Non Raceday Request for a Ruling – Written Decision dated 5 September 2023 – SEASIDESTAR

ID: RIB27099

Steve Telfer - Trainer, Amanda Telfer - Trainer

Mr R Carr - RIB Investigator

G Jones and M Godber

Persons Present:
Nil - on the papers

Information Number:

Decision Type:
Request for Ruling

1109(1) - Other - Ruling, 1004E(1) - Prohibited substance

Request for Ruling:
Request that SEASIDESTAR be disqualified

Animal Name:


Race Date:

Race Club:
Auckland Trotting Club

Race Location:
Alexandra Park - Cnr Greenlane West & Manukau Road Greenlane, Auckland, 1051

Race Number:

Hearing Date:

Hearing Location:
Nil - on the papers

Outcome: Determination

Penalty: SEASIDESTAR is disqualified from R9 at Alexandra Park on 14 July 2023


[1] This Request for a Ruling was filed by the Racing Integrity Board (RIB) seeking the disqualification and forfeiture of stake money following the first placing of SEASIDESTAR in Race 9 at the Auckland Trotting Club Meeting at Alexandra Park on 14 July 2023. The gross stake money for first was $6,600.

[2] The Respondents are the Training Partnership of Mr Stephen and Ms Amanda Telfer. They have consented to SEASIDESTAR being disqualified and the forfeiture of the $6,600 earned as a result of winning the said race. They also consented to having the matter dealt with ‘on the papers’.  Thus, reducing the need, and costs, associated with all parties having to attend an ‘in-person’ hearing. This Decision is to take effect from 12am, Monday 11 September 2023.


[3] SEASIDESTAR is disqualified from first place in Race 9 at the Alexandra Park Meeting on 14 July 2023 and the $6,600 stake money earned is forfeited.  The final placings are amended in accordance with the Ruling.  The circumstances of this matter and the reasons for the Ruling are recorded in the body of this Decision.

The Relevant Rules

[4] Rule 1004A provides that:

(2) A horse shall be presented for a race free of prohibited substances.

(4) When a horse is presented to race in contravention of sub – rule (2) or (3) the trainer of the horse commits a breach of these Rules.

Disqualification from Race

[5] Rule 1004E provides that:

(1) Any horse taken to a racecourse for the purpose of engaging in a race which is found to have administered to it or ingested by it a prohibited substance or an out of competition prohibited substance must be disqualified from that race.

(2) The mandatory disqualification under sub-rule (1) applies regardless of the circumstances in which the substance came to be present in or on the horse.

Effect of Disqualification

[6] The effect of the disqualification from a race is contained within R1308 and R1308A.

Ruling Sought

[7] A Ruling is sought pursuant to Rule 1109(1) via Information No. A17975 for the disqualification of SEASIDESTAR from said race, as outlined in paragraph 1.

[8] This Adjudicative Committee is not required to determine culpability or Penalty with regards to this Ruling. They are matters to be determined once submissions as to penalty have been filed and considered.

The Facts

The key salient facts are summarised as follows:

[9] The Respondent(s) in this matter, Stephen and Amanda Telfer (Team Telfer), are Licenced Public Trainers in partnership under the New Zealand Rules of Harness Racing (HRNZ).

[10] On 14 July 2023, SEASIDESTAR who is trained by Team Telfer, won Race 9 at the Auckland Trotting Club Meeting at Alexandra Park. The gross stake money for 1st was $6,600.

[11] SEASIDESTAR was post-race swabbed following Race 9, being presented to the swab box by Team Telfer Stable Foreman.

[12] On 28 July 2023, New Zealand Racing Laboratory Services (NZRLS) issued a Certificate of Analysis detailing the sample obtained from SEASIDESTAR on 14 July 2023 was positive to the Prohibited Substance – Phenylbutazone and Oxyphenbutazone (a metabolite of Phenylbutazone).

[13] Phenylbutazone is defined as a Prohibited Substance under the Prohibited Substance Regulations of the Rules of Racing falling under clause 1.1.6 and in the category of substance – Part A (1.2.21) anti-inflammatory agents within the meaning of the Rules. Phenylbutazone is a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) and cyclooxygenase inhibitor. It is a potent pain reliever, antipyretic, and anti-inflammatory. In the horse, it is used commonly for lameness, resulting from soft-tissue injury, muscle soreness, bone and joint problems, and laminitis.

[14] Phenylbutazone is permitted in race day samples as a therapeutic substance to a regulatory limit of mass concentration of 100 micrograms per litre in urine. The NZRLS has reported that the level in this sample is reported as exceeding 200 micrograms per litre (upper level of calibration used).

[15] Its presence therefore above the regulatory limit of 100 micrograms in a race-day sample is, prima facie, a breach of the Rules.

[16] Phenylbutazone is listed on the NZEVA Period of Detection List update in March 2023 with a listed detection time of 5 days. The listed Possible Withholding Time (WHT) is covered off in accompanying letter dated 20 March 2023 written by Dr Andrew Grierson, outlining changes to previous – May 2016 Phenylbutazone withholding times of 7 days.

[17] The new – March 2023 withholding time for Phenylbutazone being 9.8 days.

[18] On 31 July 2023, RIB Investigators visited the Team Telfer Stables in Clevedon. Interviews were undertaken with Mr Telfer along with associated employees who had been in contact with the horse in the week prior to the race on 14 July 2023.

[19] These enquiries established that although Team Telfer had a tub of Phenylbutazone (bute) on the premises, they very rarely administer ‘bute’ to their racehorses, preferring instead to use Meloxicam as an alternative. During interview Mr Telfer stated: – “No, we have got a tub here for the mares and foals and out of racehorses. We don’t like to use ‘Bute’ on the racehorses because of the strength on their stomach. Meloxicam we find is a shorter withhold and its kinder on the horse, so we use Meloxicam a lot.

[20] When Mr Telfer was questioned regarding his knowledge of the withhold period for Phenylbutazone he confirmed: – “I know it went out a bit, it was always around a week but I know there’s a clear day as well so it might be up around eight/nine days”.

[21] Copies of both the medication record book and Horse Health and Farrier Report outlining individualised horse treatments for the horse was obtained. SEASIDESTAR is referred to in these records by her stable name – ‘Halo’. A review of these records notes that ‘Halo’ had not been administered any Phenylbutazone in the 12 days prior to the race.

[22] Records indicated that ‘Halo’ was administered Meloxicam on 6 July 2023 by an employee, with last recorded medication being Ese-Ese that was administered by the Mr Telfer on 12 July 2023, two days prior to the race.

[23] The medical records identified only the one horse at the Team Telfer’s Clevedon Stables, being a yearling with a foot bruise, that has been administered Phenylbutazone in the week prior to the race. The yearling was orally administered 10ml of Phenylbutazone on the 10 July 2023.

[24] A 1000ml tub of Phenylbutazone paste prescribed by Auckland Vet Clinic, dated 26 June 2023 was located on the premises secured in the lockable room referred to as the ‘lab’ in the older barn. It was noted that Meloxicam was secured separately in a lockable fridge located within the room.

[25] All employees interviewed and a review of the CCTV Footage from both Telfer’s Barn in the week leading up until the race and Alexandra Park on the night of the race meet, has failed to identify any evidence of the administration of Phenylbutazone to SEASIDESTAR.

[26] Enquiries were undertaken with NZEVA Chief Veterinarian – Dr Andrew Grierson to assist with potential administration timings and dosage or possible cross contamination that has occurred to register the Phenylbutazone level detected by NZRLS. Dr Grierson response: – “I cannot with surety determine when an administration occurred. The size of the dose logically has an effect on the level detected in urine after administration. If Phenylbutazone is administered when feed is available uptake is delayed so the peak plasma concentration and urinary levels also become delayed.”

[27] Mr TELFER requested for the ‘B Sample’ to be independently tested and elected for the sample to be tested by Racing Analytical Services Ltd (RASL) in Victoria, Australia.  RASL have confirmed that their analysis of the ‘B Sample’ has shown the presence of both Phenylbutazone and Oxyphenbutazone. RASL approximate the concentration of Phenylbutazone in the ‘B Sample’ to be about 3700ng/ml.

[28] Enquiries into the Respondent’s judicial record with Harness Racing New Zealand New Zealand [HRNZ], confirms they have no previous breaches of the Prohibited Substance Rule or any serious racing offences.

Disqualification Sought by RIB

[29] The RIB submits that SEASIDESTAR is required to be disqualified pursuant to the Rules from Race 9 at the Auckland Trotting Club Meeting at Alexandra Park on 14 July 2023.

Decision and Reasons

Ruling (Decision)

[30] The Adjudicative Committee rules that SEASIDESTAR shall be disqualified from first place in Race 9 at the Alexandra Park Meeting on 14 July 2023 and the $6,600 stake money earned is forfeited.  Pursuant to R1004E (6) provides that:

Disqualification and changes of placings under this rule, will take effect from the immediate Monday following the judicial decision or such other time as the Adjudicative Committee determines.

Accordingly, this Decision takes effect from 12am, Monday 11 September 2023.


[31] The presence of the Prohibited Substance in SEASIDESTAR’S metabolism following post-race testing and analysis, is prima facia a breach of the Harness NZ Prohibited Substances Rules.

[32] Pursuant to Rule 1004E, having established that SEASIDESTAR was correctly entered for and won the Race 9 with a Prohibited Substance in its system, it is a mandatory requirement that it be disqualified “regardless of the circumstances in which the substance came to be present in or on the horse”.

[33] The disqualification is not contested by the Respondent(s).

[34] Accordingly, following the disqualification, the amended placings and stake money payable are as follows.




[35] Due to this matter having been uncontested and dealt with ‘on the papers’, there is no order for costs.

Decision Date: 05/09/2023

Publish Date: 05/09/2023