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AT a Special General Meeting of Members of the Townsville Turf Club held last night a strong contingent of Club Members turned out to show their unity, strength and will to work together to forge a strong future for the Club.

The key part of the Meeting was the calling of Nominations and Elections of Committee Positions following the resignation of the entire previous Committee in early November.

Elected unopposed to the role of President of the new Committee was well-known local business man and local horse sports identity Malcolm Petrofski.

Joining him and taking on the role of Vice-President unopposed is leading local racing identity and long-time former Committee Member in Ross Donovan.

The remainder of the Committee consists of local business man Graham Ede a long-time supplier and supporter of the Club, Peter Malpass a significant racehorse owner with a large number of horses racing throughout Queensland and extensive agricultural interests in the local area, local business man and long-time racing supporter Graham Nicholls, as well as Greg Deveney medically retired Policeman and keen racing enthusiast.

Racing Queensland are supportive of the Club and the Racing Industry in Townsville and are a key partner in the new turnaround strategy and long term future of the Club.

The new Committee have committed to meeting again with Club Members in three weeks’ time, to ensure that they are all involved in any future plans and decisions of their Club.

Moving forward the Club has a busy December month ahead with three key race meetings to be held, the first of these kicks off with a bumper 100 Club Race Day next Thursday the 8th of December. This will be followed up by the very popular Weseal/Members Christmas Race Day on Saturday the 17th of December. Rounding out a very busy month of racing and just in time for a pre-Christmas drink will be racing on Thursday the 22nd of December.



 AS I am a RACING STAKEHOLDER of MANY YEARS IN THE NORTH for obvious reasons I ASK THAT MY IDENTITY BE WITHHELD – the last thing I want is to be hauled before the new QRIC:

 ‘MY friends and I have followed and been involved in racing in Townsville for longer than we care to remember and didn’t want to make this issue involving Turf Club CEO Michael Charge ‘personal’ but a few things need to be said.

 Michael has done a terrific job for racing in the region since he came north but you can’t please all the people all the time and obviously he has got a couple of those who are impossible to please offside at some stage and they have jumped at the opportunity to square him up.

 Of all the things that stewards in Queensland need to investigate right now – like the running of races in the south-east corner in particular – they were forced to act on a complaint that Charge had not disclosed a 10 per cent share he had acquired in a horse.

 Charge was quick to admit his guilt – the only one he was trying to hide the information from was his better half who he was sure would insist there were more important things the family could spend their money on. Michael paid a high price for his honesty – not only the $1,000 fine but also having his good reputation dragged through the mud because a couple of racing ‘grubs’ were on a ‘get square’ mission.

 One wonders if the prominent RQ official they enjoyed a ‘drink or two with’ while no doubt sinking the boot into Charge before this farcical ‘get square’ complaint was directed to the new Integrity Unit is aware of some of the secrets the supposed pillars of the racing community in Townsville he is dealing with are hiding?

 Well they had their moment in the sun but for that should pay the price. Charge is entitled to confront his accusers. It is gutless, not only on their behalf but also for the stewards who conducted the inquiry, not to reveal who made the original complaint and why? Most in Townsville who are close to racing are well aware of the identity of these faceless people – they have a history in this sort of business.

 And therein lies another interesting story that for legal reasons we will not try to reveal. But  at least some of those involved should remember the old adage – people who live in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones.

 Without going into too much detail could some of those responsible be closely linked to a prominent industry stakeholder in a more high profile region with plenty of skeletons in his closet?

 If anonymity is the cornerstone of how the new QRIC or new-look stewards are encouraged to approach inquiries then perhaps some intelligence could be heading their way on just what happened to a couple of young apprentices after a party and just who preyed on them and why nothing was done about it. This is far more serious stuff than a 10 per cent ‘secret’ share in a racehorse. It’s a major police matter and that’s where things may now be heading if some of those extremely angry over the attempt to bring down a good man set out for revenge or deliver some ‘payback’.

 Time will tell as the temperature reaches boiling point in the north.’



EDITOR’S NOTE: FOR those who missed it here is TERRY BUTT’S take on the latest drama in Townsville racing in his ‘Silks & Saddles’ column in the NQ REGISTER:       

TOWNSVILLE has been under the racing spotlight in recent weeks for all the wrong reasons.

It all began with that grossly absurd demand (by Racing Queensland) that the TTC engage a Brisbane-based auditor at $200,000 for three months to restructure the business.

The committee resigned, simply because it didn’t want to increase the financial burden, and a meeting to appoint a new committee will be held on Thursday. That’s another story.

While all this is going on the TTC Secretary-Manager, CEO (call him what you like) was summoned to a Stewards’ Inquiry last Tuesday to answer a charge of an undeclared interest in a horse. He was fined $1,000 which prompted one high profile interstate stipendiary steward to say: ‘That’s just ridiculous’.

But it’s not just the ‘over the top’ penalty that has the tongues wagging. It is the reason why the complaint was made, who in fact made the formal complaint and who provided the information.

In other words, who was the dog (or dogs) who squealed to the Racing Queensland executive who, in turn, made a formal complaint to the QRIC – the integrity arm?

Don’t worry – hopefully all will be revealed when the transcript of this farcical ‘event’ is made available. There is a story behind the story and it needs to be told.

Put simply Michael Charge (the stressed out CEO) took a 10 per cent interest in a lease of the horse named Hotel Paradiso. The horse is now retired and he took the share ‘to help out a friend; and keep a group of basically first time owners in racing plus ‘I didn’t tell me wife’.

He made no secret of the fact (even admitted it on TV one day while hosting a Cluden meeting for SKY) and when hit with the charge last week, readily pleaded guilty. In fact Charge was thanked by the Chairman of Stewards, John Hackett, for his ‘honesty and co-operation’ at the inquiry.

However, the Stewards’ Report posted on the QRIC website states ‘he provided inaccurate and misleading information’.

How does that work?

Really how many people have an interest in a horse that perhaps their wives don’t know about?  Is it such a heinous crime to warrant such a hefty penalty?

It is definitely not – and every steward that I have spoken to agrees that the case is at the very minor end of misdemeanors. To be fined $1,000 is clearly wrong, and as one licensee commented, ‘it was to pay for the stewards’ expenses’.


And another thing – a gentleman named Albert Sakzewski was the founding Chairman and Government nominee of the Totalisator Administration Board of Queensland in 1962.

 He not only created the TAB but also raced several successful horses between 1941 and 1991 – all raced under the non-de-plume of ‘Anthony Dare’.

If this matter goes to appeal, as no doubt it will (and QCAT too if necessary), there is bound to be an altered penalty. We wait with interest. And standby for a few startling revelations when it does.

We also await with interest the outcome of Thursday’s special meeting of TTC members. Apart from the ‘left’ faction – and believe me there ARE factions – you wonder who would be silly enough to nominate themselves for a committee that will be dictated to by Racing Queensland (i.e. spend $200,000 on an accountant for three months!).

An accountant/auditor is not needed. Primary schoolers will tell you clubs will surely go broke when they lose $8,000 every time that they conduct a meeting on a Tuesday or a Thursday. And it is none other than Racing Queensland that dictates that they must – 30-0 odd times a year at Cluden.

Of course they will go broke. It is elementary.

Yet in their wisdom (or lack of) RQ insist the club – that they say is going broke – spends $200,000 on an auditor.

Little wonder racing in Queensland is the laughing stock of the land.

Where is Darren Condon – the former CEO – when he’s needed most?



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