Non Raceday Inquiry – Written Decision dated 6 March 2022 – Tim Williams

ID: RIB7846

Tim Williams - Driver

Mr V Munro - Stipendiary Steward

Dave Anderson

Persons Present:
Mr N McIntyre and Mr P Williams - RIB Stewards and Mr T Williams

Information Number:

Decision Type:
Race Related Charge

Race Duelling.

869(3)(g) - Riding/driving infringement - Diminishing chances


Animal Name:


Race Date:

Race Club:
Invercargill Harness Racing Club

Race Location:
Ascot Park Raceway - 29 Findlay Road, Ascot, Invercargill, 9810

Race Number:

Hearing Date:

Hearing Location:
Mt Harding Racecourse, Methven.

Outcome: Proved

Penalty: Driver Tim Williams is suspended for 5 days and fined $350.


Mr Williams admitted a charge from the Invercargill Harness Racing Club’s meeting on the 25 February 2022 in that as the Driver of SHOW ME HEAVEN in Race 7 he drove in a manner capable of diminishing his horse’s chances of winning by persisting with holding the lead when challenged by MABALENE in the middle stages. The Information was heard at the Hororata Trotting Club’s meeting held at the Mt Harding Racecourse, Methven on 6th March 2022. Mr McIntyre produced an Authority to Charge signed by Mike Clement, Chief Executive of the Racing Integrity Board.

The Respondent had endorsed the Information admitting the breach of the Rule and confirmed he understood the charge and he was conversant with the Rule.

Rule 869(3)(g) provides:

No driver in any race shall drive in any manner capable diminishing the chances of his horse winning.


Below are the relevant facts in respect of the breach.

(1) Mr Williams was the driver of SHOW ME HEAVEN in Race 7 at the Invercargill HRC meeting on 25th February 2022.

(2) SHOW ME HEAVEN drew 3 for the 1700 mobile start event.

(3) Mr Williams has urged his runner forward out of the gate and took the lead shortly after the start point.

(4) At the 1400 metre mark MABALENE (B Williamson) comes alongside the leader SHOW ME HEAVEN and is urged to try to take the lead.

(5) From this point Mr Williamson has become active in urging MABALENE to try and assume the lead.

(6) Mr Williams has sat there until approaching the winning post near the 1000 metre mark where he taps his drive up just as Mr Williamson has his horse forward of Mr Williams’s charge but not far enough for his sulky to move down to the marker line.

(7) Mr Williamson has then continued to urge his horse for another 200 metres until he desisted with the challenge which had been for approximately 600 metres.

(8) At no stage has Mr Williams attempted to restrain his horse and take a trail during this period when the opportunity existed for a considerable distance.

(9) Mr Williams’s horse has battled over the final stages and ended in 7th place 6.7 lengths from the winning horse.

(10) The official time shows that the initial 900 metres which was timed in an extremely fast 61.23 seconds. The final 800 metres was 59.76 seconds , with an overall time being 2.00.99, being a mile rate of 1.54.51, a new track record.

(11) Mr Williams had options available to him , which was to restrain his horse to take cover in order to give his runner some respite, to finish the race off in the best way possible which he failed to do so.

(12) Mr Williams’s drive on this occasion is well below the standard expected of a driver with his experience.


Mr McIntyre and Mr Williams were both satisfied with the Summary of Facts prepared by the Applicant. Mr McIntyre stated the Stewards had nothing to add in the way of evidence and they were not requiring to show any replays of the race. Mr McIntyre stated Mr Williamson’s case was heard on Friday and as a result he received an 8 day suspension.

Mr Williams was delighted he didn’t have to sit through any replays of the race again. He stated his plan for the race was to lead because his horse had won all its races in front. He said he indicated to Mr Williamson early on he was going to hold the front and as Mr Williamson was challenging he saw that the favourite was on Mr Williamson’s back. He said he thought if he eased and let the front go Mr Williamson would have let the favourite go which would have him placed 3 back which he considered was not giving his horse the best opportunity. He said MABALENE had raced poorly in its 2 previous starts and appeared to be flat compared to his horse which was travelling kindly.

The Adjudicative Committee asked Mr McIntyre, was the culpability of the incident shared equally between Mr Williamson and Mr Williams. He said both Drivers have to make decisions as circumstances are presented during the race whether you are outside the leader or on the rail and in this case the Stewards’ opinion was that both Drivers were equally culpable.


The charge is admitted and therefore proved.


Mr McIntyre outlined Mr Williams’ driving record which showed he is one of the country’s leading and experienced Drivers. He said the Penalty Guidelines have a starting point for a breach of this Rule of a 40 drive suspension or a $2000 fine. He said a suspension of 6 days is recommended  and the Stewards realise this would differ from Mr Williamson’s penalty as it was based on Mr Williamson driving an average of approximately 4 times a meeting as against Mr Williams averaging approximately 6 drives per meeting.

Mr Williams stated in 15 years as a license holder he has a clear record under the Rule. He said he wasn’t looking for any deferment in respect of suspension and that a fine or a combination of both would be preferable.


The Adjudicative Committee in its assessment of the race, found that up until the two horses reached the winning post with a lap to run, the challenge from Mr Williamson and the rejection of it by Mr Williams was within the Rules. From this point on either ego or testosterone or perhaps just bloody mindedness reared it’s head. Race tracks are a very competitive place and theses incidents happen from time to time but they have a detrimental effect on Harness Racing. Mr Williams’ drive impacted the Owners, Trainers and more importantly the betting public and is deserving of a significant sanction.

The Penalty Guidelines provide a 40 drive suspension or a $2000 fine as a starting point for a breach of the Rule.

Mr Williams has a clear record under the Rule, admitted the breach and has freely accepted, with genuine remorse, that he was guilty of poor judgment.

In assessing a concession for these factors it is helpful this Adjudicative Committee has the Williamson decision to reference. The Adjudicative Committee in that case applied a starting point of a 10 day suspension based on Mr Williamson’s average drives per meeting and allowed a 2 day discount for the very similar factors in this case.

The Adjudicative Committee has arrived at a starting point of a 7 day suspension in Mr Williams’ circumstances based on his average drives per meeting. It finds a discount of 2 days, for the mitigating factors, to be too lenient on Mr Williams and at the same time considers a 1 day discount to be too harsh. Although this Adjudicative Committee is mindful the two cases have to be judged separately it is common sense to appreciate they are entwined and any sanction must conclude in close proximity with the other.


The Respondent is suspended for a period of 5 days commencing 9 March 2022 and concluding 16 March 2022. In addition to this suspension the Respondent is fined $350.

Decision Date: 06/03/2022

Publish Date: 16/03/2022