EDDIE ‘The Fireman’ Birchley was one of the most colourful characters of his time.

One of Australia's early big time punters, his name still echoes in thoroughbred circles whenever talk turns to the past and ears prick for a good racing story.

As Tweed local Barry Clugston - who knew "The Fireman” for more than 50 years - said, he "would have loved” one last run in the pages of the press, for the limelight as much as to let people know he died on July 25. He was 86.

MITCHELL CRAWLEY reports in the TWEED DAILY NEWS that in the great Australian tradition, Birchley was known as "The Fireman” because before turning to punting he had been with the fire department for 17 years.

TABCORP supremo David Attenborough has raised new questions about racing.com’s promotion of corporate bookmakers, saying the broadcaster is undermining the funding of Victorian racing.

PATRICK BARTLEY reports for FAIRFAX MEDIA that racing.com is a joint venture between the Victorian racing industry and Seven West Media. It recently entered into new sponsorship arrangements with Northern Territory-licensed corporate bookmakers Sportsbet, CrownBet and Bet365.

Attenborough said the Victorian TAB returns 9.6¢ in every dollar to the racing industry on a tote bet and 7.5¢ on a TAB fixed odds bet. The equivalent figure for corporate bookmakers is 2.8¢ and only for bets placed on Victorian racing.

SAM LEWIS, a keen VICTORIAN PUNTER, makes some interesting observations about turnover on Victorian racing and the ‘start’ that corporate bookies seem to have with the broadcaster, Racing.com, which is impacting on its popular program, GET ON.   

‘IF the bulk of Racing Victoria's revenue comes from its joint venture with the TAB, why does its broadcast arm, Racing.com, continue to promote major betting rivals Crown Bet and Sports Bet?

One only has to follow the popular Thursday night program, Get On, once streets ahead of anything similar that SKY has to offer, to appreciate how the ‘suck-up’ to these corporate bookmaking ‘parasites’ has degenerated into a farce.

The way things are going there will be more corporates represented on the show than presenters or tipsters.

THE big race is almost upon us and this is the must read form, published by the HERALD-SUN, that will help you find the winner of the 2016 Melbourne Cup.

RACING Victoria Stewards (RV) have today announced that they do not intend to appeal the decisions of the Racing Appeals & Disciplinary (RAD) Board on 16 and 17 March, 2016 in which trainer Peter Moody was found guilty and suspended for breaching Australian Rule of Racing 175 (h)(ii).

Mr Moody was suspended for a period of 12 months, of which six months was suspended for a period of 12 months, for causing to be administered a prohibited substance, being cobalt above the permitted threshold, that was detected in a sample taken from Lidari following the Turnbull Stakes at Flemington Racecourse on 4 October 2014. The suspension took effect at midnight on 24 March, 2016.

RV Stewards gave careful consideration to the RAD Board’s written reasons for both the decision and the penalty imposed against Mr Moody and given all the circumstances have elected not to proceed with an appeal.

THREE high-profile Sydney racing identities are set to appear at a stewards inquiry into the sale of an unraced horse to Hong Kong that has gone on to win more than $570,000 in prizemoney.

RAY THOMAS & NIC ASHMAN report for the DAILY TELEGRAPHthat champion jockey Glyn Schofield will attend the inquiry while media personality Richard Callander confirmed to The Daily Telegraph on Thursday that he has also been asked to appear at the hearing, which starts at 2pm on Monday.

RACING Victoria has resisted making changes to its drug-free policy, despite calls for a relaxation in the rule over positive swabs for the anti-inflammatory substance ibuprofen.    

PATRICK BARTLEY reports for FAIRFAX MEDIAthat Racing Victoria announced after its monthly board meeting that it sympathises with owners of horses that are currently continuing to return positive swabs long after they have been taken off the medication.  

RACING NSW and Racing Victoria power brokers will meet on Friday in an attempt to work out differences over race times with Peter V'landys promising to champion the punter, after a significant turnover downturn last weekend.

CHRIS ROOTS reports for FAIRFAX MEDIA that punters will again be forced to choose between races in Melbourne and other meetings around the country on Saturday after Racing Victoria opted to extend its 30-minute gap trial for another week rather than have the traditional 35 to 40 minutes between races.

RACING NSW boss Peter V'landys has ruled out any chance of trialling or permanently adopting the contentious 30-minute gap between races, claiming Racing Victoria's week-long test of the policy will compromise rider safety and shrink wagering when it comes into effect from Saturday.

ADAM PENGILLY reports for FAIRFAX MEDIA that V'landys said he appreciated Racing Victoria's ability to test whether the condensed half-hour intervals between races would enhance the race-day experience, but described the push to fly solo as "disappointing" as punters brace for a nightmare when race times clash across the country.

RACING'S cobalt investigation has been the subject of an enormous amount of misreporting and rumour-mongering. The latest suggests that cobalt does not improve a horse's performance and that trainers Danny O'Brien and Mark Kavanagh cannot wait to have their day in an "adult court" .

PATRICK BARTLEY reports for FAIRFAX MEDIA that after Wednesday's RAD board disqualification - O'Brien was banned for four years and Kavanagh for three -  both took their appeal to the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal where they plan to interrogate members of Racing Victoria's stewards' panel.

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