Inquiry concluded – Mr Brendan Barnes

06 December 2017

ON Thursday November 30, 2017, Harness Racing New South Wales (HRNSW) Stewards concluded an inquiry, which commenced on July 6, 2017, in relation to the betting activities of licensed driver Mr Brendan Barnes.

Mr Barnes appeared at a Stewards inquiry and presented evidence on July 6, 2017, and again on August 15, 2017, at which time the driver was charged pursuant to Australian Harness Racing Rule 173(1) and (6) in relation to 29 betting transactions regarding races in which he had participated.

HRR 173. states; “(1)  A driver shall not bet in a race in which the driver participates. 

(2)  A driver engaged to drive at a meeting shall not enter the betting area of the racecourse during the period commencing 60 minutes before the time fixed for the first race and finishing at the completion of the driver’s engagements at the meeting.

(3)  For the purposes of this rule, betting area means those areas of a racecourse where betting with an approved wagering operator is conducted.

(4)  A driver or the trainer of a horse shall not authorise, enable, permit or allow another person to place a bet on a betting account of the driver or the trainer.

(5)  A driver or trainer shall not place or have an interest in a bet on any betting account other than an account registered in their own name.

(6)  Any person who fails to comply with any provision of this rule is guilty of an offence.

Mr Barnes pleaded guilty to the charges and provided submissions on penalty before Stewards adjourned to consider the matter of penalty.

In determining penalty, Stewards considered that 22 of the total bets were placed by Mr Barnes on the horse that he drove in the respective races.

On a further eight occasions bets were made on the same day at the same race meeting and having regard to all the circumstances, Stewards ordered the penalties in regard to these bets be served concurrently.

In addition, Stewards considered that a further two bets were placed by Mr Barnes on horses in addition to his own drives in legs of an exotic bet, namely Quadrella bets, and that a further five  bets were placed by Mr Barnes on horses other than those driven by him in various legs of multi-bets.

In relation to the charges involving the 22 bets relating to Mr Barnes betting on the horse that he drove in the respective races, he was fined a total of $2100.

In relation to the charges involving horses that he had not driven being included in two bets relating to Mr Barnes in legs of Quadrella bets, Mr Barnes was disqualified for a period of two months in respect of each charge which Stewards ordered be served concurrently.

In relation to the charges of Mr Barnes betting on horses other than those driven by him in five multi-bets, Mr Barnes was disqualified for a period of three months in respect of each charge and ordered to be served concurrently.

Having considered the nature of the betting and to all subjective facts, in particular that the offending occurred over a short period of time, the driver’s age at the time of the offences and his cooperation before the Stewards, as well as considering the totality principles in sentencing, Stewards determined that the periods of disqualification be served concurrently.  

Consequently, the full effect of the penalty being that Mr Barnes is disqualified for a period of three months, to take immediate effect.

In determining penalty, Stewards were mindful of the following;

  • The serious nature of these offences;

  • Mr Barnes’ guilty plea;

  • Mr Barnes’ licence history;

  • The Driver’s cooperation before the Stewards and other personal subjective factors.

Mr Barnes was advised of his right to appeal this decision.


Harness Racing NSW (HRNSW) is the controlling body for harness racing in New South Wales with responsibility for commercial and regulatory management of the industry including 33 racing clubs across the State.  HRNSW is headed by a Board of Directors and is independent of Government.

For further information on this matter please contact:


(02) 9722 6600 •


(02) 9722 6600 •