Jenny - Clean


LETGOHORSERACING wishes our readers and contributors a happy, healthy and safe Christmas. We are taking our traditional annual recess until around MAGIC MILLIONS time. Enjoy the festive time with your loved ones and may you find many winners in 2019.



A BROAD range of owners, trainers, jockeys and breeders are set to benefit from more than $40 million in additional prizemoney that will begin rolling out across Victoria from 1 January 2019.

The increases are underpinned by a $33 million election commitment from the newly returned Labor Government to support increases to the minimum levels of Victorian thoroughbred prizemoney.  Racing Victoria (RV) has committed to boosting the package of prizemoney increases, which will be implemented across the next two years, beyond $40 million.

The increases are being made to drive further local and international investment in the Victorian thoroughbred racing industry which generates over $3 billion annually for the Victorian economy and supports the equivalent of 25,000 full-time jobs.

After providing an overview of the key prizemoney increases when first announced in October, RV has today outlined its plan for the distribution of the full package from 1 January 2019. The increases, which will be spread across all levels of the sport, are as follows:

                                                  New Minimum
                                             Prizemoney Per Race                 

     Country TAB - Standard                    $22,000      (up from $20,000)
     Country TAB - Premium                    $35,000      (up from $25,000 to $30,000)
     Country TAB - Night                          $35,000      (up from $20,000 to $30,000)
     Metropolitan – Midweek                    $50,000      (up from $30,000 to $40,000)
     Metropolitan – Public Holiday           $60,000      (up from $40,000)
     Metropolitan – Sat Standard             $125,000    (up from $100,000)
     Metropolitan – Sat 3YO Races
     and Staying Races (2000m+)          $135,000     (up from $120,000)
     Metropolitan – Saturday
     Pathways Race                                $75,000      (up from $60,000)
     Listed Races                                    $140,000    (up from $120,000
    Group 3 Races                                 $160,000     (up from $150,000)

RV Chief Executive, Giles Thompson, said the prizemoney increases will be welcomed by the 92,000 people that actively participate in Victorian thoroughbred racing.

“We’re delighted to outline the full suite of prizemoney increases that will come into effect from 1 January 2019. Our focus in delivering these increases is on ensuring that we reward participation at all levels of the sport to maintain a vibrant and growing participant base,” Thompson said.

“Minimum prizemoney will increase at all country TAB meetings from next month with over 170 now offering a minimum of $35,000 per race. This follows on from the increases already implemented this season for all country non-TAB meetings and every country cup.

“The increases announced today ensure that the minimum prizemoney for every category of Victorian race is the equal of anywhere in the nation. They also ensure that Victoria remains the destination to race a stayer or a three-year-old with Saturday metropolitan minimums rising to a record $135,000 for these races.”

In making the announcement, Thompson thanked the Labor Government for its ongoing support of the Victorian thoroughbred racing industry.

“The Labor Government are committed to ensuring that Victoria remains the premier state for thoroughbred racing in Australia and they have shown their support for all within our industry with this important investment in prizemoney across the state,” Thompson said.

“As we’ve stated previously, a vibrant and successful thoroughbred racing industry is great for Victoria and enhancing returns to our owners, trainers, jockeys and breeders, particularly at the grass roots, is crucial to that.”

Thompson explained that, with the increases in minimum prizemoney from 1 January 2019 and last month’s introduction of The All-Star Mile, Victoria will now be offering over $255 million in prizemoney and bonuses a season which represents an $82 million or 47% increase since 2015.



WHEN will Racing NSW realize that richer racing doesn’t necessarily mean better racing?

And ultimately it will not win the border war where no matter how many millions are wasted the Victorian Spring Carnival will remain the most popular.

Racing Victoria has been accused of sitting back and allowing Racing NSW supremo Peter V’Landys to throw grenades that threaten to harm their biggest races.

All of a sudden they have decided enough is enough and the reaction from Racing Minister Martin Pakula and VRC Chairman Amanda Elliott says it all.

CHRIS ROOTS, Racing Editor for Fairfax Media in SYDNEY, declared in an article:

‘RACING NSW is on a war footing with its Victorian counterpart and its biggest supporter after Tabcorp pulled its sponsorship for next year’s inaugural $7.5 million Golden Eagle.

Tabcorp was expected to be the major backer for the new race, for four-year-olds and to be held at Rosehill Gardens next spring, but had not signed a contract. It informed Racing NSW of its decision not to sponsor the race on Monday.

Tabcorp’s decision prompted a fierce response from Racing NSW chief executive Peter V’landys about the future of the race, which is due to be run on Victoria Derby day, November 2, next year.

“This is unprecedented but I’m confident the race will go ahead with another sponsor,” V’landys said. ‘‘We are already talking to different sponsors.’’

However, he saved his most cutting remarks for Tabcorp. “Tabcorp is a national company and not a Victorian company and we have strong relationships with them. They should be concerned [this decision] doesn’t destroy them,’’ he said. ‘‘We are continuing to work through a process and I think in a couple of days we will have a result.’’

There are strong links between NSW racing and Tabcorp including an exclusivity agreement that has Tabcorp as only betting company that can be a sponsor on NSW racecourses.

‘‘We cannot comment on commercial negotiations,’’ a Tabcorp spokesman told the Herald on Monday.

V'landys pointed the finger directly at Victorian racing officials over the Tabcorp decision, alleging they had used influence on the company.


TO many in racing the Peter V’landys response suggested the Racing NSW supremo can hand it out but struggles to cop a return serve. He has bombarded Victoria with concepts like The Championships, The Everest and now the Golden Eagle – some might argue all worth far more for the horses they would attract for lesser money.

MATT STEWART, Racing Editor for Victorian-based RSN, was quick to go on the attack in his column UNBRIDLED where he wrote:

The TAB’s pulling of its $500,000 contribution to the $7.5 million Golden Eagle is the first hint that someone not embedded in one border camp – in this case the wagering giant – has peered through the Peter V’landys spin.

That’s not to say the TAB hadn’t been poked and prodded behind the scenes.

The Victoria Racing Club, for one, has a very strong relationship with the TAB and the VRC has been extremely vocal in its criticism of the suite of rich races revealed by Peter V’landys this week, two to be run during Melbourne Cup week.

But pulling out was the TAB’s call after weighing up support of another disruptive Racing NSW project over the TAB’s enduring support of a Victorian event that is so successful it provides benefit to the entire racing industry – including NSW – and has earned its protected space.

V’landys’ unblinking, unthinking supporters have tossed up a number of fruity arguments to justify the Racing NSW CEO’s hand grenade approach, where a deeply flawed “I’m doing what’s best for NSW, that’s my job” mantra propels his rebel ventures.

The most tiresome is the hysterical “Victoria is asleep at the wheel and NSW is doing things!”. The reality is the numbers pretty much stack up between both states.

V’landys benefits from personality politics; ie, he is a radical genius because he snubs tradition (don’t we all love a rebel!) while Giles (Thompson) is pretty boring and the VRC are snobs.

Political types will say Donald Trump got elected on similar perceptions.

The instant success of the Everest has bluffed supporters into believing that whatever V’landys touches turns to gold, giving him carte blanche to do whatever he likes.

The Everest is successful not because of the “genius” slot concept poached from the US but because it’s run in spring, a season V’landys is now determined to invade with zero consideration for the bigger picture.

Vlandys’ “no-one noticed us” last spring whine to last week typified his tantrum-prone, zero-collaboration administration.

He sees something juicy and must have it; “Melbourne is uber-famous in spring, we’re not, let’s fix that, no matter what…”

So V’landys creates these three stupidly-rich races that will water down our already thin carnival horse ranks; compromised fields, stupid money, betraying the fundamental notion that richer racing means better racing.

Imagine if his mindset was contagious.

The VRC and others have said the three new Sydney races won’t disrupt the grand finals down here but they will chip away, especially at the jockey ranks.

Not one V’landys’ sycophant has offered a reasonable answer to these analogies, delivered on social media. They are – “would the French put on a $10 million all-stars tournament during Wimbledon or would Newmarket put on a big race during Royal Ascot?

There are many things V’landys can do to make racing better in NSW without ogling across the river and hatching disruptive plans.

Working out why Sydney race fields are alarmingly small might be a start.

The latter comment, in the minds of many who follow racing in both the big states, hit the nail on the head. While racing across the board in Victoria thrives on an annual basis, the off-season in Sydney is dreadful. Perhaps Racing NSW should be focusing some of this big money being wasted on pie-in-the-sky concepts on the bread-and-butter owners and trainers who keep the industry going all year long not just at carnival time.

Racing Australia should step in before this whole border war gets any further out of hand but it seems to be so weak that isn’t likely to happen. The two big states should be working together for the benefit of racing nationally.


SURPRISINGLY, the olive branch approach has been suggested by leading studmaster and former Racing NSW Chief, John Messara, according to this story from UNBRIDLED:

JOHN Messara, Australian racing’s most influential player, has urged the warring states to down weapons and collaborate.

Speaking on Racing Pulse, the leading NSW-based owner/breeder/administrator said “It’s a matter of mature people sitting down and trying to accommodate each other.”

“There has got to be a way where NSW can resolve some of its issues but at the same time Victoria can be part of the solution.”

Messara’s olive branch suggestion came as the war of words continued between NSW and Victoria, although Racing NSW chief executive peter V’landys today switched attack to the TAB for pulling out of a proposed $500,000 contr0butuon to the Golden Eagle’s $7.5 million stake.

Messara said he was “all for cooperation” and said “no-one likes to see conflict” but he said he sympathised with the plight of NSW.

He said Victoria benefitted from “free air” in the early autumn and late spring when the various football codes were either pre or post season.

He said the success of both the Everest and Caulfield Guineas on the same day was proof two states could enjoy the same date and same spoils.

Victoria has shown it can be consultative and conciliatory – the most recent example news that a breakthrough in the quarantine stand between Australia and Hong Kong is imminent.

RV Chairman Amanda Elliott was at the forefront when administrators from Hong Kong, Australia and relevant Government officials met last week to continue positive talks over quarantine.

The stand-off flared in October, 2017 when the Australian Government banned the direct importation of horses from HK after the opening of HK Jockey Club’s new training facility in Conghua in mainland China.

The Government was concerned over the potential for disease to be carried to Australia in a repeat of the equine influenza outbreak which almost destroyed Australian racing in 2007.

If agreement is reached between the parties, it is likely Australian horses could return home after three weeks by stopping in a third country.



CENTRAL Queensland racing historian JOHN DAY completed a labor of love with the publication of a book to commemorate the 150-year history of the Rockhampton Jockey Club.

With the help of RJC Operations Manager, Kelly Suli, Day has chronicled some amazing stories that have been played out in Rockhampton racing from 1868 to 2018.

“I was doing some research and discovered that 2018 was 150 years since the RJC came into being and also the centenary of the running of the Rockhampton Cup and Newmarket,” Day said.

“I approached the RJC to see if we could do something to celebrate this historic milestone. They consented and I had the idea for a book, so Kelly and I started putting a few things together. The project was completed in just six weeks."

Some of the highlights in the book include:

The first triple dead-heat in a horse race in April 1938 when Call Away, Suntuana and Edon Boy crossed the line together in the Labour Handicap over six furlongs.

Megaphone winning a race in Rockhampton before finishing fourth in the 1891 Melbourne Cup won by Malvolio.

In 1912 the thoroughbreds took a back-seat roll when a race of a different kind was held. Visiting American airman A B Stone raced his Bleriot monoplane against a car driven by S Taylor. On the fourth circuit the plane had lapped the car but the aircraft slowly began to lose altitude before veering off course and crash landing on the nearby cricket grounds. Stone escaped injury.

Jockey Frank Shean was one of Central Queenland racing’s success stories starting as an apprentice in Banana to being recently industry into the Racing Hall of Fame after winning the Epsom, Caulfield Cup, Williamstown Cup and Melbourne Cup – all in 1938. 

A big crowd was in attendance at Callaghan Park when Italian movie star, Gina Lollobrigida, visited in 1975. She was in Australia raising awareness of multiple sclerosis.     

John Day has been involved in the racing industry since he was a child. He said it had been a wonderful journey of discovery. “There’s plenty of stories that people would not know about.

“In the 1890s a lot of horses came to Rockhampton by ship. They were unloaded at the wharf and raced at the old West Rockhampton track and were put back on the boat and away they would go to Townsville or Brisbane.   

The book is a great read and would make a wonderful Christmas present. It costs $20 and is available at the RJC.



GREG BLANCHARD of NUDGEE continues to chronicle the on-going saga of a lack of jockeys in the country:

‘LAST weekend there were seven horses scratched at the provincial meeting at Rockhampton, three at Charters Towers and two at Mt Isa because there were no jockeys available.

Racing Queensland needs to address this urgently. As mentioned before, Asian apprentices can be part of the solution.

The Training Department has had its ups and downs over the years but it must be given the support and right people it deserves.

In the world of bean-counters I think we have lost sight of the basic fundamentals of racing.

There are currently two Korean horse schools in South East Queensland. Both used to go to RQ but not anymore due to troubles in the past.

Some of these students are future track riders and jockeys. One would have thought a meeting with the people involved would have been a good idea.




QUEENSLAND Racing Integrity Commissioner ROSS BARNETT (pictured) has responded to questions about the cost of running the body he heads in an email to the WEDNESDAY WHINGE last week. He writes:

‘EVERY Queensland taxpayer is entitled to question whether the money given to Government departments and statutory bodies like the QRIC is being spent well and providing significant value. As Commissioner I understand and expect that scrutiny.

We are answerable to the public through the Parliament via Question Time and the way we spend the money we are given is particularly scrutinised in the annual all-Party Estimates Hearings. I am also required to provide a performance report every three months to the Minister addressing our activities and achievements in a wide range of areas. Our performance in a range of our key responsibilities is also public knowledge through Stewards’ Inquiries, media reporting and our Annual Report. People should consider all of this information when forming a view about whether we provide value worthy of our budget.

A prosperous racing industry relies on strong betting turnover and increasing those numbers relies totally on confidence in the integrity of the industry. The strategic thinkers in racing appreciate that link and understand that stronger integrity is demonstrably good for business.    

There is ever-increasing competition for wagering dollars internally between the three codes and externally with an increasing array of sports which permit betting. In this environment community confidence in racing has never been more important both in terms of a level playing field for racing and protecting the welfare of racing animals.  The best response to concerns that will continue to escalate over time about both issues from anti-racing critics is to point out that the industry has a well-resourced, completely independent regulatory body with the powers necessary to ensure high standards. 

There was also criticism of the internal review decision to reinstate the suspended license of a Cairns trainer. To me, this is further proof that the review system, although not flawless, generally works as intended. Decisions made by human beings in all occupations are not always perfect and we publicly acknowledge when errors are made in good faith but don’t withstand independent scrutiny. The industry is fortunate to have access to this immediate and free review option.                 

In our most recent survey 60 per cent of industry participants and 65 per cent of the remainder of the community believed that integrity had improved in the last 12 months. This result is just one significant example of the benefits we provide for the industry. While there remains opposition to the necessity for the QRIC by some, I believe in time participants will see this model as integral to improving the reputation of racing. The 243 reports we received in the past three months alone, many from racing participants providing information about suspected integrity and welfare breaches, suggest people trust us and support the work we are doing to improve the industry they love.’  



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