A promising harness racing driver with previous form for abuse has pled guilty to misconduct after abusing two female drivers.
Bronson Munro was banned from rugby for 46 weeks in 2016 over a racial insult towards a Fijian rugby player in a high-level Canterbury country game.
He found himself again in strife over an incident at a junior drivers' event at Forbury Park, Dunedin, on June 15.
Munro was charged with misconduct for using foul language against Charlotte Purvis and Sheree Tomlinson during and after Race 8, in which he believed his horse should have been given the lead by the female drivers.
Purvis and Tomlinson provided statements, but did not make a complaint. Munro was charged on Friday night and pleaded guilty. Munro is expected to be sentenced at a Judicial Control Authority hearing next week.
The Forbury Park incident is the second such case looked at by stewards in the past six weeks. A male driver was warned after a Nelson race meeting in which he allegedly abused two female drivers.
Stewards followed up, but the two female drivers declined to confirm the abuse or make a statement.
In Munro's case, he challenged Purvis for the front up to about 650m from the finish but ended second to last. His horse would have paid $32 if it had won. Tomlinson was driving Grace Burns which was unplaced and Purvis drove the eventual third-placed Miss Fandango ($4.70).
The foul language was used on the track and in an argument as the drivers were heading out of the bird cage. Race stewards overheard the abuse and opened an inquiry, later reporting to the Racing Integrity Unit.
An experienced trainer, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, said "the culture in harness racing with guys abusing girls is terrible".
Munro was a talented sportsman and promising driver but the abusive culture in racing needed to be highlighted and cleaned up, he said.
He claimed the governing body Harness Racing New Zealand had done little to address the problem.
The trainer had viewed the race which led to the incident and believed Purvis and Tomlinson had done nothing wrong.
The penalty will be interesting but im sure his early guilty pleas will assist his cause. The guy obviously needs help nonetheless