Mr Bruce Harpley- Inquiry Conducted

09 July 2018

HARNESS Racing New South Wales (HRNSW) Stewards conducted an Inquiry today into a report received from the Australian Racing Forensic Laboratory (ARFL) that Oxazepam had been detected in the post-race urine sample taken from WHISKIESONTHEBEACH following its win in race 6, the FRITSCH BROS PACE (2000 metres) conducted at Temora on Friday 9 February 2018.

The ‘B’ sample was confirmed by Racing Analytical Services Limited (RASL) in Victoria.

Mr Harpley appeared at the Inquiry and presented evidence in relation to his registered training establishment, the horse WHISKIESONTHEBEACH and the substance Oxazepam. Evidence was provided of a Steward’s stable inspection that included the collection of soil and grass samples.

HRNSW Stewards also presented Certificates of Analysis from ARFL and RASL, as well as analysis reports that confirmed that the soil and grass samples obtained by HRNSW Stewards from Mr Harpley’s property contained the substance Oxazepam.

Mr Harpley pleaded guilty to a charge issued pursuant to Rule 190 (1), (2) & (4) for presenting WHISKIESONTHEBEACH to race not free of a prohibited substance, being Oxazepam.

In respect of that charge, a conviction was recorded, however, Stewards did not impose a penalty on Mr Harpley as they were satisfied that the detection of Oxazepam had resulted from environmental contamination. Stewards were satisfied that the source of the environmental contamination was a septic sewer system and the use of a human prescription medication by an occupant of the property.

Mr Harpley was cautioned that he must take all reasonable measures in future to manage his training establishment and horses to ensure that his horses were presented to race in accordance with the Australian Harness Racing Rules.

In considering penalty Stewards were mindful of the following;

  • The results reported by ARFL and RASL;

  • The evidence of Mr Harpley and the Steward’s inspection;

  • Environmental contamination;

  • Mr Harpley’s first Prohibited Substance offence;

  • Mr Harpley’s licence history, offence record and personal subjective facts.


Acting under the provisions of Rule 195, WHISKIESONTHEBEACH was disqualified from the abovementioned race.

On 12 June 2018, HRNSW provided notice to the NSW Harness Racing industry in relation to horses being exposed to water from septic sewer systems and being allowed to graze in areas where water irrigation or overflow is provided from septic sewer systems.

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 an industry-appointed Board of Directors and is independent of Government.


To arrange an interview or for further information please contact:


Michael Prentice                           Grant Adams


Integrity Manager                           Chairman of Stewards


(02) 9722 6600                               (02) 9722 6628