On 16 March 2021, the Victorian Racing Tribunal (VRT) heard an appeal lodged by licensed trainer-driver Rhys Nicholson against a charge and penalty imposed by Harness Racing Victoria (HRV) Stewards under Australian Harness Racing Rule (AHRR) 250(1)(b) which states:

250. (1) A driver commits an offence if:-

(b) He refuses or fails to deliver a sample as directed by the Stewards, or tampers with, adulterates, alters, substitutes or in any way hinders the collection of such sample or attempts to do any of those things.

The particulars of the charge being that at the Bacchus Marsh trial meeting on 27
February 2021, where he participated as a driver, Rhys Nicholson refused to deliver a urine sample as directed by the HRV Stewards.

On 4 March 2021, Mr Nicholson entered a not guilty plea to the charge, however, was found guilty by HRV Stewards and subsequently had his licence to drive in trials and races suspended for a period of five (5) months.

On 16 March 2021, the VRT considered the appeal lodged by Mr Nicholson where he maintained his not guilty plea to the charge. The VRT, after hearing submissions from Mr Nicholson and HRV Stewards, dismissed the appeal before further submissions were heard from both parties in relation to penalty.


The VRT imposed a 4-month suspension of Mr Nicholson’s drivers licence. The penalty was ordered to commence upon completion of a current suspension being served by Mr Nicholson.


VRT Panel: Justice Shane Marshall (Chairman) and Greg Childs


The written decisions of the VRT can be found here.

(Please note that VRT Decisions will generally be published within 7-10 days of the date of hearing)