Jenny - Clean

WELCOME TO THE NEWLOOK WEDNESDAY WHINGE

MAIN WHINGE THIS WEEK:

TIME FOR RACING MINISTER TO COME CLEAN ON STARTERS’ TAX

THE Queensland Trainers’ Association has moved quickly to quell concerns among members in the country that Racing Minister Sterling Hinchliffe is poised to introduce a controversial Starters’ Tax.

QTA president Ross Shannon told LGHR (which has received several emails on the issue): “The topic was discussed at our annual general meeting in Rockhampton on Sunday.

“Whilst it is true that some individual trainers in the Brisbane area continue to raise this subject and demand action, at this point in time there does not appear to be a lot of substance to the current rumor.

“Following is advice that I received from a Racing Queensland senior executive when I asked if he could confirm or deny the content of the (latest) rumor.

“He replied:

“All efforts at the moment are around the point of consumption tax (POC) and trying to ensure a return to racing in Queensland. NSW are getting $25 million out of their POC and Queensland currently has no guarantee. Besides, given past history, any changes to WorkCover would need solid industry consultation.”

Shannon said the QTA was confident that unless the Racing Minister was working with individual trainers outside of the jurisdiction of Racing Queensland this rumor could be put to rest.

Unfortunately, some of his members in the north remain wary of Hinchliffe’s motives. “Why then has a leading Brisbane trainer been gloating that a secret deal has been done with the Racing Minister?" one asked.

“They have been after this for ages and one of his colleagues is in the middle of a very messy and expensive compensation claim at the moment that he would love to see disappear.

“Our mail is the latest Racing Minister has some very close ties to some influential trainers in Brisbane, especially in the Deagon area, and that the starters’ tax deal will just be announced without any consultation with country trainers.”

Former QTA President, JIM RUNDLE, weighed into the debate as well informing LGHR:

‘I am looking at all this as the person who headed the original campaign to stop this stupid idea of a Starters’ Tax to fund Workers’ Compensation premiums for trainers.

The original proved to be a failed LNP policy and I fail to see how a Labor Government Minister thinks he can add a silver lining to a failed LNP policy.

With this now in the public arena and RQ stating they are not planning to move on such an issue, the Minister now needs to confirm or deny that he plans to use his Ministerial power to burden the Queensland Racing Industry with a Starters’ Tax.’

 

SHOULD BEN CURRIE BE ELIGIBLE FOR TOP TRAINER AWARD?

SOCIAL media has been in over-drive the past week and LETSGOHORSERACING has received our share of Whinges as well concerning the annual Awards for racing in Queensland.

Whilst the mainstream media coverage has focused on the Horse of the Year Award being the most open in almost half a century, stakeholders have voiced complaints about eligibility criteria for the Trainer of the Year.

AAP reports that the Trainers’ Award will be fought out by Tony Gollan, who won his fifth straight metropolitan title and Toowoomba young gun Ben Currie who set a record for winners in the State title.

Feelings of some stakeholders were best summed up by this comment to the Murdoch-owned racing website, punters.com.au, by a prominent Darling Downs industry identity who wrote (in part – we have edited this for legal reasons):

‘THE Trainers’ Award has to go to Tony Gollan. Ben Currie cannot possibly be considered as he is facing 28 charges.

“Surely the industry cannot possibly consider awarding an individual under these circumstances. It’s embarrassingly laughable.

“Ben Currie has already been awarded the QTIS Two-Year-Old Trainer of the Year at a function that when it was announced the silence was deafening.

“He has won the Toowoomba Trainers’ Award under the guise of being the trainer of Currie Racing whereas in actual fact and admitted under oath by (his father) Mark at his stay of proceedings that he trains in partnership with his son.

“This is (in the opinion of the contributor, Watt Racing) a breach of the Australian Rules of Racing (as he alleges they are not a registered partnership).

“Ben Currie has had two staff disqualified for three months and one disqualified for 18 months. His father, Mark Currie, is currently on a stay of his two-year disqualification.”

The general thrust of the concerns expressed on the Trainers’ Awards issue is that before Ben Currie can be considered as a suitable candidate his charges need to be finalized as does the appeal by his trainer partner and father, Mark.

 

RV STEWARDS PRAISED FOR QUIZZING GRAND NATIONAL TACTICS

PUNTERS who have emailed the WEDNESDAY WHINGE have been unanimous in their praise for the decision by Victorian stewards to quiz tactics adopted by John Allen on Bit of a Lad in the Grand National Hurdle at Sandown on Sunday.

Rob Montgomery, who presided over the meeting, said his panel wanted to examine betting records from corporate bookmakers before continuing the inquiry.

Punters were concerned that Allen rode the Darren Weir-trained Bit of a Lad to get the favorite Self Sense beaten by constantly attacking that horse and benefiting the eventual winner, Cougar Express, which landed some good long priced bets. Cougar Express is trained by Jarrod McLean who has a close association with the Weir stable.

Stewards spoke with Weir, who was in Darwin for the Cup meeting. “He said he didn't tie down Mr Allen with instructions other than not to let Self Sense out of his sight,” Montgomery said. “The only way to beat him was to pressure him.”

Trainer David Brideoake praised the courage of runner-up Self Sense, which he said had been softened up by the tactics adopted on Bit of a Lad.

Some of the social media comments relating to Darren Weir, John Allen and Jarrod McLean are downright defamatory and basically surround punters concerns of team riding.

This is the first major controversial inquiry into tactics for the stewards in Victoria since the departure for Singapore of Terry Bailey and punters around the country will be watching with interest the outcome especially as it involves the leading stable.

 

THE GOOD, THE BAD & THE UGLY SIDE OF RACING IN THE PAST WEEK:

THE GOOD

PUNTERS HAVE MORE CONFIDENCE BETTING ON VICTORIAN RACING

THE reason punters around the country have more confidence betting in Victoria than any other State was further evidenced by Saturday’s meeting at Moonee Valley.

Just look at the number of well fancied runners that saluted – starting with Naantali, You’ve Been Had, Streets of Avalon and Call Me Handsome. Then there were the heavily backed winners Multaja and Morton’s Fork.

Saturday racing in Melbourne has its share of upsets as well but nothing like occurs in Brisbane or Sydney where at times the form of the Chris Waller stable leaves punters more than a little dumbfounded as does the approach of the stewards when this happens.

 

SHOULD THE FORM OUT OF MISSILE STAKES BE QUESTIONED?

KEMENTARI might have found Pierata a shade to slick in the Missile Stakes at Randwick on Saturday but the Godolphin four-year-old star lost few fans.

One suspects the really firm track did not suit him and that he raced like a horse that was looking for 1400m, finding the trip a shade short.

Whilst the race threw up the predictable claims for a berth in the over-hyped The Everest, few questioned the quality of the form out of it. The first two are obviously class horses but The Monstar and Lanciato which were not far off them are hardly superstars.

 

TARZAN SHOWS HE IS MORE THAN A JANE IN SPRINTING RANKS

TARZAN showed by his win in the Tim Bell Memorial at Doomben on Saturday that he is an above average short course sprinter.

The 1110m win was Tarzan’s first beyond his specialist 1000 to 1050m range and he worked both ends defying a betting drift to salute.

Trainer Stuart Kendrick has done a terrific job with the six-year-old who took his earnings beyond the $300,000 mark.

Jackson Murphy, who rode Tarzan as part of a successful double, summed up the win perfectly: “It was a super run. They wanted to use me from the gate but when I got there he was travellng so well I just had to keep him happy and rolling.”  

 

THE BAD

POWER OF ONE DEALT MAJOR BLOW TO WALLEY WORLD

IF the emails that we received were any guide there were plenty of punters around the country celebrating after Red Alto upset the Waller Army at Randwick on Saturday.

It wasn’t so much that they had backed the Victorian stayer to win the Cindy Sullivan Memorial but more so the ‘power of one’ success story in Red Alto staving off the remaining eight runners that were all trained by Chris Waller.

Waller, receiving his eighth consecutive Sydney premiership award a short time later, summed up the situation perfectly: “As you saw in the last race, you can’t always be a winner, and that’s what is great about racing.”

In fairness, when it was realized that Waller would have all but one runner in the race, he agreed to donate his percentage of earnings from the race to the NSW Drought Relief Fund. That amounted to $4,262 for his horses running second to ninth.

 

RQ MISSED AN OPPORTUNITY TO RAISE MONEY ON JOCKEYS’ DAY

GREG BLANCHARD of NUDGEE writes:

‘I was at Doomben on Saturday for the National Jockeys’ Day. Part of the day is to raise money for this worthy cause.

Now I, as well as others, were surprised there was not one person collecting money or selling caps etc on course.

I believe there was money raised from certain groups who were celebrating in the marquee near the Nudgee Road entrance.

That’s all well and good but it would have been nice if during the day some of the well-paid people at RQ and QRIC had come out to collect as I know many wanted to give.’

 

BRISBANE RACING CAN ALWAYS FIND THAT IMPOSSIBLE WINNER

YOU can always count on racing in Brisbane throwing up a winner that was virtually impossible for the punters to find.

Trusty Lad was the outsider in the five horse opener at Doomben on Saturday yet someone managed to back him from $21 to $13 and he landed the money.

At his only two starts Trusty Lad had finished on for fourth on debut at Toowoomba then was slowly away when 11th at Doomben.

Adding insult to injury for punters Trusty Lad knocked off the favorite Red Stina which drifted from odds-on to $2.5 and was beaten a nose.

 

THE UGLY

TIME FOR STEWARDS TO PLACE A LIFE BAN ON CHAUTAUQUA

IT’S time to stop pussy-footing around with the Chautauqua situation and call a halt once and for all to what has been a great career.

The way things are going Chautauqua will be remembered for all the wrong reasons.

His refusal to jump from the barriers is proving not only an embarrassment for the great Hawkes Training Team but also the stewards who seem reluctant to put the grey out of his misery and ban him for good.

Perhaps John and the boys shouldn’t have been so cantankerous and given the American Horse Whisperer the chance to prove he could cure Chautauqua’s problems.     

 

HORSE RACING FANS WILL MISS THE COLUMNS OF ‘PACEWAY PETE’

FOR 40 years PETER CAMERON has entertained readers – largely of the Murdoch Media – will his columns on horse racing.

‘Paceway’ – as LGHR calls him (Cameron once covered the ‘red hots’, not that he likes to be reminded of it) had a style of his own and wasn’t scared to call a spade a shovel.

He was colorful (in the same niche as the great Sydney turf scribe Max Presnell) and his style was different, perhaps a shade difficult to follow for some of the younger brigade of racing followers who still read newspapers rather than the web.

Sadly, the new Editor of The Sunday Mail, made a few immediate changes and one of those was to dispense with the weekly Cameron column which had a huge following.

His predecessor Peter Gleeson is a keen racing man and wisely recognized the value of ‘Paceway’ to The Sunday Mail readership which will no doubt be many less now that they can’t have their weekly ‘fix’ of his unique column coverage of all things racing and politics in Queensland.

 

THANK HEAVENS THIS WAS A ‘FAKE NEWS STORY’ 

SOME racing followers will believe just about anything they read – take this tongue-in-cheek, entertaining story on the popular punters.com.au.

Some of those who looked no further than the headline and the opening paragraphs still found the time to have a Whinge to LGHR.

They should have read right through to the last paragraph first.

Here is what was written:

RACING NSW have announced that they are exploring the possibility of an 'all-Waller' raceday.

The day would consist of nine races made up entirely of Chris Waller-trained horses.

The concept comes in the wake of Sydney's premier trainer having nine of the ten runners in the Cindy Sullivan Memorial Handicap (2400m) at Randwick on Saturday.

"Without having concrete evidence at this stage, it is our firm belief that punters enjoy betting on races where one stable have multiple runners," said a
Racing NSW spokesperson.

"We've seen it down in Victoria with Darren Weir - punters somehow always seem to back the right Weir runner."

"It has forever been a dream of mine to train the card, so I'm certainly open to the idea," said Waller.

Racecaller Darren Flindell is said to be 'shook' by the proposal.

*The above is of course 'fake news'.

 

BEST NEWS STORY OF THE WEEK:

LEGAL EAGLE WHO HAD A FORENSIC APPROACH TO THE PUNT

BUILT like Artie Beetson but with swift sidestep off either foot, Clive Evatt was a distinctive playmaker in Sydney betting rings.

MAX PRESNELL reports for FAIRFAX MEDIA that Evatt, who died last week aged 87, was a founding member of the Legal Eagles, described as “a syndicate of three Sydney punters who between 1958 to 1973 changed the face of racecourse gambling”.

Apart from Evatt, the others, Don Scott and Bob Charley, didn’t have a legal bent.

"Because Clive [an old school friend of Scott] was a barrister and I had studied law myself, the Daily Mirror columnist, the late Frank Browne, called us the Legal Eagles," Scott divulged in Winning More.

"Clive was 6ft 7in [200cm] tall and weighed 115kg, wore a dark three-piece suit in a mid-summer heatwave, a black homburg hat, a Christian Dior tie, a brilliantly covered silk handkerchief and a massive pair of binoculars and he stood like a colossus.''

No doubt at the time many who practised law were even more fervent on the racecourse and were given credence as legal eagles.

Perhaps Michael McHugh, who reached the pinnacle of his profession, was linked with them. Yes, they were good friends, but McHugh always did his own figures – and still does.

And when it came to enthusiasm for the punt, Tony Bellanto, QC, was hard to beat. “I’m a logical man, and the favourite is the logical winner,” was his mantra. Wise guys would counter it was also the logical dead-'un.

Morgan Ryan, a solicitor, was another major player. The “little mate” of many in high places, he was well connected on the turf, particularly with Athol Mulley, a great jockey.

But the Legal Eagles were more technical and proved “scientific study can be rewarding”, according to Australian Horse Racing.

Sure, Browne gave them the title, but things turned sour after their coup on a nine-year-old Diatribe, explained by Scott as conforming to the teaching of Pittsburgh Phil, the learned American horse player.

Next start, Diatribe dropped dead without the Legal Eagles' support.

"Their operations were brought to my notice when Mr Clive Evatt junior, the largest and most active of the group trio, stood on my toe in the betting ring with all the enthusiasm of a water buffalo," Browne wrote.

Folklore has it that as schoolboys, Scott and Evatt went to Gosford races with a ten bob stake and were still betting late that night at Dapto dogs.

Scott, with the appearance of a Toulouse-Lautrec on good legs, gave the impression of being more studious.

Even before he linked with them, Charley – always lean and immaculate with a landed gentry background – was a racecourse regular and astute form judge.

After they quit, Scott, now deceased, continued and became one the great authors on how to play the horses.

Why did Evatt drop out? One theory maintains the figures were going berserk because the Fence Jumpers, a bold team of nobblers with potent go-slow drugs, were plying their trade: leaping over stable security and even doping guard dogs en route.

Another centres on the Australian Jockey Club when it was more difficult to get into the members' enclosure than to break out of Long Bay jail. Evatt was apprehended with a press pass issued genuinely, but the AJC committee took exception.

Ironically, Charley later became the AJC chairman and one of the longest-serving racing administrators of our time.

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