Harness racing clubs are within their rights to reject nominations, such as is being threatened in Invercargill over South Auckland trainer Geoff Small's horses, Harness Racing New Zealand general manager Edward Rennell said yesterday.

Invercargill Harness Racing Club president Tom Kilkelly's stand would not affect the judicial case against Small, who has been charged with an act detrimental to the interests of racing.

This followed the late scratching of All Tiger from a race at Addington on Friday night after stewards ruled stablemate Changeover unfit to race.

Kilkelly said yesterday he would refuse nominations from Small and said he had the majority backing of his committee. If committee members changed their minds and voted to accept nominations from Small, Kilkelly said he would resign.

"It's up to the discretion of clubs to make that call," said Rennell. "I can understand some of the depth of feeling within the industry and some of the frustration that is there."

The charge against Small and another of using insulting and abusive language to race officials is tentatively scheduled for Tuesday.

Changeover, who is being aimed at defending his New Zealand Cup crown on November 10, was scratched on veterinary advice, because of a scab on an abrasion on his rump that apparently was knocked off on a float trip to the course on Friday, Rennell said.

The decision to scratch Changeover enraged Small, who then withdrew All Tiger by phone, an act Rennell has described as "petulant".

Changeover subsequently gained a vet's clearance to run at the Ashburton workouts this week and will be examined by a vet again before the Ashburton Flying Stakes on Monday.

Kilkelly said it was unlikely Small would take his horses to Invercargill. "But I am making a stand because I've had enough. Everywhere you go, people are talking about Geoff Small and it's just bringing harness racing into disrepute," he said.

"Everyone is fed up with it.

"When we as trainers renew our licences each year, we agree to abide by the rules of HRNZ, regardless of whether we agree or disagree with those rules."

- NZPA