NZ’s Waikato Classic Postponed By Court Injunction

The Waikato Times is reporting what we beleive to be the very first case of an Australian or New Zealand race in any of the three codes being postponed due to a Court Injunction taken out be a disgruntled participant.

Many greyhound owners, trainers and interested parties have often considered a court injunction when a finaliseed feature race draw has wrongly excluded, or wrongly included, a greyhound and the local greyhound authorities or club have not fixed their mistake or shown any inclination to “make good” on the problem. But none ’til now, to our knowledge; have followed though with it.

Most solicitors will tell those interested in seeking an injuction, that should they fail in the case they will be liable for all the other parties legal expenses plus damages.

But more importantly, win or lose; the complainant could be made liable for all third party claims for damages and losses resulting from the injunction.

That means in Australia, the greyhound racing authority, the greyhound club, Sky Channel, all the totes, all bookmakers and all other involved owners, trainers, punters and greyhounds could launch a claim against you for damages or losses incurred as a result of the injunction.

For this reason alone, I am not aware of any party that has proceeded with seeking an injunction, as the potential risk far outwieghs any short term benefits gained.

However in New Zealand, prominent greyhound owner and trainer, Gary Harding has thrown caution to the wind and successfully sought a court injunction which has been granted and resulted in the postponement of the $30,000 First Sovereign Trust Waikato Classic, which was due to be run last Thursday night at Waikato.

The Waikato Times’ Bruce Holloway and Aidan Rodley take up the story :

A court injunction led to the postponement of a rich greyhound race at Cambridge last Thursday night, following allegations race conditions were changed to suit the president’s dog.

Prominent Tirau greyhound owner and trainer Gary Harding yesterday challenged the eligibility of the Peter and Lois Henley-trained dog Spring Admiral to contest the $30,000 First Sovereign Trust Waikato Classic which was due to be run at 8.06pm.

Henley is president of the Waikato & Districts Greyhound Racing Club and his wife was secretary of the club at the time the conditions for the race were notified. Harding’s dog Thrilling Shot was the first emergency for the race.

Judge Robert Wolff granted the injunction at 4.36pm, less than four hours before the race was due to start, after Harding undertook to lodge $30,000 with the court and file proceedings within seven days.

The Waikato Times under-stands it is the first time a race, across any racing code, has been halted by an injunction.

Harding alleged Waikato & Districts Greyhound Club breached the conditions of the race. One condition was that dogs had to be in the country before September 24.

“Spring Admiral came in (from Australia) after that,” Harding said.

Henley could not be contacted but Greyhound Racing NZ racing manager Ross Gove said it was up to clubs to determine the conditions of each race. The national body was satisfied the race conditions were legitimate and had rubber stamped them on the national schedule.

Harding said concern was expressed by several parties before race heats were contested on January 2.

“They advertised the race conditions in the association magazine. Then they allowed greyhounds to enter the race that didn’t comply.”

He said he became aware of the alleged incongruity at 10.30am on Tuesday.

“I contacted the board members, including the chairman, and they told me they would do nothing about it and the race would proceed.

“I told them they were leaving me no alternative but to consider this form of action. Other owners and trainers were being denied the same opportunities as the president and his owners had enjoyed.

“If they can do it, everyone should be able to do it. I am not prepared to allow them to change the rules without notification.”

In his decision in the Hamilton District Court, Judge Wolff said there was a possibility the club had breached its own rules. The case had been sufficiently made for an injunction, given that the seeking of damages would not be an adequate remedy.

“There may be others who may suffer losses as a consequence.”

Harding is betting $30,000 on his case being upheld, although he said he would also be seeking damages and costs.

“The industry has been harshly done by, by those in authority. You have two choices, roll over and play dead, or say whoa. That is what I have done. The courts will decide whether I am right or wrong.”