Jenny - Clean

OH WHAT A TANGLED WEB WE WEAVE – THE RACING MINISTER WILL BE DERELICT IN HER DUTY IF SHE DOESN’T ORDER AN INDEPENDENT INQUIRY

GRACE GRACE will be derelict in her duty as the new Racing Minister in Queensland if she fails to order an Independent Inquiry into the controversial cloud that hangs over decisions made by the former committee of the Albion Park Harness Racing Club.

Followers of the code and Members of the Club are calling for answers in the wake of fallout from an annual meeting on Sunday when a bleak picture was painted about reported failings of the committee under the chairmanship of David Fowler who resigned recently.

Bad blood between harness Royalty, Kevin and Kay Seymour and key figures during the Fowler era that were running Albion Park emerged for the first time. Sadly, the former Chairman left it to others to try and answer questions from the Seymour’s about his management of the club not to mention questionable deals that appear to have been done without the consent of Members involving the sale and future of the Creek facility.

If Grace Grace doesn’t get off her backside and demand answers from Racing Queensland immediately, specifically CEO Brendan Parnell along with Fowler and some key members of his former committee, it will appear to some that there is a cover-up.

The Minister needs to do three things:

Order an independent inquiry into what has been going on at Albion Park, the major harness club that appears to be a basket case relying on support from the minor codes to survive.

Go beyond RQ and its CEO Parnell, when searching for answers with a cloud over how close he is to Fowler and what deals were done with his knowledge relating to Albion Park.

If there was ever any substance to the rumours that Fowler is being considered for a position on a newly-constituted RQ Board (either from a harness or gallops perspective), the Minister needs to immediately rule that out. She would make a mockery of the appointment process, cause uproar from stakeholders and followers of harness and thoroughbred racing and turn the administration of racing in Queensland into an absolute farce.

FORMER CHAIRMAN ‘FEATHERS’ FLIES THE COOP

Here is the first of a series of edited articles on what has happened at the APHRC by ARCHIE BUTTERFLY which can be read in full on his subscriber-only website, www.peterprofit.com.

DAVID Fowler's reign as the new King of the Creek is over, before it really even began... King Kev reassumes (remote) control...Chairman Feathers flies the coop, and doesn't even have the ticker to attend the coup....The God-botherer is punted from The Creek but gets a promotion at work...The Bushranger goes out spitting... Linda Graham leaves with grace... Flathead departs as he entered, without a single clue....and the lawsuits are about to fly

Welcome to the Byzantine world of Albion Park politics.

On Sunday the Albion Park Harness Racing Club - aka The Creek - held its long delayed Annual General Meeting, and the feathers flew, but sadly from a sports lovers’ perspective, the bantam had flown the coop and wasn't there to witness the coup.

We speak of course of David 'Feathers' Fowler, the long-time Chairman of Albion Park who led the club to six successive annual financial drubbings, before turning the club's finances around by selling the farm, or more correctly the Creek and the flood plains surrounding it that most of us know and love as the home of harness racing in Queensland.

It has long been said that you can judge a man by his actions.

If that is true, as most believe it is, then how will David Fowler do down in the annals of the great horse and cart racing game in the Sunshine State?

Arguably as a coward and self-interested sycophant who put his own interests ahead of those of the fantastic sport and code of racing that he was elected to honour, serve and protect, that's how, in my opinion at least.

It became abundantly clear at the AGM that Fowler - who couldn't even find the courage in his pea-sized, precious little heart to attend the meeting - has sold the Albion Park Club not just up the creek without a paddle, but into the swirling currents of the adjacent Brisbane River too.

Fowler cut the deal to drop the club's long running legal action to save Albion Park from a Racing Queensland sale alone and of his own volition.

The Chairman of the club, who was elected as the representative of its 300 plus members, didn't consult them about the most important decision in Albion Park's proud 53-year history.

He didn't even consult the Board members, other than perhaps one or two of the ill-defined and non-existent 'Executive Members', an elite, unconstitutional cabal that appears to have been comprised of the highly ineffective Vice-Chairman who is married to an old SP bookmaker's daughter and debarred TAB agent, Paul 'Flathead' Ellis, and the do-nothing Ned Kelly of The Creek, committee member Trevor Ellis.

Perhaps Feathers Fowler also consulted the club's Treasurer Damian 'The God-Botherer' Courtney, the former happy clapping Religious Education teacher, school master and part-time race caller, but we will never know, for according to Flathead the God Botherer as headmaster of his Catholic school Iona College was too busy attending a back to school preparation meeting to be able to attend his execution and provide answers to the burning questions about his financial stewardship of the club.

It was a nice story that Flathead told, it's just a shame it wasn't true.

Damian Courtney is not the headmaster of his school, he is the Dean of Community, which is a liaison role rather than a teaching position; and Iona College did not hold a planning meeting for the forthcoming academic year on a Sunday morning, when many of its students and their families - and indeed the God-Botherer himself - were more than likely observing the Sabbath by attending Mass.

We shouldn't be surprised that Paul Ellis elected to mislead the meeting in such a manner. After all, as became abundantly clear at the AGM, he does seem to have somewhat of a problem when it comes to getting the facts right.

When asked by the seemingly (to the easily led at least) deposed former King of the Creek Kevin Seymour AM why the members of the APHRC were not consulted on the decision to agree to the sale of the track and its land, Flathead replied to the meeting that it was a decision of the full committee, and that they had consulted the lawyers who said that this was the way to go.

"What lawyers?" Mrs Kay Seymour, a 50-year member and long-time financial supporter of the club asked the acting Chairman. "Do you have two sets?"

"No" Flathead told her. "We used the same ones that the Seymour’s did".

"Did you get a QC's advice that this was the way to go?" Kev AM asked.

The new CEO Scott Steele - who wasn't asked the question, and shouldn't have answered it, jumped in.

"No we did not" Steele said.

"Yes we did" Flathead later responded when he'd regained his gravelly voice.

"No we didn't!" another board member exclaims.

"Yes we did" Flathead insists.

"Would you please send me and the other members of the club a copy of this advice Mr F. Head," Kev AM politely asks.

"We will have a committee meeting about it," Flathead replies, forgetting altogether that he has just been deposed as a board member at election, and as such won't be invited to or attending any future meetings of the committee.

"No mate" Kev AM not so politely now snarls. "We are members and we have the right to see a copy of the QC's advice about selling our club down the creek".

"Hear, hear!" cry the members in attendance.

"I will have a look and see if I can find it," the fast floundering Flathead replies.

He won't.

You can't find things that aren't there and don't exist.

There is no QC's advice.

Feathers and Flathead allegedly did a questionable deal – one that they are going to greatly regret very shortly when the writs start flying.

Never try to kick a King when he's down, because he's not.

He's just resting and readying for the battle.

When he wakes he will have a feed of fish and chicken, and then lead his troop out on the charge.

Oh Davey and Paulie.

You bloody idiots.

…to be continued...

THE PALACE COUP AT THE CREEK FALLS FLAT – KINGS ARE BORN TO RULE – ROOSTERS JUST FLAP THEIR WINGS WILDLY & FLY THE COOP

ARCHIE BUTTERFLY continues his report on the fallout from the ALBION PARK HARNESS RACING CLUB AGM which has a real bad smell about it. You can read the entire series at the subscriber-only website, www.peterprofit.com:  

"EACH time you go to the lawyers it costs money" Flathead wailed, stating the bleeding obvious....In the gallery the former footy star Tim Fuller - senior partner from Gadens Lawyers who was present at the meeting to later explain the proposed new company structure to be voted on by members - almost imperceptibly nodded, and gritted his teeth to hold back a huge grin...

"Why didn't you go to the Members about the decision to drop the legal action against Racing Queensland, and instead back flip and support the sale of The Creek?" King Kev asks.

"It was decision of the full committee" Flathead retorts, untruthfully.

"But it’s the biggest decision in the club's history, bar none. Why didn't you consult the members?" Kev AM persists.

"We consulted the lawyers. They said it was the way to go. We didn't want to send the club broke," Flathead whimpers.

King Kev - "How long did you take to confer with the committee to make that decision?"

"I go to that many meetings of this place you'd think we were running bloody Mt Isa Mines. I can't remember but it wasn't taken quickly or lightly," the now panicked Flathead stutters, as he desperately looks around the room to try and garner some support.

Outside of the CEO and the Bushranger - fellow newly-deposed board member Trevor Ellis - it is nowhere to be found.

Kev continues on his politely firm and measured attack.

"You must have some idea," he asks the floundering fish.

"Um, ah, um - probably two or three meetings I'd suggest" a clearly rattled Flathead replies.

"There is nothing in the minutes to say that you discussed it other than on 29 September" Kev says. "When did you receive notice of the RQ proposal?"

The problem with fish is that they aren't real bright. That's why they never realised that they are being baited onto the hook.

Paul "Flathead" Ellis is no different.

"Um, um. ah. I dunno. I haven't got the paperwork with me"

Gotcha thinks Kev.

"I can tell you the answer," Seymour says. "I didn't ask the question without already knowing the answer. You received the RQ proposal on the 9th of September, but you didn't mention a word about it to the members of the club until after you made the decision to sign away the club's rights at the meeting held on the 29th of September."

CEO Scott Steele is no academic, but he like me grew up on racecourses, and he can smell a sting coming from a mile away just as I can, the only difference being that I set them up whereas he just cops the tips and puts the bets on, which means that he is a bit slower on the uptake and only sees the plot after its in motion.

It still makes him 50 yards further than the clueless of this world like Flathead though.

Steele knows that the bird has flown, but he's a former footy player and believes in stepping into an all-in brawl to try to save your mate.

"Kevin can I just confirm how you know this information?" he hops in and asks.

Seymour bares his teeth and shows his shark-like grin.

"Certainly Mr CEO. It is because I have a copy of the minutes in front of me".

Steele turns pale and shuts up.

Another committee member - the highly respected former Sheffield Shield cricketer and television executive Max Walters - jumps in.

"As a committee member at the time the first I knew of the offer was on the 29th of September. It was the first I knew of it. We hadn't discussed the offer at all before then and were given a short time to read it. We discussed the proposal for probably half an hour to an hour. The Chairman (Fowler) advised us that a decision had to be made by the end of the day. It was passed by split vote. There were dissenters. It's not right that the offer was discussed with all of the committee. It’s not right that it was discussed by the committee before the meeting."

Flathead, having been exposed misleading the AGM and club members in attendance, turns nasty at this point.

"It was discussed with the executive members of the committee" he claims, before immediately contradicting himself and exposing his flagrant disregard for constitutional governance processes. "People who are here all the time. You see us around. We often have informal discussions."

Until I moved to Far North Queensland I used to go to the Albion Park trots at least twice a week, often three times.

I would regularly see Mrs Gould the tote lady, and Raq who runs Pacers and Chasers, and Lindsay Gallagher the satchel swinger turned Betfair bookmaker, and even my old enemy the then Club Secretary-Manager Damien Raedler, who from time to time would set the QRIC or the racecourse security on to me because he didn't like what I wrote about him, but rarely did I ever see Flathead there outside of the big meetings, and then only in the free food and beverage faux Silks marquee.

I saw him far more often in the New Farm TAB that we both frequented, he more often than me.

Kev AM has got Flathead on the hook now, and starts reeling him in.

"The documents were pre-prepared and were signed on the morning after the meeting, without any discussion at all with the members (who had to read about it in the papers). Isn't that strange?

Flathead is too silly to realise the diabolical trouble that he has got himself into, or to understand that by belligerently thrashing and flopping around trying to free himself from the hook all he is doing is sinking it further.

What the hell is wrong with these people who allow their petty egos to get in the way of common sense? Kevin Seymour has turned nothing into a billion dollars in his lifetime by grit, cunning, planning, smarts and sheer determination. Why do these sparrows and minnows imagine that they can take him on head to head and beat him?

"A decision had to be made quickly," Flathead swims on. "Go broke or accept the offer."

"Is that really true?" Seymour asks, knowing that it is not.

"We spent $1.5 million on a court case, and then were told we couldn't win it," the acting Chairman flakily retorts. "We were offered to have that money refunded to us, plus - agh, um - some other money".

Kev AM makes his one mistake by not pouncing on this sudden and unexpected admission. He is reading from a pre-written script and misses it.

WHAT other money? Who did it go to? Was it the compensation for lost earnings through the lack of a marketable facility that Fowler briefly referred to in the annual report? If so, how was it calculated? Why was it so far short of the actuary calculated losses detailed in the Supreme Court pleadings?

These are the questions that I would have asked, but Seymour didn't.

Never mind, he had Flatty on the hook and was intent on landing him.

"The fact is that the solicitors from the other side kept deferring it and deferring it. If we said we were ready in January they said they weren't ready until February. If we said we were ready in February they said they weren't ready until March. Each time you go to the lawyers it costs money" Flathead wailed, stating the bleeding obvious.

In the gallery Tim Fuller - the senior partner from Gadens Lawyers who was present at the meeting to later explain the proposed new company structure to be voted on by members - almost imperceptibly nodded, and gritted his teeth to hold back a huge grin.

THE DOCTRINE of DISPROPORTIONATE FORCE

"Is that really true" Kev AM asks?

"Yes" Flathead replies. "That was was up until that point".

"No it's not. You have to go back in the history of it. Kevin Seymour paid $1.3 million worth of legal fees for you. And you never went back to ask him if he was prepared to help you any further" Kevin Seymour states, with the clear inference being that he was more than prepared to pitch in more if asked.

"We can only be beholden to you for so much that we can repay. We can't be beholden to you for $3 million and only have a million in the bank" Flatty says.

"But no the fact is that you had $1.8 million in the bank at that stage" Kevin tells him.

"Yeah" Flathead grudgingly admits.

Seymour reverts back to the earlier point of attack.

"I am interested in seeing this QC's opinion that you couldn't win the case"

"Well we do have it" says Flathead, who said that they didn't before.

A committee member jumps in.

"Well I never saw that QC's opinion" he says. "And at no time did the Chairman ever say that the solicitors said we could not win the case. The Chairman said that we were not guaranteed to win, but that's the same in all legal actions. But he never ever said that we could not win the case".

Steele - who is a club employee, not a board member, and therefore should have been sitting quietly at the AGM with his gob shut - does his future career prospects no good at all by interjecting.

"Look it is fair to say that a motion was passed and won. You might be unhappy with that, but the fact is a motion was passed and carried and things have moved on since then" he says.

Bad move.

"I was there and I am saying what I know. We were told that there was not a QC's opinion" the committee member says.

"We saw it" Flathead says.

"You saw it Paul did you?" the committee man shouts.

No answer.

Seymour starts to speak, but Flathead cuts across him.

He looks at Seymour and tells him "We can't be relying on you ...." but Seymour shoots back that "It never stopped you before", which is indubitably true.

Seymour changes tack again, and asks Flathead what leverage the committee used in negotiating the deal with Racing Queensland.

The King of The Creek lays out the history of the battle over selling Albion Park, and lists in detail the pressure points that the club had at its disposal to use as tactical leverage to cut a far better deal with Racing Queensland than the one that Fowler cut.

It is blindingly obvious by this stage that Seymour is not overly enjoying taking Flathead to pieces, for it is a lot like a lion toying with and then devouring a mouse, and Kev AM knows it.

It is David Fowler that he really wants, but the Bantam has been too chicken to front.

Why Flathead, and soon the Bushranger, continue to defend the rooster that has flown the coop and abandoned them to be attacked by the wolf is almost incomprehensible, other than by the explanation that this pair's hands are as dirty as Fowler's in this filthy, low down deal.

That and the fact that they are both Directors of the Australian Pacing Gold (APG) company, and their free trips away to have fun in the sales and overseas 'study tour' fun are about to be brought to an abrupt end.

The APG Marketing and IT executive manager Dean Baring's is about to too.

Poor Dean.

to be continued .......

   

 

EXELBY QUITS CM TO TAKE UP ROLE WITH SKY & THE BRC

THE worst kept secret in Queensland racing was revealed in an exclusive to David Fowler on his Press Room Show on Radio TAB this morning – yes ‘Feathers’ graced listeners with his presence, something he failed to do at the annual meeting of the Albion Park Harness Racing Club 24 hours earlier.

Nathan Exelby has resigned as Racing Editor of The Courier-Mail – surprise, surprise – to take up a joint role with the Brisbane Racing Club and Sky Channel.

“I will be finishing up mid-February to take up this joint role showcasing Brisbane racing,” Exelby said, to which Fowler waffled on about what a wonderful job he had done of the past decade at the CM and how ‘Nathan won’t be lost to Radio TAB’.

Exelby obviously has seen the writing on the wall where the days of newspapers are limited. Once proud Turf Departments no longer exist at the major dailies and the Murdoch Media now uses writers from the popular website racenet (which News Ltd reportedly now owns). In other words Exelby became a one-man band at the CM Turf Department until his staff was boosted by the part-times from racenet where his stories were being used as well.

Nothing really will change for him – like his predecessor Bart Sinclair (who joined the BRC after retiring from News Ltd) – Exelby has shared his duties at the CM with SKY Channel and has, in the opinion of many, been a ‘spin doctor’ for the BRC for some time. Now he’ll get paid by them as well to showcase the major club as part of its new deal with SKY which has seen Sinclair now writing a column for their website as well as becoming a tipster for RSN in Victoria.

Ironically, Exelby has been reporting each Sunday for the RSN Post Mortem show on the Summer Carnival in Queensland. But after the big Magic Millions meeting he went MIA on Sunday despite the promotion by the show that he would be providing a report. “Unfortunately we can’t get in touch with Nathan,” Warren Huntly, co-host of the Show, told listeners, and later added: “We’ve finally tracked Nathan down. He had his mobile phone on Flight Mode.’

He must have been on that Sunday plane with Fowler - flying first call to nowhere!

 


DULL SYDNEY HOLIDAY RACING NEEDS A TOUCH OF MAGIC MILLIONS

By VETERAN TURF JOURNALIST MAX PRESNELL, courtesy of FAIRFAX MEDIA

GLEN Boss, who is promising another star turn at the Magic Millions on the Gold Coast on Saturday, is another example of how the spirit has gone out of the Sydney’s Christmas holiday racing.

Even COVID couldn’t take the spark out of one of the major attractions on the Australian calendar, accompanied with a sale where hundreds of thousands are sprayed like confetti on yearlings attracting the attention of the world’s high-flyers.

Yes, in more recent times the Magic Millions Two-Year-Old Classic has rivalled Rosehill’s Golden Slipper as the best event for youngsters.

Last year Away Game, who returns today under Boss in the Magic Millions for three-year-olds, scored with subsequent Golden Slipper winner Farnan back in the ruck.

Renowned for saddle choreography, Boss has been somewhat subdued of late. His most recent success was last Saturday at the Gold Coast on Fisticuffs (out of Sucker Punch) for owners John Singleton and rugby league enforcer Tom Raudonikis, who was no stranger to the knuckle, both giving and receiving.

Boss went to the post with mouth agape and head slewed to the camera, prompting critics to reckon he produced too much tongue.

Usually something original comes from Boss. All types of antics are being seen around the world, which is a far cry from yesteryear when jockeys greeted triumph stone-faced in fear of being declared a mug lair.

When returning after a big win, champion George Moore would only take off his skull cap and carry it under his arm, burying the emotion. Neville Voigt was the first jockey to show any outward joy, although it was reserved compared to his current day counterparts.

Frankie Dettori started the star jump, and Darren Beadman did it just as good. Now jockeys twist and turn, rise, rattle and roll with delight.

Perhaps topping them all, Italian hoop Mirco Demuro glided home with his arms outstretched airplane style when winning the 2019 Tokyo Daishoten on Omega Perfume.

Officialdom rightly takes a dim view of the showmanship on safely grounds. Top horsemen can get away with it; lesser lights attempting to emulate them can come to grief.

Thus it took a decade or so for diehards of tradition, guilty as charged, to acclimatise to Boss, who is a package that not only contains spirit and flair but remarkable horse skills that have hardly diminished with time. There are none better now from wide gates often a bugbear for rivals.

Before Fake Love was scratched yesterday from the Magic Millions Two-Year-old Classic, Boss would have had to overcome the 15 draw - but started from 14 on Fisticuffs at his Gold Coast performance, generating the “how good was that” exclamation at the finish.

Perhaps Away Game, from three, will be just too easy for him to generate much joy, but the $1.6 million first prize in the event will give a real spark to the New Year, in contrast to Sydney, which has lagged in recent weeks behind Melbourne.

COVID, too much racing and weather will be bleats about the downward trend now and recent years but surely no excuse for a drab betting medium. On January 2, the unpopular Kensington circuit had only 70 starters compared to the corresponding Wyong provincial meeting’s 80.

Buried away in the period was the $161,000 Queen Of Turf Stakes, a group 3 rated higher if not as good as any on the Gold Coast today, at Gosford on December 29. Why not give the Central Coast, which is a major holiday venue, a standalone Saturday structured around it?

Turnover activity around Christmas and the New Year should be taken out of the doldrums with better programs plus the Villier-Summer Cup double recapturing its previous appeal.

Promotion and enthusiasm have built the Magic Millions. In the early 1990s the equine auction house struck financial difficulties and was purchased Gerry Harvey, John Singleton, and Rob Ferguson. Since 2011, the Magic Millions is co-owned by Harvey and his wife Katie Page, who has influenced the off-course pizazz.

Sydney needs a dash of Katie Page. Our spring is good, the autumn better. Christmas needs stimulation.

 

STEWARDS LOOKED AFTER THE SON OF A LOST COLLEAGUE

IT is 10 years this week since the world watched in horror while the tragedy and devastation of the Queensland floods unfolded.

There was no more dramatic piece of television footage than that of Toowoomba steward James Perry and his family stranded on the roof of their four-wheel drive.

The full story of that tragic event surfaced when rescuers revealed how Perry was lost in the raging floodwaters and his body was never recovered after his wife, Jenny and then nine-year-old son Teddy were plucked to safety.

The tragedy so touched the hearts of a couple of gate-keepers at the races in Melbourne that they took up a collection and asked then RVL Chief Steward, Terry Bailey, to forward it to the family.

Bailey took the bit in his teeth contacted his fellow stewards around the country and some overseas and the James Perry Family Flood Relief Trust Fund was born. The response was quite overwhelming.

Racing Queensland, for whom Perry had been working as chairman of stewards on the Darling Downs at the time of his death, were quick to jump aboard and take the reins in getting the Trust Fund up and running.

Sadly, families of the Lockyer Valley flood victims whose bodies were never found, including the Perry’s, are still searching for closure a decade after walls of floodwater unleashed carnage and terror west of Brisbane.

Terry Bailey, now working as a senior steward in Hong Kong, took time out to again thank all of those who supported that worthy cause 10 years ago. “The young fella is boarding at Canberra Grammar in Year 11 – thanks to the Trust,” Bailey said.

 

IS WADE BIRCH ABOUT TO BE APPOINTED NSW GWIC CHIEF STEWARD?

SIX years after he was stood down by Racing Queensland in the wake of the living baiting scandal, rumours are circulating that Wade Birch will soon be appointed Chief Steward for the Greyhound Welfare & Integrity Commission of NSW.

Questions are being raised though about whether it is a promotion or a move sideways for Birch who only a little over a year ago was appointed deputy to Marc Van Gestal on the metropolitan thoroughbred panel for Racing NSW.

Birch rose through the stewarding ranks in Queensland to become General Manager of Integrity Operations but was a victim of the live baiting scandal that threw greyhound racing into chaos nationwide.

RQ Chairman at the time, Kevin Dixon, announced that in the wake of evidence of live-baiting occurring within the greyhound industry, the procedures of the integrity department needed to be addressed.

“Information that has to come to light suggests there are procedural issues within the integrity area of the business. As Mr Birch is the officer responsible for that department, the Board has taken the decision that it is appropriate to stand Mr Birch down while those shortcomings are further understood,” Mr Dixon said.

“There is no allegation of improper conduct on Mr Birch’s part, however in the Board’s view, it was appropriate he be stood down until the review is completed.”

In January of 2016, Birch sued RQ, claiming he was unfairly dismissed and that his reputation has been ruined. In a District Court claim, his lawyers maintained that the long-time racing industry official had been fired for alleged misconduct with no warning and despite not having committed any wrong-doing.

The claim sought damages for breach of contract, equitable compensation, and $258,000 for lost wages, superannuation, long service leave and failure to make good on a promised redundancy package.

“As a result of the manner in which he was treated during the latter parts of his employment and the manner of his dismissal the plaintiff has been medically certified as being unfit to continue his usual occupation,” the statement of claim says.

“The plaintiff’s reputation has been adversely affected so that it is unlikely he will be able to find alternative employment within the racing industry.”

During his absence from the Australian racing scene Birch reportedly undertook consultancy work for international racing jurisdictions.

In mid-2019 Racing NSW announced his appointment to the position of Senior Stipendiary Steward with the Racing NSW Stewards’ panel which was subsequently elevated to Deputy Chief Steward.

But his time in that role hasn’t been without some controversy. Last June the legal team for jockey Adam Hyeronimus made an application for Birch to be disqualified from proceedings in a high-profile betting inquiry over an alleged link with a professional punter.

The request was made after a video conference between stewards, Hyeronimus' legal counsel Paul O'Sullivan, and lawyers for stablehand Blake Paine, who was accused of placing bets for his cousin. Birch was alleged to have had links with professional punter Stephen Fletcher before he was employed by Racing NSW.

CHIEF Commissioner Alan Brown saw the need last year to launch a staunch defence of the GWIC in an interview on the Ray Hadley Morning Show.

Responding the reasons for the departure of then GWIC chief steward Gail Thorsby, Brown refuted claims that a toxic culture and bullying had led to her resignation.

Her replacement Victorian Brett Day resigned soon after being appointed. His quick exit was blamed on a family issue but those close to the action say he was struggling to cope with the problems of the job.

Those close to the greyhound industry say the integrity section in NSW has degenerated into a basket case. We at LGHR have followed the career of Wade Birch and wish him well if this is the direction he is now headed.

It also raises the question whether Steve Railton, who has returned from Hong Kong to Sydney, will take over from Birch as Deputy Chief of the Racing NSW gallops.

 

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