Jenny - Clean

THE WEDNESDAY WHINGE has a new look but won’t be dispensing with the theme and focus on the THE GOOD, THE BAD & THE UGLY side of what is happening in racing. The Whinge will continue to provide an opportunity for The Cynics to Have Their Say. Thanks again for your support for the most read column on this website and one of the most read on racing websites in the country. Our popularity continues to grow despite the bagging it cops from some high profile officials, especially in Queensland, who cannot cope with constructive criticism of any kind. We encourage supporters – and critics – to continue to contribute but plan to restrict the Whinge to less than 10 of the best items each week. Our message to those who continually bag us is simple: IF YOU DON’T LIKE WHAT YOU READ, THEN DON’T REVISIT THE WHINGE.

 

RACING NSW HAS A STRANGE SET OF PRIORITIES WHEN IT COMES TO INTEGRITY

BARRY KELLY of  MELBOURNE sent this interesting email on ‘integrity’ in Racing NSW:

‘SYDNEY, the self-anointed Patron Saint of Australian horse racing, has a strange set of priorities when it comes to integrity.

It seems they would rather make a major issue out of a non-event by banning jockeys from riding in NSW who have been granted dual licenses to train as well by Racing Victoria.

Yet officialdom in NSW seems far less reluctant to pursue a far more important integrity issue for punters – allegations that some of their highest profile jockeys are involved in betting with professional punters and some sordid industry characters.

Rumors have been doing the rounds for weeks that several of the State’s leading jockeys are part of a betting investigation. Insiders say the revelations emerged coincidentally as part of the inquiry involving James McDonald, the retained jockey for Godolphin in Australia, who has been charged with being party to a bet on promising youngster Astern.

The story goes that stewards learned of the situation from police telephone tapping of a controversial punting figure who has also been linked to alleged match fixing allegations in rugby league.

One could argue that racing in Sydney has been on the bugle for some time with punters reluctant to bet there because of form reversals, domination by the big stables with multiple runners in many races and favorites being well beaten by second string runners, not to mention some terrible out-of-character rides by top jockeys.

Racing NSW, so determined to upstage and usurp Racing Victoria, are seen by many to have lost the plot in their decision to ban dual license holders, like Michelle Payne, from riding there. Critics say if they are so keen to toe the line on integrity then there are bigger fish to fry.

But no matter how the Sydney head honchos, driven by Mr My Way or the Highway Peter V’landys, try to attain the national pacesetting role for NSW, they seem to fall further behind Victoria. Sure they have better prizemoney – for now – but The Championships cannot get within cooee of the Spring Carnival nor can the crowds.

Their spin doctors in the mainstream racing media in Sydney – they’re the ones rewarded with high paying second jobs with SKY – pump up the tyres of racing in NSW and, of course in the case of one, virtually promote everything V’landys does. But the punters and the racing public aren’t mugs and they can see straight through that charade.

There were big headlines about trainers from Victoria heading across the northern border in droves to chase the better prizemoney in NSW. Good luck to them breaking the domination that the major stables have been allowed to create in Sydney where battling trainers have been driven out of the city.

It’s like the suggestion that the world’s best jockey, Joao Moreira, might be sought out as a Goldolphin replacement from James McDonald if he suffered a major disqualification as part of the current betting investigation. The narks are suggesting that even the ‘Magic Man’ would struggle to win as much as he does in Hong Kong against the ‘A Team’ in Sydney.

It was left to Fairfax Media – in a story on J Mc – to reveal that ‘several other jockeys have been asked about their relationships with punters but no further charges have been laid.’

This is not something that will go away or can be swept under the carpet or stage managed by those who think they can control just about everything in racing. It is a major integrity issue and the sooner stewards in NSW address it then punters might start to regain confidence in betting on the local product.’

 

'PLENTY OF DIRTY WATER READY TO FLOW UNDER BRIDGE IN TOWNSVILLE’

 AS I am a RACING STAKEHOLDER of MANY YEARS IN THE NORTH for obvious reasons I ASK THAT MY IDENTITY BE WITHHELD – the last thing I want is to be hauled before the new QRIC:

 ‘MY friends and I have followed and been involved in racing in Townsville for longer than we care to remember and didn’t want to make this issue involving Turf Club CEO Michael Charge ‘personal’ but a few things need to be said.

 Michael has done a terrific job for racing in the region since he came north but you can’t please all the people all the time and obviously he has got a couple of those who are impossible to please offside at some stage and they have jumped at the opportunity to square him up.

 Of all the things that stewards in Queensland need to investigate right now – like the running of races in the south-east corner in particular – they were forced to act on a complaint that Charge had not disclosed a 10 per cent share he had acquired in a horse.

 Charge was quick to admit his guilt – the only one he was trying to hide the information from was his better half who he was sure would insist there were more important things the family could spend their money on. Michael paid a high price for his honesty – not only the $1,000 fine but also having his good reputation dragged through the mud because a couple of racing ‘grubs’ were on a ‘get square’ mission.

 One wonders if the prominent RQ official they enjoyed a ‘drink or two with’ while no doubt sinking the boot into Charge before this farcical ‘get square’ complaint was directed to the new Integrity Unit is aware of some of the secrets the supposed pillars of the racing community in Townsville he is dealing with are hiding?

 Well they had their moment in the sun but for that should pay the price. Charge is entitled to confront his accusers. It is gutless, not only on their behalf but also for the stewards who conducted the inquiry, not to reveal who made the original complaint and why? Most in Townsville who are close to racing are well aware of the identity of these faceless people – they have a history in this sort of business.

 And therein lies another interesting story that for legal reasons we will not try to reveal. But  at least some of those involved should remember the old adage – people who live in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones.

 Without going into too much detail could some of those responsible be closely linked to a prominent industry stakeholder in a more high profile region with plenty of skeletons in his closet?

 If anonymity is the cornerstone of how the new QRIC or new-look stewards are encouraged to approach inquiries then perhaps some intelligence could be heading their way on just what happened to a couple of young apprentices after a party and just who preyed on them and why nothing was done about it. This is far more serious stuff than a 10 per cent ‘secret’ share in a racehorse. It’s a major police matter and that’s where things may now be heading if some of those extremely angry over the attempt to bring down a good man set out for revenge or deliver some ‘payback’.

 Time will tell as the temperature reaches boiling point in the north.’

 

TOWNSVILLE IN THE RACING SPOTLIGHT FOR ALL THE WRONG REASONS

EDITOR’S NOTE: FOR those who missed it here is TERRY BUTT’S take on the latest drama in Townsville racing in his ‘Silks & Saddles’ column in the NQ REGISTER:       

TOWNSVILLE has been under the racing spotlight in recent weeks for all the wrong reasons.

It all began with that grossly absurd demand (by Racing Queensland) that the TTC engage a Brisbane-based auditor at $200,000 for three months to restructure the business.

The committee resigned, simply because it didn’t want to increase the financial burden, and a meeting to appoint a new committee will be held on Thursday. That’s another story.

While all this is going on the TTC Secretary-Manager, CEO (call him what you like) was summoned to a Stewards’ Inquiry last Tuesday to answer a charge of an undeclared interest in a horse. He was fined $1,000 which prompted one high profile interstate stipendiary steward to say: ‘That’s just ridiculous’.

But it’s not just the ‘over the top’ penalty that has the tongues wagging. It is the reason why the complaint was made, who in fact made the formal complaint and who provided the information.

In other words, who was the dog (or dogs) who squealed to the Racing Queensland executive who, in turn, made a formal complaint to the QRIC – the integrity arm?

Don’t worry – hopefully all will be revealed when the transcript of this farcical ‘event’ is made available. There is a story behind the story and it needs to be told.

Put simply Michael Charge (the stressed out CEO) took a 10 per cent interest in a lease of the horse named Hotel Paradiso. The horse is now retired and he took the share ‘to help out a friend; and keep a group of basically first time owners in racing plus ‘I didn’t tell me wife’.

He made no secret of the fact (even admitted it on TV one day while hosting a Cluden meeting for SKY) and when hit with the charge last week, readily pleaded guilty. In fact Charge was thanked by the Chairman of Stewards, John Hackett, for his ‘honesty and co-operation’ at the inquiry.

However, the Stewards’ Report posted on the QRIC website states ‘he provided inaccurate and misleading information’.

How does that work?

Really how many people have an interest in a horse that perhaps their wives don’t know about?  Is it such a heinous crime to warrant such a hefty penalty?

It is definitely not – and every steward that I have spoken to agrees that the case is at the very minor end of misdemeanors. To be fined $1,000 is clearly wrong, and as one licensee commented, ‘it was to pay for the stewards’ expenses’.

Really?

And another thing – a gentleman named Albert Sakzewski was the founding Chairman and Government nominee of the Totalisator Administration Board of Queensland in 1962.

 He not only created the TAB but also raced several successful horses between 1941 and 1991 – all raced under the non-de-plume of ‘Anthony Dare’.

If this matter goes to appeal, as no doubt it will (and QCAT too if necessary), there is bound to be an altered penalty. We wait with interest. And standby for a few startling revelations when it does.

We also await with interest the outcome of Thursday’s special meeting of TTC members. Apart from the ‘left’ faction – and believe me there ARE factions – you wonder who would be silly enough to nominate themselves for a committee that will be dictated to by Racing Queensland (i.e. spend $200,000 on an accountant for three months!).

An accountant/auditor is not needed. Primary schoolers will tell you clubs will surely go broke when they lose $8,000 every time that they conduct a meeting on a Tuesday or a Thursday. And it is none other than Racing Queensland that dictates that they must – 30-0 odd times a year at Cluden.

Of course they will go broke. It is elementary.

Yet in their wisdom (or lack of) RQ insist the club – that they say is going broke – spends $200,000 on an auditor.

Little wonder racing in Queensland is the laughing stock of the land.

Where is Darren Condon – the former CEO – when he’s needed most?

 

LGHR POSES THE QUESTION – IS ALBION PARK ABOUT TO BE SOLD?

WHAT is the major asset planned to be sold to bail the racing industry in Queensland out of the financial doldrums?

Well it can’t be Doomben – BRC Chairman Neville Bell declared speculation that could happen in the wake of the proposal to move the 10,000 to Eagle Farm as absolute rot.

It should be Albion Park or Deagon – but politics are unlikely to dictate that either of those will be sold. Too many influential industry identities would be impacted too greatly – although selling the old Creek does make a lot of sense and might not be sillier than it sounds if you think carefully about.

The other is the valuable piece of land the Townsville Turf Club owns and if it is sold to bail the entire industry out when it is owned by the northerners then all hell will break loose.

So if letsgohorseracing was framing a market on the ‘good oil’ from a media insider with plenty of confidential information at his disposal then we would have Albion Park favorite.  

 

‘WALLY WORLD’ – WHERE THE PUNTERS ARE THE BIG LOSERS OF A SATURDAY

ANDY CARLYON of SYDNEY says Chris Waller might be a champion trainer but he is a ‘dud’ tipster:

‘YOU sometimes wonder what hope punters have got and if they are just treated like absolute mugs.

But I guess if they are prepared to continue to listen to the ‘tips’ from some of the ‘champion trainers’ then it’s a matter of ‘buyer beware’.

One of the worst judges in the country is arguably Chris Waller and the quality of the information that he releases pre-race isn’t confined to the mainstream media.

Waller does a weekly ‘Racing Preview’ which is distributed to stable clients as a Video Update where he is interviewed by ‘stable gopher’ Charlie about the prospects of his weekend runners.

Those privileged enough to watch the ‘inside mail’ for last Saturday would have ended the day poorer and no wiser. Whilst he trained four winners on the card Waller really only managed to tip one of those in his Preview and that was the $1.7 chance Zumbelina in the first which even the blind man and his Labrador at the turnstyles were certain would win.

Waller saddled up four runners in the fourth, spearheaded by the heavily tipped Liapari, which blew like a gale on course from $2.7 to $3.7 and ran accordingly making a little ground to finish fifth without ever looking a winning chance.

The race was won by stablemate The Rumour File, the bolter of the Waller foursome at $61, which ran on strongly from 9th on the turn to win in a deceptive photo finish and nail punters to the wall. Placed at one of nine Australian starts, it had raced twice since a spell for a 10th at Caulfield and a 12th of 13 at Randwick when the form comment read: ‘Offered zero’. In his Preview of the race, Waller said of The Rumour File: ‘Needs to improve. Few weeks between runs, concentrated on working him a little bit harder, kept him sharp, little indication he could improve but he certainly needs to’. And he did!

Stewards questioned Waller about the improved performance and he told the inquiry that whilst the gelding had not been competitive at its two previous starts over shorter distances he had hoped with a step up in distance it would perform better. He added that the horse was able to benefit from a race which was run at a genuine tempo and believed these two factors had led to its success. So there you have it – think hard and it wasn’t a form reversal after all.

Waller gang tackled race five at Rosehill with five starters. Pursuit of Honours was well well tried from $3.8 to $3.4 and all the ‘experts’ had it hard to beat. The favorite failed to get out of second gear and finished a dismal seventh. It simply couldn’t improve from midfield.

Meanwhile, Soviet Courage at $16, the despised outsider of Waller’s five starters this time, duly saluted charging home from last of the field of 12 on the home turn for a big win. In his Preview of this race, Waller said of Soviet Courage’s chances: ‘Slight improvement in form last start’ (it led and ran third to stablemate Pursuit of Honour in a slightly weaker race after failing to fire at its previous four from a spell). ‘Glyn (Schofield) gets back on but its best form is on wet tracks (it was a Good 3 on Saturday). He won three in a row but all were on heavy tracks.’

Stewards this time questioned Schofield about his tactics and were told that despite being positive on the gelding it could not go the early speed and when he observed a number of runners to his inside holding their position he elected in the circumstances to shift in behind runners and travelled further back than had been intended. Who knows what that had to do with the even bigger form improvement this start?

Waller’s fourth winner of the day was Hogmonay, backed from $8 to $5, in the next at Rosehill which won easily after racing on the pace from a wide alley. Its form suggested a win was not far away. Of the chances of Hogmonay, Waller said in his Preview: “Just needs a bit of luck on Saturday.”

No review of ‘Wally World’ from the weekend would be complete without mention of the form reversal win by Loving Home, which by the way someone didn’t forget to back, in the Traralgon Cup on Sunday. To a form student it was a bit hard to have after racing on the pace in a restricted race at Ballarat and tiring to finish sixth. But there was a story to be told that explained the improvement here.

As Waller told his Preview audience, jockey Craig Newitt had suggested he start the horse in the Cup at Traralgon because he felt the shorter distance and way that track raced would suit it. “The jockey rang us and said run it. I would like to ride it. It’s a case of the jockey’s judgment on the line.’

In the post-race interview already had the explanation courtesy of coverage on Newitt sounded very convincing – so much in fact that the Victorian stewards saw no need to query the improvement. Why should they? The punting public racing.com.

As for the ‘Wally World’ weekend – well the mainstream racing media declares the trainer a genius for all but winning half the card at Rosehill and a Country Cup in Victoria but the poor old punters who followed his more fancied runners arguably finished with the bum out of their pants.’

 

SANITY PREVAILS AS RQ PERMITS MICHELLE PAYNE TO RIDE AT MILLIONS

EDITOR’S NOTE: WE received significant emails concerning the debate of whether Michelle Payne should be allowed to ride at the Magic Millions meeting in January.

Fortunately sanity prevailed with the authorities granting Michelle a license.  The Queensland Racing Integrity Commission met yesterday and decided Payne could ride Husson Eagle, who is trained by her brother Patrick, when he defends the Magic Millions Sprint on January 14.

Unfortunately, those dills at Racing NSW continue to buck the national trend and have refused to allow Payne to ride Husson Eagle in a lead-up race at Randwick on Saturday, citing integrity concerns regarding her dual trainer/jockey license in Victoria. They want to set the pace in Australian racing but on so many issues they are running a long last – and this is just one of them.

DESPITE the heat being taken out of the controversy for RQ we still decided to run a couple of contributions to show how much feeling was running high on the issue.

 

‘SURELY STEWARDS IN SYDNEY & BRISBANE HAVE MORE IMPORTANT ISSUES’

GARY TURPIN, a former Queenslander now living in Victoria, sent this email on the MICHELLE PAYNE battle to ride at the MAGIC MILLIONS in JANUARY:

‘AT a time when there are so many more important issues that need addressing by stewards in Sydney and Brisbane they seem more interested in stopping Michelle Payne from riding in those states because she is a dual license holder.

The farce has reached such a joke status that Racing Victoria’s Chief Steward Terry Bailey has seen the need to speak out against his colleagues’ stand on the issue.

Bailey has the support of virtually the entire racing industry and its followers in this country when he calls for the authorities in NSW and Queensland to reveal any integrity concerns they have about Victoria’s newly approved jockey-trainers’ licenses.

Payne, who has been refused permission to ride in Sydney, is now fighting Racing Queensland to secure permission to ride Husson Eagle for her trainer brother, Patrick, in the Magic Millions Sprint next month, a race she won on the horse this year.

Bailey has chosen his word carefully and is obviously struggling not to declare those calling the shots on integrity issues interstate a ‘bunch of boofheads’ when it comes to this ruling.

“I am struggling to see what the integrity issue is,” he told the Herald Sun. “Michelle is the biggest household name we’ve got in racing, but it doesn’t matter who it is, I am still struggling to see where the integrity issue is.”

What makes a mockery of the whole affair is that there are more important issues on the late of Integrity Units in both NSW and Queensland. Sydney racing is battling to win back the confidence of punters amid allegations of jockeys betting and domination by major stables especially Chris Waller whose second strings continue to roll heavily backed stable favourites on a regular basis.

Queensland racing has been a joke for so long that most punters steer clear of the place. The local apologists blame the bias of the tracks, especially Eagle Farm during the fledgling days of the new surface. There is a general feeling that because of disharmony among stewards over the introduction of a new Integrity Commission some are just going through the motions on race days.      

Payne has taken her case to the new QRIC in Queensland and is obviously quietly confident that she will get the nod to ride at the Magic Millions – a carnival and company she has proved a great ambassador for, so that should help. But it didn’t stop stewards from telling her to take down a ‘tweet’ at the weekend stating that she expected to be riding at the Gold Coast in January.

What makes even more of a mockery of the situation is that plenty of jockeys’ wives, girlfriends and partners have trained over the year. And Racing Queensland also allows stakeholders in the outback to train and ride their own horses which the Chief Steward says is ‘to provide a service to the industry’.

It’s all too silly for words!’

 

‘DOUBLE STANDARDS IN THE DUAL LICENSE DEBATE IN QUEENSLAND’

OUR MAN in the ALBION BUNKER of QRIC even weighed into the MICHELLE PAYNE debate:

‘I nearly fell off my chair laughing when reading (Chief Steward) Alan Reardon’s comments on RQ insistence that Michelle Payne cannot ride in Queensland while she has a trainer’s license.

The reason being that it is an ‘Integrity’ issue. What the hell does that mean? Seems like if you logically can’t justify something you call it an ‘Integrity’ issue.

Could I point out to dear old Mr Reardon that some years ago RQ took over the operation of also Greyhounds and Harness Racing in this State?

If this mob of ex coppers and Reardon were so focused on this serious Integrity issue then why haven’t they moved to outlaw trainer/drivers in the Harness Racing Industry?

Surely this state of affairs, which is also under their control, must be addressed if we are to take Reardon’s comments seriously. I fail to see any difference. It is no point arguing that is a long held practice. Long held practices in the other code have been swiftly dealt with as we have seen.

All Ms Payne has done is the honest thing. Jockeys training horses under other names is hardly earth shattering news. In fact I recall being at the Magic Million Sales a few years ago and watching on while a leading Brisbane jockey was continually getting stud-masters to parade yearlings for him. At the time I remember thinking he was a bit brazen doing it right in front of a high profle steward still at the forefront of the action in Queensland.

But did we hear a peep out of him about Integrity? No, not a word. In those days the jockey’s father-in-law was training a few winners. However, the day the jockey announced his retirement from the saddle and his pursuit of a trainer’s license was the last we heard of the in-law’s training career.’

                                                 

 

DISCLAIMER: The views expressed in the above e-mails should not be interpreted as those of JOHN LINGARD, the owner-editor of the letsgohorseracing web-site. That is why he has added an ‘EDITOR’S NOTE’. Every endeavor is made to verify the authenticity of contributors. We welcome any reasonable and constructive responses from parties or individuals.

 

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