On 9 February 2024, the Victorian Racing Tribunal (VRT) considered three charges issued by Harness Racing Victoria (HRV) Stewards against previously licensed person Rick Holmes under Australian Harness Racing Rules (AHRR) 218, 187(2) and 187(1).

Charge 1 was issued under AHRR 218, which states:

            A person having responsibility for the welfare of a horse shall not fail to care for it properly.

It was alleged that in the period that he was responsible for the welfare of the horse Dakota Warrior, between 29 January 2021 and 14 May 2021, Mr Holmes failed to care for the horse properly, in that he abandoned the horse at his stable address on or about 10 April 2021 and failed to provide sufficient food and nutrition to the horse resulting in the horse being severely emaciated when examined by a veterinarian on 14 May 2021.

Charge 2 was issued under AHRR 187(2), which states:

A person shall not refuse to answer questions or to produce a horse, document, substance or piece of equipment, or give false or misleading evidence or information at an inquiry or investigation.

It was alleged that during an interview with HRV Stewards on 21 June 2021, Mr Holmes gave false or misleading evidence regarding the location of Dakota Warrior between about mid-February 2021 and mid-April 2021.

Charge 3 was issued under AHRR 187(1), which states:

A person who is directed to do so by the Stewards shall attend an inquiry or investigation convened or conducted by them.

It was alleged that Mr Holmes refused to attend an interview with HRV Stewards on 20 September 2022, despite being directed to do so by the Stewards on 19 September 2022.

Mr Holmes pleaded guilty to the charges before penalty submissions were made by Andrew Cusumano, on behalf of the HRV Stewards, and by Mr Holmes.


Charge 1 – AHRR 218 – Disqualification of three years.

Charge 2 – AHRR 187(2) – $1500 fine

Charge 3 – AHRR 187(1) – Disqualification of six months, to be served cumulatively on charge 1.


VRT Panel: Justice Shane Marshall (Chairperson) & Dr Andrew Gould.


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)