. The Rule states that the Stewards may impose a period of suspension. This indicates that Stewards have a discretion. They could have exercised that discretion not to stand MR FARENHEIT down, he submitted.

[15]  Mr Wallis was given the opportunity to speak at this point of the hearing. He had Mr Morris confirm that, on the night, Stewards had advised him that they were going to stand MR FARENHEIT down and that he had the right to seek a Review of that decision. He further confirmed that he had been advised of his rights under Rule to have a further vet-check carried out.

[16]  Mr Wallis referred again to a video replay, and put it to Mr Morris that the Greyhound had passed the persons standing beside the track, before the point from which Stewards had issues with its performance. No other dogs on the night had any issues with the presence of those handlers, he said. Mr Morris repeated that it was at a dark point on the track before reentering under a bright LED light. This should have been a factor that influenced the Stewards in the exercise of their discretion, he submitted. Mr Wallis stated that the Club races every Thursday night under lights. Ninety-two Greyhounds race on a night and the number of instances of failing to pursue by easing would be no more than, maybe, three a month, he said.

[17]  Mr Morris said that he had considered scratching MR FARENHEIT after seeing the state of the track’s lighting, but he had left home at 4.15 am to travel to the meeting and wanted to “have a go”, even though he was apprehensive that the dog would be able to perform.

[18]  The Committee put it to Mr & Mrs Morris that the Request for Review contained no denial that the Greyhound had failed to pursue and neither had they made that submission at the hearing. Mr Morris stated that he would describe it as the greyhound having “propped”, because he was on the outside of the track and there were two persons standing there and the lighting was inconsistent.

[19]  Mr Morris stated that MR FARENHEIT is a genuine chaser and a Group 1-placed dog. He has been put out for 28 days. Surely there were mitigating circumstances that the Stewards should have taken into account, he said.

[20]  Mrs Morris submitted that the Greyhound had lost sight of the lure momentarily, but did find it again and got back into the race and finish it off. It was fortunate, she said, that it did not cause interference to any other Greyhound. With the loss of the Wanganui track, dogs in the North Island were being denied the opportunity to race under lights, she said.

[21]  Mr Wallis said that a “good, robust conversation” had taken place on the night involving himself, fellow Steward Rick Quirk, and Mr Morris. He said that Stewards do not enjoy putting Greyhounds out and, in response to Mr Morris’s thinking that, perhaps, as an alternative to MR FARENHEIT being stood down, his performance could have been dealt with under the “unsatisfactory performance Rule” (Rule 38.9), he said that Stewards having seen the Greyhound ease for 4 or 5 strides were required, for consistency, to stand it down. He said that he and Mr Quirk had deliberated for 5-6 minutes before deciding to stand MR FARENHEIT down.

[22]  Mr Morris requested that it be noted that something should be done to improve the standard of lighting at the Addington track.


[23]  The Request for Review is unsuccessful.


[24]  This Request for Review is unusual in that neither the Applicant nor Mrs Morris, the Trainer, disputed with any vigour that the Greyhound, MR FARENHEIT, did fail to pursue the lure in the race in question, for which it was stood down for 28 days by the raceday Stewards.

[25]  The video replays of the race, in the opinion of the Committee, were conclusive and showed that MR FARENHEIT had, rounding the bend out of the front straight and entering the back straight, shortened stride, or eased, for 4-5 strides and had, therefore, failed to pursue the lure at that stage of the race. The Applicant and Mrs Morris, Trainer of the Greyhound, both described the actions of the dog at that point as “propping”. Interestingly enough, “prop” is variously defined as ” to stop suddenly and change direction” (Reed Dictionary of New Zealand English) and to “stop suddenly or unexpectedly” ( The word “prop” in this context, it seems, is peculiar to New Zealand and Australia.

[26]  The Applicant, correctly, pointed out that the Stewards have a discretion whether to stand a Greyhound down for failing to pursue the lure. The Rule provides “the Stewards may . . ” which clearly indicates that the Stewards have a discretion.

[27]  The Applicant put before the Committee the earlier decision in the case of Big Time Prada, a decision of an Adjudicative Committee in October 2021, in which the Request for Review was successful. However, that case can be distinguished from the present case on two grounds. Firstly, it involved the Greyhound voluntarily turning its head and failing to pursue, and not voluntarily easing up. The second ground on which Big Time Prada, can be distinguished is that the Adjudicative Committee found that Stewards, in that case, did not give proper consideration to various factors that they ought to have in exercising their discretion.

[28]  The function of this Committee is to determine whether the Stewards properly exercised their discretion in this case or, put another way, whether they had reasonable grounds for making the decision they did to stand MR FARENHEIT down.

[29]  The Applicant has submitted that there were several factors that the Stewards ought to have taken into account in the exercise of their discretion. He initially raised, as a “technicality” (his own words), the matter of the omission on the part of Officials to have the Greyhound vet-checked prior to the race. That submission has no merit in the Committee’s view. It was not mentioned to Stewards on the night and, in any event, Mr Morris has been involved in Greyhound racing long enough to have been aware that this omission was irregular and raised it at the point at which the check should have taken place. His explanation for not raising this at the time was unconvincing.

[30] The Applicant also raised a number of other matters – first time on the track, first time at a track without a fence, first time under lights, inadequate track lighting and persons standing near the track.  He advanced all of those factors as, individually or collectively, grounds for the Stewards to have exercised their discretion in favour of MR FARENHEIT. He was able to raise those matters before Stewards on the night, and the Committee is satisfied that the Stewards gave due consideration to them in exercising their discretion – Mr Wallis told the Committee that he and his fellow Steward, Mr Quirk, deliberated for 5-6 minutes prior to coming to a decision. This was not contested by the Applicant, who was awaiting the outcome of that deliberation,

[31]  The Committee records that it gave no weight to the submissions of the Applicant and the Trainer, Mrs Morris, that an injury to the Greyhound became apparent in the days following the race. They were well aware of their rights under Rule 55.4 to apply, within 72 hours of the meeting, to have their Greyhound re-examined. They elected not to avail themselves of that right. There is no evidence of any injury.

[32]  The Committee is satisfied that the Stewards, both very experienced Greyhound Racing Stewards, were justified in coming to the decision to stand down MR FARENHEIT for failing to pursue the lure. They have exercised discretion and independent judgement, involving the comparison and evaluation of possible courses of action and made a decision after careful consideration of the various options.

[33]  To answer the three questions which Mr Wallis submitted that the Committee had to ask itself. Firstly, did MR FARENHEIT ease up? Clearly, yes. Secondly, was it free of interference and subsequently free of an injury? Again, clearly yes. Finally, was the correct decision made by the Stewards on the night? The Committee is satisfied that the Stewards were correct in their decision to stand MR FARENHEIT down.



Decision Date: 24/08/2022

Publish Date: 28/08/2022