TOWNSVILLE TURF CLUB AGM POSTPONED DUE TO DISCREPANCIES

THE Cluden course proper in Townsville got the ‘thumbs up’ from jockeys who rode in two trials (three horses in each) last week and all is set for the reopening on Thursday.

The races were to precede the club’s annual general meeting but that was surprisingly and suddenly cancelled on Monday for several reasons (mostly due to constitution discrepancies) and no new date has been announced for the AGM.

Embarrassing and just a little more bad news for the Townsville Turf Club on top of the shock resignation of long time and highly competent staffer, Sue Wehlow, who has really run the office since the resignation of Michael Charge and the entire TTC Committee late last year.

 

WILL $200MN SAVE RACING IN QUEENSLAND OR IS IT TOO LATE?

AN election is looming, racing is sinking like the Titanic and all of a sudden the Government and Racing Queensland come up with a massive rescue package.

Sure – it’s overdue – but do the racing public and the punters care anymore or do they share the opinion of most that there is no hope for the future of the sport in Queensland?

Time will tell. What's desperately needed is prizemoney to keep in touch with the southern States. Guess that's the next rabbit from the hat.

What's the point of pouring hundreds of millions into you beaut facilities and night racing and a rank failure and money munching making machine like harness racing if no-one wants to go and the racing is crap because stakeholders are starving and owners are heading interstate chasing the better prizemoney.

Here’s what will be announced today that was leaked exclusively in the Murdoch Media overnight.

NIGHT-TIME horse racing will be introduced on the Gold Coast, and two greyhound tracks opened, in a $200 million plan to stimulate the industry.

DARRYL PASSMORE reports for THE SUNDAY MAIL that an infrastructure plan, to be released by Racing Queensland today, sets out how the biggest cash injection for the sport in the state’s history will be spent.

Priority projects for the next two years include a top-class lighting system for the Gold Coast Turf Club that will enable night-time events, seen as a big drawcard for locals and tourists.

Racing Queensland said it was close to selecting two sites to drive the growth of greyhounds in the southeast: a purpose-built replacement home for Ipswich and a new venue for the Brisbane club.

The Sunday Mail understands locations being considered include Rocklea and Bundamba.

The Eagle Farm track will be improved and Townsville’s greyhound facility refurbished.

Racing Queensland CEO Dr Eliot Forbes said the plan would lay the foundation for the industry’s success and growth of all three codes for future generations.

“Our vision to connect people through the thrill of racing can only become reality if we deliver on the wide range of infrastructure needs and grow racing and non-racing revenue.’’

The long-term vision for trotting is to build two key locations.

One will be a “state-of-the-art harness racing facility that will serve as the code’s peak metropolitan venue” with high-quality dining and bars, and cutting-edge broadcast technology, including the use of drones and go-pro cameras on each horse and driver.

The other will be “a landmark secondary racing and training venue’’.

The document is vague on details of the future of Albion Park. The industry’s governing body and the local Harness Club are at odds over whether it should be retained and revamped as a racetrack or redeveloped as a commercial centre to raise funds.

But the infrastructure plan does say: “There would be higher potential uptake and engagement with both greyhound and harness in locations other than Albion Park.’’

Research by Roy Morgan found Albion Park was underused, with a low percentage of locals potentially interested in harness or greyhound racing.

The key growth areas for patronage have been identified as the western and southern corridors between Brisbane and Ipswich and Logan/Gold Coast.

The plan has identified $198 million of projects. The Racing Infrastructure Fund, held by Queensland Treasury, has $120 million available; $63 million now and the rest between 2020 and 2023.

Racing Queensland aims to meet the $78 million shortfall between the RIF and the infrastructure spending target through increased betting, commercial agreements and developing assets. An example is a subdivision of the Ipswich Turf Club site to build a commercial and retail centre, including a supermarket, a service station, fast food outlets and a possible motel and/or childcare centre.

“The focus is on fulfilling the infrastructure needs of industry and generating commercial income from industry assets,” Dr Forbes said.

The three codes of racing contribute more than $1 billion a year to the state’s economy. But nearly 40 per cent of events in Queensland are so-called “picnic races’’ in regions, which are non-TAB events.

 

 

TABCORP-TATTS MERGER ON ROCKS AFTER FEDERAL COURT RULING

THE $11 billion merger of Tabcorp and Tatts has been thrown into doubt by a Federal Court ruling that the deal return to the Australian Competition Tribunal for further consideration.

CHRISTIAN EDWARDS reports for AAP that the Federal Court on Wednesday set aside the Australian Competition Tribunal's decision in June to approve the merger, and referred it back to the Tribunal, potentially prolonging the timeframe for the proposed tie-up.

The court's reasons for the decision are yet to be made public, and will be released within five business days after the parties are given a chance to remove details that are commercially sensitive.

The Australian Competition Tribunal has indicated to the court that if the remaining issues in contention "are of small compass," it will endeavour to arrive at a new determination by September 28.

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission challenged the Tribunal's approval of the merger back in June, and chairman Rod Sims has welcomed the Federal Court's ruling.

"The ACCC argued that the Tribunal had made an error in failing to assign less weight to benefits which would be retained by Tabcorp, its shareholders and the racing industry, and not shared with consumers more broadly," Mr Sims said.

Tabcorp has previously said it remains committed to the deal.

Tabcorp sought an informal clearance of the merger from the ACCC in November 2016, but removed that application in March 2017 following the release of the ACCC's statement of issues.

The company then applied for authorisation from the Competition Tribunal.

James Packer-backed CrownBet has also challenged the Competition Tribunal's approval of the Tabcorp and Tatts merger, and the Federal Court has given the parties in that matter until Friday to agree on what order should be made.

Shares in both Tabcorp and Tatts group were halted from trade ahead of the court's ruling on Wednesday, at $4.29 and $4.07 respectively.

 

 

STEWARDS PUT JOCKEYS ON NOTICE AS SPRING CARNIVAL HEATS UP

STEWARDS have put jockeys on early notice as the spring carnival heats up — take unnecessary risks at your peril.

LEO SCHLINK reports for the HERALD SUN that Craig Williams (23), Ben Melham (12) and Regan Bayliss (seven) were outed for a total of 42 meetings on careless riding charges at Flemington on Saturday.  

Chief steward Terry Bailey warned jockeys cavalier riding will not be tolerated after a robust inquiry involving Melham, who is considering an appeal after he was outed for his ride on Mighty Boss.

Melham was clearly irate after stewards blamed him for hampering Dwayne Dunn on Royal Symphony in the Pin & Win Plate.

Melham accused Dunn of “putting himself in danger, put me in danger” after their mounts made contact approaching the 1200m.

Dunn was upset immediately after the race and made his feelings plain to fellow riders as he returned to scale.

And he didn’t mince his words at a subsequent inquiry.

“It was just rude and uncalled for,” Dunn said when describing Melham’s riding.

“The outside horse moved in and bashed me and then did it again. I had to relinquish the spot.”

Melham vehemently disagreed.

“Why is he allowed to come out to meet me but my horse can’t shift in at that point?” Melham asked stewards.

“He’s put himself in danger, put me in danger and I’m sitting here facing this charge,” Melham said.

“It’s dangerous him riding out. Someone had to give or I would have got chopped from horses on the outside.”

Stewards told an annoyed Melham Dunn had a right to hold his line.

Bayliss was suspended for his ride on Eclair Sunshine in the same race.

Williams will not appeal a ban which could see him miss five Group 1 rides before he resumes on October 8.

The premier jockey pleaded guilty to the interference which led to Limestone and Damian Lane crashing heavily 100m from the finish of the Group 2 Danehill Stakes.

“In 25 years riding, I have never been involved in a careless riding incident that led to a fall until today,” Williams said. “I was proud of this record and I’ve only got myself to blame for this.”

Williams was relieved Lane and Limestone were uninjured in the incident.

 

AUSTRALIAN GOVERNMENT BAN ON HORSES TO & FROM HONG KONG

WHATEVER hopes the Jockey Club may have held for Australia’s world champion racemare Winx to compete at the Longines Hong Kong International Races (HKIR) in December are likely to evaporate altogether when Australian government authorities suspend the quarantine status of Sha Tin in two weeks.

The SOUTH CHINA MORNING POST reports that Australian authorities are about to switch off the green light for Hong Kong’s direct export status due to the addition of the Conghua training centre near Guangzhou to the Hong Kong equine bio-environment, and the fallout will make any Australian participation at HKIR 2017 problematical at least.

An Australian government statement said the country’s authorities had not had time to assess the disease status and official controls over horses in Conghua, and would, as a result, suspend the direct importation of horses from Hong Kong from October 2.

“Owners can still send Hong Kong horses indirectly to Australia through other approved countries,” the statement said.

In practical terms, any horse which comes for an international race – not just in December but at any time – would not be able to return directly to Australia but would be required to take a more circuitous route.

The additional inconvenience and time involved would prove a discouragement to participation at the least and, in the case of the December meeting, an added delay which could compromise connection’s plans to compete in Australia’s rich autumn carnival racing in the period from February to April.

However, Andrew Harding, the Jockey Club’s executive director of Racing Authority, said “the statement made by the DAWR [Australia’s Department of Agriculture and Water Resources] spokesman is fundamentally inaccurate”.

Top of Form

Bottom of Form

Harding said been Australian racing authorities had been kept abreast of small-scale horse movements between the Conghua training centre (CTC) and Hong Kong in February last year and had been “congratulated” by Australia’s chief veterinary officer.

The trial was supervised by the Hong Kong’s Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department (AFCD), Chinese veterinary authorities and Customs and Immigration authorities of Hong Kong and mainland China.

“He did not at that time, 18 months ago, raise any concerns whatsoever relating to the impact of this trial horse movement on the export protocols that exist between the HKSAR and Australia,” Harding said.

“On each occasion, the horses were transported in government authority-sealed, GPS-monitored vehicles and were stabled in high security stables within the CTC during the entire period within China, all under the supervision of government veterinary officials and the HKJC,” Harding said.

“There was no possibility of the horses transported to the CTC coming in contact with, or even in the vicinity of local resident horses during the trials, because the entire Conghua administrative district, covering an area of 2,009 square kilometres, including the 5km radius core area surrounding Conghua, is not only officially ‘disease free’, it is ‘local-horse free’, and that disease and horse freedom is enforced by China’s Ministry of Agriculture.”

Australian horses have not come in large numbers for the December meeting in the past but Harding said this loomed as an issue for HKIR 2017 and there was a narrowing window for a new approval.

“If the Australian authorities hold to their view, then it is an issue, but we believe it’s a matter of getting them here and showing them,” Harding said.

“Our protocols for Conghua have the approval of the European Commission and the World Organisation for Animal Health.

If it does come to Australian horses bypassing the HKIR, Harding said that would be “incongruous, given the size and nature of the trading relationship between Australia and Hong Kong”.

“Australia is the biggest exporter of horses to Hong Kong, and the relationship goes beyond exports – its horses in pre-training in Australia before coming here, its veterinary services provided in Australia for Hong Kong-owned horses, its simulcasting of Australian races and so on across the racing industry,” Harding said.

“The major beneficiary of this significant trade between Australia and Hong Kong is certainly Australia, so for the authorities there to take such a prejudicial action and deprive Hong Kong of horses for our showpiece meetings would be incongruous.”

 

WHEN ARE THE POLITICIANS GOING TO START ASKING SOME 'REAL' QUESTIONS ABOUT WHAT IS HAPPENING IN RACING IN QUEENSLAND?

WHILE the Labor Government and the LNP Opposition blame each other for the perilous state of racing in Queensland no-one seems prepared to address the serious issues that have engulfed the industry.

Allegations concerning some very high profile racing identities have been raised by Archie Butterfly writing on his website itsnotmormalisit, but there is deafening silence from the politicians to the control body and the Integrity Commission to the mainstream racing media.

If what ‘the Butterfly’ alleges is even half right there should be an immediate investigations by QRIC, heaven forbid even another Government-ordered Inquiry and the weak-kneed and gutless mainstream turf scribes and commentators should be demanding answers.

The question remains: Why aren’t they?

The racing industry – not only in Queensland but all parts of Australia – are watching with interest as this situation continues to worsen. Those key identities, whose reputations are being ravaged, for some reason are refusing to react – not a good look for them. One would suggest a high profile identity with one leading club should be stood down while allegations against him are looked into.

There are so many issues clouding the future of racing in Queensland – from the ‘dud’ TAB deal to circumstances surround the redevelopment of Eagle Farm and its new track, to the way the Queensland Racing Integrity Commission operates, the poor field sizes and prizemoney levels compared to southern states, the future of Albion Park, the fact that the ‘red hots’ are pork-barrelled by the gallops and dogs whilst they make a $7 million annual loss and the list goes on.

While there are bigger fish to fry the politicians trade blows in State Parliament but dodge the real issues, as evidenced in the latest sittings when debate turned to racing.

LNP Racing Spokesman, Jon Krause – who one assumes would be Minister if the Government changed at the next election – went on the attack with Grace Grace in his sights.   

“The incompetence of this Government in dealing with the racing industry goes on and on. The list of failures is damning, and this Government has destroyed confidence in the racing industry in this state, across all codes and all parts of Queensland.

“It started in 2015 when the Government used the live baiting issues in the greyhound code as an excuse for the political sacking of the entire Board of Racing Queensland and each of the code boards as well. That was nothing short of a political witch-hunt, and confidence in racing was sent spiraling as a result of the politic malice shown towards the Board of the time. The Minister at the time, the Member for Rockhampton, showed little interest in a portfolio that contributes so much to Queensland’s economy, especially in rural and regional areas. Now we have the Minister, the Member for Brisbane Central, running around the state presenting trophies at race meets and yet failing dismally to inspire confidence in racing,” Krause said.

Come on Jon, tell us something we don’t already know. Your side was hardly free of political witch-hunts when they had Government either – just ask the Bob Bentley Board. How about addressing some real issues – like allegations of high profile industry figures being involved with a group called Bet Fairy which deals with Tatts?

Instead what do we get from the Shadow Minister more old news – real old news about Grace Grace being quoted as saying: “I reckon I am probably one of the best Racing Ministers they have ever seen in recent times.”

Krause went on to tell Parliament: “They (the industry) bemoan the fact that the Government has devastated confidence in their industry, appointed an administration that is struggling to find its feet and failed to deliver an infrastructure plan despite promising to do so a couple of years ago.”

He is right about that but the train is ready to leave the station and he should have been asking more pertinent questions. Steve Wilson, the Chairman of RQ, apparently told the Industry Awards Night last weekend that a $20 million debt had been turned around by his Board and that stakeholders could expect a multi- million prizemoney increase over the next couple of years.

What Krause should be asking if the $20 million loss was all ‘smokes and mirrors’ presented by the Labor Party to discredit the sacked Board of Kevin Dixon, which the LNP thought was so wonderful but in the light of a questionable TAB deal not everyone is so sure.

Instead, Kraus will no doubt attract some mileage down the track from the mate of the LNP in Nathan Exelby – a poor excuse for a chief turf scribe at The Courier-Mail – with his comment to Parliament: “Now we have a Minister who calls herself the greatest. I have some news for the Minister. She is certainly not the greatest, although she may well say, ‘I am the greatest,’ just like Muhammad Ali said that he was the greatest all those years ago. ‘I am the greatest,’ is what the Minister for Racing says.

“That is not what the racing industry says. This Government and this Minister is hopeless in governing the racing industry for this state. I have news for the minister. The industry disagrees —she is not the greatest and she is certainly not one of the best racing ministers they have seen in recent times. They have seen the mishaps she has overseen in putting in place QRIC and allowing the appointment of the very person who oversaw live baiting in the greyhound industry as the chief integrity officer. They have overseen how the minister oversaw the commissioner of QRIC, Mr Barnett, go through nine months of investigating this person before he was finally sacked last month, apparently after he was never formally appointed, despite the glowing press release that QRIC put out late last year about the appointment of Mr Dart to that role.”

It’s all old news Jon. It’s time you stepped up to the plate and did what the Labor Party isn’t prepared to – start asking a few tough questions about of a few high profile identities in the racing industry in Queensland about whether they are doing the right thing.

If you don’t then many will continue to believe that racing in the LNP is still run by remote control by your boss Tim Nicholls, like he did in the Ministerial days of that dickhead – ‘furlong in front’ Steve Dickson who has since eloped with Pauline.

 

NORTH’S TOP CLUB CALLS FOR VOLUNTEERS TO WORK ON RACE DAYS

By TERRY BUTTS of the NQ REGISTER

RACING makes its long-awaited return to Cluden on Thursday, September 26, after extensive work on the new Evergreen track and on the same day the annual general meeting of the Townsville Turf Club will be held.

The track looks picture perfect – but there hasn’t been a horse on it since Townsville Cup day (July 29) – and there won’t be (much to the chagrin of trainers) until racing recommences.

Members who attend the AGM might be told reasons why the TTC has culled a lot of staff and called for volunteers to work on race days.

Members were notified in an email or on Facebook last week, which was a big surprise to many.

This is the premier TAB club in North Queensland calling on volunteer labour after what the club described as the best winter Cup Carnival in years.

It follows this statement that still appears on the TTC website:

RACING Queensland and the Townsville Turf Club have been working closely together on their turn-around plan in developing positive strategies about the Club’s future.

As a result of these strategies, Racing Queensland has accepted the plan the Townsville Turf Club has put forward and has now lifted their Control Body Direction.

“I am confident that their plan will see a return to prosperity for the club and I will continue to work with them to ensure racing in the region remains not only sustainable but prosperous while providing a thrilling sport and social hub for the region,” said (RQ CEO) Dr Eliot Forbes.

The plan surely didn’t include a call for volunteers to operate the bars and sell raffle tickets on race days.

IT’S TIME TO TEST SENSATIONAL REVELATIONS OF ARCHIE BUTTERFLY

THE sensational revelations by Archie Butterfly on the state of Queensland racing currently featured on his www.itsnotnormal website can’t possibly continue without some reaction from the Queensland racing hierarchy – and from those he has targeted.

His hitherto uncontested reports of gross mismanagement (or downright skulduggery) are being scrutinised (lapped up) daily by all sections of the racing community all over Australia – from stewards to strappers, literally...

And amazingly there has not been a whimper – not one denial from those he has fingered.

It just can’t all be all true, surely.

Or can it?

 

ILLEGAL BETTING EXCHANGES COSTING AUSTRALIA $15 BILLION  

THE Black Economy Taskforce is recommending a crackdown on illegal gambling after investigations revealed illegal betting exchanges operating in Australia, some connected to Asian crime gangs.

NASSIM KHADEM reports that the taskforce's chairman, Michael Andrew, told FAIRFAX MEDIA it knew of at least 10 illegal exchanges, turning over $1 billion annually. The bulk of the money is flowing into one exchange alone, he said.

The illegal operators consisted of international crime syndicates and local criminals, who were known to authorities and under investigation.

"During our work we have identified numerous illegal betting exchanges operating in Australia, many connected to Asian crime gangs," Mr Andrew said, ahead of the taskforce's final report which is due to be released next month. 

The taskforce has received 147 submissions to date, some of which have come from racing industry insiders.

Mr Andrew warned punters not to get involved with illegal operators in the lead-up to spring racing, including the Melbourne Cup.

The taskforce would be urging the racing industry to warn off punters and agents acting illegally and name and shame them, he said.

"The consequences could be serious," he said, noting the Interactive Gambling Amendment Act will soon become law and ban such betting exchanges.

Mr Andrew said there have also been changes to the way multinationals are taxed, and these could place taxation liabilities on their agents and participants.

"Illegal gambling undermines the integrity of our racing and sports entertainment industries," he said.

"It makes no economic contribution to social infrastructure, state taxation nor to the cost of the racing product.  

"It puts legal betting operators at a large competitive disadvantage especially with high volume professional punters."

They use these illegal betting exchanges to convert black money into white money.

The fees typically charged by licensed bookmakers and TAB can range anywhere up to 15 per cent. But illegal operators charge low fees of around 1 per cent to 2 per cent.

He said they were attracting professional punters and criminals.

"They use these illegal betting exchanges to convert black money into white money," he said, adding that it also creates money laundering opportunities.

"We have for several months been gathering information on these agents and punters but welcome any more intelligence from the community."

The problem stems beyond the racing industry, Mr Andrew said, and the taskforce was collecting more information on illegal betting generally.

Australia's major sports, including the AFL, and online bookmakers have been lobbying for live in-play betting to be legalised online.

But the Turnbull government recently confirmed it is illegal and that bets on an event can only be made during play in person or over the phone.

The taskforce has called on businesses, professional bodies and ethnic and religious community leaders to suggest ways the government could reshape cultural norms that have led to illegal cash economy activity becoming "almost a national sport".

The taskforce wants to help the federal government claw back an estimated $15 billion in lost federal tax revenue and illegitimate welfare payments due to the black economy. It noted that some ethnic groups were predisposed to deal in cash.

To tackle the problem, one of the options being considered include banning cash wages.

 

 

'RED HOTS' PAID TO FAIL IN QLD WHILE 'DOGS' TREATED SECOND RATE

'BILL BARKER' - the non-de-plume of a prominent greyhound identity in Queensland, makes some interesting comments about the handouts to harness racing and questions, like many others, why that code is being allowed to maggot on the back of the gallops and dogs.

'IF ever one needed an example of how one racing authority can condemn a profitable industry to a slow unrelenting death then take a look at the way Racing Queensland has treated the State’s greyhound industry.

Racing Queensland has been an undisputed “cot case” for many years. Just flip back a few years to see the obscene decisions made by respective Racing Ministers like Furlong In Front Steve Dickson, then we had the Rob Schwarton stooge Bouncing Billy Byrne, who did nought, to be followed by the totally dispensable Grace Grace. The latter probably the gold medalist when it comes to big talk no action, Grace Grace has been a total disgrace.

While greyhound racing met its Waterloo with the Live Baiting scandal, as an industry it has thrived since, albiet despite what seems a deliberate attempt by Racing Queensland to shut down the sport.

For many years the majority of States distribute prizemoney on proportion to the turnover that industry creates, but not in Queensland. As a guide the red hots, that’s the industry where race fixing charges are pending, sooner or later given the decadent way Queenslands Racing Integrity Commission works, provides under 10% of turnover compared to greyhound racing which represents about 14% of turnover. But for some strange reason which Racing Queensland never seems to be able to justify the red hots gets about 14% of distribution compared to about 10% paid to greyhounds. Over this year this represents several millions in prizemoney which should have gone to grow the greyhound industry.

But that’s just the top of the iceberg. As one of the three pillars of income, greyhound racing continues to boom in comparison to both red hots and thoroughbred racing.

Forget the fact that when the Gold Coast track was closed then RQ Chairman Bob Bentley promised a new track if the greyhound industry threw its hat in with thoroughbreds and the red hots, which it did and its still waiting on a new track some 10 years later!!!

Last year for example as a division of greyhound racing in Queensland showed a year on year profit of $876,000, that is the income from greyhounds was $876,000 more than its cost structure. Red hots on the other hand lost AN AMAZING $7.4 million, that means it cost Racing Queensland $7.4 million to run the red hots “industry”.

It gets worse. After the infamous McSporran report many restrictions were bought into the greyhound industry to such an extent breeding numbers have dropped annually to such an extent that there will be a severe shortage of racing dogs in the next few years. Some figures estimated that breeding numbers have dropped at least 60%.  Numbers are already falling away with most meetings failing to get reserves which means there are many more 7 dog fields meaning no 3rd place betting. It can be assured that within the next 18 months there will be insufficient dogs to complete 10 race 8 dog per race programs as required by the respective betting agencies. Yet more embarrassment for Racing Queensland.

So what does Racing Queensland do to rectify this perilous position to encourage breeding and ensure that full fields continue and turnover can keep increasing? It gives the Red Hots $1 million to set up a breeding incentive scheme and scraps what was then a moderate greyhound breeding scheme. So Racing Queensland gives $1 million to promote breeding for an industry that’s totally on the nose and gives the industry that’s increasing turnover absolutely nothing and stops what breeding incentive scheme previously existed. Is anyone surprised? Does someone at the 'red hots' have political pull with both sides of Parliament?

The trend continued in July this year when additional funds were made available to add stakes to the respective codes. The Red Hots got $505,000 while the greyhounds get $415,000.

It will be hard for anyone on the outside looking in to try to fathom what Racing Queensland is all about. It appears that disaster after disaster continues the “form” shown by RQ executives. Many would argue that racing in Queensland has been mismanaged but the Racing Minister thinks 'her mates' who are running the show are doing just great.

Where does one start? The fiasco of the Eagle Farm development, the Toowoomba track where a grass track replaced by all weather then replaced by grass, the failure to build a greyhound track at Cronulla as promised, the Cobalt swab sagas where charges were dropped after adulterated testing occurred, the total waste of money for the stagnant Queensland Racing Integrity Commission which blows more hot air than a riverboat steamer, the charges against 'red hots' participants for race fixing which still have to be tested, the appointment of a chief integrity officer who was later sacked….the list is endless.

Add to these arguably woeful displays of incompetence, recklessness and absolute stupidity, the fact that RQ goes out of its way to try to kill off an industry that is the only one of the three racing codes that’s actually growing is absurd, but that’s Racing Queensland. It’s a total disgrace, thanks to Grace Grace.'

 

RACING NSW LAUNCHES NEW FIRST TO HELP PUNTERS -& IT'S FREE! 

THE punter has never been better informed and now Racing NSW's latest product, Punter's Intel, will take race data to another level.

Launched on Friday, the app will allow punters to recreate nearly every race in NSW where the Swiss Timing local-positioning system is used.

CHRIS ROOTS reports for FAIRFAX MEDIA that the timing system has been rolled out at metropolitan and provincial tracks as well the majority of main country tracks, 22 in total. It delivers exact sectional times for each horse and gives the distance a horse is from the leader during the run as well as its speed.

Through this app, that data will now be available to the punter.

"Punter's Intel is a game-changer and provides the ultimate tool to access vital information of a horse's performance and view dynamic 3D-simulated replays of the race, control camera angles, speed and playback options as well as select data to be viewed throughout the race itself," Racing NSW chief executive Peter V'landys said.

"The app was developed from consultation with a variety of punters. We, however, want to provide and tailor information to users and welcome feedback via the Punter's Intel Facebook page."

The timing system can position a horse within 33 centimetres of its actual position and tracks each horse during the race. It has failed only once in tracking a horse.

"Unfortunately that horse was Winx in the Warwick Stakes. She broke the transponder coming out of the gate. We got a couple of bits of information but it didn't work," Racing NSW chief operations officer Graeme Hinton said.

 "It has been 18 months in development and we think it is the right time to go to market with this world-first product.

"It can give the punters a view of the race that you might not have even thought of before.

"You can actually see how fast a horse like Winx accelerates and how she holds that speed. You can see how quickly she picks up ground on the leader before winning.

"We want it to be available to all punters, so it is free, and think it will be a great tool to drive wagering." 

 

IF THERE’S ANY JUSTICE McGILLVRAY WILL CONTINUE BAD RUN FOR QRIC

By TERRY BUTTS of the NQ REGISTER  

QRIC hasn’t had a lot of luck when cases go to QCAT on appeal and the same might be true this week when jockey Mathew McGillivray appeals his Cluden imposed sentence.

McGillivray you might remember was singled out and suspended a hefty 10 days by stewards for restraining his mount in a 2000 metre race at Cluden two months ago.

He appealed the sentence, lost, and then surprisingly was handed an extra day by QRIC – and action that has prompted much discussion among seasoned racing people.

Surely that extra day will be thrown out – at least – because it transpires the jockey was never told or warned that it was an option for QRIC to increase penalty on appeal.

THE much-respected and sadly departed Alan Cooper, rated the best Chief Steward ever in the North, once told this writer that  stable searches by stewards is a complete waste of  time, money and resources – and he simply refused to conduct them.

His rationale was that a trainer must abide by the Rules. If a horse is taken to a racecourse and it returns a positive swab the trainer is then dealt with. That simple!

It didn’t make sense then to Alan Cooper and it doesn’t make sense now.

Seems QRIC, however, is hell-bent on continuing its blitz on stable vigilance all over the State.

It is petty, costly and quite frankly unnecessary if you take the view of Alan Cooper who in his reign had the respect of every licensee in the north.

There are plenty of current stewards who agree with him too, by the way.

QRIC’s record of achievement overall is hardly what the Commissioner would like us to believe.

QRIC seemingly operates with a police culture. Racing doesn’t want a policeman.

The industry requires a highly qualified steward in charge. And purely for the sake of restoring confidence to this industry, the sooner this happens the better.

And as for Racing Queensland – have you googled Archie Butterfly lately?

The silence is deafening!

 

WHINGES FROM  WEEKEND OF RACING AROUND THE COUNTRY

QUEENSLAND

KEVIN D made an observation of the two big country meetings run in Queensland at the weekend: “The Birdsville Cup carnival and the Cairns Amateurs are poles apart but do they get equal treatment from officialdom and the racing media? I am biased where Birdsville is concerned but would argue that it gets second rate treatment when it comes to betting coverage. SKY sees fit to provide live coverage of Cairns but not Birdsville. UBET was the only TAB to cover Birdsville but it was wall-to-wall Cairns. Even the leeching corporates dodged Birdsville – perhaps they feel they can’t win there. It was rather ironic that Birdsville, without TV cover, proceeded uninterrupted on Saturday afternoon but Cairns had a major delay and was lucky to survive an unfortunate power outage. I am also a great fan of Josh Fleming, the SKY caller in Queensland now, who made the trek to Birdsville where he cut his teeth in the early days of his broadcasting career. Radio TAB caller David Fowler was, might I suggest, more at home rubbing shoulders with the up-market crowd at the Amateurs in Cairns where he has taken over as regular caller since the death of Wayne Wilson. Interestingly, I am told Radio TAB had plenty of free-loaders in Cairns for the Amateurs. Surely this isn’t necessary when they have to rely on ‘casuals’ to call races like the Gold Coast. I was pleased to see Terry Spargo, the long-time Dubai caller, get a guest appearance calling a couple of races at the Sunshine Coast on Sunday where Paul Dolan always does a terrific job. Perhaps the powers-that-be should consider giving Spargo a full-time gig. He would certainly do a far better job at his old stamping ground at the Gold Coast than the regular does these days. One also assumes that the Chief Steward from Brisbane enjoyed a ‘junket’ at the Cairns Amateurs while a poor underling had to drive from Toowoomba via Longreach and points in between – a two week stint over thousands of kilometres – to officiate in Birdsville.”         

 

VICTORIA

BILL W shared the opinion of many punters: “I cannot catch Craig Williams. In fact as a punter I am developing a real love-hate relationship with the bloke. I thought his ride on Sheidel was disgraceful. It wasn’t his only bad one in recent weeks. Excuses have been offered but plain and simple it was the performance of a raw apprentice. I am talking through my pocket after backing Sheidel. I doubled the bet when trainer Darren Weir put the ‘slows’ on Voodoo Lad claiming the horse might be a run short. Hate to see what it would have done to the opposition had it been right. Might I suggest if he doesn’t want to comment on the chances of his horses Mr Weir should say nothing at all pre-race.”

 

NEW SOUTH WALES

ALBY K had this to say to the doubters of champion mare Winx: “The more that Winx wins it seems the more her critics from south of the NSW border seem to doubt her champion qualities. Once again her vulnerability was questioned by the Victorian racing media. Matt Stewart led the charge qualifying his criticism with a ‘she’s the best horse I’ve seen’ claim. Give us a break – all Winx can do is win which she will show you when she heads south for the Cox Plate. Granted she hasn’t chased any champions home at her two runs back from a spell but it’s the way she has won that you should be taking note of. She missed the start at her first run back and then on Saturday came from an impossible position and Hugh Bowman dropped his whip on the home turn.”

 

HONG KONG

MARTIN J wasted no time praising the riding qualities of Joao Moreira: “How good is ‘Joe’ Moreira? He wasted no time establishing his mark on the new racing season in Hong Kong riding the first half of the Sha Tin program – five winners – on Sunday. It fell short of his best effort of eight wins in a day last March but was an outstanding effort by the ‘Magic Man’. The problem for Hong Kong racing in having such a dominant jockey is that everything he rides opens on the tote there far shorter than it should be. That is also reflected in the corporate bookies in Australia who are permitted to bet on Hong Kong racing. Form is never easy to follow early in the season in Hong Kong. Perhaps the ‘Moreira factor’ will help punters overcome that this season.”

   

 

WILL OTHER STATES FOLLOW  RACING NSW BAN ON TRAINING HORSES FROM CARS?

RACING NSW has banned the use of vehicles to lead horses in training at racetracks throughout the state, leaving smaller country trainers looking for different ways to get their horses fit.

CHRIS ROOTS reports for FAIRFAX MEDIA that it has long been an option for trainers, in some cases holding the reins out the window while driving, to get their horses fit, particularly when no rider was available.

James Hatch famously prepared Stoneyrise to win a Country Championships heat leading him off his car on his property at the back of Bourke.

He will be able to continue the practice on private property for now as Racing NSW chief executive Peter V'landys said the ban was only on racecourses.

"We will not allow a practice that is so dangerous to participants, and the horse, to occur on racecourses in NSW. It is a welfare issue," V'landys said. "It is just an accident that is waiting to happen and shouldn't be a part of the industry in the 21st century."

It is understood the NSW Trainers Association is compiling a list of more than 100 horses affected by the rule change as the outcry from bush trainers grows on social media.

 

 

 

TRAINER SUSPENDED FOR FAILING TO NOTIFY OF CHARGES

THE Queensland Racing Integrity Commission (QRIC) has today suspended the license of Brisbane thoroughbred trainer Bradley Smith.

QRIC Commissioner Ross Barnett said Mr Smith failed to inform the Commission he was facing three criminal charges, an act that is in contravention of his license conditions.

“Taking this into consideration the failure of Mr Smith to discharge his responsibilities of declaring his criminal charges to the QRIC as the condition of his license and the nature of the charges, which, if found guilty are exclusionary items to holding a license with the Queensland Racing Integrity Commission,” he said.

“The charges relate to the alleged fraudulent sale of shares in a racehorse and the alleged forgery of transfer of ownership forms.

“In accordance with the Commission’s Thoroughbred Standard, the Commission may immediately suspend any licence where allegations or criminal charges which require the Commission to exercise a duty of care to participants or animals or to safeguard the integrity of the Queensland racing industry,” Mr Barnett said.

“The Commissioner said he has acted today in response to complaints from other industry participants.

“We carried out an investigation into these complaints and made the decision to suspend Mr Smith’s licence to train horses.

“The public can be sure that if they make complaints the Commission will investigate and take the necessary action to ensure the integrity of the racing industry in Queensland.

“It must also be made clear that Mr Smith retains the presumption of innocence and this action by the Commission in no way infers guilt in relation to the charges he faces.”

The Commission has identified six horses listed as being in Mr Smith’s stables, which must be relocated within seven days so they can continue to participate in racing.

 

LAUNCH OF THE VICTORIAN SPRING RACING CARNIVAL FOR 2017

THE 2017 Spring Racing Carnival, which features 136 meetings carrying record prizemoney of more than $77 million, has been officially unveiled at a star-studded launch in Melbourne today.

The gathering at Greenfields, Albert Park was held on the eve of Saturday’s $1 million New Zealand Bloodstock Memsie Stakes (1400m) at Caulfield – the beginning of three months of world class thoroughbred racing across Victoria.

The Memsie Stakes, for which prizemoney has been doubled this year, is the first of 21 Group 1 races across the Spring Racing Carnival, which concludes on Saturday, 25 November with its 26th country cup meeting, the Sportsbet Ballarat Cup.   

Racing Victoria Chief Executive, Giles Thompson, said the 2017 Spring Racing Carnival is set to further enhance the global appeal of Victorian racing.

“The Spring Racing Carnival is Australia’s most famous racing carnival attracting annual attendances of 650,000 and generating over $700 million in economic benefit for the state of Victoria,” Thompson said.

“It is also widely respected internationally and a target for the world’s best trainers and jockeys. Having celebrated our 200th international competitor last year, we are again set to welcome horses from seven countries to Victoria this spring. 

“With so many storylines waiting to be written across three months of world class racing, the stage is set for another memorable Spring Racing Carnival commencing with tomorrow’s $1 million Memsie Stakes at Caulfield.

“While the spotlight has always shone brightest on Victorian racing in October and November, we’re making a concerted effort to showcase our racing throughout September - the opening month of the Spring Racing Carnival.

“With meetings like tomorrow’s Memsie Stakes, Sofitel Girls’ Day Out at Flemington (16 September) and the launch of the night racing season at Moonee Valley (29 September), September is a great time to dress up and get trackside.

“On the track, we’re delighted to be offering record prizemoney and bonuses of over $77 million for this year’s Carnival, with minimum prizemoney increased for non-feature races and three new million dollar races created.

“The races are calling this spring and we look forward to welcoming people to race meetings across the state to enjoy the very best Victoria has to offer.”

Hosted by Hamish McLachlan, the launch featured a varied cast of stellar racing talent including Melbourne Cup winners Prince of Penzance (2015), Efficient (2007) and Might and Power (1997), together with dual Cox Plate winner Fields of Omagh (2003, 2006).

If they were the stars of yesteryear, the current crop of equine heroes is set to make this year’s Carnival one for the ages, with wonder mare Winx bidding to emulate the great Kingston Town by winning her third straight Ladbrokes Cox Plate (2040m) at Moonee Valley on 28 October.

Other horses set to command significant focus over the Carnival include unbeaten Ladbrokes Caulfield Guineas (1600m) favourite Royal Symphony; Lloyd Williams’ reigning Melbourne Cup champion Almandin; and the James Cummings-trained star Hartnell, who is favourite for the BMW Caulfield Cup (2400m) on 21 October.

Much interest will also centre on the visiting Northern Hemisphere-trained horses with 33 nominated for this year’s Caulfield and Melbourne Cups including horses from Japan, Germany, France, England, Ireland and for the first time, Scotland.

Tomorrow’s opening meeting of the Spring Racing Carnival will commence at 12.25pm with the $1 million Memsie Stakes to be run at 4.10pm. Admission to Caulfield is free for members of AFL Clubs and AFL members. 

For further information on the 2017 Spring Racing Carnival, including a schedule of events and ticketing options, visit springracingcarnival.com.au.

 

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