Non Raceday Inquiry – Written Decision dated 24 March 2022 – Justin Foot

ID: RIB8216

Justin Foot - Trainer

Ms Philippa Kinsey – Stipendiary Steward

Mr G R Jones

Persons Present:
Nil - on the papers

Information Number:

Decision Type:
Race Related Charge

Failed to withdraw with the club by 7.30 am and denied a reserve runner a start

40.1 - Time limit infringement - Failed to withdraw by 7.30 am

Not Admitted

Animal Name:


Race Date:

Race Club:
Auckland Greyhound Racing Club

Race Location:
Manukau Greyhound Stadium - Te Irirangi Drive, Manukau, Auckland, 2023

Race Number:

Hearing Date:

Hearing Location:
On the papers

Outcome: Proved

Penalty: Licensed Greyhound Trainer Mr Justin Foot is fined $300


Background information

[1] This is the written decision arising from Information Number A16451 filed against the Licensed Greyhound Trainer Mr Justin Foot (hereafter referred to as “the Respondent”). The charge relates to Race 2 at the meeting conducted by the Auckland Greyhound Club on 6 February 2022. The Information alleged that the Respondent failed to scratch NIGHT ACE with the club and as a result a reserve runner was denied a start in the race.  The Respondent denied the charge.

Determination on the papers

[2] Following a phone conference between the parties on 13 March 2022, it was agreed that although the Respondent denied the charge, it could be dealt with by the Adjudicative Committee (“the Committee”) ‘on the papers’ pursuant to paragraph 21.1 of the Common Rules of Practice and Procedure contained in the Seventh Schedule of the Rules of New Zealand Greyhound Racing Association Inc (GRNZ).  For this to occur the parties submitted written evidence for the Adjudicative Committee to consider.

[3] The Committee was provided with and perused relevant documents including Information Number A16451, the summary of facts and submissions filed by the Applicant and Respondent.

The Charge

[4] The authority to prosecute has been provided by Mr M Clement CE: Racing Integrity Board.  Information Number A16451 alleges:

THAT on 6 February 2022 at the Auckland GRC (Race 2) the Respondent failed to scratch NIGHT ACE with the club constituting a late scratching denying a reserve runner a start. 

The Rules

The relevant Rules are as follows:

[5] Rule 40.1 provides that: The Nominator of any Greyhound which, in accordance with these Rules, is to be withdrawn from a Race, shall notify the secretary of the Club for which such Greyhound is to be withdrawn of such withdrawal not later than 7.30am on the day of the Meeting.

The Plea

[6] The charge is denied by the Respondent and the Information has been endorsed accordingly. The plea was confirmed by the Respondent during the phone conference referred to in paragraph 2.


The case for the Applicant

[7] In support of the charge, the Applicant submitted signed written statements from Mr Robert Death (General manager: Auckland GRC), Dr Phillip Morrison (Veterinarian: Cambridge) and Mrs Lauren Selvakumaran (Stipendiary Steward).

[8]  Mr Death’s evidence established that Mr Foot nominated NIGHT ACE for the Auckland GRC’s meeting on the 6 February 2022 where it was drawn number 8 in Race 2.  Mr Death also advised that NIGHT ACE was late scratched at close of kennelling because it was not presented to race.  Mr Death confirmed that he did not receive notification from Mr Foot to scratch NIGHT ACE as a result of it having been stood down.  Mr Death added that NIGHT ACE was not a reserve runner.

[9]  Dr Morrison’s evidence confirmed that on 3 February 2022 at the Waikato Greyhound meeting, Mr Foot presented NIGHT ACE for examination as the dog was said to be lame.  Dr Morrison found NIGHT ACE to have a sore left fore triceps muscle and issued a Veterinary Examination Certificate, giving him a 14 day stand down.

[10] Mrs Selvakumaran’s evidence confirmed that she attended Waikato GRC at Cambridge on 3 February 2022. She stated that Mr Foot approached Dr Morrison, and requested he look at NIGHT ACE who he was planning on scratching from racing on Sunday 6 February 2022 at Auckland GRC. She said Dr Morrison asked if Mr Foot could present the dog for him to examine. She added that NIGHT ACE was checked by Dr Morrison, but she was not present during the examination.  Mrs Selvakumaran said she did not see Mr Foot again after the initial request to present NIGHT ACE to be examined or know of the result of the examination and at no point did, she offer to scratch NIGHT ACE from its race at Auckland GRC on the following Sunday.

Summing up – for the Applicant

[11] In summing up the Applicant submits that:

  • Mr Foot correctly nominated NIGHT ACE for the Auckland GRC’s meeting on the 6th February 2022 where it was drawn number 8 in Race 2.
  • Mr Foot presented NIGHT ACE to the Veterinarian Dr Phil Morrison at the Waikato GRC’s meeting on Thursday 3 February for the purpose of being able to tender to Stewards a Veterinary Certificate for its withdrawal from the Auckland GRC’s meeting. This examination diagnosed NIGHT ACE to have triceps pain to its left foreleg with a 14-day incapacitation period issued.
  • Mr Foot is required to, as per GRNZ Rule 40.1, notify the secretary (Mr Death) of the Club for which NIGHT ACE is to be withdrawn of such withdrawal not later than 7.30am on the day of the Meeting.
  • Mr Death did not receive such correspondence from Mr Foot and a consequence of this the greyhound remained in the fields and the reserve greyhounds were scratched at the close of re-entry time of 7.30am.
  • Stipendiary Steward Mrs Selvakumaran confirms that she at no point offered to relay the scratching to Mr Death.
  • When it had become apparent that Mr Death had not been notified of the scratching of NIGHT ACE Stewards ordered the scratching of this greyhound.
  • Because of Mr Foot’s failure to meet his obligations and scratch NIGHT ACE the reserve greyhound trained by Miss M Black, SMOKIN’ CHIMMEY was denied the right to start.

The Case for the Respondent

[12] The Respondent provided the Adjudicative Committee with a statement in which he outlined the following key points in his defence of the charge:

  1. On 3 February 2022 at Cambridge NIGHT ACE was examined by the on-course Veterinarian and found to have “sore left triceps” and was stood down from racing for 14 days.
  2. In support of this,  the Committee was provided with a copy of the pre-race vet’s certificate confirming that NIGHT ACE had “sore left triceps” – and a 14 day stand down was imposed.
  3. The Respondent said that he had checked with the on-course Veterinarian and the on-course Stipendiary Steward to identify if he “could present the dog for scratching prior to presenting him” and was told “yes”.
  4. The Respondent said the Stipendiary Steward recorded the name of his as well as the race and box numbers.
  5. Following this he presumed that after presenting the dog and receiving the stand down notice his obligation to scratch the dog had been completed.


Both the Respondent’s statement and the vet’s stand down notice refer to the dog in question as KNIGHT ACE.  In the Information the dog is referred to as NIGHT ACE and for the record, according to the Greyhound Racing NZ database this is the correct spelling.


[13] The standard of proof is on the balance of probabilities.

[14] After considering the evidence the Committee finds the charge proved, i.e., that it is more probable than not the Respondent failed to scratch NIGHT ACE with the club secretary by 7.30 am on the day of the meeting.

[15] The parties were advised of the result of the decision and invited to submit penalty submissions.


The elements of the charge

[16] The charge requires the following element to be established.

  • The nominator of any greyhound to be withdrawn;
  • Notification of withdrawal to the club secretary; and
  • No later than 7.30 am on the day of the meeting.


[17] The Respondent is the Trainer of NIGHT ACE who was correctly nominated and entered to race in Race 2 at the Auckland GRC on 6 February 2022.

[18] The Respondent has an obligation to notify the club secretary that NIGHT ACE was to be withdrawn (scratched) from Race 2. He had at least 2 days from the date of the stand down on 3 February 2022 until 7.30 am on the morning of 6 February 2022 to make the notification.

[19] The Respondent did not notify Mr Death, the club secretary, rather he relied on the fact that NIGHT ACE had earlier been stood down for 14 days on 3 February 2022 at Cambridge.  Although the Respondent spoke to Stipendiary Steward Mrs Selvakumaran about the pending scratching it is not her responsibility to notify the club.  It was his mistaken belief, and indeed his defence, that because the on-course veterinarian issued the stand down notice he had discharged his obligation to notify the club secretary.

[20] As a result of the club not being notified by the Respondent NIGHT ACE had to be late scratched and as a result a reserve runner was denied a start in the race.


[21] The elements of Rule 40.1 are quite clear.  As a Trainer licensed under Greyhound Racing New Zealand, the Respondent has an obligation be aware of the Rules.  The fact is that despite the stand down notice being issued, it does not absolve the Respondent of his responsibility to withdraw by the due time.  A lack of knowledge or understanding of the Rules is not a defence to a charge of this nature.


Submissions for Penalty – Applicant

Ms Kinsey provided the following submissions:

[22] The RIB submits a $300 fine as the suggested starting point in this instance.

Penalty submissions – Respondents

[23] There is no requirement or obligations on the Respondent to submit a penalty submission.

[24] On this occasion the Respondent was offered the opportunity to provide submissions as to penalty, but elected not to do so.


[25] A breach of Rule 40.1 is generally dealt with by way of Minor Offence Notice (MIN) and penalties for such breaches are specified within the Sixth Schedule of the Master GRNZ Rules of Racing.  The MIN schedule provides for a $300 fine to be imposed for a first breach of the Rule where a reserve runner is denied a start.

[26] This breach occurred because the Respondent did not meet his obligation as a Licensed Trainer to comply with the requirements of Rule 40.1.   His reasons for non-compliance were either the result of his mistaken belief that he met his obligation by obtaining a veterinarian examination and certificate, and/or his advice to the on-course Stipendiary Steward; or he simply did not know the Rule or chose to ignore it.  Either way, it is hoped that as a result of this charge being upheld the Respondent is now well advised of his responsibilities, under the Rule, should similar circumstances arise in the future.


[27] The Respondent denied the breach, which is his right to do so.  However, no discount can be applied for his early admission.  Also, there can be no discount for his good record because the Minor Infringement Table recommended fine of $300 is based on the fact that the breach is a first offence within the reset period.  Therefore, after thoughtful deliberation and taking into account all of the factors, there are no compelling reasons to deviate from the recommended $300 fine.

[28] Accordingly, a fine of $300 is imposed.


[29] Because this matter was dealt with ‘on the papers’ pursuant to para 21.1 of the Common Rules of Practice and Procedure for the Adjudicative Committee there will be no order as to costs.

Decision Date: 24/03/2022

Publish Date: 25/03/2022