NZ Metro TC 14 July 2022 – R8 – CLASSY DANCER

ID: RIB9992

John Morrison - Driver

Wilson House, Junior Driver

Russell McKenzie

Persons Present:
The Applicant, the Respondent and Nigel McIntyre (Manager of Stewards)

Information Number:

Decision Type:

869A(2) - Riding/driving infringement


Alleged interference in home straight

Animal Name:
Classy Dancer


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, Christchurch

Outcome: Protest Dismissed


Following the running of Race 8, Avon City Ford Mobile Pace, an Information instigating a protest was filed by Junior Driver, Driver of SMOKIN ANNIE, placed 3rd by the Judge, against Driver, John Morrison, placed 1st by the Judge, alleging that CLASSY DANCER shifted ground inwards in the run home causing interference to  SMOKIN ANNIE.

The provisional placings were:

1st     2  Classy Dancer

2nd   6  Happy Place

3rd  10  Smokin Annie

4th    5  Olive Cook

The official margins were a long head and a neck.

Rule 869A(2) or reads as follows:

Where a placed horse or its driver causes interference to another placed horse and the Adjudicative Committee is satisfied that the horse interfered with would have finished ahead of the horse that, or whose driver, caused the interference the Adjudicative Committee must, in addition to any other penalty that may be imposed, place the horse that, or whose driver, caused the interference after the horse interfered with.


Manager of Stewards, Nigel McIntyre, showed side-on and head-on video replays of the final 200 metres of the race. He pointed out the lead horse, HAPPY PLACE, driven by Bob Butt, CLASSY DANCER, driven by the Respondent,  racing in the trail, and SMOKIN ANNIE, driven by the Applicant, Wilson House, behind CLASSY DANCER.

After turning  for home, Mr Morrison took the passing lane, as he was entitled to do. He was required to maintain a straight course in terms of the Passing Lanes, False Rails and Home Straight Regulations, Mr McIntyre said.

The Applicant, Wilson House, said that there was a gap to the inside of CLASSY DANCER for his runner, but that gap closed on two occasions, which resulted in his horse losing its momentum. He demonstrated this on the head-on video replay. He got his horse’s legs into the gap initially, but the gap closed up, he said. The gap then reopened and he was able to drive his horse out before the gap closed again, just before the finishing line, and he  had to take hold of his horse which was forced over a couple of track markers, he said.

The Respondent said that the passing lane was available to him and he had taken it. His horse drifted down the track before he relieved the pressure on Mr House. He pointed to the distance between Mr House’s inside wheel and the marker line, and the space between the sulky wheels of the two horses, and it was therefore “a run”, he submitted. His horse had held on “comfortably enough”. He admitted that, near the line, it did get tight when HAPPY PLACE drifted back in and he had to check off him. He submitted that Mr House had “paused” but has not really stopped driving. Finally, Mr Morrison referred to the margin between 1st and 3rd at the finish.

Manager of Stewards, Nigel McIntyre, was asked to give his assessment of the evidence. He said that it was clear that there had been some slight interference to Mr House’s runner at the 120 metres. From that point, Mr House was able to drive his horse out with momentum until he received further slight interference, approximately 25 metres from the finishing line. He submitted that the interference was slight and the margins at the finish were quite decisive. Mr House had been “cramped” and forced to take a slight hold at the 120 metres but, from that point on, there was a run available and his horse was pushed forward and lost no momentum. The second incident of interference was so close to the finishing line for it to be said that SMOKIN ANNIE would have beaten CLASSY DANCER, he said.


The Adjudicative Committee has to determine two matters. Firstly, was there any interference from CLASSY DANCER to SMOKIN ANNIE and, secondly, but for that interference would SMOKIN ANNIE have beaten CLASSY DANCER?

After viewing the video replays and hearing the submissions of the parties and Mr McIntyre, the Adjudicative Committee finds that interference did take place at approximately the 120 metres and again just short of the finishing line. On both occasions, however, the degree of interference was minor. Following the first incident of interference, there was a sufficient gap for Mr House’s runner against the markers and Mr House was able to take that gap and drive his runner forward. The second incident of interference, as established, was so close to the finishing line that it could not be said that it affected the chances of SMOKIN ANNIE beating CLASSY DANCER. Having regard to those matters, the margin between the two runners at the finish, which was quite decisive, and that CLASSY DANCER was comfortably holding the 2nd and 3rd placegetters in the final stages, the Adjudicative Committee was satisfied that, while there was some minor interference, SMOKIN ANNIE would not have finished ahead of CLASSY DANCER.


The protest is dismissed and the Judge’s placings stand. Dividends and stakes are to be paid accordingly.

Decision Date: 14/07/2022

Publish Date: 18/07/2022