On 29 January 2024, the Victorian Racing Tribunal (VRT) held a Directions Hearing concerning the matter of Ms Emma Stewart.

Ms Stewart had previously appealed against the severity of the Harness Racing Victoria (HRV) Stewards’ decision of 5 December 2023 to disqualify her for six (6) months. The media release relating to the HRV Stewards’ decision can be viewed here.

On 8 December 2023, the VRT heard Ms Stewart’s application for a stay, which was granted. The VRT’s Decision to grant the stay application can be viewed here.

On 8 and 9 December 2023, Ms Stewart lodged stable returns with HRV seeking to transfer 21 horses she was training to licensed trainer Mr Clayton Tonkin.

On 20 December 2023, the HRV Stewards rejected the stable returns pursuant to Australian Harness Racing Rule (AHRR) 25(4).

After hearing from Mr Damian Sheales, on behalf of Ms Stewart, and Mr Chris Winneke KC, on behalf of the HRV Stewards, the VRT made orders that the parties provide written submissions in relation to whether the HRV decision to reject the stable returns was compliant with the orders of the Stay decision on 8 December 2023.

The VRT also set down a further directions hearing on 25 March 2024.