THE reinstatement of a turf track at the Clifford Park race course in Toowoomba will ensure the region’s thoroughbred industry kicks off the New Year with a bang, Racing Minister Steve Dickson said today.

Mr Dickson said the project to rebuild the turf track, which will be officially opened at a New Year’s Eve race meeting tomorrow, is emblematic of the Newman Government’s efforts to rebuild racing in Queensland.

RACING Queensland has recently conducted an investigation into reports from the Queensland Government Racing Science Centre (QGRSC) that prednisone and/or prednisolone had been detected in a number of race day urine samples collected around Queensland,.

 

This investigation was commenced when stewards became concerned with the number and frequency of positive tests to prednisone and prednisolone reported to Racing Queensland by the Queensland Government Racing Science Centre during the early part of 2013.

 

JOHN Ross,one of North Queensland’s best known racing identities, passed away on Christmas day after a long and painful battle with cancer.

TERRY BUTTS of the NORTH QUEENSLAND REGISTER reports that John, or JP as he was popularly known, trained many good gallopers from his Wulguru stables, including Sailmaker in the 1960s.

While he will be remembered for his horse training achievements, JPs involvement in racing stretches over more than 50 years - almost every day from his Townsville base.

RACING in Queensland has been delivered the worst possible Christmas ‘gift’ with a dark cloud now hanging over the $120 million boost the industry thought was inevitable in the New Year.

TattsBet Limited has launched a counter action against the Queensland All Codes Racing Industry Board and Queensland Race Product Co Limited which threatens to derail dreams of prizemoney prosperity which is desperately needed for the industry in the north.

Racing Queensland cannot comment on legal advice but we have asked some astute legal minds to interpret what the action, filed in the Supreme Court of Queensland on December 16, means in layman’s terms and they tell us it appears that:

BY TERRY BUTTS of the NORTH QUEENSLAND REGISTER

THE appeal by trainer Tony Bita against his $3000 fine for use of the drug Prednisone has been adjourned until March 7.

The appeal was to have been heard last week by QCAT, but according to senior Racing Queensland steward Darren Aurisch it was aborted after notification that late evidence was to be presented by the appellant.

“We needed more time to study and obtain expert opinion on this new evidence so we called for an adjournment,” said Mr Aurisch.

He stressed however that RQ stewards still planned to proceed with their enquiries into  six other cases of positive swabs to the drug that is widely used to suppress pain in humans and commonly used by asthmatic patients.

Some of the positive swabs in Queensland date back to last year .The respective trainers in Rockhampton (2), Mt Isa, Mackay and the Tablelands has all been notified but as yet no formal charges have been laid.

However Mr Aurich said Stewards would be procueeding irrespective of the outcome of the Bita appeal which may not now be heard until early March.

The late evidence being produced by Bita is believed to relate to an overseas Veterinary study which allegedly indicates that horses produce the drug  naturally.

Currently there is a zero tolerance for Prednisone in Australia whlle in some other jurisdictions threshold limits apply similar to that used in sodium bicarbonate testing in this country. 

THERE is no 'SILKS & SADDLES' COLUMN by TERRY BUTTS while the NORTH QUEENSLAND REGISTER IS IN RECESS OVER CHRISTMAS.

NOT too many Queenslanders retain their base in the Sunshine State but make such a big impact on Victorian racing that they become major players through the spring and autumn carnivals.

But Robert Heathcote is the exception.

MICHAEL LYNCH reports in THE AGE that the Brisbane-based handler has led an interesting life, working in the newspaper business and as a travel guide before taking out a trainer's licence, initially to prepare the horses of his brother Warren, an art dealer.

RACING Queensland stewards have given the green light for harness racing to be conducted on two grass racing surfaces following the successful conduct of official trials at Toowoomba’s Clifford Park and Kilcoy, Racing Minister Steve Dickson said today.

Mr Dickson said harness racing will return to its grass roots this weekend for the launch of the Queensland Grass Track Trotting Series, a unique racing experience held on grass galloping tracks in regional South-East Queensland.

FUND ESTABLISHED IN HONOR OF POPULAR LADY JOCKEY WHO DIED AFTER RACE FALL

RACING Queensland, in conjunction with the National Jockeys Trust, has established a fund in honor of jockey Desiree Gill, Racing Minister Steve Dickson said today.

Desiree tragically passed away on Sunday, November 10, from injuries sustained in a race fall the night before at the Sunshine Coast Turf Club. 

FOLLOWING a hugely successful picnic races this year, Racing Minister Steve Dickson has announced Deagon will host another community race day in 2014.

Mr Dickson said Racing Queensland had approved a race meeting after overwhelming support from locals saw more than 7,000 people flock to the Deagon track last month for the first race day in 70 years.

AT THE core of the Queensland Racing Inquiry sits a $91 million fortune and a salivating, cash-strapped industry. The inquiry, which wound up its public hearing phase on Tuesday, is examining $91 million in deductions enjoyed by the gaming giant Tatts.

But that money belongs, according to the inquiry's Assisting Counsel James Bell, QC, in the hands of around 24,000 not-all-terribly-well-off Queenslanders who derive an often perilous livelihood from racing.

MICHAEL MADIGAN reports in THE COURIER-MAIL that the inquiry, which has played out over the past month on the seventh floor of the Brisbane Magistrates Court building, again sifted through a basket of dirty laundry thrown up by an industry subject to three inquiries in less than a decade.

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