An investigation has begun into an incident between a senior New Zealand racing official and a young woman at Ellerslie Racecourse at the weekend.

Dean Nowell, the chief handicapper for New Zealand Thoroughbred Racing (NZTR), tried to enter the track and was challenged by the woman, who was working as a gate attendant.

A complaint has been made to NZTR who are treating the incident as an employment issue.

It is understood Mr Nowell was accompanied by guests and took exception to being told he could not enter the area without tickets.


It is understood he tried to continue through the gates. He was given a trespass notice, asked to leave the track and the incident was referred to the racecourse inspector.

Asked about the trespass order, Mr Nowell said: "It's nothing to do with me".

He then refused to comment further and referred the Herald to NZTR chief executive Greg Purcell, who yesterday confirmed an investigation was under way.

"There was an incident at the weekend involving an NZTR employee and his entry at the gate into Ellerslie Racecourse.

"We're currently following a complaint in relation to the matter and are reviewing the incident.

"We've commenced an internal process and will be interviewing Mr Nowell in relation to the matter," he said.

He had received a report from the steward yesterday. Mr Nowell was still at work while the investigation was ongoing.

Ellerslie Racecourse chief executive Chris Weaver said he couldn't comment as it was a "private matter between the individuals".