Non Raceday Inquiry – Written Decision dated 29 September 2022 – Maree Gowan

ID: RIB11251

Maree Jeanette Gowan - Trainer

Ms G Morrow - RIB Investigator

Hon J W Gendall KC (Chair), Mr B Mainwaring

Persons Present:
Ms G Murrow, Mr S Irving, Ms M J Gowan, Ms M Matthews - assisting Ms Gowan

Information Number:

Decision Type:
Non-race Related Charge

Prohibited Substance

61.5 - Prohibited substance

Not Admitted

Animal Name:


Hearing Date:

Hearing Location:
Awapuni Racecourse

Outcome: Proved

Penalty: Penalty pending - awaiting submissions

1. The Racing Integrity Board presented an Information against Ms M J Gowan, charging her with a breach of Rule 61.5 of the New Zealand Greyhound Racing Rules in that:

“On 10 June 2022 [she was a] the Licenced Trainer in charge of the greyhound “BIG TIME CARDY” – who competed in a trial at the Palmerston North Greyhound Racing Club, Manawatu Raceway, failed to “present the greyhound free of the Permanently Banned Prohibited Substance Methamphetamine and Amphetamine”.

2. Ms Gowan denied the charge and the matter proceeded to a defended hearing on 22 September 2022.

3. Rule 61.5 where relevant provides that:

“the Owner and Trainer and person for the time being in charge of any Greyhound which is found on testing, examination or analysis conducted pursuant to these Rules to have received a Permanently Banned Prohibited Substance shall be severally guilty of an Offence”.

4. The penalty provisions for such an offence under the GRNZ Rules is contained in Rule 63.1 which provides for:

(a) A fine not exceeding $10,000 and/or

(b) Suspension and/or

(c) Disqualification

(d) Warning Off

5. The Adjudicative Committee received oral evidence, statements and exhibits from 4 witnesses for the RIB – namely Ms A Palmer, Assistant to Acting Director of Animal Welfare at the RIB, working as a Steward at Palmerston North Raceway; Mr M Austin, Greyhound Racing Steward; Mr M Wall, the Swabbing Official on 10 June 2022, and Mr S Irving, Investigator for the Informant.  Exhibits produced including the swabbing record, book, the Sample Dispatch Record to the NZ Racing Services Laboratory notifying the urine sample to be positive to Methamphetamine and Amphetamine, a laboratory report relating to swabs taken from Ms Gowan’s motor vehicle and trailer, on 1 July 2022; and an audio and written transcript of Mr Irving’s interview with Ms Gowan on 1 July 2022.

6. Evidence and submissions were also received from Ms Gowan.

7. After deliberating following the conclusion of the hearing, the Adjudicative Committee advised the parties that it found the charge and breach of Rule 61.5 to have been proven beyond the balance of probabilities and to its comfortable satisfaction beyond reasonable doubt.

8. The parties are to file written submissions as to penalty and costs issues within 14 days, if possible.

9. The reasons for the decision are now outlined.

Essential Facts Findings

10. Ms Gowan is registered as holding an “Owner Trainer” Licence issued by NZ Greyhound Racing.  She trains 7 dogs which are kennelled and trained from her home address near Foxton.  On 10 June 2022 she took 2 greyhounds in her vehicle to the Manawatu Raceway.  One dog was to race later that day.  The other was “BIG TIME CARDY” which was to, and did, compete in a trial before the full programme started.

11. After the trial a RIB Steward selected “BIG TIME CARDY” to undergo a post race swab of its urine, pursuant to Rule 61.5 which authorises testing out of competition to ascertain if there are any illicit substances.

12. Ms Gowan was unhappy about this direction having been given.  Whatever was her reason, she adopted various positions to thwart the test with which she said she did not agree as it was only “out of competition”.  Over a period of nearly an hour she gave various reasons for not complying with the direction.  First  she said she would not kennel the dog until she received a direction in writing.  (We add this is not a requirement under the Rules).  She later said that the Swabbing Steward had not come to meet her.  When Ms Palmer found out Ms Gowan had neither kennelled the dog or taken it to be swabbed, she located Ms Gowan in the carpark and required that she return with her to the Stewards’ Room.  She claimed that the Swabbing Steward had not met her.  When told that the swab had to be taken, she then said that, in the meantime, she had fed the dog one half of a pie and given it a supplement drink, so, she claimed, the swabbing process would not proceed.  When then told that the swab had to continue she then offered the excuse, that her kennel mat was wet, having been left in the rain, so she could not kennel the dog.

13. She was offered the option of the dog having a blood test, rather than urine being taken, which she declined.  Eventually a urine sample was taken at 2.17pm – approximately 2 1/4 hours after it had been in its trial.  Upon analysis by the New Zealand Racing Laboratory Services (NZRLS) the sample was found to be positive to the Permanently Banned Prohibited Substances, Methamphetamine and Amphetamine.  The Adjudicative Committee is aware, from its experience in other cases involving Methamphetamine positives in greyhounds, and horses, that Methamphetamine in the system, metabolises or breaks down over time to Amphetamine which explains why both drugs can, and do, emerge in later analysis.  But the presence of Amphetamine only occurs after a passage of time, as the Methamphetamine “breaks down” so its presence indicates ingestion or assimilation of the substance some hours – between 12-24 – later.

14. Ms Gowan was advised of the positive test analysis on 1 July 2022. She elected not to have the “B” Sample separately tested.  She denied, to the Investigator, that she had been using Methamphetamine although said that she had done so “about 25 years ago”.  She agreed to provide a urine sample.  When offered the opportunity to also provide a hair sample, she declined that offer.  The urine sample tested positive on analysis to THC (Cannabis) but not to Methamphetamine.

15. Ms Gowan’s evidence or statements made to the Adjudicative Committee were, in summary:

(a)  She did not use Methamphetamine and never had for 25 years.

(b)  She had no idea how ‘BIG TIME CARDY” could have assimilated Methamphetamine and she was at a loss to explain it.

(c)  She had offered to have all her 7 greyhounds tested on 1 July 2022 (3 weeks after).

(d)  On 10 June 2022 the second dog she took, along with “BIG TIME CARDY” to the Raceway was itself swabbed after it raced later that day, and the swab was negative.

(e)  “BIG TIME CARDY” was seated on the back seat of the vehicle and the second greyhound was transported in the attached trailer.

(f)  The only  explanation she could think of – and this came at the end of the hearing as an afterthought – for the traces of Methamphetamine found in or near the driver’s side of her vehicle – was that she had a job working in a laundry and she “wondered” whether some Methamphetamine contaminated item(s) might have somehow got onto her body or hands.

(g)  She lives with her son who does not use Methamphetamine.


16. From the Adjudicative Committee’s own experience in dealing with, (regrettably frequent) Methamphetamine cases involving greyhounds and thoroughbreds that urine samples can only test positive for Methamphetamine for a shortened period of up to 5 days.  Hair tests cannot detect recent Methamphetamine ingestion, until about 7 days after entering the body, but hair samples may detect long-term use for up to 90 days.  It is also well known that oral ingestion of Methamphetamine requires absorption by it from the gastro intestinal tract, into the bloodstream and from there into the kidneys and urine, and a period of 12-24 hours must elapse before it can be detected in urine.

17. The pre-feeding of the dog, assuming it occurred had no bearing on the positive swab.  Indeed, as the ingestion had to be at least 12 hours before – or more – normal feeding of a greyhound will occur without affecting the positive urine return.

18. The presence of Methamphetamine traces in the front cab of Ms Gowan’s vehicle reinforces the finding that someone, somehow associated with the training operation, had an involvement with Methamphetamine prior to 10 June 2022.

19. It is beyond doubt that “BIG TIME CARDY” had the Permanently Banned Prohibited Substance, Methamphetamine and Amphetamine in its system when presented at Manawatu Raceway on 10 June 2022.  Ms Gowan as a Trainer in and at that time being in charge of the greyhound is liable under Rule 61.5.

20. “BIG TIME CARDY” is disqualified from its trial race on 10 June 2022 run by the Palmerston North Greyhound Racing Club.


21. The Informant and Respondent are to present written submissions on the issue of penalty, within 14 days.  The Adjudicative Committee will deliver its penalty decision thereafter.  This will be decided on the papers unless either party requests a further face to face hearing.

Decision Date: 22/09/2022

Publish Date: 30/09/2022