VICTORIAN racing continues to enjoy strong customer engagement and participation according to the racing and wagering results for the 2017-18 racing season released today by Racing Victoria (RV).

Nation high attendances, wagering and field sizes underpin the positive results which provide a platform for continued growth throughout the current Spring Racing Carnival and beyond.

It’s the fourth-time RV has presented its half-yearly racing and wagering results which afford a detailed overview of the industry’s performance against a number of key metrics, whilst identifying notable trends.

The key results for the period between August 2017 and July 2018 are as follows:

  • A record $6.42 billion was wagered domestically on Victorian racing – up 2.7% despite a decline of more than 50% from one key corporate bookmaker amid a rapidly evolving wagering market;
  • Underlying year-on-year wagering growth of 7.5% when the results of the one key corporate bookmaker are removed;
  • Punters again showed their love for night racing with average turnover per meeting up 8%, while the trial of race free Mondays led to a collective wagering uplift of 14.1% across the 10 subsequent double-header Wednesdays;
  • The Spring Racing Carnival reported growth in excess of 5% in both attendance and turnover throughout the 2017 edition;
  • Television ratings on Channel 7/7Two for spring’s 13 feature racedays grew by 18.2% in 2017 which was complemented by significant increases in engagement with;
  • Across the season there were 1.33 million attendees at meetings statewide with country crowds up and metropolitan marginally down due to the grandstand construction works at Flemington;
  • Over 67,000 owners have participated in Victorian racing across the past two years, while the percentage of jockeys and trainers that celebrated Saturday metropolitan success grew year-on-year;
  • Victoria was the only state in 2017-18 to both increase field sizes and maintain an average above 10 starters per TAB race. This extended to staying races where Victoria conducted 40% of the nation’s 2000m+ races;
  • Despite a smaller foal crop, the number of individual horses that competed rose by 0.8% to 8,731 with many sharing in a prizemoney and bonus pool that rose above $200 million for the first time;
  • With a $16.3 million increase delivered in 2017-18 and a further $12.4 million boost announced mid-year for the current 2018-19 season, Victorian racing has seen prizemoney and bonuses increase by $55 million – or a third – since 2015; and
  • Among those horses to compete was the 227th internationally-trained contender for the Spring Racing Carnival with an independent report detailing a $47.7 million annual economic benefit to the state from the Carnival’s internationalisation.

RV Chief Executive, Giles Thompson, said RV’s full year results offer transparency on industry performance and demonstrate the health of Victorian racing.

“We have had a terrific year of thoroughbred racing across Victoria and it is pleasing to report that customers and participants are continuing to engage in record numbers delivering nation high attendances, wagering and field sizes,” Mr Thompson said.

“From Winx’s historic Cox Plate three-peat to Vianden’s country Cup romp, the 2017-18 season was littered with many highlights that were warmly embraced by our customers here and abroad and we’ve seen that reflected in these results.

“The depth and quality of our racing has continued to fuel the growth in wagering and we’re particularly pleased to be the only state which grew average field sizes over the season, whilst delivering record prizemoney for our participants.

“I’m delighted to also report on further growth in female participation over the past 12 months with the percentage of trainers, jockeys and stable employees all on the rise, amid the backdrop of burgeoning success rates by female riders.

“Off the back of increases of more than 5% in attendance and turnover across the 2017 Spring Racing Carnival, this year we’re celebrating 25 years of international participation in the Carnival and these results also outline the important economic contribution that the visiting horses make to our state.

“In releasing these positive results for the 2017-18 season, I want to take this opportunity to again thank all our customers for their continued support of Victorian racing, our participants for their dedication and commitment, and our Clubs for their tireless efforts in showcasing our sport.”



LEADING trainer Darren Weir has been fined $5000 for making false or misleading statements over the identity of seven horses at the Ballarat trials last month.

LEO SCHLINK reports for the HERALD SUN that Weir pleaded guilty to breaching AR175(gg) of the Rules of Racing after “falsely and misleadingly” declaring the names of seven horses at the October 3 trials.

Racing Victoria stewards said the actions of the Weir stable meant “information provided for the public for these (four) heats was incorrect”.

The horses who were falsely listed under other names were Imperial Edition, Diamond Diva, Masterbax, Rewarding Girl, Holy Freeze, Buck Bay and Vogue Empress.

Stewards took into account Weir’s guilty plea, “evidence during the inquiry, that an initial email to the Ballarat Turf Club gave weight to the evidence that the offence was not premeditated, the circumstances surrounding the incident and the fact that the incident has the ability to erode the confidence of the industry”.

“Stewards further wish to remind trainers that as of Monday, 1 October they must ensure that any horse nominated in jumpouts which are listed in the Inside Racing publication must be correctly named and identified.”






MICHELLE PAYNE might be a ‘pain in the arse’ for officialdom when it comes to her controversial tweets about the state of the tracks in Melbourne but as a trainer – and a jockey – she is entitled to have her say without being silenced or censored.

Granted, Victorian Chief Steward Robert Cram made a valid point when he told Payne: ‘You’ve got form in this area’ which prompted another fine – this time of $300 – smaller than her previous ones involving Sandown and the departed track manager from Flemington, Mick Goodie, who has found a new life in Queensland racing.

Cram’s description of Michelle’s latest tweet regarding the Flemington track last weekend as ‘rude’ and ‘insolent’ is debatable in the eyes of many in the racing industry around the country not to mention the locals who wholeheartedly agreed with her assessment.

In the lead-up to last Saturday’s meeting Payne threatened to scratch her runner, Sweet Rockette, if the track ‘looks too firm’, labelling the situation as ‘absolute bulls---‘. She ended up running the three-year-old filly which ran 4th in the Cap D’Antibes Stakes.

Payne felt she had to respond because she was frustrated the track hadn’t been watered. Cram accepted her frustration. She sympathized with the situation that track manager Liam O’Keeffe had been confronted with and subsequently apologized for the tweet.

That doesn’t alter the fact that the Flemington track was rated a Good 3 after heavy rain that was forecast for the morning failed to arrive. Payne, like many other stakeholders, believed O’Keeffe should have watered the track on Friday. But he was in a no-win situation.

Payne said O’Keeffe had told her he wished he could have watered the track before the meeting. He doesn’t have the crystal ball that the Weather Bureau possesses but even they can’t get it right.

Instead of continuing to fine and chastise Payne for saying what most were thinking stewards should be pressuring officialdom to have the Rules amended giving track managers the flexibility of being permitted to water on race morning if forecast rain doesn’t eventuate.

Payne said track managers, regardless, should be able to water the day before even if rain was forecast to make sure the track had some give in it. Wasn’t that the situation some time ago following complaints that the international horses faced the prospect of breaking down if tracks were too hard and in the old terms tracks were required to be in the ‘dead’ range for the start of meetings. Why not revert to the same?

There were horses that felt the hard track at Flemington on Saturday. With the Spring Carnival on our doorstep the last thing racing needs is bad publicity from locals and international visitors regarding the track surface resembling a ‘bitumen road’.

Payne is right when she says: “If there’s rain forecast for Saturday, they should still water the track on the Friday. If the rain doesn’t come then the track has been watered and it will be fine for the horses. If it does then it might be a Slow 6 which is still fine for racing. That way we won’t get a track which is too firm and horses won’t pull up sore.”

Payne has now been fined $500 for criticising the state of the Sandown track, $300 for Saturday’s tweet and last year she copped $1500 for attacking then Flemington track manger Mick Goodie.

In retrospect perhaps someone in a much higher role was sharing her thought process when she tweeted: “Maybe Mick Goodie’s position needs to be reviewed? He has no one to answer to, gets away with it time and time again. It’s not very nice to upset people but I’ve been there many times (to) our premier track, walked it and felt like going home.”

Ironically, the services of Goodie at Flemington have since been disposed of and he is now working with the big losers in Australian racing in Queensland where his seemingly mission impossible is to get the greatest embarrassment and track redevelopment disaster in the land at Eagle Farm back in action by Christmas.

Good luck to him but if it doesn’t succeed it will just be another failure for Racing Queensland – which many in racing believe them to be masters at. Ask any racing follower and they will highlight the failings of racing in the Sunshine State from lack of punter confidence in integrity to administration of the sport and even things as easy to oversee as Racing Awards which have hit an all-time low in the eyes of many.    

But back to the final word on Michelle – here’s hoping these fines do no silence or censor her completely. Perhaps she should word her criticism differently but Payne simply has the guts to echo the sentiments of many others in the industry and most agree with her that the rules should be changed. If they don’t heed her warnings it is only a matter of time before this becomes yet another major issue of for the ‘fruit loops’ in the animal liberation movement who simply don’t understand the intricacies of horse racing.



ROBBIE WATERHOUSE shoots from the hip when it comes to all things racing and his look back at Saturday’s big meeting at Flemington could easily have qualified for the ‘good section’ on the WHINGE this week but as you read on it becomes ‘more ugly’.

Here’s what Rob had to say:

‘I took the opportunity of fielding at Flemington Saturday. A great day’s racing and the opportunity of seeing the wonderful new members’ stand was too good an offer to refuse, despite it being a very cold spring Saturday.

It was a great day of racing. The grandstand is wonderful – the megastructure possesses real “wow factor”. Well done to the VRC, and the engineers/construction companies who have made this stand a reality.

But it is hard to contain my disappointment with the new Flemington bookmakers’ rails.

Said plainly, it was horrible. There was virtually not a punter in the ring in either the pubic or members. Bookies and clerks would have outnumbered punters 10 to 1 at any time.

On a day like Saturday – a Group 1 Saturday, I’d expect to write 1,000 tickets over the nine races on the card at Flemington, especially when the Group 1 race was close to 5-1 the field. I’ve written 2,500 tickets in the modern era on similar race days.

On Saturday, I wrote 40 on-course bets for the day, to turnover a meagre $2300. Sacré Cœur!

I’m a “top odds” bookie, wanting to do business. In my career, I’ve worked at some poor meetings – e.g. Orange dogs on a wet night in winter. Saturday at Flemington was worse. I don’t think I’ve worked at a meeting writing less than a 100 “briefs”.

I concede Flemington was cold and, at times, wet. But it was hopeless on Saturday, a Group I day with the new stand. I fear the worst for future the rails at Flemington.

It should be said… the rails bookmakers now work inside at Caulfield, Sandown, most meetings at Moonee Valley, Randwick, Rosehill and Canterbury. We must be where people naturally are.

At every English course, the bookies are in front of the stands, on the grass. Over the garden bed, over the horse tunnel, between the members and the public would be good.

On the floor of the members would also work (where lounge areas are currently).

In the spirit of constructive criticism, there are several “teething” problems with the new stands that can be fixed:

  • Inexplicably there are now no fluctuations screens for punters in the ring (let alone an over weights and allowance board). An unwelcome change from the last fifty or so years.
  • The provided betting-board screens are the “good-value” ones (i.e. cheap), unable to be read if wearing sun glasses! The ones we always use elsewhere, ones that work are “depolarised’’ and can be read.
  • Moreover, I hate my betting board being totally out of my reach and not easy for me to see. Several times Saturday, my board went blank while I was blissfully unaware. Hardly an ideal situation should it happen at 2.55pm on Tuesday 6 November.
  • The heaters provided are totally ineffective.
  • It is the only time as a bookmaker I’ve had to be at ground level, meaning beneath the punters as the ground drops down, I find it quite peculiar. There is something in the science of looking at another object at eye level, not having to adjust one’s eyes as you contrast up or down.
  • Rain water drains from the ring straight to where the bookmaker and the clerks stand. No good Saturday.
  • I am worried a punter will miss the step from ledge at the back of the ring. I think it should all be smoothed off.





AS expected WINX stole the spotlight of racing at Randwick last Saturday with another amazing win that took her tally to 27 straight.

She gave not only one of her greatest fans, legendary sports broadcaster Bruce McAvaney a fright on straightening but also many others before moving into top gear and making her rivals look second rate.

What a pity it was another ‘crap’ crowd that turned out to see the superstar of Sydney sport (with apologies to those in Racing NSW officialdom and their spin doctor mates in the racing media trying to pump it up).

At least the sports and racing mad fans of Melbourne town will turn out in much bigger numbers when she heads there now en route to an unprecedented fourth Cox Plate success.



THE strong headwind took its toll on many fancied runners in the Flemington straight last Saturday but one that survived was boom colt Brutal, adding a Listed win to his impressive resume.

After facing the breeze throughout, Brutal was headed by Leonardo Da Hinchi at the 100m mark but he fought back courageously to prevail in a head-bobbing finish.

In all likelihood Brutal will tackle the stallion-making Caulfield Guineas, but co-trainer Wayne Hawkes was typically non-committal suggesting the stable would let the horse guide them.



GODOLPHIN import Avilius maintained his unbeaten Australian record with another impressive win in the Group 3 Kingston Town Stakes at Randwick and in the process overcame the ‘Waller Wall’.

The margin wasn’t huge but there was a touch of arrogance about the performance. Avilius proved too strong for a field that included an amazing seven runners from the Chris Waller stable (the best of those was runner-up Brimham Rocks).

Avilius is now favourite for The Metropolitan in which he has 54kg and cannot be penalized for the Kingston Town win. He has emerged as a potential big Cups candidate in the Spring for Godolphin.  




THE starting price of $12 suggested that the majority of punters did not heed the advice of top trainer Mick Price that Grunt would improve when he returned to racing at Flemington.

Perhaps the presence of topliners Humidor, Kementari and Kings Will Dream proved a major distraction for those who were fans of Grunt after his G1 win in the Australian Guineas.

After a fifth and an eighth at Caulfield in two runs since a spell, Grunt went to a new level in the G1 Makybe Diva Stakes with a runaway win over Kings Will Dream who lost few fans from a big Cups viewpoint.

Downside of the race focused on the popular Sydneysider Happy Clapper which bled from both nostrils and will be banned from racing for three months.



IT was hardly good news to read that Queensland racing officials are ‘hopeful’ a horse can gallop on the track before the end of the year.

The Brisbane Racing Club and RQ accompanied a large group of trainers on an inspection of the track last week. BRC Members have also been invited to participate in a guided tour. Work on the much maligned track almost resembles a sideshow.

Eagle Farm has been undergoing ‘remedial work’ since May last year after originally being closed for two years for major renovations in 2014. It has been one of the biggest track redevelopment disasters and embarrassments in the recent history of Australian racing.

Mick Goodie, the former Flemington track manger, was on hand to answer questions from the trainers who viewed progress on the track. He is reportedly is confident Eagle Farm will make a successful comeback but the best the racing public can hope for is one meeting in December and two in February – at this stage.




FEELINGS are mixed on whether owner Stuart Ruse should have suffered an 18 month disqualification for the ‘crude’ name of a filly.

Many believe Racing NSW stewards have been too harsh whilst others say an example needs to be made to halt this occurring.

The filly made her debut in early September at Newcastle under the name ‘Andiamo Fica’ which translated from Italian to English means ‘Let’s Go C*nt’.

Ruse was charged and found guilty of conduct prejudicial to the interests and/or image of racing, with stewards alleging he was aware of the English translation when he submitted the name application. 

Stewards also found him guilty of providing false evidence in claiming that he was unaware of the rude translation. He pleaded not guilty to both charges.






THE Spring Carnival features are taking shape after it was confirmed a further 27 horses from Europe have entered quarantine ahead of their trips to Melbourne in two weeks.

Following the arrival of three Godolphin-owned gallopers in Melbourne last weekend, a further 22 horses - including headliners Benbatl and Best Solution - entered a pre-export quarantine facility at Newmarket on Thursday night.

A further five horses - led by 2017 Epsom Derby runner-up Cliffs Of Moher - have also begun their mandatory two-week pre-export quarantine in Ireland at the private facility of their premier trainer Aidan O'Brien.

They will all spend the next fortnight in their temporary homes, before boarding a flight to Melbourne that is due to touch down on AFL Grand Final Day (September 29).

In addition to the 27 arrivals from Europe, high-class Japanese stayers Chestnut Coat and Sole Impact are due to enter quarantine in their home country on Friday before landing in Melbourne on Monday, October 1.

Their arrival will take the total number of internationals quarantined at Racing Victoria's Werribee International Horse Centre to 32, which is the maximum capacity.

The European contingent is headed by Saeed bin Suroor's multiple Group 1 winner Benbatl, who has accepted The Valley's invitation to take on the world's highest-rated horse, Winx, in the $5 million Ladbrokes Cox Plate (2040m) on October 27.

Another notable traveller is Benbatl's stablemate Best Solution, who on Tuesday was assigned the second-highest weight (57.5kg) for the $5.15m Stella Artois Caulfield Cup (2400m) and the $7.3m Lexus Melbourne Cup (3200m).

Trainer Charlie Appleby is sending highly-progressive stayers Cross Counter and Hamada from his Moulton Paddocks stable in the hope of securing a first win for Godolphin in the Melbourne Cup.

They will be joined on the flight to Australia by their stablemates Emotionless, a leading contender for the Caulfield Cup, and Comicas, who will target sprint races during the Spring Racing Carnival.

Other noteworthy raiders that entered quarantine include Roger Charlton's Northumberland Plate winner Withhold, currently the second favourite for the Melbourne Cup; Count Octave, trained by frequent Spring Racing Carnival visitor Andrew Balding, who won the Group 1 Mackinnon Stakes with Side Glance in 2013; and his stablemate Duretto, whose last run produced a gutsy victory in the Listed Chester Stakes at the start of the month.

Red Verdon, whose trainer Ed Dunlop saddled Red Cadeaux to three runner-up finishes in the Melbourne Cup, will also be on the plane; as will Prince Of Arran, the well-travelled galloper trained by rising star Charlie Fellowes, who spent a year in Australia working for Hall of Fame trainer Lee Freedman.

Cliffs Of Moher will have company in the form of his stablemate Yucatan, who holds Caulfield and Melbourne Cup entries, plus fellow Ballydoyle residents Fleet Review, Spirit Of Valor and Intelligence Cross, who will all target sprint races across the Spring Racing Carnival.

Ten of the 27 Europeans will remain in Australia once they have completed their mandatory two-week quarantine period on Saturday, October 13, having been purchased by Australian owners or sent to local trainers by their current owners.

They are: Dal Harraild and Pharrell (both Ciaron Maher and David Eustace), Langley (Darren Weir), Finche, Shraaoh and Casterton (Chris Waller), Gustavus Vassa (Lindsay Park), Marathon Man and Sound Check (both Mike Moroney) and Danon Distance (trainer to be advised).

Paul Bloodworth, RV's General Manager - Racing and International Operations, said: "We're looking forward to welcoming some of the best horses from Europe to Melbourne for the Spring Racing Carnival.

"These horses generate great interest in Victorian racing both here and back in their homeland.

"It's very satisfying to again see horses from some of the world's leading stables targeting our carnival, as well as newcomers such as Charlie Fellowes, who is hoping to share in the record prizemoney on offer in our major races.

"Going on his current international rating of 123, Benbatl will be the second-highest-rated international horse to have competed in the Spring Racing Carnival, and 16 of the 27 boast an international rating of 110 or above so there's great quality as well as tremendous depth among this year's internationals."

Following is a list of the horses in quarantine in England:

  • Benbatl (Saeed bin Suroor);
  • Best Solution (Saeed bin Suroor);
  • Prizemoney (Saeed bin Suroor);
  • Comicas (Charlie Appleby);
  • Cross Counter (Charlie Appleby);
  • Emotionless (Charlie Appleby);
  • Hamada (Charlie Appleby);
  • Count Octave (Andrew Balding);
  • Duretto (Andrew Balding);
  • Red Verdon (Ed Dunlop);
  • Prince Of Arran (Charlie Fellowes);
  • Withhold (Roger Charlton);
  • Dal Harraild (Ciaron Maher and David Eustace);
  • Pharrell (Ciaron Maher and David Eustace);
  • Langley (Darren Weir);
  • Casterton (Chris Waller);
  • Finche (Chris Waller);
  • Shraaoh (Chris Waller);
  • Gustavus Vassa (Lindsay Park);
  • Marathon Man (Mike Moroney);
  • Sound Check (Mike Moroney); and
  • Danon Distance (Trainer to be advised).

Following is a list of the horses in quarantine in Ireland:

  • Cliffs Of Moher (Aidan O'Brien);
  • Fleet Review (Aidan O'Brien);
  • Intelligence Cross (Aidan O'Brien);
  • Spirit of Valor (Aidan O'Brien); and
  • Yucatan (Aidan O'Brien).

Following is a list of the horses that are scheduled to enter quarantine in Japan today:

  • Chestnut Coat (Yoshito Yahagi); and
  • Sole Impact (Hirofuma Toda).

Following is a list of the international horses that are currently completing their post-arrival quarantine at the Werribee International Horse Centre:

  • Blair House (Charlie Appleby);
  • Folkswood (Charlie Appleby); and
  • Jungle Cat (Charlie Appleby).




RACING Victoria (RV) has today announced that Robert Cram has been elevated to the position of Chairman of Stewards with immediate effect. 

Cram, who boasts over three decades of experience as an integrity official within Victorian racing, replaces Terry Bailey, who vacated the position in July 2018.

First employed by the Victoria Racing Club (VRC) as a Cadet Stipendiary Steward in 1982, Cram assumed the role of Chairman of Stewards in the South Western, Ballarat District and Northern District regions of Victoria whilst also serving as the director of the state’s apprentice jockey training program from 1991-1996.

He was elevated to the position of Senior Stipendiary Steward in 1996 before being appointed Deputy Chairman of Stewards – Non Raceday Integrity & Compliance by RV in 2005.

Cram assumed the role of Manager – Integrity Services for two years from 2008 before returning to the position of Deputy Chairman of Stewards in 2010, serving in that role since under Bailey.

Cram has shared the position of Acting Chairman of Stewards since July 2018 and has been appointed following a worldwide search.

RV Executive General Manager – Integrity Services, Jamie Stier, said, “We are delighted to announce the appointment of Robert Cram to the position of Chairman of Stewards with immediate effect and congratulate him on his selection.

“Robert is a vastly experienced steward who possesses a tremendous wealth of knowledge and understanding of the sport, a strong rapport with industry stakeholders and the ability to lead and nurture our stewards panel.

“As well as working tirelessly to maintain the integrity of the sport throughout his career, Robert has also demonstrated effective change management in strategic direction which is important as we continue to evolve our integrity processes.

“Robert was responsible for establishing our successful apprentice jockey training program early in his career and later was the driving force behind the development of our non-raceday integrity program and activities.

“Robert also led the operational review of our betting services which ultimately led to the establishment of the Control Room, the centrally located raceday hub that remotely supports the stewards officiating at a race meeting.”

Cram said upon news of his appointment, “It’s a great honour to be appointed Chairman of Stewards of Racing Victoria and to lead a really talented and committed stewards panel.

“I’m looking forward to helping each member of the panel continue to develop, while ensuring that we oversee safe, fair, clean and competitive racing for all participants across the state and for all punters betting on our racing.

“My focus will be on maintaining our unwavering commitment to the integrity of Victorian racing, whilst ensuring the highest standards of safety and the professional presentation of our sport on raceday.”

Cram will report to Stier with Rob Montgomery retaining the position of Deputy Chairman of Stewards, a position that he previously shared with Cram.






THE feelings of MOST PUNTERS who have their say through the WEDNESDAY WHINGE is that new CHIEF STEWARD PETER CHADWICK faces a mission impossible cleaning up racing in south-east Queensland.

Whilst most insist that Alan Reardon should have been consigned to the retirement paddock much sooner, the racing public in general believes the legal system in the north is stacked in favor of those prepared to bend the Rules.

NATHAN EXELBY, in his column THE VERDICT in THE SUNDAY MAIL wrote: CHIEF stipe Peter Chadwick wasted no time opening the account in his new post, with apprentice Clayton Gallagher becoming the first scalp of the new regime, incurring a 16-day suspension (last Saturday at Doomben). Gallagher pleaded guilty to careless riding after his win on Defence Missile. Stewards also opened an inquiry into interference in the second race and later suspended Brad Stewart for 13 meetings for his ride on Prue’s Angel.

That prompted this response from ALBY WHITEHEAD, who describes himself as a life-long punter on Queensland racing whose patience is wearing well and truly thin:

‘I want to welcome Mr Chadwick with the message that his new home should have had a big broom put through it a long time ago. They kick the crap out of the ‘red hots’ but the gallops are just as bad but don’t attract the same negative publicity.

Instead of starting out by taking a big stick to an apprentice the new Chief Steward should start looking at the rides of some of the senior jockeys – like Brad Stewart on the odds-on Ef Troop a few weeks back (albeit before Mr Chadwick’s arrival) and Jeff Lloyd aboard another odds-on favorite Asharani on Saturday. Both were rated ‘victims of wide runs’ but I would have thought a better description might have been ‘given a sore back’.

Watching the races from Brisbane on TV I noticed Mr Chadwick sharing some friendly banter with Jeff Lloyd at the scales after his copybook ride to win on Tawfiq Boy two races earlier. Like many other punters there was a need for him to have a less than friendly chat with the old hoop after his performance on Asharani.’



BRIAN McLEOD of BRISBANE made this interesting observation about Saturday racing in Queensland:

‘IT’S deadly for punters wanting to back an odds-on or short-priced favorite at the major metropolitan meeting in south-east Queensland on a Saturday.

Saturday there were three early shorties – Asharani, which went the way of many favorites from the Van Dyke stable, and got beaten – one might say after a pretty ordinary ride from Jeff Lloyd.

Fiji Flyer blew from odds on to $2.8 and was beaten by the well-tried Defence Missile which was gifted an easy lead and never looked like being beaten.

Then we had From Within which started $1.7 despite some of the good judges questioning whether it would be suited with the sting out of the ground. That proved wrong when it bolted in but by then the punters were a bit gun-shy after having their fingers burnt on the two previous that looked good things.

It’s just typical of how many of the favorites perform at the major Saturday meetings but there seems to always be acceptable excuses from a stewards’ perspective while the punters are left to ponder why they missed the start, were trapped wide, never got clear or generally performed like mules for no apparent reason.

Just look back at a couple of ugly rides from a punter’s point of view on Ef Troop (Brad Stewart) and Asharani (Jeff Lloyd). These blokes would hold their own with the best jockeys in the land but on occasions seem to ride like inexperienced apprentices.’

IN Sydney and Melbourne the worst punters seem to have to contend with are multiple runners from the stables of champion trainers Chris Waller and Darren Weir. In Brisbane the nightmare is working out whether a hot favorite will run to form or flop badly.

There seems to have been reluctance in the past to see any sort of strong action from the stewards against high profile identities in the industry. Perhaps the racing police are sick of belting their heads against a brick wall at appeals level with a smart lawyer seeming to find a loophole to beat anything from ‘hitting horses’ to ‘not giving them every chance of winning’.

Your ‘mission’ Peter Chadwick, if you choose to accept it, is to win back the punters who are walking away from betting on racing in south-east Queensland because they no longer have the confidence to bet.       





NATURE STRIP earned a slot in THE EVEREST with a track record breaking win over 1000m in the G2 McEwen Stakes at the Valley last Saturday – but is he a genuine winning chance?

There are plenty of good judges questioning whether the brilliant speed that Nature Strip possesses will be sufficient to run his rivals off their legs or whether the big finishers will run over the top of him at the end of 1200m.

Trainer Darren Weir says Nature Strip is the fastest horse he has trained. The speedster is fourth favorite for THE EVEREST at $8 behind Redzel, Trapeze Artist and Vega Magic.



GODOLPHIN import HOME OF THE BRAVE is not likely to seek a slot in the $13 million The Everest despite his impressive win in the G2 Theo Marks Stakes at Rosehill on Saturday.

Home of the Brave beat Epsom favorite D’Argento and Trapeze Artist, second favorite for The Everest, with stable spokesman Darren Beadman suggesting trainer James Cummings had plenty of other options.

 “James has mentioned the Sir Rupert Clarke Stakes as an option,” Beadman said. “He is a horse that runs with purpose so a race like that (The Everest) would be suitable but there are options for him.”


AAP reports that the Queensland Cabinet is set to discuss the Point Of Consumption tax with a decision on allocation due within a fortnight.

The news agency understands there are divided opinions in Cabinet on how the tax, which should raise about $70 million, will be spread.

Cabinet is believed ready to make a decision on Monday week which will then go to a review committee.

The POC, which is a 15 per cent levy on all bookmakers betting on Queensland races, comes into law in three weeks’ time.

NSW racing codes have been promised about $40 million from its POC and Victoria is also expected to get a boost.

The Queensland Government is committed to making up a payment by Racing Queensland back to UBET for its deduction.



LEAN MEAN MACHINE would normally be included in the ‘good’ section of our look back at weekend racing but qualifies for the ‘bad’ with his win in the G2 Run to the Rose coming at the expense of a more strongly fancied stablemate.

It was groundhog day for Sydney racing on Saturday with yet another Waller fancy being beaten by a stablemate rated an outsider in the betting. On this occasion it was Zousain $4.8 finishing fourth to Lean Mean Machine $14.

Whether the win of Lean Mean Machine was aided by the heavy track, it was the most impressive of the day. The handsome galloper powered home to beat the unlucky Graff which was trapped wide.

Winner of the G2 Sires’ Produce Stakes at Doomben in May, Lean Mean Machine was having his first start since he failed in the Gr1 JJ Atkins won by The Autumn Sun at Doomben in June.

Graff is now the $4.6 favorite for the Golden Rose in a fortnight ahead of Lean Mean Machine and The Autumn Sun at $8.

Waller also trains The Autumn Sun which was Golden Rose favorite before finishing a luckless third on Saturday in the Group 2 Stan Fox Stakes behind Tarka and stablemate Dealmaker.


IT’S hard to understand some of the ‘good judges’ declaring the defeat of heavily-backed APPROACH DISCREET at the Valley last Saturday as not that disappointing.

Granted the Darren Weir-trained youngster did a bit of work to get across but raced outside the leader and eventual winner TAVIRUN which did far more early yet raced away in the straight.

It was yet another occasion at the city Saturday meeting where the declared ‘good thing’ of the experts performed below expectations.



DOOMBEN seemed to have benefitted from the break while Saturday racing in Queensland went to Gold Sunshine Coast for three weeks.

But the racing public is still none the wiser on what is happening with Eagle Farm.

The last news out of the BRC bunker suggested it would be December before the new-look Farm was ready for racing and then it might be only the one meeting before the New Year.

Surely some of the ‘spin doctors’ for RQ and the BRC can pen a ‘feel-good’ piece on the progress of the redevelopment to at least keep the punters and the racing public up to date on what is happening with Eagle Farm.

Is it too much to ask them to do their job and risk offending those who prefer to sweep the Farm farce under the carpet?




NO edition of ‘the ugly’ look back at weekend racing would be complete without recording the ride of Jeff Lloyd on the odds-on Asharani at Doomben.

Punters who listened to the pre-race raps from trainer David Van Dyke (he said she was on trial for a Melbourne trip for the Thousand Guineas) and took the shorts would have been in need of a tranquilizer after Asharani saw more of the outside fence than the rail and beat only one home.

Those who backed the horse and then had to listen to the SKY host suggest it was disappointing would have been even more angry considering no mention was made of the Lloyd slaughter job.

They could at least take some comfort from stewards requiring the horse to trial before racing again but little from the fact they didn’t question Lloyd concerning his tactics. Their report reads:

ASHARANI – Began awkwardly and was then bumped shortly after. Improved on to heels approaching the 600m and shifted wider on the track. When questioned regarding the horse’s performance, jockey J. Lloyd explained that his mount over-raced in the early stages and was caught wide before being restrained near the 500m to obtain cover behind GLOBAL CHOICE. He added that when placed under pressure from the 500m the filly failed to quicken as anticipated and proved very disappointing. A post-race veterinary examination revealed no abnormalities and a swab sample was taken. Trainer D. Vandyke was advised that in light of today’s poor performance the filly would be required to trial satisfactorily prior to racing again. Mr Vandyke undertook to report to stewards anything that becomes evident in coming days which may have had an effect on the performance. 



IN response to various Australian State/Territory Governments introducing Point of Consumption (POC) taxes on wagering revenue, Betfair wishes to advise of upcoming changes to the Discount Rate available to our customers.
These changes are not something that we take lightly. Nationally, POC taxes impose an incremental 11% tax that Betfair must pay on top of Product Fees and GST (approximately 40% and 9.1% of wagering revenue respectively). After POC taxes, Betfair will pay approximately 60% of its wagering revenues in fees and taxes before operational expenditure, payroll and company tax, and capital expenditure.
Betfair works hard to educate State/Territory politicians as to the uniqueness of the betting exchange and the importance of our punters to the broader wagering industry. We will continue to work hard to provide our customers the best possible prices while remaining a viable business.
We advise that, from 1 October 2018, the discount on the Market Base Rate for Betfair’s customers will change to the following table:

Betfair Points




Discount Rate 






















In addition, a customer’s address will determine the maximum discount they are eligible to receive. In the table below, we have set out the maximum discount rate which will apply to each State/Territory. The maximum discount rates have been set taking into account the POC tax charged in each State/Territory.

Resident of

POC tax rate on wagering revenue

Maximum discount rate

Date applicable

South Australia



From 1 October 2018




From 1 October 2018

Australian Capital Territory



From 1 January 2019*

Western Australia



From 1 January 2019*

New South Wales



From 1 January 2019*




From 1 January 2019*





Northern Territory




New Zealand




*Until 1 January 2019, residents of the Australian Capital Territory, Western Australia, New South Wales and Victoria will be eligible to a maximum discount rate of 60%.

The new ladder (set out above) was the best solution to ensure that all customers are treated equally, that the betting exchange remains vibrant, and that a customer is not overly disadvantaged based on where they live. This is evident by Betfair putting in place a solution that now allows South Australian customers to be eligible for the Discount Rate again.

Unfortunately, the ladder change by itself is not enough to deal with the significant incremental tax, and therefore Betfair has made the decision to introduce caps on the Discount Rate by State/Territory.



FUJITSU Limited and Fujitsu Frontech Limited have announced that their jointly developed biometric-enabled cashless betting machines will be put to use by the Japan Racing Association.

The betting machines will allow users to place bets without using cash by simply holding their hands out to the machine and using their JRA-UMACA contactless membership card.

The JRA will begin operating the betting machines at the Tokyo Racecourse on September 22. Users link their pre-registered palm vein information with their JRA-UMACA card, which can be loaded with money.

This enables highly secure placement of cashless bets as well as payouts, authenticating the user with their unique bio-signature when they touch their JRA-UMACA card to the cashless betting machine and hold out the palm of their hand.

The JRA will initially operate the machines at the Tokyo Racecourse, and plans to expand the service to the Fukushima, Chukyo, and Hanshin racecourses, and subsequently to all racecourses nationwide as well as WINS off-course betting facilities.

The Fujitsu Group actively supports the JRA's digital transformation by contributing to the improvement of fan services, providing solutions that can be used both safely and conveniently.

Previously, when purchasing a betting ticket at a racecourse or at a WINS betting facility, customers faced a number of issues, including excessive coins when change was returned, and the loss of betting tickets.

Given this, JRA decided to deploy cashless betting machines where users could place bets without printing out paper betting tickets by registering their personal information onto their members-only JRA-UMACA contactless cards, which can be loaded with money in advance.

JRA is using Fujitsu's cashless betting machines featuring palm vein authentication as they make counterfeiting difficult and offer high recognition accuracy to verify members of JRA-UMACA, which offers anonymous memberships.

Features of the Cashless Betting Machines

  1. Enables simple placement of bets and payouts without cash. The cashless betting machine reads the user's members-only JRA-UMACA card, as well as betting information, such as the betting application ticket in its existing format, and then the betting ticket purchase can be made when it authenticates the user through the veins in their palm. The purchase information is recorded on the JRA-UMACA card making it unnecessary to print a paper betting ticket, and if they make an accurate prediction, winnings will be paid out to the JRA-UMACA card automatically.
  2. Secure operations with a high authentication rate through palm vein authentication. These cashless betting machines now feature the Fujitsu Group's palm vein authentication technology, which has a global track record of usage in areas including bank ATMs and corporate PC access management. Verification with palm veins, being information contained within the body, makes it difficult to fake. With its high authentication accuracy and lack of physical contact, the technology ensures that personal authentication can be completed easily and hygienically. Palm veins can be used to authenticate a person even when reissuing a lost JRA-UMACA card, and the system also prevents unauthorized use by third parties, such as a person finding a lost card.
  3. Additionally allows the purchase of WIN5 tickets and bets on races outside Japan. With the cashless betting machines, users can now also purchase WIN5 tickets and place bets on races outside Japan, which could previously only be done online. Immediate payouts will automatically be added to the user's JRA-UMACA card balance. 




MULTIPLE Group 1 winner Humidor has been assigned the topweight for both the $5.15m Stella Artois Caulfield Cup (2400m) and the $7.3m Lexus Melbourne Cup (3200m).

Racing Victoria’s (RV) Executive General Manager – Racing & Participant Wellbeing, Greg Carpenter, this morning unveiled the weights for Australia’s two richest handicap races, announcing that the Darren Weir-trained galloper had been allocated 58kg in both.

Humidor competed in both races last year, finishing fifth in the Caulfield Cup and 19th in the Melbourne Cup, which this year will be held respectively at Caulfield on Saturday 20 October, and at Flemington on Tuesday, 6 November.

The six-year-old gelding, who ran Winx so close in the 2017 Ladbrokes Cox Plate (2040m), is a worthy topweight, having last week claimed his third Group 1 in the Memsie Stakes (1400m) at Caulfield.

However, with the Spring Racing Carnival celebrating 25 years of international competition, it is significant that overseas horses feature prominently thereafter filling four of the next five spots in the Caulfield Cup weights and six of the next seven in the Melbourne Cup. 

Princess of Wales’s Stakes (2400m) winner Best Solution, aiming to deliver a first victory in the Melbourne Cup for Godolphin and a second in the Caulfield Cup, has been allocated 57.5kg in both races; while the Australian Bloodstock-owned Torcedor, whose German trainer Andreas Wöhler won the 2014 Melbourne Cup with Protectionist, has 57kg in both cups.   

Champion Irish trainer, Aidan O’Brien, whose stayer Johannes Vermeer ran a place in both the Caulfield and Melbourne Cups last year, has four horses nominated for the Caulfield Cup and 12 for the Melbourne Cup as he chases a maiden victory in both.

Group 1 winner Lancaster Bomber, who is nominated for the Melbourne Cup only, is the highest weighted of his entries with 57.5kg, while stablemates Cliffs of Moher (56.5kg) and Idaho (56kg) are also among the topweights in both Cups.

Outside Humidor, the only Australasian-trained entrant allocated more than 55.5kg is Chris Waller’s versatile five-year-old Comin’ Through, who recently added the Group 2 Tramway Stakes (1400m) to his win in this year’s Group 1 Doomben Cup (2000m). He has 56.5kg in both races.

Other notable weight allocations include:

  • Kings Will Dream, the firm favourite for the Caulfield Cup and a guaranteed starter courtesy of his Mornington Cup (2400m) win earlier this year, has been asked to carry 53kg in his bid to secure a first win in the world’s richest 2400m turf handicap for Weir; 
  • High-class Japanese stayer Chestnut Coat, who is nominated for both cups, and Godolphin’s 2017 Cox Plate placegetter Folkswood, whose sole target is the Caulfield Cup, have both been allocated 55.5kg;
  • British raider Muntahaa, an emphatic winner of the Ebor Handicap at York for his renowned trainer John Gosden, has been assigned 55.5kg for the Melbourne Cup – half a kilo more than the Hughie Morrison-trained Marmelo (55kg), who finished sixth in last year’s Caulfield Cup and ninth in the Melbourne Cup, having started favourite;
  • David Payne’s Group 1 Victoria Derby (2500m) winner Ace High, is the highest-weighted four-year-old on 55kg, ahead of the Waller-trained D’Argento and Mick Price’s Group 1 Australian Guineas (1600m) winner Grunt, whom are both on 54kg;
  • Waller’s Group 1 ATC Oaks (2400m) winner Unforgotten, a breathtaking winner of the Group 2 Chelmsford Stakes (1600m) this month, is the highest weighted four-year-old mare in both cups with 52.5kg, while her Group 1 Queensland Oaks (2400m) winning stablemate Youngstar has 51.5kg;
  • This year’s crop of northern hemisphere three-year-olds, aiming to emulate the achievements of Rekindling who carried 51.5kg to victory in last year’s Melbourne Cup, are particularly strong, with Melbourne Cup entry Kew Gardens – another O’Brien runner – highest in the weights on 53kg;
  • O’Brien’s son Joseph, who last year became the youngest trainer to win the Melbourne Cup in history, is aiming to go back-to-back with Irish Derby (2400m) winner Latrobe, who will be asked to carry 52kg in his bid to deliver a record seventh success for Hall of Fame owner Lloyd Williams;
  • The man who steered Rekindling to Melbourne Cup glory, Corey Brown, has this year chosen to partner another international, the Ian Williams-trained English entry Magic Circle, who has been assigned 56kg; and
  • James Cummings’ highly-touted French import Avilius, who features prominently in Caulfield Cup betting for Godolphin, has been allotted 53kg in both cups.

Carpenter revealed that, with Rekindling not defending his crown and two notable stayers remaining in Europe, the allocated weights had to be adjusted accordingly.

“With the high-class European pair Stradivarius and Vazirabad opting against travelling to Australia and no previous Melbourne Cup winners amongst the entries, all horses nominated for the Caulfield Cup and Melbourne Cup have been asked to carry more weight than they otherwise would have done,” Carpenter explained.

“With the conditions stating that each race has a minimum topweight of 58kg at the release of the handicaps, it is three-time Group 1 winner and Cox Plate runner-up Humidor that has been allotted the topweight in both races. 

“Despite the absence of what I would call a natural topweight in both races, there is tremendous depth and quality among the entries and I suspect that the challenge to gain a start in both cups will be the toughest in recent years. 
“With incredibly talented horses like Best Solution and Torcedor coming from Europe, the return of Japanese contenders led by Chestnut Coat, proven Australasian Group 1 performers like Humidor and an outstanding crop of four-year-olds, we will crown a worthy champion in the Caulfield and Melbourne Cups.

“At this point, it looks as though we can expect a record number of international runners across the Spring Racing Carnival, so locally-trained horses could face a tough task in ensuring the cups remain here in Australia. That said, with horses like Kings Will Dream, Unforgotten and Ace High prominent in the early betting markets, I’m sure the overseas raiders won’t have it all their own way.”   

Carpenter further added that, under the conditions of both cups, weights will not be raised should Humidor not take his place in the field. The only way in which a horse will carry more weight than that allocated today is if it is penalised for a feature win between now and final acceptances.
The only original topweight to win the Caulfield Cup was Dunaden, who carried 58kg to victory in 2012, while the last original topweight to win the Melbourne Cup was Comic Court, in 1950. Since then, 23 have competed in the race and none have managed to run a place.

Over the past four decades, 35 horses have carried 58kg or more in the Melbourne Cup, with only Makybe Diva winning when carrying 58kg in 2005. 

First acceptances for the Caulfield Cup close at 12 noon (AET) on Tuesday, 25 September, while the deadline for the Melbourne Cup first acceptances is 12 noon (AET) on Tuesday, 9 October.




MELBOURNE’S Spring Racing Carnival has been an integral part of the city's culture for well over 100 years. Culminating in one of the world’s most prestigious horse races on the first Tuesday in November in the Melbourne Cup, the ever-vibrant city comes alive for the weeks leading up to the 'race that stops a nation'.

While the racing is obviously the focus, there is far more to the carnival than the horses and far more to the city itself. Carnival time is one of the best periods of the year to visit Melbourne and there's plenty to keep you busy when you're not trackside.

To start your day in Melbourne without a coffee would be borderline offensive in this caffeine-obsessed town. Soak up the European vibe by grabbing a seat at Degraves Espresso on Degraves St, ordering a latte and some breakfast, and make sure you've got a copy of the day's newspaper to read up on the latest form & racing news for the next race day.

Now that you've woken up properly, stroll across the Princes Bridge before taking your pick from either side of St Kilda Road. The eastern side will give you a relaxing walk through the beautiful Royal Botanical Gardens while the west leads to the National Gallery of Victoria, Australia's largest art gallery and home to a wide range of exhibitions all year round.

No doubt hungry after the morning's activities, you have an almost overwhelming array of choices for lunch. Melbourne is a truly multicultural city so you'll be able to satisfy any craving. The city's Chinatown runs through the eastern end of Little Bourke Street and is the perfect place to grab some dumplings or a bowl of noodles. The surrounding area is packed with other Asian cuisine, so if Ramen, Massaman Curry or Pho is more to your liking, it won't take you long to find your ideal spot.

From there, continue north through the city centre towards the Old Melbourne Gaol on Russell Street, where you can tour the prison grounds and brush up on your knowledge of Melbourne's criminal history in the era shortly after European settlement.

If the Gaol isn’t to your liking, wander a few more blocks north towards Carlton Gardens at the top of Spring Street, where amongst the grand old trees and floral displays you'll find the stunning old Royal Exhibition building which once housed the first Federal Parliament of Australia. Just behind the Exhibition Building is the Melbourne Museum, well worth a visit for the intriguing exhibits on nature and cultural history.

Just a few blocks westwards from Carlton Gardens is Lygon Street, home to Melbourne's huge Italian community and all the magnificent pizza, pasta and gelato that you'd expect to come with it. Fill up on delicious food here before making your way back down to the southern end of the city centre, because no evening would be complete without a few drinks to cap off a day well spent.

Alongside the Yarra River, there are numerous options to sit and enjoy a refreshing beer or cocktail with a beautiful view of the city. A few local favourites include Abory Bar & Eatery, which sits on the northern bank of the river between Flinders Street Station and the water and Ponyfish Island, a tiny island haven in the middle of the river underneath the Southbank pedestrian bridge. Failing that, just head to the strip along Southbank promenade where you can find popular destinations like Ludlow and The Breslin.

And after the perfect end to your day in this wonderful city, what's left to do but head home for a well-earned rest and make sure you're in top form before heading out to the racecourse in the morning? As of May 15th, Betway has last year’s winner Rekindling as the favourite to take out the 2018 Melbourne Cup at 20/1, so don't forget to keep an eye out before the odds shorten!



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