Jenny - Clean

THE CONTROVERSIAL APPOINTMENT THAT QRIC MADE WHEN THEY WEREN’T MAKING AN APPOINTMENT

ALBERT WILLIAMS, a regular contributor to the LGHR WHINGE, has asked for some clarification on whether or not JAMIE DART was appointed Director of Stewarding and Licensing for Queensland Racing.

AFTER reading with interest the debate at the Estimates Hearing I am confused – might I suggest like many others in racing - at the answers provided by Queensland Racing Integrity Commissioner Ross Barnett.

The highly decorated cop, seconded to be head up the new all-powerful Integrity Unit, was probed by Shadow Minister for Racing Jon Krause as to whether the suspended Jamie Dart had been appointed to the position of Director, Licensing and Stewarding.

Mr Krause asked the Commissioner at the Estimates Hearing this week: ‘Who is the current Director of Stewarding and Licensing at QRIC?’

Commissioner Barnett replied: ‘The position of Director, Licensing and Stewarding is currently vacant.’

Mr Krause: ‘Mr Barnett, that puzzles me because I understood that that was filled by Mr Jamie Dart last year.’

Commissioner Barnett: ‘That is not exactly correct. A selection process was undertaken. Mr Dart was one of the people who applied for that position. Mr Dart was not appointed formally to that position when matters came to my attention which required me to take action against Mr Dart, which involved him being suspended with pay.’

Mr Krause: ‘What you are saying is he is presently suspended with pay but he was not formally appointed to the Director of Stewarding and Licensing at QRIC despite there being reports at the time that he was?’

Commissioner Barnett: ‘That is correct. I think it is a matter of public record that Mr Dart was suspended in October last year and he remains suspended on pay at this time.’

Mr Krause: ‘He remains suspended on full pay at this point. How much has that cost QRIC?’

Commissioner Barnett: ‘I am not in a position to particularise his exact amount, but I can give you an overall figure of the number of members cumulatively who have been suspended with pay if that is of any assistance to the committee.’

Mr Krause: ‘Mr Barnett, we might let that one go through to the keeper at this point. Has QRIC been able to finalize the matter that was put in question about Mr Dart and finalize the investigation that was underway in relation to him?’

Commissioner Barnett: ‘The investigation into the allegations against Mr Dart has been a lengthy and obviously complex matter. It is very close to finalization and we are expecting to get a report from the investigating firm in the very near future. I mean potentially days.’

Mr KRAUSE: ‘It has been about nine months now by my reckoning. What has taken so long? Why has there been a delay?’

Commissioner Barnett: ‘That is correct. It has taken a long time - longer than any of us would have liked. These matters are very disconcerting for the organization and for the members concerned. We all have a desire to have them resolved as soon as possible and that is clearly our desire in this matter as well. There have been some complicating factors in this matter, some of a personal/medical nature which I do not think would be appropriate in all fairness to explain further to the committee.’

With all due respects to the Commissioner one would have thought he would have his facts right when answering questions in a forum of this importance. To suggest that Mr Dart was ‘not appointed formally’ to the highly paid integrity position is – might I argue – drawing a long bow.

Here is a QRIC Media Release from October 6 2016 which quotes Commissioner Barnett on the issue and there does appear to be plenty of ‘formality’ in this announced appointment.

It was headed: ‘APPOINTMENT – DIRECTOR OF STEWARDING AND LICENSING’ and reads:

AFTER a rigorous selection process, the new Director of Stewarding and Licensing for the Queensland Racing Integrity Commission (QRIC) has been appointed.

Jamie Dart - who was been acting in the role for over 12 months - was announced as the successful candidate on Wednesday.

The appointment followed a merit-based selection process by a panel including QRIC Commissioner Ross Barnett, Racing Victoria Chief Steward Terry Bailey, and former Racing Integrity Advisor and head of the Greyhound Task Force Detective Superintendent Mark Ainsworth.

The position attracted a significant number of internal, local and interstate applicants.

Mr Dart has 17-years of cross-code career experience working in Brisbane, Townsville and New South Wales, across a range of positions including Deputy Chief Steward (Southern District NSW), Chief Steward North Queensland, Senior Stipendiary Steward in Brisbane and Chief Steward Greyhounds.

Commissioner Ross Barnett said that Mr Dart’s appointment was well deserved.

“There was significant interest in the position locally and interstate,” Commissioner Barnett said.

“After a thorough selection process, the panel unanimously decided to appoint Jamie Dart to the position based on his industry experience, knowledge and professionalism.

“Jamie’s expertise within the industry and his performance acting in the role for the past 12 months made him well qualified for the role. I am confident that his skills and cross-code experience within the industry will contribute to the ongoing success of the QRIC.

“I welcome Jamie to the Executive Leadership Team of the Commission, and look forward to him driving enhancements to the existing capabilities of the Commission.”

Go figure!

 

SHOULD THE GREYHOUND INDUSTRY HAVE A SAY IN WHAT HAPPENS TO ALBION PARK?

A HIGH profile greyhound industry identity, who has asked for obvious reasons not to be named, has questioned why his code was not entitled to their say in the future of ALBION PARK. Here is his cryptic contribution to the WHINGE:

STAND AND DELIVER!

EARLY Australian bushrangers used the term to warn folk to hand over their monies or risk worse. Bushranging today has morphed into many different forms be they Spanish pirates or English buccaneers.

The debt-ridden Palaszczuk Government not content with taking back their super contribution, manipulating electricity prices for dividends, raising vehicle registration, now have rubbed their Shylock hands in anticipation of the money raised by the sale of Albion Park. Expect a trumpeting release before the election of how well the racing industry will be feted – already tidbits have been burled. Is this why Quirk is baulking?

Turning back the clock, Merri Rose, the then Minister for Racing Queensland, created a milestone in transferring the former Creek’s gallopers’ track in joint ownership to QHRB and GRA on July 2001. Advancing the clock to July 2010, RQL commenced as the new control body for the three codes, raking in ownership of Albion Park.

What did the greyhound industry receive graciously for agreeing to sign over the ownership of Albion Park? (Sweet F*^#@$$**)

 It is perplexing to believe that trustees Rover rolled over without being given iron clad contracts that protected greyhound’s interests. Only a CMC investigation would unravel behind the seemingly dark scenes of the unrecorded minutes or documentation that should be available. We didn’t even get beads or trinkets! Some trustees fared far better!

Racing Venues Development Act 1982

18 No power of sale

Notwithstanding anything contained in any Act, trustees shall not have power to sell or transfer any land under their control.

Unfortunately, the greyhound industry does not have the money to challenge the validity of the Albion Park transfer but the CMC does.

 Again we will be baited and beguiled with grandiose promises of what we will receive and we will learn history will repeat itself by letting us eventually “eat cake”.

 

THE 'CAMBOOYA KID' STRAPPED INTO CAMEL SEAT LIKE A BAG OF SPUDS

PROMINENT Darling Downs racing identity PETER BREDHAUER, on his annual hibernation in the Territory, has taken time out to jet over to BROOME.

That’s Pete in the photo camel riding at Cable Beach with his lovely partner, Jill Harvey, who some might say looks more comfortable in the saddle than the one time amateur jockey (although the Cambooya Kid’s riding days were half a century ago).

Bredhauer, who operates Darling Downs Bloodstock, is one of the few in racing in Queensland not scared to speak his mind about an industry and some of its maggot individuals who hold down high paid jobs when they should be in the retirement paddock.

Unfortunately he won’t have a starter during the Darwin carnival. One of those he races bled recently and another, Handsome Tycoon, the winner of the Palmerston Sprint last year, broke down recently.

But knowing Pete he will live to fight another day – like he did from a bout of prostate cancer a few years ago. He is already planning a trip to Melbourne for the Cup carnival where he will hopefully have several starters.

 

NSW & VICTORIA ON WAR FOOTING OVER SPRING CARNIVAL ATTACK

RACING Victoria chief Giles Thompson has hit back at his New South Wales counterpart Peter V’landys over the northern state’s attack on Melbourne’s spring carnival.

MICHAEL MANLEY reports for the HERALD-SUN that Thompson backed the primacy of Racing Australia and has contacted them with concerns regarding Racing NSW’s changes to its spring carnival.

V’landys on Monday declared it was every state for itself. He said the $10 million Everest slot race and a series of weight-for age race chances should be of no concern to national body Racing Australia.

“Like it or not we are in competition,” V’landys said on RSN on Monday morning.

“Why should the incumbent state continue to have incumbency forever and ever and restrict other states from maximising their revenue?

“I don’t think it’s Racing Australia’s role to determine a state’s racing program.”

It was believed Racing NSW’s changes had to be ratified by RA but, according to V’Landys, that’s not the case.

He said RA was an administrative body which dealt with rules and not race programs.

V’landys said RA’s pattern committee, which is going to meet and make recommendations on Racing NSW’s changes, was only an advisory body. He hinted that if RA thought differently then the “Trade Practices Commission” might look at the situation.

“Racing Australia has never been a body which promotes a monopoly — we’ve got to ensure we’re squeaky clean when it comes to competition,” he said.

Thompson said RV’s position was to respect RA and its Australian Pattern Committee which devises the national feature race program.

“We were very disappointed to hear Peter’s comments on radio today regarding New South Wales’ view of the pattern and its role in the future,” he said.

“We remain of the firm view that a lack of cohesion in the national pattern can only negatively impact the current and future interests of Australian racing both here and abroad.

Thompson said RV was talking with Racing Australia regarding several of the spring program changes proposed by New South Wales.

“We look forward to Racing Australia’s leadership on this matter to ensure that the national interests of the sport are protected.”

“In the end, the losers will be the owners, trainers and jockeys who will have their earning capabilities compromised by programming clashes; punters who will be denied chances to see the best compete against one another; and the smaller States who have enjoyed the security of a national pattern for the opportunity to showcase feature racing in their states.”

   

 

 

RQ RESPONSE TO COUNTRY CLUBS CONCERNS WAS 'GOBBLEDEGOOK'

by TERRY BUTTS of the NQ REGISTER

RACING Queensland has responded to the Queensland Trainers’ Association complaint about country club not sharing any of the prizemoney increases it announced for south-east corner clubs.

The reply really didn’t focus on the real issues of the QTA letter. In fact it was a gobbledegook reply that included:

Racing Queensland is committed to enhancing returns and racing infrastructure in all regions of Queensland. In order to achieve this, RQ must focus on making commercial decisions that generate revenue.

Commercial strategies include initiatives related to Race Information Fee Policy, national promotion of TAB racing through strategic partnerships and Queensland-wide promotion such as the “We’re racing everywhere” campaign.

The recent prizemoney increases were implemented to help grow revenue, which will benefit the Queensland racing industry as a whole....

Thanks – but no thanks.

The reply did mention however a $6 million Country and Regional Works Program for infrastructure projects that will provide significant benefits for racing across all regions. But really it was a Queensland Government announcement-and very little do with RQ.

Is there an election looming?

The works program includes over $900,000 of improvements for Atherton Turf Club; $15,400 Cairns Jockey Club; $352,750 Cooktown ATC; $36,318 Innisfail Turf Club; and $15,400 each to the Einasleigh Race Club, Gordonvale Turf Club, Laura ATC,  Mareeba Turf Club, Mt Garnett ATC and Oak Park Race Club.

The announcement was made last week in Cairns by our hitherto totally ineffectual Racing Minister Grace Grace. It is a classic case or pork-barrelling – pure and simple.

However, QTA CEO Ross Shannon says he is encouraged by one positive that emerged from his correspondence with RQ. The Mackay meeting on August 26 (Townville Amateurs date that has been transferred because of the Cluden closure) will be upgraded to $16,000 per race (except Maiden class) as the Gold Coast meeting on that day will become a metropolitan meeting due to the closure of Eagle Farm.

“We have asked for more opportunities like this where northern clubs might become the main provincial meeting on a particular Saturday or Sunday and share the extra prizemoney as meetings are reshuffled to accommodate the closure of Eagle Farm.

“The QTA encourages all trainers to target the higher prizemoney on offer at Mackay and prove that northern clubs can provide good racing and wagering outcomes when presented with the right opportunities,” Shannon said.

 

TIME FOR THE GALLOPS TO HAVE A SAY ON FUTURE OF ALBION PARK?

THE Brisbane City Council stance on the future of the Albion Park complex suggests that body is more a protector of the racing industry as a whole in this State than those supposedly responsible at Racing Queensland.

According to a report by PETER CAMERON in THE SUNDAY MAIL, RQ is exploring legal avenues to fight Brisbane City Council after its decision to block the redevelopment of Albion Park, claiming this would threaten the sport’s financial future.

Cameron reports that the potential legal stoush comes as the Albion Park Harness Racing Club, which is RQ’s tenant, launched a publicity campaign for its own proposal to preserve racing at the prime inner-city site.

RQ, the governing body of all three racing codes, wants to end nearly 150 years of racing at Albion Park and develop a $250 million mixed commercial, residential and retail hub.

RQ had reportedly asked the BCC to judge its application on a superseded neighborhood plan which did not require an element of sport and recreation to take place at the site.

Cameron reports that the APHRC has opposed the removal of racing from the old Creek and lobbied the Council over the past fortnight to reject the RQ plan.

In rejecting the application on Friday, BCC Planning Chairman Julian Simmonds said: “The entire Queensland racing fraternity needs to speak as one voice on the future of Albion Park”.

An RQ spokesman said the organization would discuss its options with legal advisers and was seeking an urgent meeting with the BCC to clarify the Council’s position.

The Sunday Mail revelation has received a mixed response from the industry. Some are questioning how the major club of a code that many believe relies on more than its share of industry funding at the expense of the gallops and greyhounds can afford to place costly full page advertisements in a major metropolitan newspaper for what is nothing more than ‘political purposes’.

Others say the hand of the ‘harness racing God’ in Kevin Seymour has pressured the Council into making its decision but question whether he wants to see the commercial development proceed at Albion and if he has an involvement. They also want to know whether he backs the APHRC stance on the track being retained as the home of harness racing or wants racing to be moved to another purpose built venue.

Whatever side of the fence stakeholders and the racing public sit there is one general consensus of opinion and that is wholehearted support for the BCC suggestion that ‘the entire racing industry in Queensland – not just the trots – needs to have a voice on the future of Albion Park’.

Simply leaving this to RQ or the BCC or the APHRC is not good enough – let’s get some input from the gallops fraternity – after all it is that code that many believe is financing the future of harness racing in Queensland and has done so for far too long.

 

RQ RESPONDS TO CONCERNS INVOLVING DEAGON TRAINING CENTRE

FULL marks to Racing Queensland for responding to our question: ‘Is the Deagon Training Centre on its Knees?’

The story, broken by Letsgohorseracing this week following several insider tip-offs, has created quite a deal of comment and concern from within the industry.

Here is a brief statement in reply from Racing Queensland which we are appreciative of:

"RACING Queensland (RQ) is working with the Australian Skills Quality Authority (ASQA) to address issues identified during an audit which began last year.

On the 26 May 2017, ASQA rejected the application for renewal of the registration of Racing Queensland as an RTO on issues of non-compliance.

RQ has appealed ASQA’s decision which stems from an audit process that included educational systems and resources put in place some years ago.

RQ has been in ongoing communication with the Queensland Jockeys Association about the process and has assured current students their education arrangement will continue as normal.

Racing Queensland will continue to work with ASQA to ensure education and training services provided to the industry are maintained.”

Here’s hoping this results in a positive outcome!

 

WHAT’S UP DOC? IT SEEMS THE DEAGON TRAINING CENTRE IS ON ITS KNEES

PERHAPS the hard-working CEO of Racing Queensland, Dr Eliot Forbes, would like to explain to the racing industry why the Government-funded Training Centre at Deagon is reportedly on its knees.

The Australian Skills Quality Authority, a Federal Government body, in its latest regulatory decisions has failed to renew the accreditation of the Racing Queensland Industry Training Centre at Deagon.

RQ has appealed the decision to withdraw its registration as a Registered Training Organisation which will have far-reaching implications for the industry in Queensland but the tip is that this will fail.

We are told what it effectively means is that those wanting to train for positions in racing – such as apprentice jockeys – will need to study interstate (such as the NSW TAFE, which Racing NSW uses) to secure the necessary qualifications. If the RTO appeal fails there will be nowhere for them to qualify in Queensland.

Sources have informed Letsgohorseracing that Head of the Training Centre resigned recently and that there are only two – at the most three – employees there. One of those is former top jockey Shane Scriven and another administrative female staffer.

The decision of the Australian Skills Quality Authority, as published on its website, reads:

Provider number: 31452

Legal name: Racing Queensland Board

Trading name: Racing Queensland, Racing College Queensland

Managerial agent: CEO - Dr Eliot Forbes

Decision type: Renewal rejection

Details of decision: On 26 May 2017, the A/Commissioner Regulatory Operations decided to:
(i) Reject, under hte NVR Act s 17, the application for renewal of registration as an RTO in full with effect 35 calendar days after the date the RTO is given written notice of the decision

Date of decision: Friday, May 26, 2017

Effective date: Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Status of decision: Pending

Status of review: AAT and reconsideration review available

To our knowledge this important decision has not been relayed by RQ to the industry at whole in a Media Release. Their website, in relation to training, still reads:  

RACING Queensland is the first contact point for all inquiries about racing industry careers, training, traineeships and apprenticeships. As a registered training organisation we offer nationally recognised training with funding assistance from the Department of Education and Training. Training programs are run at Deagon as well as at selected tracks and schools around the state. All programs delivered are from qualifications in National Training Packages.

Contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or phone (07) 3869 9781

BACKGROUND

THE Racing Queensland Industry Training Centre was established in 1995 to meet the training needs of the three codes of the Queensland Racing Industry. In July 2000, Deagon racetrack and the training centre was transferred to the industry and Queensland Race Training (QRT) was formed. In July 2004 Queensland Racing took over direct responsibility for the delivery of training in the thoroughbred code and became a Registered Training Organisation (RTO). As a Pre-qualified Supplier under the User Choice 2010 - 2015 program, Racing Queensland is required to publish audit information in relation to it's compliance with the Australian Skills Quality Authority as the National VET regulator. Racing Queensland currently offers nationally recognised training for the following occupations through traineeship and apprenticeship arrangements:

Stablehand

Track work rider/driver

Stable foreman

Jockey

Horse

Trainer

Who can apply?  
If you are 15 years of age or over and seeking employment in the Queensland Racing Industry, you can become a trainee Stablehand or Trackrider. No previous horse experience is necessary.
  
Why apply?

  • This is a special opportunity to start an exciting, challenging and interesting new career.
  • Racing is an international industry with employment world wide, and it presents the opportunity to travel extensively.
  • Former graduates have been employed in around Australia, Ireland, America, Dubai, Singapore, New Zealand and Japan.
  • It is a growth industry that includes the world of racing, breeding and training thoroughbreds and stablehands

Training Available

RACING Queensland's Training Department currently provides training to trainees and apprentices in the racing industry.

Training is available from the following qualifications:

 RGR20108 Certificate II in Racing (Stablehand)

RGR30208 Certificate III in Racing (Advanced Stablehand)

RGR 30108 Certificate III in Racing (Trackrider)

RGR40208 Certificate IV in Racing (Jockey)

Our understanding of the situation is that none of these Certificates will be recognized nationally if the Training Centre does not have an RTO accreditation with the Federal Government.

Our sources claim that the training situation has gone from bad to worse in recent times and that an attempted involvement with the Sunshine Coast TAFE was a failure.

Once seen as one of the most popular training centres for overseas apprentices this is no longer the case and the last of these – the Koreans – seem to have departed the scene.

Once again the sad aspect of this is that RQ has not told the industry in general the bad news. They are welcome to right of reply to this on our website but as usual will no doubt prefer to ignore any form of objective criticism which is an even sadder indictment on their performance from an industry perspective.

 

QTA ACCUSES RQ OF ‘ANOTHER KICK IN THE GUTS’ FOR COUNTRY RACING

By TERRY BUTTS of the NQ REGISTER

THE Rockhampton-based Queensland Trainers’ Association has unleashed a volley of criticism at Racing Queensland over what it described ‘inequitable sharing’ of the recently-announced prize money increases that totally snubbed country race clubs.

In a strongly worded letter to CEO Eliot Forbes, the QTA chairman Ross Shannon expressed ‘extreme disappointment’ and accused RQ of displaying a ‘perceived bias’ against the country clubs and stakeholders.

“It is encouraging to hear that improved wagering turnover and changes to Race Information Fee framework has delivered enhanced revenue bolstering the RQ’s 2016/2017 financial result.

“The fact that this has allowed the Board to approve a $3.2 million increase to prize money across all codes is also very encouraging.

“However, the QTA wishes to express extreme disappointment regarding the inequitable sharing of the announced prize money increases.

“Racing Queensland’s total failure to share any upside with regional provincial clubs, such as Rockhampton, Mackay, Townsville and Cairns, smacks of perceived bias”.

Shannon said the announcement of a fiscal train wreck for Racing Queensland in the 2014/2015 financial year resulted in all thoroughbred metropolitan and provincial clubs sharing the pain of slashed prize money returns to industry stakeholders.

“Queensland country race clubs did not lose any prize money as the Queensland Government stepped in with a funding guarantee, which you are well aware of.

“Now we have a situation where northern clubs, owners and trainers who shared the pain and have continued to support Racing Queensland by supplying product on the often unpalatable Tuesday and Thursday TAB timeslots have been just ignored.

“What is particularly galling is the wording of the RQ press release under the Thoroughbred section which states, “The current program of country race meetings and prize money levels will be maintained for country and regional racing.

He said the QTA was somewhat bemused by the lack of any reference to TAB provincial race clubs outside of the south-east corner.

“It is clearly our understanding that Rockhampton, Mackay, Townsville and Cairns run provincial TAB race meetings but appear to have just vanished off the face of the earth in regard to RQ future plans’’.

Mr Shannon said the QTA is aware of enormous lobbying by south-east Queensland trainers and owners urging RQ to compete with NSW prize money to help stem the flow of horses and trainers across the border.

“We have sympathy for this situation but also believe that by neglecting key northern clubs Racing Queensland is also orchestrating a self-fulfilling prophesy of future failure”. 

It will be interesting to see how Racing Queensland responds – if at all – given its record of ignoring criticism. But this time we wait with added eagerness.

Forbes is on annual leave and his job is in the hands of general manager Simon Stout.

This is the first time the QTA has formally attacked the reigning body since the breakaway from the Australian Trainers’ Association (Brisbane branch) two years ago.

The QTA broadside didn’t end there either.

“There is an age old argument that the best trainers and best horses are in the south-east Queensland corner unless, of course, you want to bring Sydney or Melbourne participants into the discussion.

“Success in racing is often all about prize money, opportunity and location. It revolves around numbers in training for most trainers.”

He said if the current RQ Board and executive team were to delve back into history when racing wasn’t so stacked in favour of the south-east corner, they might be surprised to find that many of Queensland’s best horses were either bred or raced in regional areas. Luminaries such as Talbot Heatley in North Queensland consistently raced horses in the north and then sent them to Brisbane or Sydney with huge success. 

“As prize money dwindles in regional areas in comparison to the south-east corner stakeholders no longer see the return of investment required to encourage them to invest in better quality stock to race locally, even to target the sprint/Cups type races. The numbers just don’t stack up.

“These owners don’t have the luxury of sending their horses over the border to race in NSW as they can only afford to purchase NSW and Victorian rejects anyway.

“They just stop racing horses locally.

“However, this type of owner is delivering windfalls for many key NSW and Victorian trainers and the racing industry in those States as they invest heavily in syndicates purchasing young stock or even overseas horses with a view to chasing lucrative prize money on offer in those States.

“They would like to race locally but have been kicked in the guts too hard and too often by Racing Queensland over a lengthy period.

“Recent prize money increases for select south-east Queensland clubs and the perceived lack of interest north of the ‘Brisbane line’ only reinforces their resolve to give racing in Queensland a big ‘swerve’.

“The QTA would urgently like to hear just where current provincial clubs other than south-east Queensland fit into the future plans of Racing Queensland,” Shannon wrote.

It was a valid  letter that demands a response.

But…..

 

McGILLIVRAY DECISION WRONG TO START WITH – NOW IT’S WORSE AFTER ADJUDICATION

By TERRY BUTTS of the NQ REGISTER

MOST stakeholoders, including leading jockeys and trainers (even knowledgeable ex-stipes), were amazed when jockey Mathew McGillivray was suspended for 10 meetings in Townsville late last month.

They were even more stunned when the jockey was given an extra day suspension on appeal by the newly installed Queensland Racing Integrity Commission Internal Review Adjudicator Kane Post – a former jockey and later a key member of Racing Victoria’s Integrity Unit.

No surprise, after the QRIC decision, that the in- form jockey is now going to QCAT, on the advice of lawyer Mathew Tutt. 

McGillivray was charged under Rule 137(d) of the Australian Rules of Racing that states: “Any rider may be penalised if, in the opinion of the stewards, he excessively slows, reduces or checks the speed of his horse thereby causing interference, directly or indirectly, to any other horse in the race.”

McGilliray was found guilty and suspended for 10 days.

Facts are that he rode a horse named Harjaka and his explicit instructions were to ‘take a sit’. He tried to, but no other jockey wanted to lead. They sat back and restrained their mounts.

McGillivray was riding to instructions – and if the other jockeys were not satisfied – they had the option of going forward. But, until Major Major took off from the back of the field at the half-way mark, they all refused and continually checked their mounts.

It was as simple as that.

A former leading international jockey, Steve Sharman, who witnessed the race said: “They (the stewards) should have suspended all the jockeys in the six-horse race – not singled out just one. He will get out of this for sure.’’

And many agree.

For QRIC to give him an extra day – well that’s just so wrong.

And it does nothing for the already somewhat tarnished reputation of QRIC.

 

SYDNEY UPS THE ANTE IN SPRING STAKES WAR WITH MELBOURNE 

SYDNEY has dramatically upped the ante in racing’s border war, announcing a $2 million stake increase aimed in poaching Melbourne’s spring limelight.

MATT STEWART reports for the HERALD SUN that the inaugural Everest race-day on October 14 — Caulfield Guineas Day — is now Australia’s richest race-day, featuring our richest race, the $10 million Everest.

The Craven Stakes, usually reserved for plodders as the nation’s best battle it out at Caulfield, has had its stake boosted to $500,000 and will be run on Everest Day.

It’s no secret that the dramatic hike to the Craven’s stake is a bid to entice Chris Waller to run Winx at Randwick instead of Caulfield.

Both races are run at weight-for-age over 2000m, but the Craven is worth $100,000 more than the time-honoured Caulfield feature, won by Winx last year en route to her second Cox Plate win.

The Everest program will also feature a resurrection of the St Leger (2600m), an all-comers race worth $500,000.

Racing NSW chief executive Peter V’landys said the Everest had “exceeded all expectations’’, saying local and international publicity had been unprecedented.

Royal Ascot winner Caravaggio, the second favourite behind Chautauqua in early markets, is a possible runner whose presence would be a coup for Racing NSW and a distraction from Guineas Day, traditionally the curtain raiser to Melbourne’s famous carnival.

In a seemingly vague response to the NSW announcement, Racing Victoria issued a brief statement that suggested final approval for the changes had not been granted.

“We will review today’s announcement made by Racing NSW regarding programming and prizemoney changes to its spring,’’ said chief executive Giles Thompson.

“In the meantime, all inquiries regarding what approvals Racing NSW will require from Racing Australia (RA) and the Australian Pattern Committee (APC) for these changes to proceed, should be directed to Barry O’Farrell, CEO Racing Australia.’’

Approval for the changes would have to be signed off by Racing Australia and the Pattern Committee.

 

 

THE TRUTH HURTS WHEN IT COMES TO COMMENTS ON RQ INTEGRITY

HARRY GALLAGHER of GOLD COAST weighs into the debate about integrity in racing in QUEENSLAND:

‘RACING folk are reportedly far from impressed by comments of Integrity Commissioner Ross Barnett painting a grim picture of the industry in Queensland.

As they say, the truth hurts. The racing media, instead of bagging Ross Barnett for his honesty, should be investigating what is wrong on and off the track in the north.

Whether the sport in Queensland has barely moved on from the notorious days of Russ Hinze and Fine Cotton – as one interstate columnist suggested – is debatable.

But things certainly aren’t rosy when you look at the downturn in betting on the local product and that comes back to punter confidence.

You can throw up all the arguments about the state of the Eagle Farm track, betting on TAB racing in south-east Queensland was heading downhill like out an out-of-control roller coaster long before the Farm was transformed into a swamp.

Form reversals were common place back then and they are now. Trainers have an endless list of excuses for poor performances or improvements and it seems stewards are content to accept these regardless of the circumstances.

Some of the top jockeys ride on occasions like apprentices. Fancied runners blow like a gale in the betting and race accordingly. It’s not unusual for favourites to miss the start, race wide, get blocked for runs and strike all sorts of trouble.

When was the last time there was a retrospective inquiry at a major TAB meeting in Brisbane or south-east Queensland? I have asked my friends and they can’t recall, nor can I.

Since the Queensland Racing Integrity Commission was established to bring police powers into racing some of the stewards seem to have lost interest. With all due respects, the time is long overdue for most of the high profile stipes to be pensioned off.

What racing in Queensland needs are a few hard-nosed, no-nonsense stewards to clean the joint up and work in conjunction with the police to jump a few stable fences and check out what is happening behind the scenes when it comes to treatment of horses prior to race meetings.

There is talk that Reid Sanders is returning to Queensland to be Chairman of Stewards in harness racing. His record in NSW suggests the alarm bells will be ringing for some of those who have had a party for far too long at the ‘red hots’.

Let Sanders cut a swathe through that code which has lost all public confidence then move him into the job currently held by Allan Reardon at the gallops when he is finally pensioned off (that is long overdue) and give him some lee-way to clean the place up.

There will be the usual bleats from the industry and their mates in the racing media but that’s the only hope racing in south-east Queensland has got of winning back the confidence of punters.

Officials can fix the tracks, increase the prizemoney and stable the horses in all the fancy facilities they like, but until they address the thing that matters most – integrity on and off the track – racing in Queensland will be a Rolls Royce with a Model T Ford engine going nowhere.’

 

 

HAS QLD RACING BARELY MOVED ON SINCE HINZE & FINE COTTON DAYS?

INTERESTING column item by MATT STEWART in BLINKERS OFF in the HERALD SUN today – we would like to hear your views of this topic:

IF QUEENSLAND racing’s Integrity Commissioner Ross Barnett is to believed, the state has barely moved on since the ­notorious days of Russ Hinze and Fine Cotton.

In explaining a push for ­increased police powers to deal with integrity issues, Barnett said: “This is high-level crime, quite organised crime and common sense tells you that you need the police and the police powers if you’re going to investigate a crime properly.”

His comments have angered racing folk up there who believe the sport is in better shape than Barnett portrays, but it remains battered by alarming administrative issues and the ongoing chaos of the Eagle Farm track.

 

BRC THROWS CONTROVERSIAL LIFELINE TO FORMER BANNED OFFICIAL

THE Brisbane Racing Club has controversially thrown a career lifeline to one-time disqualified Sydney racing administrator, Matt Rudolph, appointing him to the newly created position of General Manager of its Racing Operations.

Rudolph was sacked in 2015 as Racing Manager of the Australian Turf Club and suffered a two-year disqualification, which was halved on appeal, after being deemed guilty of ‘improper and dishonourable conduct’ in the cobalt affair involving young trainer Sam Kavanagh.

At least one high profile official in racing in NSW admitted last night he was stunned by the BRC decision while stakeholders in Queensland were questioning whether the new position was advertised and, if it was not, how Rudolph snared the prime role.

BRC chairman Neville Bell – no stranger to controversy in recent months in the midst of the new Eagle Farm track debacle – was making no apologies for the Rudolph appointment.  “Matt is welcome back into the Australian racing industry and we’re fortunate to have him at the BRC,” Bell said.

He added that Rudoph’s experience as Executive General Manager of Racing and Development with the ATC would be critical to the BRC as it implemented its Master Plan for racing in Brisbane.

Rudolph will commence duties with the BRC on September 19 working alongside part-time racing manager and consultant Bart Sinclair, the former veteran journalist and racing editor with Queensland Newspapers.

“We have been fortunate to have the expertise of Bart Sinclair in a part-time capacity for the last three years. Bart has done outstanding work and he will continue with us as Racing Manager. We’re at the stage where we need full-time assistance in this role and Bart would prefer to continue in his part-time role, which we completely understand,” Bell said.

There are some in the industry questioning whether the BRC is becoming ‘top heavy’ with high salaried appointments and highlighted by the fact that who will have to pay for a rebuild or massive repair job to the presently closed Eagle Farm track has yet to be revealed.     

Bell described the appointment of Rudolph as ‘a coup for the BRC’ which some say smacks of hypocrisy when a former popular BRC administrator in Darren Condon struggles to secure work back in the industry that threw him under the bus during the greyhound live baiting crisis when he was CEO of Racing Queensland.

There are those who believe Condon is not only far better credentialed than Sinclair, a loyal servant to the QTC and BRC during his days in the newspaper industry, but also has paid a much higher price for being a scapegoat of the greyhound controversy in comparison to what Rudolph was found guilty of during the Kavanagh cobalt affair.

Bell said the BRC had considered ‘a recent matter in which Mr Rudolph was penalised by Racing NSW’. “Matt’s referees were of the highest calibre – former Racing NSW chief steward Ray Murrihy, former ATC Chairman John Cornish, and chairman of the Australian and Queensland Breeders’ Association Basil Nolan spoke to us of Matt’s considerable abilities.”

Ray Murrihy told the BRC: “Matt Rudolph is a young man who will bring enthusiasm and vision to the BRC and Queensland racing.”

Basil Nolan said: “I could not speak highly enough of Matt Rudolph. I have known him all his life and knew his parents well. He has an excellent work ethic and second-to-none knowledge of the thoroughbred industry. He has skills across all aspects of the racing industry.”

Notably there was no comment from Racing NSW’s most high profile official in Peter V’landy’s and one would have thought he would have been the first asked to comment on the Rudolph appointment.

Rudolph said: “My love for racing began as a child at Doomben and Eagle Farm so it’s very meaningful to me to return. My parents were regular racegoers as owners and breeders and all three of my brothers have worked in racing here.

“I’ve been fortunate to work across all disciplines of the industry for world-class organisations – other than the ATC, Widden and Inglis have been very instrumental and supportive of my professional development.

“I’m excited at the prospect of working for the BRC and its stakeholders, particularly with all of the work that has been done with the Master Plan.”

       

COMPETITION TRIBUNAL APPROVES MERGER OF TABCORP & TATTS

TABCORP expects its proposed $11 billion merger with gaming rival Tatts Group to be completed by August.

CHRISTIAN EDWARDS reports for AAP that Tabcorp chairman Paula Dwyer said the Australian Competition Tribunal's approval of the merger on Tuesday is an important step towards creating a "world class, diversified gambling entertainment group."

"We look forward to continuing to work with Tatts to successfully complete the transaction and are working towards implementation in August 2017," Ms Dwyer said in a statement.

The deal will deliver significant value for shareholders of both companies and "material benefits" to other key stakeholders, she said.

The combined company is forecast to generate annual revenue of more than $5 billion and dominate Australia's tote betting market by bringing together TAB and the Tatts-owned UniTAB.

Tabcorp said it still expects the merger to deliver at least $130 million in earnings annually from synergies and business improvements, which will be realised in the first full year after completion of the integration.

"The combination will bring together two great Australian businesses, well positioned to invest, innovate and compete in a global gambling entertainment marketplace," Ms Dwyer said.

Tabcorp shares were up 17 cents, or 3.7 per cent, at $4.80 at 1430 AEST, and Tatts shares were up 16 cents, or 3.8 per cent, at $4.33.

Meanwhile, Tabcorp said it expects its revenue for the year to June 30 to be in the range of $2.22 billion to $2.24 billion, growth of 1.4 per cent to 2.3 per cent from the previous year.

Net profit before significant items is forecast to be between $173 million and $180 million, down from $186 million in 2015/16.

ACT president Justice John Middleton said the tribunal was satisfied the proposed merger of Tabcorp and Tatts would benefit the public.

The only condition imposed by the tribunal is that Tabcorp continues with the already agreed sale of its Queensland gaming machine monitoring business, Odyssey, in response to concerns over competition in the sector.

Tabcorp said the competition watchdog has given the nod of approval to the proposed purchaser, Australian National Hotels, a subsidiary of Federal Group.

 

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