NZ Metro TC 10 May 2022 – R5 – John Dunn

ID: RIB9050

John Dunn - Driver

Mr S Renault - Stipendiary Steward

Dave Anderson

Information Number:

Decision Type:
Race Related Charge

Failing to drive out to the finish.

868(3) - Riding/driving infringement - Fail to drive out to finish when reasonable chance of horse running in first 6 placings.

Not Admitted

Animal Name:


Race Date:

Race Club:
NZ Metropolitan Trotting Club Inc

Race Location:
Addington Raceway - 75 Jack Hinton Drive, Addington, Christchurch, 8024

Race Number:

Hearing Date:

Hearing Location:
Addington Raceway - 75 Jack Hinton Drive, Addington, Christchurch, 8024

Outcome: Proved

Penalty: Driver John Dunn is fined $400.


Following the running of Race 5 Stipendiary Steward Mr Shane Renault presented an Information alleging a breach of Rule 868(3) by Open Driver Mr John Dunn. The detail of the charge was “you failed to drive out when you had a reasonable chance of finishing 4th.

Rule 868(3) states: Every driver shall drive his or her horse out to the end of the race if she or he has any reasonable chance of running first, second, third, fourth, or fifth.   

Mr Dunn confirmed he understood the charge and the Rule and that he denied the allegation.

Mr Renault showed the replay of the final 200m of the race and identified Mr Dunn driving BETTER FLY who was leading the race. He pointed to Mr Dunn at 60 metres from the finish slap his horse twice with the inside rein and then flick her with the whip. Mr Renault said at this stage BETTER FLY was in 4th place. He showed the 50-metre marker on the inside of the track and said the Stewards estimate Mr Dunn has sat motionless for the last 40 metres eventually being beaten for 4th by SHARDS FURY (S Tomlinson) the margin being half a head.

Mr Renault said Mr Dunn should have been well aware of his obligations to drive out to the finish when in a reasonable chance to finish in the placings.

Mr Dunn stated he was always going to finish in 5th place. He said Miss Tomlinson had been making ground on him, the margin was half a head and it wasn’t like being beaten on the line by a nose. He said “by me urging the horse anymore I would never have run 4th, I was slowing down and Miss Tomlinson was speeding up”

Mr Dunn said his horse had nothing left to give and he did know his obligations but he always knew Miss Tomlinson was going to catch him.


Mr Dunn is one of the country’s leading and most experienced Drivers. His explanation for halting his drive short of the finishing post would be completely understandable from a Driver’s point of view, however, this would not be the view of the punter who would be expecting some discernable urging from Mr Dunn up to the winning post. The Rule is very clear and Mr Dunn has fallen short of his obligations to drive out to the finish and therefore in breach of the Rule.


The Adjudicative Committee find the charge proved.


Mr Renault said as expected Mr Dunn is a very busy Driver with 332 drives this season and 1208 in the last season. He said the Guideline for failing to drive out and losing 4th placing is a fine of $400. He said as for all of the previous breaches under this Rule the starting point is the appropriate Penalty.

Mr Dunn’s only comment on Penalty was he was astounded by how stiff the penalties were.


The Adjudicative Committee considers punter confidence in Harness Racing to be paramount. Mr Dunn has made an error in judgement and conceded public and punter perception was a serious consideration.

The Adjudicative Committee see no mitigating or aggravating factors to depart from the Penalty Guidelines and finds a $400 fine appropriate in this case.

Accordingly, Mr Dunn is fined $400.

Decision Date: 10/05/2022

Publish Date: 11/05/2022