Non Raceday Inquiry – Written Decision dated 6 November 2023 – Mark Smith and John Smith
Auckland Greyhound Racing Club
Manukau Greyhound Stadium - Te Irirangi Drive, Manukau, Auckland, 2023
Nil - on the papers
Penalty: Trainers Mark Smith and John Smith are fined a total sum of $400
Respondents Mark Richard Smith and Eric (John) Smith are a Licenced Public Training Partnership under the Rules of Greyhound Racing New Zealand (GRNZ).
The Respondents are charged under the aforementioned Information. Details are as follows:
On the 1st October 2023, Licenced Public Trainers, Mark Smith and John Smith, were the Trainers of of the Greyhound ‘THRILLING TOMMY’ who was set to compete in Race 9 at the Auckland Greyhound Racing Club Meeting, held at Manukau Greyhound Stadium.
Messrs M and J Smith failed to report an injury of the dog to the Stewards, this being an offence under provisions of Rule 87 and punishable pursuant to Rule 174 of the New Zealand Greyhound Racing Association Rules.
Rule 87 provides:
A Trainer and/or Handler of a Greyhound drawn for an Event shall ensure that the Greyhound is fit and properly conditioned to race, and must report to the Stewards any condition or issue that may affect its ability to run in the Event as soon as practicable once that is known.
A teleconference was convened on Friday 20 October 2023. As a result:
(1) Mr M Smith and Mr J Smith confirmed admission of the breach.
(2) The Parties agreed that the Penalty Hearing was to be held ‘on the papers’.
(3) A timetable was set as to Submissions on Penalty by both parties.
Summary of Facts:
Salient details from the Summary of Facts are as follows:
On Sunday the 1st October 2023, the Auckland Greyhound Racing Club conducted a race meeting at Manukau Greyhound Stadium, Auckland.
At approximately 8.30am on the day of the races, the Smith’s cut the toenails of the four dogs that had been entered that day.
Whilst cutting the toenails on the right hind foot of ‘THRILLING TOMMY’ the dog moved, resulting in the toenail being cut too short, causing it to bleed.
Upon noticing the blood, the Smith’s bandaged ‘THRILLING TOMMY’S foot and placed him back in the kennel.
Approximately one hour later, Mark Smith removed the bandage and checked the dog’s foot which, was no longer bleeding from the toe.
At approximately 10am, the Smith’s left the Okaeria property and travelled to Manukau Greyhound Stadium.
Upon removing ‘THRILLING TOMMY’ from the trailer, they noticed that his foot had resumed bleeding from the toe area.
On seeing that the foot had resumed bleeding, John Smith phoned ex-Trainer Thayne Green for advice.
In speaking to Green, he suggested using ‘Condys Crystals, otherwise known as Potassium Permanganate, to stop the bleeding.
Immediately following this, John Smith travelled to another property to obtain the Potassium Permanganate.
Upon his return, John handled the Potassium Permanganate to Mark, who dipped the ‘THRILLING TOMMY’S’ toe into the crystal substance.
Shortly after this, Mark began to walk the dog from the carpark down towards the kennelling block for the pre-race vet check.
It is at this point, that kennel block officials noticed that the dog was bleeding significantly from it’s rear right foot.
On being advised that the dog’s foot was bleeding, Mark Smith placed the dog into the wash bay where he was approached by RIB Veterinarian, Dr Joan Hessell.
When she questioned Mark Smith as to what the substance was, he advised that it was ‘Condys Crystals’ that had been used to stop the bleeding, as he had cut the dog’s toenail too short.
Following the examination, Dr Hessell scratched ‘THRILLING TOMMY’ from Race 9, due to the injury received.
As Mr Mark Smith and Mr Eric (John) Smith admitted the breach, it is found to be proved.
Submissions as to Penalty:
Written submissions were received by the RIB and the Smith’s.
The RIB sought a penalty of a $500 fine.
The RIB noted there are no previous breaches of this Rule within Greyhound Racing New Zealand. Rule 87 is not covered within Greyhound Racing New Zealand Penalty Guidelines. Starting points for ‘similar’ offences within NZTR and HRNZ are $750 and $1,000 respectively.
The Adjudicative Committee was referred to:
RIB v J Blackadder (30/12/2022), where Mr Blackadder, a Licenced Trainer, received a fine of $300 for a breach of NZTR Rule 650(1)(b) in that he failed to report to Stewards, the condition of horse ‘OUR GILLY GIRL’ prior to racing at Kurow on 30th December 2022. A post-race examination revealed inflammation and dermatitis to a leg of the horse.
The RIB noted several aggravating factors requiring consideration. Despite numerous opportunities, the Smith’s failed to inform Stewards, or attending Vet, as to the injury to the dog. Instead of doing so, J Smith travelled to a nearby property to obtain the Condys Crystals, whilst the injury was only identified upon the dog being presented for kennelling.
In mitigation, it was acknowledged Messrs M and J Smith entered an early guilty plea and have been remorseful, cooperative and respectful throughout the process. They have no prior relevant charges under the Rules of Greyhound Racing New Zealand.
The Smith’s, whilst admitting the charge, noted there was no attempt to deceive and they believed the Veterinarian would make the decision as to whether the dog was fit to start – at which point Stewards would be notified.
Reasons for Penalty:
In determining penalty, the Adjudicative Committee does remain cognisant of the lack of comparable precedent. In addition to the foregoing, reference is made to:
RIB v L Cole (20/12/2022), where Mrs Cole received a fine of $400 for a breach of Rule 62.1(p) of the Regulations of Greyhound Racing New Zealand, in that she failed to comply with the lawful order of a Steward. The Respondent failed to have undertaken, x-rays on the Greyhound ‘MANILA RAW’ within the timeframe prescribed by the on course Veterinarian following Race 10 of the Palmerston North Greyhound Meeting held on 14 October 2022.
Rule 87 remains specific to the extent that a Trainer and/or Handler .. must report to the Steward any condition or issue that may affect it’s ability to run in the event as soon as practicable once that is known. Certainly, the RIB’s contention that there were numerous opportunities to do so between 8.30am (when the toes were cut) and kennelling of the dog, is legitimate. Treating the dog with Condy’s Crystal’s, although commendable, did not negate requirement to inform Stewards of the injury.
The Adjudicative Committee is satisfied that there was no attempt by the Respondents to deceive. Relying on the Veterinary inspection to determine whether the dog was fit to start again, did not negate their obligations.
The Adjudicative Committee, after consideration of all matters pertaining to penalty, determined a fine of $400 is appropriate.
The RIB does not seek costs. Given matters were dealt with ‘on the papers’, there is no order as to costs.
Decision Date: 03/11/2023
Publish Date: 08/11/2023