MAIN WHINGE THIS WEEK:

PUNTERS TAKE STEWARDS TO TASK OVER STEWART INACTION

AS the fallout continues from the ‘slaughter job’ that ‘top’ jockey Brad Stewart did on hot favorite Ef Troop at Doomben last Saturday there is a consensus of punters’ opinion that stewards have been equally derelict in doing their job.

Whilst some have questioned whether Ef Troop is over-rated, the majority believe that Stewart should have been charged with failing to position his mount to give it every chance of winning the race.

Adding further intrigue to the already questionable tactics are suggestions from south of the border that one of the biggest bets in Australian racing history was lost when Ef Troop sat four wide and finished a certainty beaten second.

Is this panel of QRIC stewards, who are already the laughing stock of punters around the nation for simply noting the explanation of Stewart rather than take any action, simply sitting on their backsides and ignoring claims that a major corporate bookmaker laid a bet to lose $1 million on Ef Troop from one of the biggest punters in the land.

As unbelievable as it sounds, the sources that have brought this to the attention of LGHR are reliable and closely connected to the bookmaking industry. They claim it involved a big punter with links to former NSW international rugby league stars and that the corporate involved is in the news and advertising heavily at present.

What makes the situation even more annoying is that jockeys in Queensland – primarily apprentices – are being taken to with a big stick (a la Corey Bayliss over a ride and Michael Murphy for whip use in recent times) while Stewart (regarded by most punters as one of the best in the land) is given a slap on the hand for an out-of-character ride that cost punters around the country hundreds of thousands of dollars.

WHAT VARIOUS CONTRIBUTORS HAD TO SAY IN THEIR WHINGES

Here’s what some had to say in their WHINGES about this latest integrity farce in Queensland racing:

‘THE gallops in Queensland are going down the same track as the ‘red hots’ and punters continue to walk away in droves. How can you have any confidence in the stewards when they adopt this sort of couldn’t care less approach to a slaughter job on what looked to be a certainty.’

‘WHAT a joke, Stewart appears to have successfully thrown stewards off the scent by admitting he rode a bad race. All the more reason he should have been charged with failing to give the horse the best chance of winning. This is a horse that led the Magic Millions field from a wide alley (albeit knocking some down in the process). On Saturday he was racing a far inferior field (some had been beaten in bush Maidens). Stewart showed no early urgency, then sat him four wide with a big weight when resuming from a break. We’ve all seen his riding abilities so it has to be ruled a very out-of-character performance by a quality jockey.

‘HOW could the stewards possibly take no action against Brad Stewart for his ride on Ef Troop? He’s one of the best jockeys in Queensland yet a youngster like Corey Bayliss, far less experienced than Stewart, cops six weeks for taking the wrong option on Tumbler. What’s the point of having stewards at all in Queensland?’

‘FOR those who are suggesting that Ef Troop, which started $1.45, was too short for the average punter to back, spare a thought for those of us who jumped in at the $1.8. Yeah the bookies were generous early on.

‘STEWART gave it no hope at all. You would struggle to find a punter who backed the horse and expected to see it four wide with no cover in a small field. There have now been three shocking rides on three shot priced favorites in a month in Brisbane racing. Little wonder punters are reluctant to bet there.’

‘STANDBY for one of the spin doctors for racing in Queensland in the mainstream media to not only alibi the ride of Brad Stewart but to drag out some obscure statistic suggesting that odds-on favorites have a better record there than they do in NSW and Victoria. Tell that to the punters who have continued to burn their money on what look like good things but blow from odds-on to black odds taking them out of the statistical equation all because some bookies know they can’t win.’

‘DID you happen to notice that after he slaughtered two favorites early in the day at Doomben, Stewart could have won on a broomstick, producing a successful double including a roughie at $26 in Fiery Heights that blew most quadrella punters out of the water? And he continued that hot form at the Sunshine Coast on Sunday. My mates and I have given Brad a miss from back in the days when he rode for the late Bruce McLachlan. We restrict our bets in Queensland these days to the best young jockey in the north in Matt McGillivray.’

 

NATIONAL DROUGHT RELIEF RACE DAY WOULD RAISE PLENTY

THE drought relief fund-raiser planned for Brisbane is a great initiative but the industry in general should look at something major on a national scale.

Why not one major race day throughout the nation when all of those involved donate their earnings and a percentage of prizemoney won to our struggling farmers?

And that would include jockeys, trainers, owners and those in the racing media who enjoy several jobs. Surely they wouldn’t miss a single day’s wages!

We have seen worldwide over the years major fund-raisers for needy causes with some prominent business, entertainment and sporting identities involved.

Imagine a national race day, combined with a telethon (involving the race broadcasting networks as well), culminating in concerts at the big tracks starring some star drawcards that could be televised as well with all proceeds going to a Drought Relief Fund.

Many involved in the racing industry are suffering the effects of this terrible drought in country areas and, whilst initiatives like the one proposed in Brisbane are welcome, something more on a major scale is needed.

Here’s a chance for the racing industry to upstage the Federal Government whose promises in this area are falling well short of what is needed to save our farmers.

Cynical Facebook comment in response to the generous $1 million donation from Racing NSW to the Drought Relief Fund: ‘If Racing Queensland provided that much the place would be bankrupt’.

 

QLD RACING NEEDS TO GET IN STEP WITH DAYLIGHT SAVINGS

WE have received several emails from Queensland contributors urging the local industry and administrators to support a move for Daylight Savings to be introduced in the northern State.

The general feeling is that with Queensland out of step with New South Wales and Victoria, various sections of the industry suffer as a result.

Queensland normally starts later and finishes later making for a bigger day for those who want to follow the three States. It’s enough time out of a Saturday as it is especially for punting dads who have family commitments.

The problems is particularly highlighted at Spring Carnival time like Melbourne Cup Day when the first race in Melbourne is run at 9.30 (or close to) Queensland time and the last is over mid-way through the afternoon.

The farmers have enough problems on their plate at present without wanting to wage another war against Daylight Savings.   

 

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

THE GOOD

WEIR HAS SUPER SATURDAY WITH SEVEN WINNERS

ANOTHER Saturday of Weir domination with Victoria’s super trainer winning seven races – four at Flemington and one each at Moe, Morphettville and Newcastle.

Highlight of his weekend was the success of Voodoo Lad in the G3 Aurie’s Star at Flemington which staked a claim for one of the few remaining berths in the over-hyped The Everest.

“It was a good day at the office,” Weir said. “I am not sure why Voodoo Lad was not as well found down the straight as he was runner-up in the Newmarket.”

Weir also won at Flemington with Choisborder, $21 to $10, which upset the odds-on Gold Mag; Theanswermyfriend, $4.8 to $7.5, upstaging the better backed stablemate

 

WIDDUP CLEANS UP WITH SANDBAR IN ROSEBUD

BRAD Widdup’s second season in the training ranks in Sydney began impressively when stable star Sandbar got out to surprisingly good odds before winning Saturday’s Listed Rosebud at Rosehill.

The bulk of the horses trained by Widdup are owned by Damion Flower, who has established Platinum Park at Hawkesbury. He was responsible for convincing the long-time foreman for Darley and Godolphin to branch out on his own.

Despite working hard from a wide alley with 59kg, Sandbar, $10 to $6.5, proved a shade too strong for the Chris Waller-trained Charge. Favorite Plague Stone, which got the blows in the betting from $2.8 to $3.7, was set a task by Hugh Bowman before finishing 4th.


ORDER AGAIN MENDS FENCES BETWEEN BJ & THE PUNTERS  

NO punter will ever question the training talents of veteran Brian Smith but most concede they find his horses hard to follow.

The injury-plague Order Again took a few fences to mend those fences with a strong comeback win at Doomben on Saturday defying an alarming betting drift to run at $5.

Despite being slow to jump Order Again swamped the field to beat Time to Torque in the Open Handicap. He took full advantage of a breakneck early pace to clock 1.17.69, breaking the previous class record of 1.17.73 which had stood for 14 years.

Order Again is headed to interstate Spring campaign designed by Smith to compensate connections for missing last year’s Queensland Derby when favorite after winning the Grand Prix because of hoof issues.

Jockey Larry Cassidy declared: “He would have won the Derby had it not been for his bad feet. Brian is a master and to get him back to the races is an outstanding effort.”

 

THE BAD

NOTHING CHANGES IN WALLEY WORLD – SURPRISE, SURPRISE!

FROM a punting perspective the only bright side to another dismal day following fancies from the stable of ‘champion’ trainer Chris Waller at Rosehill on Saturday was the success of heavily backed Paret in the last.

Waller was successful earlier in the day with Quick Defence but as normally happens on a Saturday in Sydney it was backed at odds while a stablemate that was more heavily favored performed terribly.

Quick Defence had been placed once in has 10 starts. He dropped significantly in class after striking trouble over the track and distance when fifth at his previous start and was backed from $15 to $8.5.

His three stablemates in the race – Estikhrraj ($6 to $4.6, ran 4th), Trafalgar ($8 to $11, 5th) and The Macallan ($3.8 to $3.6 favorite, 7th beating only one home).

Stewards questioned the tactics on Trafalgar and eventually advised apprentice Weatherley to follow instructions in future. They also queried the poor effort of The Macallan. Jockey McEvoy said the horse raced too fiercely when it was unable to find cover. Waller produced one of his regular ‘get out of jail free cards’ and declared that the disappointing The Macallan would go for a spell – yet another one up the rear end for punters who follow Walley World.

Not to worry all’s well as Winx will be back to claim the spotlight, cause Kiwi Chrissie to cry and dominate the headlines next weekend.

 

TIME RUNNING OUT FOR TEAM WILLIAMS TO PRODUCE CUPS HOPE

IF Team Williams is to emerge with another Cups hope in the Spring it certainly wasn’t produced at Flemington on Saturday.

Crocodile Rock pulled up lame at his second run from a spell, again failing to produce the promise he showed last time in when runner-up to stablemate Almandin in the JRA Trophy. That was over the same track and trip last September and the seven-year-old appears to have lost a leg in the interim.

Stablemate Sir Edwin Landseer, making his Australian debut, was specked at odds but dropped out to finish 12th to The Statesman. In fairness it was his first run for more than a year and the Galileo five-year-old has only won the once in 10 starts in Ireland.

 

THE UGLY

EF TROOP INQUIRY OUTCOME LEAVES SOUR TASTE WITH PUNTERS

IT might have been done to death early in the WHINGE but spearheading ‘The Ugly’ has to be the ride of Brad Stewart on Ef Troop while his effort a race earlier on Jadentom was rated by most punters as not much better.

The Ef Troop inquiry outcome has left a sour taste in the mouths of those punters still prepared to risk their hard-earned on the risky Brisbane favorites. Most want to see Stewart replaced on the Tony Gollan-trained youngster when it is next produced.

Jadentom, after racing wide, failed to reproduce his big first-up winning effort from Townsville and the Hatch stable blamed the long trip north rather than the Stewart ride for his defeat.

Interestingly, the race was fought out by the Gollan stablemates Shesees Everything (easily best backed in the race from the time betting opened) and My Girl Hayley. Stewart is reportedly the No 1 rider for Gollan these days although most punters feel safer backing anything that Matt McGillivray rides for the stable.

 

WHAT WAS THE SECRET MEETING WITH RACING MINISTER ABOUT?

THIS is an example of several emails received by LETSGOHORSERACING on this issue that needs addressing by the powers-that-be in racing in Queensland.

“I have been told that on the morning of August 8th, the Racing Minister (Sterling Hinchliffe) attended a secret meeting at Racing Queensland.

This was an invitation meeting to all tracks, all codes.

What could be so important that required a confidential meeting without any trainers/owners/participants of any code could be aware of?

EDITOR’S NOTE: We are guessing but assume it related to the behind-the-scenes moves to convince the Government to divert more funds to racing from the Point of Consumption Tax. But we are only guessing. The Racing Minister needs to be more transparent, as does the Government and Racing Queensland. Not only the industry but also the racing public in general are entitled to be better informed where taxpayers money is involved. If POC was not the issue discussed at this secret meeting then what was?   

 

BEST NEWS STORY OF THE WEEK:

TIME FOR HAWKES TO BITE THE BULLET & LISTEN TO WHISPERER

WORLD-FAMOUS horse whisperer Monty Roberts has raised his voice to a dull roar but nobody seems to be listening when he says he can save the career of troubled sprinter Chautauqua.

“Chautauqua wants to run!” Roberts, 83, told ANDREW WEBSTER of FAIRFAX MEDIA from his home in California. “I want the public of Australia to know that Chautauqua wants to race. There is a problem stopping him from racing and I could educate the whole Hawkes team with what the problem is. I am sad that I am not being allowed to help this horse.

"I’ve seen enough videos of him now to know what to do with him. I know in my own mind exactly what’s going wrong with Chautauqua. But I can’t start telling them because they won’t know it. They can’t try it because they don’t know how to try it. John Hawkes would know more about training horses in one single cell of his body compared to me. But I know equine behaviour and I have the utmost confidence I could help Chautauqua but I am handcuffed. I could tell them within four or five days if he could race in The Everest."

The Grey Flash’s career is in serious doubt after he again refused to leave the barriers at a trial at Rosehill last week.

Roberts, who calls himself "the real horse whisperer" having helped hundreds of racehorses overcome problems coming out of the starting gates, said Chautauqua’s managing owner, Rupert Legh, had been in contact with his camp since then.

"Mr Legh has had six or so conversations with my daughter, Debbie, in the last couple of days saying that he’ll be having some meetings and he will be in touch because he does not want to retire Chautauqua," Roberts said. "Well, if they don’t want to retire him, they need me desperately."

Legh wasn't in a position to comment on Monday night as he was travelling back from the US.

Team Hawkes needs to convince Racing NSW stewards that Chautauqua, who has won nearly $9 million in prizemoney including three consecutive TJ Smith Stakes, deserves at least another trial to prove he is ready to come out of the gates.

"We would want them to provide evidence that they are doing something different," Racing NSW chief steward Marc Van Gestel said. "We need to protect the reputation of the sport, and we would need new advice that they are doing something different for us to lift the embargo on Chautauqua."

Van Gestel would not speculate if evoking Roberts’ name would be enough to ensure the horse was given another opportunity to trial.

As reported in the Herald last week, Legh had approached Roberts about coming to Sydney to help the Hawkes stable before there was a sudden change of heart on the eve of last Tuesday’s barrier trial.

"It’s important that the public in Australia knows that I have no anger with anybody," Roberts said. "To say they 'snubbed' me is not a word I use for this at all. They chose to follow John Hawkes. In my opinion, that was showing confidence in John Hawkes."

Roberts dismissed claims that Chautauqua’s refusal to leave the barriers for the sixth time in a row suggested the horse was ready to retire.

"Horses are flight animals," he said. "Chautauqua wants to run. They get together in a group when they are days of age and they run against one another because Mother Nature says the predator will eat the last one out of the meadow. So they race. His particular problem may have nuances that I have to see and deal with, and watch the affect of, before I say it’s time for him to race.

“There is a chance that this horse does not want to race anymore: it’s about a billion to one. This horse wants to race again. He would love to race again. Racing is not his problem. He has another problem. I know — I know — that I am right about it. I’ve seen it in 150 other horses. They have this crazy thing called a starting gate, that’s where the problem is.

"If they [the Hawkes stable] think they can do it themselves, I will be very sad. I want assurances that we would have bilateral agreements on anything that we would do. That John Hawkes would look, see and agree. That Mr Legh would look, see and agree. And I would look, see, and agree."

*******

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