NZ Metro TC 2 March 2023 – R9 – KING ARTHUR

ID: RIB16484

Matthew Williamson - Driver

Nigel McIntyre, Chief Stipendiary Steward

Russell McKenzie

Persons Present:
The Applicant, the Respondent, Joseph Gray (Trainer) and Ricky Donnelly (Starter)

Information Number:

Decision Type:
Request for Ruling

213(1)(j) - Riding/driving infringement

Request for Ruling:
KING ARTHUR denied a fair start?

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, Christchurch

Outcome: Determination

Penalty: KING ARTHUR not denied a fair start


Following the running of Race 9, Fahey Fence Hire Mobile Pace, the Applicant, Chief Stipendiary Steward, Nigel McIntyre, filed an Information requesting a ruling to determine whether KING ARTHUR (Matthew Williamson) was denied a fair start.

Rule 213 provides as follows:

(1) A Stipendiary Steward at any time may scratch from a race or declare ineligible to start in a race until a specific condition is met any horse on all or any of the following grounds:-

(j) if a horse was denied a fair start and such occurrence materially prejudiced the chances of that horse.


The race concerned was a 2600 metres mobile start race. KING ARTHUR, driven by the Respondent, had drawn barrier position 3.

Starter, Ricky Donnelly, said that he had observed that the horse drawn barrier position 2, GOSAKHI (Kyle Cameron) was “pushing the gate”, but at no stage did he see KING ARTHUR hit the mobile arm. GOSAKHI was pulling and had come into contact with the gate, but did not gallop. He did not call a false start because he deemed that KING ARTHUR had galloped of its own accord.

Mr Joseph Gray, Trainer of KING ARTHUR, submitted that the horse had galloped when GOSAKHI hit the gate. The horse would not have galloped but for that, he said.

Matthew Williamson said that it felt like the gate had come back on him. It must have eased, he said, but it did not appear so from the replay. GOSAKHI made no contact with KING ARTHUR, he said. Neither did KING ARTHUR hit the gate, he said. The horse had gone off stride “in sympathy” with GOSAKHI, he said. He could not say that KING ARTHUR had been denied a fair start.

Chief Stipendiary Steward, Nigel McIntyre, said that it was difficult to see from the replays exactly what had happened. It was clear that GOSAKHI had touched the gate but is that to be deemed sufficient to amount to interference to KING ARTHUR, he said.


Rule 857(3)(i) sets out the situations in which the Starter may sound a recall in a mobile start race. The only situation relevant, and to be considered in the present case, is if there is interference. If there has been interference and the Starter does not sound a recall, then it may be said that the horse suffering interference has been denied a fair start and may be declared a late scratching, if its chances have been materially prejudiced.

In this case, the Starter gave evidence, and it is accepted by all, that GOSAKHI, which had drawn immediately inside KING ARTHUR, had been pulling and had made contact with the mobile barrier arm. However, it did not break and neither did it make contact with KING ARTHUR, as Mr Williamson confirmed. Undeniably, KING ARTHUR did gallop and lose its chance and was later pulled up, but the Adjudicative Committee is not satisfied that it broke as the result of any interference. Only KING ARTHUR knows why he galloped!


The Adjudicative Committee ruled that KING ARTHUR was not denied a fair start.

Decision Date: 02/03/2023

Publish Date: 06/03/2023