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The show will go on. There will be winners and losers at Cambridge tonight as harness racing returns to the track just a day after one of the worst scandals in New Zealand's racing history erupted. Eight harness racing identities and two people linked to the racing industry have been charged with either connection to race fixing or drug supply, leaving many in racing shaken and stunned. With some of harness racing's biggest and brightest names already charged and set to appear in court next Tuesday, the industry's reputation has taken a battering that could take years to mend. Depending on the outcome of those court cases, harness racing may never be the same again. But the business of racing continues, even at Addington tomorrow night where up to eight of those charged could have had horses racing but will now not be allowed to attend. "We have not given any consideration to stopping racing because of this. None," said Harness Racing New Zealand chief executive Edward Rennell. "That would penalise good people who work hard and have horses that are being aimed at races this week and in the weeks coming up. "It would penalise everybody in the industry and that isn't going to happen. We will keep racing and HRNZ will deal with these matters as they come to our attention and go through the courts." Even one of harness racing's showcase events, the annual Horse of the Year awards, will still be held at Alexandra Park on September 29, even though some of those charged will be eligible for awards. HRNZ has no real option, racing is first and foremost a business, one which thousands depend on to pay their bills. They can't halt that for what is, so far, eight people directly employed inside that machine. At tonight's Cambridge meeting there will be plenty of horses but one giant elephant, one topic of discussion that dominates. Tomorrow's Addington meeting could be more like a wake after the Operation Inca investigation. The absence of huge stars will leave a hole impossible to ignore. Harness racing has weathered scandals before, first the milkshaking epidemic of the early 1990s and then the Blue Magic scandal of 2005 that, in part, led to two people inside the industry taking their lives. Harness racing survived, as have most codes of racing worldwide when betting scandals go public. Over the last year the Victorian thoroughbred industry was rocked by a high-profile drug story involving one of its biggest racing operations. Betting figures from the first group one of the season at Caulfield last Saturday suggest punters there had short memories and were quickly back in the swing. Harness racing will survive this week and the months that lie ahead but the timing could not be worse. The code is already set to have a reduced percentage of TAB turnover if recommendations of last week's Messara report are fully implemented to benefit the thoroughbred industry. Harness racing is fighting hard to retain its market share and the fact such high profile industry participants are involved is a lot harder to overcome than a few small-time cowboys. Owners who have invested heavily in some of the more successful stables could be left with a bad taste in their mouths and maybe even something worse. Doubt. Doubt that their horses were always given the chances they should have been and those doubts will linger, rightly or wrongly, until many of the charges laid yesterday are fully exposed in the courts and the extent of any alleged offence is known. What will be lost in the storm that harness racing now finds itself in the eye of is that most people and most horses are doing what they should be doing. Trying to win. But even the most optimistic harness racing fans might doubt things will ever be the same again. The game will go on. There might just be a few less players. Michael Guerin

Three more Canterbury racing figures have been charged as part of police investigations into harness racing's race-fixing scandal - both with supplying drugs, and one of the suspects with possession of a stun gun. That brings to 10 the number of horsepeople, all from Canterbury and working in the harness racing industry, who have been charged today for either supplying Class B drugs or race-fixing. All have come to police attention through Operation Inca, which started as a race-fixing investigation 18 months ago after information passed on by the Racing Integrity Unit. Today's arrests are the result of a further six search warrants conducted in Christchurch this morning, taking the total number of search warrants to 17. Phone surveillance has resulted in five horsepeople from Canterbury and a non-licence holder who works inside the racing industry in Manawatu being charged over being involved in or profitting from race fixing, which is listed in court documents as match fixing. But the recreational drug use or supply cases appear to have come about from information gathered in the course of the race-fixing investigation. Only one person, a 26-year-old male who appeared in a Christchurch court yesterday and was granted name suppression, has been charged with both race-fixing and drug supply offences. The story has rocked the racing industry to its core and looks set to get bigger as at least one other leading horseperson is named in court documents relating to the drug charges. Earlier today the Racing Integrity Unit banned all six trainers or drivers charged from attending race meetings, which now looks certain to happen to the two latest trainers charged. That will mean at least eight horsepeople who could have had horses racing at Addington this Friday night will not be able to attend and the RIU will then rule on whether that can participate in racing activities before their cases are heard. Harness racing bosses are dismayed by the rapidly-growing number of cases but have vowed their flagship national awards, for which some of those charged were in the running for honours, will still go ahead at Alexandra Park on September 29. With that night not seeing Alexandra Park hosting a race meeting, any industry member who has been charged would still be able to attend. Early today a race held at Nelson on June 8 was named in court as being part of the race-fixing investigation while the Herald understands a relatively minor race at Manawatu earlier in the year, is also under investigation. One of the industry's glamour events, the $200,000 New Zealand Derby at Addington in April, was investigated by police but seems unlikely to be at the centre of any race-fixing allegations. Michael Guerin

The Police and Racing Integrity Unit are investigating Race Fixing in Harness Racing. As a result of the investigation to date the Police have arrested a number of persons and charged them with race fixing. In view of the serious nature of the charges the Police have laid, the Racing Integrity Unit (RIU) has taken action under the Rules of Harness Racing to exclude, all those charged by the Police from entering a race course to attend race meengs, workouts and trials. The RIU has also charged those concerned with Serious Racing Offences, Rule 1001 (1) (v) (i) of the Rules of Harness Racing. The RIU can be contacted by the following means:   0800RIU123   09 529 7219   As the matter is now before the courts no further comment can be made.   RIU

As reported by Stuff, one of harness racing's brightest young prospects is one of seven people charged after a long-running inquiry into alleged race-fixing and drugs in the industry.  Police confirmed they have charged seven people in relation to Operation Inca, which culminated in raids on 10 harness racing stables in Canterbury, Manawatū and Invercargill on Tuesday. More raids are understood to be happening on Wednesday.  A 26-year-old man was due to appear in the Christchurch District Court on Wednesday on charges of deception by match-fixing, possessing Class B drugs for supply and supplying Class B drugs, police said. Stuff understands the 26-year-old is trainer and driver Matt Anderson, who is widely regarded as one of harness racing's brightest young prospects. Four men aged 34, 40, 41 and 44 were due to appear in Christchurch District Court on Tuesday next week on match-fixing charges. Stuff understands the men are Nigel McGrath, John Dunn, Blair Orange and Andrew Stuart. A 41-year-old woman would appear in court the same day on two counts of supplying Class B drugs.  A 47-year-old man, who Stuff understands is Brent Wall, has been charged with deception by match-fixing and is due to appear in Palmerston North District Court, also on Tuesday, police said.   Read the full story here   Martin van Beynen and Mat Kermeen  

Police can now confirm seven people have been charged in relation to Operation Inca — an investigation into alleged race-fixing in the harness racing industry. A 26-year-old man is due to appear in Christchurch District Court today on charges of deception by match-fixing, possessing Class B drugs for supply, and supplying Class B drugs. Four men — aged 34, 40, 41 and 44 — are due to appear in Christchurch District Court on Tuesday 12 September on match-fixing charges.  A 41-year-old woman is due to appear the same day on two counts of supplying Class B drugs. A 47-year-old man has been charged with deception by match-fixing and is due to appear in Palmerston North District Court, also on Tuesday 12 September. Police yesterday conducted nine search warrants in Christchurch, one in Invercargill and another in Manawatu. Further details are expected later today or tomorrow.   Harnesslink Media

Whether the current harness racing race fixing blow ends up a bleeding nose or a gaping wound will almost certainly depend on the contents of texts and phone calls now in police hands. Some of the industry's biggest names spent at least part of today in police custody, and while unconfirmed, some have already been charged with race fixing or similar offences. Names at the centre of the investigation named Operation Inca include last season's premiership-winning driver Blair Orange, the man he dethroned for that title Dexter Dunn, and Dunn's brother John, himself a leading driver. The Herald understands at least one other successful Canterbury trainer was extensively questioned by police, while they also visited the stables of champion trainers Mark Purdon and Natalie Rasmussen, with Purdon reportedly not part of the investigation. While police today suggested race fixing and potentially drugs are at the centre of their investigations the Herald was told that illegal performance-enhancing substances used on horses are not the focal point of Operation Inca. The investigation was sparked by information passed to police by the Racing Integrity Unit as early as April last year and police have tapped phones and checked text messages as part of the investigation. What they found or are still to find in those texts or calls will be crucial to building a case against any of those under investigation because race fixing is incredibly hard to prove. And often even harder to actually achieve. While there have and always will be those who are suspicious of racing being "fixed", the reality is it has never been cleaner because of technology. Most trainers and drivers/jockeys don't bet because it is too easy to trace, with bookies openly supplying betting records to authorities. So any of the people under investigation placing a bet on a race they were involved with would set off alarm bells regardless of the result. Which is why the spouses of several of those under investigation were also questioned today, to see whether they had placed bets on their partner's behalf. That is almost certain to be a dead end. What is more likely to end up at the centre of the investigation and any future charges will be betting activities of third parties who bet on information supplied by horsepeople and may have rewarded them for that information. That in itself is an offence but a relatively minor one. The real problem for harness racing would be if any of the parties involved colluded to rig a race, supplied that information to a third party and benefited from that information and any money subsequently won. That would have huge ramifications, an iceberg to racing's Titanic. Text messages, phone calls or face-to-face conversations between punters looking for a tip, even just an opinion, from horsepeople have been going on for as long as there have been phones or racetracks. So if the text messages, recordings and apparently emails, the latter a seemingly very strange way to fix a race, confirm that any drivers knew each other's plans and passed that information on, then harness racing has a problem like cricket's famous match fixing scandals. The other option is a punter ringing multiple horsepeople, putting that information together and betting accordingly for their own purposes. Christchurch-based owner Graham Beirne also had property raided today but was overseas and denies any wrongdoing. Whether any punter, in New Zealand or overseas, would have the money and more importantly the power to fix a race and convince the people at the centre of this investigation is questionable. Such scams are incredibly hard to pull off, as the mastermind needs drivers capable of controlling the main variables of the race without outside interference. The money gambled on New Zealand harness races is relatively small compared with overseas thoroughbred action and any unusual transactions are easily spotted and the driving tactics around them noted. The electronic trail is so pronounced, the telecommunications so easy to track, anybody engaging in prolonged race-fixing would be certain to get caught. This investigation could last a long time but regardless of how it pans out, to the punting public, perception is often reality, and harness racing's reputation has taken a huge blow. The irony is this: Orange and Dexter Dunn travelled to almost every race meeting they attended last season together. I spoke to them before, after and sometimes even during those meetings. They are, hand on heart, two of the worst tipsters I have ever met among the leading horsepeople and if your betting strategy was punting on what they thought was going to happen, you would go broke. But now the racing industry will wait to find out what was said, texted and written.   Michael Guerin

As reported by Stuff a wealthy Christchurch punter whose home was raided in a high-level police investigation into corruption in harness racing says police will come up empty-handed.  Harness racing identities have been interviewed by police following morning raids on 10 stables throughout the country, following a long-running inquiry into alleged race-fixing, corruption and drugs in the sport.  Police executed search warrants on stables in Canterbury, Invercargill and Manawatū. Figures interviewed included Natalie Rasmussen, John Dunn, Blair Orange, Nigel McGrath and Andrew Stuart.  Christchurch car industry king pin, racehorse owner and major punter Graham Beirne, speaking to Stuff from Bali where he is on holiday, said he had heard about the raids on Canterbury trainers and knew police wanted to interview him. "I'm a suspect put it that way. The police have been to our place this morning but I'm not there. All I have to say is one word: nonsense. Read the full Stuff story here   Martin van Beynen and Mat Kermeen Stuff Website

Harness Racing New Zealand was informed this morning by the Racing Integrity Unit that the New Zealand Police were interviewing a number of industry participants as part of an ongoing investigation. The integrity of harness racing is of paramount importance. These allegations are serious and very concerning. The independent Racing Integrity Unit and New Zealand Police have Harness Racing New Zealand’s total support in addressing this and ensuring the industry’s integrity is maintained. This is now a matter for Police and Harness Racing New Zealand cannot comment further at this stage. Edward Rennell Chief Executive Harness Racing New Zealand 021 407 596

The announcement that the Police have today executed search warrants on a number of racing industry participants as part of an ongoing investigation into alleged race fixing within the harness code while disappointing shows the racing integrity system is working, New Zealand Racing Board (NZRB) Chair, Glenda Hughes said. The actions taken today resulted from information received by the Racing Integrity Unit (RIU), an independent body charged with maintaining integrity in the sport. That information initiated a co-ordinated and careful investigation between NZ Police and the RIU. "The value of having an independent integrity body focused on investigating and prosecuting any alleged impropriety is reinforced in this action," said Ms Hughes. "Those involved in the industry and the Kiwi punters who support it must have confidence in the integrity of the sport," said John Allen, NZRB CEO, which runs the TAB. "I am confident that our integrity systems work and that where alleged breaches of our rules and of criminal law are identified, they are investigated and prosecuted appropriately," he said. As this is a Police matter, NZRB will not be commenting further at this time.   Kate Richards Head of Communications New Zealand Racing Board

Harness Racing New Zealand is thrilled to announce that from Wednesday 5 September there will be a new harness podcast available for harness racing fans.   Proudly produced by HRNZ Marketing, ‘White Out’ will be a North Island Harness focused podcast hosted by respected commentator and form analyst, Aaron White.   The podcast will be released each Wednesday afternoon and will feature northern harness reviews of the previous week’s racing action, with horses to follow and eye-catching performers for punters to place in their black books.   It will also preview the northern meetings for the week ahead, and canvas trainers and drivers for their horses to follow relating to those meetings.   Aaron White will also conduct regular industry interviews and feature guest selectors during his podcast.   ‘White Out’ will be available every Wednesday afternoon via the Harness Racing New Zealand website ( and will also feature on the Punter’s Lounge on     Jess Smith          

Welcome to the Harness Half Hourpodcast brought to you by HRNZ marketing. Jess Smith brings the latest harness racing news and interviews with colorful and interesting industry participants from New Zealand and around the world. This week’s Harness Half Hour with Jess Smith features Natalie Rasmussen following Thefixer’s guaranteed entry into the NZ Cup; leading North Island trainer Steve Telfer; Aaron White on his brand new podcast which is being released this week; Gavin Smith following his 200th winner; Nigel Armstrong regarding this Friday’s Owners Night and Bookie Richard Wilson.   Jess Smith

HARNESS RACING NEW ZEALAND CHAIRMAN RESPONDES TO THE MESSARA REPORT   HRNZ welcomes the release of the Messara Report on the NZ Racing Industry , 30th August 2018.   This report , although it has a very strong thoroughbred focus, does set out a new structure and significant change for the Industry as a whole going forward.   The HRNZ Board has yet to consider the report , but will in the coming weeks be making a detailed analysis of it and the impact it will have on the Harness Racing Industry.   After this analysis is completed, we will formulate a submission on behalf of Harness Racing to go to the Racing Minister , the RT Honourable Winston Peters.   We are confident that with consultation and by working with all the parties involved , we can secure a pathway to a successful future for not only Harness Racing , but the whole of the NZ Racing Industry.   Ken Spicer Chairman Harness Racing New Zealand

When the Kennards wrote their name down for Thefixer as a yearling they weren't going just by what was in front of them. They had already had race and sales success with Sir Tosti Mach, his half brother by Mach Three. Sir Tosti Mach ran second to Alta Christiano  in a Sales Graduate race and ran 4th in a very strong final that year. He later was a durable racehorse in Australia. So a version by Bettor's Delight was certainly no option from hell Seven wins from 12 starts later-plus a lot of patience as Mark and Natalie told them "Tosti" was a good horse in the making but needing time-showed that the trainers knew what they were talking about. Surprise, surprise. But what might be termed a surprise is not that Thefixer is good but that he is male. This is a family that has left useful colts and geldings and the odd case even better than that. But it is a filly family by any measure. Thefixer's dam Tosti Girl was a high bar perfomer earning nearly $200,000 in age group events. And her dam, Delightful Paula by the brilliant track performer but disappointing stallion, Jaguar Spur-once so fashionable he  had a yearing passed in at $100,000 at Christchurch when the average was less than $20,000-connected spectacularly with Christian Cullen to produce another outstanding filly, Delightful Christian, who won over $200,000 and ran 1.52. Her record would have been even better had she not returned a controversial positive to arsenic after winning a Harness Jewels 2yo Filly and being disqualified-a penalty legal action could not shake. Not only that but the next dam, Aristocratic, left another high class filly Paula Michelle who won the filly version of the Sires Stakes both at two and three. Colts anyone ? Why? At that stage this branch of the family, nurtured for many years by the Harrison family of Methven, had moved north after Central Standardbreds bought Patrician from Tom Harrison. Brian Hughes and John Green had considerable success breeding most of the above stars from her descendants.  We need hardly add that Patrician's dam, Undaunted, bred on the Light Brigade-U Scott cross more fashionable then than even the Bettor's Delight-Christian Cullen one today, left a very smart mare in the days before so many rich filly races in Ulight who won seven and granddam also of Local View. She did also leave a smart male pacer in Onassis.   Courtesy of All Stars Racing Stables

Harness racing driver Bronson Munro has been fined $500 for directing abusive and insulting comments toward other drivers during and after the running of Race 8 at the Forbury Park Trotting Club’s meeting on 15 June 2018. At the time of the incident Mr Munro was a junior horseman and he began his tirade of abuse when things did not pan out the way he wanted in the junior drivers race. Full details below:   BEFORE A JUDICIAL COMMITTEE HELD AT CHRISTCHURCH IN THE MATTER of the New Zealand Rules of Harness Racing IN THE MATTER of Information No. A09972 BETWEEN Racing Integrity Unit MR NICK YDGREN Chief Stipendary Steward AND MR BRONSON MUNRO Junior Driver Respondent Rule Breach: 303(2) Judicial Committee: DM Jackson (Chair) - H Weston (Member) RESERVED DECISION OF JUDICIAL COMMITTEE DATED 28 AUGUST 2018 1. Mr Munro admits a charge that he breached rule 303(2) by directing abusive and insulting comments toward other drivers during and after the running of Race 8 at the Forbury Park Trotting Club’s meeting on 15 June 2018. 2. Mr Munro admitted the breach at the first available opportunity and by his agent on the day, Mr John Dunn, countersigned the information recording same, and a penalty hearing in respect of this charge was scheduled for and heard by this Committee on 3 August 2018. Mr Munro was assisted by Mr Robert Dunn during the hearing. 3. The rule provides: “303… (2) No person…who holds a…licence under these rules…shall misconduct himself…” 4. The consequences for a breach of the rule are dealt within the general penalties provisions of the rules namely by way of: “1003(1)… (a) a fine not exceeding $10,000.00; and/or (b) suspension from holding or obtaining a licence for a period not exceeding 12 months; and/or (c) disqualification for a period not exceeding 12 months.” The Facts 5. A summary of facts was presented by Mr Ydgren and agreed by Mr Dunn on behalf of Mr Munro. 6. The summary records that at the time of the incident Mr Munro was a junior horseman who was engaged to drive a horse called Reddington in a 2200 mobile race for junior drivers. Reddington drew barrier 6 and in the early stages of the race Mr Munro took Reddington forwards and raced to the outside of the leader, Miss Fandango, driven by Charlotte Purvis. 7. Near the 1700m Mr Munro let his horse drive forward and made a brief attempt for the lead. However, Miss Purvis allowed her horse to extend under the whip and it became apparent that she was intent on staying in front and did not surrender the lead. 8. Mr Munro’s drive then raced keenly and although initially restrained by Mr Munro it loomed up beside the leader and raced within a close proximity for approximately 800m. Near the 600m Reddington came under pressure to hold its position and began to weaken. 9. The conduct which sees Mr Munro before the Committee is summarised as follows. On returning to the check-in area Mr Munro and Miss Tomlinson, who drove the trailing Grace Burns, were involved in an incident where the two carts came together and an argument was observed by Stewards. Both drivers were summonsed by Stewards to explain their actions and Miss Purvis was also summonsed for questioning. During questioning by Stewards, it emerged that Mr Munro had directed unacceptable language to both Miss Purvis and Miss Tomlinson during and after the race. 10. The first instance of unacceptable language occurred while Mr Munro was racing in the parked position and making his attempt for the lead. According to Miss Tomlinson Mr Munro raced up beside her and called to Miss Purvis, who was leading, that his horse was racing keenly, that he couldn’t hold onto it and that she should surrender the lead to him. Miss Tomlinson who was racing in the trail called out to Miss Purvis to “get going” and to “stay in front”. 11. Mr Munro responded to Miss Tomlinson’s urgings of Miss Purvis by calling her a “dumb f****** b****”. 12. Unable to get to the front Mr Munro then abused Miss Purvis although Miss Purvis could not recall exactly what was said to her. Miss Tomlinson recalls that Mr Munro called Miss Purvis a “silly dumb b****” and a “dumb f****** b****”. 13. Miss Tomlinson believed the abuse continued throughout most of the race and was directed towards both herself and Miss Purvis. Both women told Stewards that they felt intimidated by Mr Munro and especially by his language towards them. 14. After the race, Stewards were told that Mr Munro had pursued Miss Purvis to offer her some advice on how she would be better served driving her horses in the future. Miss Purvis told Stewards that Mr Munro called her a “silly dumb b****” for not giving up the lead and that “next time you are out here I will get you”. 15. The summary of facts records that Mr Munro admitted the breach at the first opportunity but was yet to apologise to the two female drivers and that otherwise Mr Munro had no prior breaches of the rules, this being his first year back driving following a four-year absence. He is now licensed as an open horseman. Penalty Submissions 16. Mr Ydgren in his submissions described Mr Munro’s behaviour as bullying and that his language was both abusive and designed to intimidate fellow drivers. His behaviour fell well below the standard expected of a licenced horseman. 17. Mr Ydgren submitted that although Mr Munro had a clear record this was not the first occasion where he had come to the attention of the Stewards, Mr Ydgren provided the Committee with a record of warnings given to Mr Munro by Stewards during 2018 which all involve inappropriate language or otherwise intimidating behaviour on the racecourse. 18. Mr Ydgren submitted that the fact that the abuse was directed towards two female drivers ought to be viewed as an aggravating factor, that the level of offending was mid-range misconduct and that the appropriate penalty was a fine. 19. Mr Ydgren referred to a number of cases involving threatening and abusive language but noted that a previous JCA penalty guideline was in force at the time of those earlier decisions and that the new guide does not provide a starting point for misconduct. 20. Mr Ydgren submitted that the appropriate starting point for Mr Munro’s breach on this occasion was a fine of $500, which ought to be increased because the victims were female. From that Mr Munro was entitled to credit for his good record and admission such that Mr Munro ought to be fined $450 - $500. 21. For Mr Munro, Mr Dunn made a number of submissions which began with his criticism of the practice of drivers these days to yell out or otherwise attempt to intimidate other drivers during racing and that these incidents needed to be dealt with by the Stewards and that there was a degree of inconsistency in their treatment by Stewards noting recent cases of such behaviour in the North Island. For all of that Mr Dunn conceded, properly, that Mr Munro’s behaviour on this occasion was unacceptable and he outlined a number of personal matters affecting Mr Munro, which he submitted ought to be considered by the Committee in reaching its decision as to penalty. 22. Mr Dunn did suggest that Miss Tomlinson may have contributed to the incident by continuing to engage with Mr Munro. Mr Dunn then outlined an earlier incident in Mr Munro’s sporting career which meant that when this incident was picked up by the media, it was “front page news” and that it brought back significant bad memories and attention for Mr Munro. Mr Dunn submitted that not only did it tarnish Mr Munro’s image, but also that of harness racing, which made matters worse and which in and of itself was a significant punishment for Mr Munro to endure. 23. Mr Dunn and Mr Munro clarified that he had apologised to Miss Tomlinson and Miss Purvis, having had a close relationship with Miss Purvis whilst growing up. 24. Mr Dunn and Mr Munro openly discussed some of the personal matters affecting Mr Munro which the Committee will not recount in this decision, but which are connected to his behaviour on this particular occasion and in respect of which Mr Munro has sought help. 25. Mr Dunn said on Mr Munro’s behalf that he would accept whatever punishment was coming to him but did emphasise that this was a young man who was worth the effort and who could, with the effort, improve and redeem himself. 26. Following a discussion between the Committee and Mr Munro, he agreed to pay $200 to the Ovarian Cancer Charity, which charity has become synonymous with female drivers in New Zealand by virtue of their promotion of that charity at times during the racing calendar by wearing turquoise colours during race meetings. The Committee agrees that that would be an appropriate gesture of remorse by Mr Munro and determined to give him time to make that donation. 27. Further, Mr Munro was encouraged to engage with those helping him with his issues and in particular his addressing his temper. The Committee determined to delay its decision in respect of penalty until 24 August 2018 by which time Mr Ydgren was to provide an update on Mr Munro’s progress. 28. Mr Ydgren confirmed to the Committee that the donation was paid, and that Mr Munro had at least engaged with people who were qualified to assist him with his temper amongst other things. Penalty 29. This Committee does not have jurisdiction to require Mr Munro to make donations to charity or otherwise to actively engage in counselling. That is a matter for him. However, by his taking these preliminary steps towards correcting his behaviour and addressing his underlying problems, he is entitled to credit for both his insight and remorse. 30. Clearly, the circumstances in which Mr Munro comes before the Committee serve him no credit whatsoever. To abuse another driver for not giving him the front during a race was clearly misconduct, but to carry on with that abuse throughout the race and then to continue to abuse not only that driver but another driver after the race was, we accept, bullying behaviour designed to intimidate those drivers. 31. However, the Committee does not accept the submission that because the abuse was directed at females that that, in and of itself, is an aggravating factor. The abuse would have been just as unacceptable had it been directed towards another male junior driver or indeed to an open horseman. The Committee cannot create a special category of aggravating factor based on gender alone. There is no basis for gender discrimination in imposing a penalty. Further, the abuse here was not overtly sexual or misogynistic in overtone. It was ignorant and nasty, but it did not carry with it that sexual or misogynistic overlay, which might have otherwise justified an uplift. 32. We do accept that Mr Munro’s culpability was at least at the medium level. In fact, the Committee determines that it was medium to high on this occasion because it involved a continued and aggressive course of behaviour towards both drivers. It may well have been borne out of Mr Munro’s initial frustration at not getting the front and otherwise at the performance of Reddington, but it was plainly unacceptable and childish behaviour by a young man who cannot keep his cool while under pressure. 33. The Committee’s approach to this in the absence of any assistance from the Penalty Guidelines is that the starting point fine for medium to high level misconduct involving the abuse of other drivers during a race and afterwards is a fine of $750. There will be no uplift for the gender of the victims. To his credit, Mr Munro is entitled to a discount for his immediate admission of the breach, his donation to charity and otherwise for his insight and remorse. 34. The Committee acknowledges that Mr Ydgren sought a penalty which reflected the authorities available to him. However, the guidelines in force then, do not apply now and the Committee takes that as an acknowledgement that Committees should not be tied to precedent in assessing cases of misconduct. 35. The result is that Mr Munro is fined $500.    D M Jackson  Chair   Harnesslinnk Media

The Mark Purdon/Natalie Rasmussen trained Thefixer has won the seventh running of the Maurice Holmes Vase, an important lead up to the New Zealand Trotting Cup to be run in November later this year. Winning in an overall sedate winning time of 3-18.3 Thefixer showed he had improved from last weeks win on the same course by sitting parked for the last 1400m and then sprinting home the last 800m in 56.2 to collar a game leader in Captain Dolmio close to the line. TAB favourite Dream About Me ran home late for third after a good trip in the one x one, but realistically had no chance of winning with the leaders sprinting home from the 400m in 26.2 seconds. Driver Natalie Rasmussen's stated on the All Stars website after the race, "Another great run from Thefixer though I think he can be even better with a gear change. "He was just a bit jiggly coming around the final bend which we can fix and he will be better then. "We are thinking now about a "hit and run" trip for the Victoria Cup instead of staying longer and taking in more races. "It is quite close to the Cup meeting and that is something we need to consider," she said. Thefixer gained an automatic entry to the New Zealand Trotting Cup with last nights win and the TAB bookies reacted by bringing the son of Bettor's Delight in from $8.50 to $7.00 on the futures fixed odds win book for the big race. It was a great night for the All Stars team with Mark Purdon also being inducted into the Addington Hall of Fame during the evening with legendary trainer and proud father Roy Purdon there for the occasion.   Harnesslink Media    

MILTON, ON - August 30, 2018 - Hall of Fame trainer Jimmy Takter has done everything and more during his career in harness racing. The 58-year-old has trained and managed some of the sport's greatest champions for more than two decades and every year continues to add names to his list of 'All-Stars'. With $130 million in career earnings and too many award winners to list, it's fair to ask what keeps Jimmy Takter motivated and excited for his work? Enter Lazarus. 'The Wonder from Down Under' is Takter's latest project and exactly the kind of challenge he seeks at this stage in his career. "When you've had as many top horses as I've had over the last 20 years, that's what I crave, that's my excitement," said Takter of training Lazarus. "When they send me a horse they paid big money for, it's a great challenge. "There are a lot of things that can go wrong, it's a million things that can go wrong. You can question am I too tough on him. That's why you've got to have a feeling for it." Takter is a king of his craft and taken horses to the top in every way. His ranking among the greatest trainers of all-time is backed by his ability to get horses to the top, whether they started with him, like Ariana G, or arrived in his barn with more to accomplish, like Always B Miki. "I've been dealing with great horses and I think at my age I've developed into maybe one of the best in the world to manage a great horse," Takter said. "It's one thing to get a great horse there and then another thing to keep it there and keep it going. "I still have my Great Vintage and Sunfire Blue Chip winning races. Great Vintage winning the Open at Yonkers at 10-years-old. That's what I'm good at. They are great horses, but they start getting a little older, so you've got to manage them right, put them in the right races, race them when you know they are ready." Taylor Made Stallions, the leading consignor of Thoroughbreds, purchased Down Under champion Lazarus earlier this year to bring the six-year-old to North America with hopes to conquer the best older pacers in Canada and the U.S. It was no shock to fans and industry participants that Takter was the trainer selected by the Thoroughbred breeding powerhouse to prepare and manage 'The Wonder from Down Under'. "Taylor Made, they are new customers in my operation, they've given me 100 per cent free hands how to manage this horse," Takter said. "They are absolutely first-class owners, they love this." The addition of Taylor Made into the Standardbred game made headlines throughout the sport and has been a breath of fresh air. Duncan Taylor, CEO of Taylor Made Sales and Stallions, leads the team that has been bold in promoting their star and working with racetracks. "They're not regular owners," Takter noted. "Taylor Made is the biggest Thoroughbred seller in the business. They've sold yearlings over $2 billion in sales and another additional $1 billion privately. "I wouldn't be surprised if they have someone land with a parachute with Lazarus on it. They are great people. They give away things. They are givers not takers." Lazarus has just one star under his belt in North America, but the son of Bettors Delight has been the talk of the sport in both Canada and the U.S. He arrived in North America with 35 wins and more than $2.6 million earned in 45 starts Down Under. 'The Wonder from Down Under' arrived in Takter's barn with a lengthy list of accomplishments, but with the look of a horse that had just traveled across the world. "He's a good-looking horse, but not 'wow'," Takter said. "He came up and he had about two and a half days of flying, it's like a horror trip to get here." Lazarus adjusted to his new environment and entered Takter's training routine, growing stronger with each week. "He adapted to it very fast and I started feeling this horse is ready." Lazarus took to the track at The Meadowlands on July 28 and more than proved his trainer's judgement, qualifying in 1:48.3. Next step was a race and the six-year-old made an even bigger statement defeating many of the division's best in the Dan Patch at Hoosier Park on August 10. Viewed as an equine Rockstar Down Under, Lazarus has impressed Takter with his attitude. "Every day I see him he gets more personality coming out of him and he talks a lot this horse," Takter said. "It's so funny when you're training him he talks the entire mile. "I've never seen a horse that talks as much as he does." The Hall of Fame trainer is no stranger to media requests, but the following Lazarus receives is unlike anything seen in North America. "Every time he races I have to do something," Takter noted. "When he won in Indiana he made the headline news (in New Zealand) on national tv, not just the sports." The hype surrounding Lazarus continues to grow and the six-year-old is by far the star of the show at Mohawk Park on Saturday evening for the Canadian Pacing Derby. Fans attending Saturday's card will receive a special poster and rally towel to commemorate Lazarus' Canadian debut. Takter believes Lazarus is the boost North American harness racing needs. "We need this in harness racing, we really do need a horse that is special and people want to come out and it's a great horse for racetracks to promote," Takter said. "People will say 'I need to go out and see this horse from New Zealand'." The Canadian Pacing Derby is the next stop for Project: Lazarus. As expected, Takter is confident heading into the $600,000 race and enjoying the journey managing another champion. "I know this horse is very special." by Mark McKelvie, for Woodbine Communications  

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