NZ Metro TC 17 March 2023 (heard 19 March at Motukarara) – R9 – John Dunn

ID: RIB17334

John Dunn - Driver

Mr Shane Renault, Stipendiary Steward

Dave Anderson

Persons Present:
Mr Renault, Mr Dunn, Mr N McIntyre-Chief Stipendiary Steward

Information Number:

Decision Type:
Race Related Charge

Careless Driving

869(3)(b) - Riding/driving infringement

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:
Motukarara Racecourse

Outcome: Not Proved

Penalty: N/A


Following the running of Race 9 at the NZ Metropolitan Trotting Club’s meeting held at Addington Raceway on 17 March 2023, an Information was presented by Stipendiary Steward, Mr Shane Renault alleging a breach of Rule 869(3)(b) by Driver, Mr John Dunn.

The hearing of the Information was adjourned, sine die, by Adjudicative Committee and heard at the Motukarara Racecourse on 19 March 2023.

Mr Dunn confirmed he understood the Rule, the Charge, and that he denied the breach of the Rule.


Mr Renault played all relevant videos of the Race to show Mr Dunn driving HEISENBERG who led from the start of the race, took a trail at the 2000m and regained the lead passing the 1400m. From this juncture HEISENBERG led for the rest of the race until being caught 20m from the winning post finishing second, beaten by a neck.

Mr Renault said the Stewards are alleging Mr Dunn has driven carelessly by allowing his horse to shift outwards rounding the final bend. He said Mr Dunn applied pressure to the field at the 600m, activated deafeners, and as he entered the home straight and before reaching the passing lane, was at least 2 sulky widths out from the pylons. Mr Renault said the shifting out by Mr Dunn has enabled the trailing runners, Mr Orange ( SAM’S TOWN), Mr Close (TERRY) and Mr Hope (HOMEBUSH LAD) to improve their positions before the passing lane when they shouldn’t have been able to.

Mr Renault said Mr Dunn has driven forward but not taken the corrective measures to remain on the pylons to prevent the trailing runners from gaining a run before the passing lane. He said Mr Dunn had no horses to his outside so had not caused any interference but it is his obligation to stay on the marker line to insure he was tracking correctly.

Mr Dunn said HEISENBERG has a tendency to run out in his races and used the video to show his horse racing almost a sulky width off the pylons. He said his horse has raced half a cart off the pylons rounding the final bend but admitted it has shifted up the track, 20 to 30 metres before the passing lane. He said HEISENBERG has run a quarter from the 600m to the 200m in 26.8 and it is very difficult to keep a true line when driving out a horse at that speed.

Mr Dunn used the video and said Mr Orange (SAM’S TOWN), who was the trailing horse, hasn’t made ground on HEISENBERG until after the field had reached the passing lane, and added, he hasn’t interfered with any horse at any stage of the race.

Mr Renault said, in summing up, the essence of the Stewards case was Mr Dunn has driven forward and not steered his horse correctly allowing trailing runners an advantage of a run before they should have. He said Mr Dunn’s obligation is to make it as difficult as he can for his fellow competitors by holding his line and Stewards say he has not done this.


The Careless Driving Rule is fully comprehensive and considers all elements and aspects from causing a fall to puncturing a tyre. Mr Renault outlined the Stewards expectations of Mr Dunn when rounding the final bend, and the Adjudicative Committee agreed this would be normal prudent driving but for one possibility, tactics.

Mr Dunn’s driving tactics were not for the faint-hearted and the Adjudicative Committee considered Mr Dunn’s drive as a brave and aggressive assault on the stamina of his opposition, which has almost paid off. SAM’S TOWN, who is the South Island’s form horse at the minute, has just beaten HEISENBERG in the shadows of the winning post.

The Adjudicative Committee finds Mr Dunn’s drive and his degree of care to be reasonable, and it further finds that his actions could not be described as amounting to “careless driving”, as that is normally understood in the context of a harness race.


The charge of careless driving against Mr Dunn is dismissed.



Decision Date: 19/03/2023

Publish Date: 20/03/2023