V’LANDYS LOSES DEFAMATION CASE AGAINST ABC OVER RACEHORSE CRUELTY EXPOSE

RACING NSW boss Peter V’landys has vowed to appeal against a decision by the Federal Court after losing a defamation case against the national broadcaster over an exposé into racehorse cruelty.

SARAH KEOGHAN reports for FAIRFAX MEDIA that Mr V’landys was ordered to pay the ABC’s costs on Friday after launching defamation proceedings last year over a two-year investigation conducted by the broadcaster, which he argued made him look very bad and flippant about issues of racehorse cruelty.

“I’m totally shocked and disappointed,” Mr V’landys told the Herald after the judgment was handed down. “But this is only the first round.”

Mr V’landys was interviewed by ABC journalist Caro Meldrum-Hanna in 2019 for the exposé titled The Final Race, which outlined allegations of cruelty towards Australian racehorses on a mass scale.

In October, Mr V’landys’ lawyer Bruce McClintock, SC, argued the ABC acted in malice when making a deliberate decision not to show his client footage that was used in the program of racehorses being brutally killed at Meramist Abattoir in Queensland before he was interviewed.

“I was going to donate to charity so it wasn’t about money,” Mr V’landys said on Friday.

 “I don’t want to be disrespectful to the judge ... but my legal team are looking through the judgment now. They were as shocked as much as I was. Their first advice was to appeal.”

Justice Michael Wigney handed down his decision on Friday and said that, while the juxtaposition between his interview and the abattoir footage made Mr V’landys look foolish, it was not defamatory.

“It tended to convey that the regulators, including Mr V’landys, were not effective if not incompetent when it came to dealing with wastage in the industry,” Justice Wigney said.

“It did not, however, convey that Mr V’landys actually knew that racehorses were being slaughtered and that his denials were callous and dishonest ... nor did it convey that Mr V’landys permitted the slaughter to occur.”

Mr V’landys’ original application said the program implied he callously permitted the wholesale slaughter of thoroughbred horses and, because of his indifference, ignored the suffering occurring at the Queensland abattoir.

The application also said the program implied Mr V’landys was being dishonest when he said no horses were being sent for slaughter in NSW and that Racing NSW as a whole did not care for the welfare of racehorses.

Mr Wigney ruled none of these four imputations allegedly contained in the program were conveyed.

During the hearing in October, Mr V’landys told the court the ABC made a conscious decision at a senior level to perform a stitch-up job on him.

The court also heard on a previous occasion how Mr V’landys was concerned for his job on the Australian Rugby League Commission.

The program aired on October 17, just 13 days ahead of Mr V’landys’ official takeover as chairman of the ARLC on October 30.

Mr V’landys also told the court how he was told by a member of the public they wished his “kids got cancer” due to the program.

 

WOULD FRIDAY NIGHT RACING SOUND DEATH-KNELL FOR GCTC?

AN interesting perspective on Friday night racing at the Gold Coast has been expressed in State Parliament this week by the Member for Mermaid Beach, Ray Stevens, who we, at LGHR, believe would make a great Racing Minister.

Here is what ‘Stevo’ had to say on the topic and it makes a lot of sense:

Mr STEVENS (Mermaid Beach—LNP) (7.20 pm): For the umpteenth time—initially announced when Peter Lawlor was the Racing Minister back in 2011—the Minister for Racing has announced a $31 million package for the Gold Coast Turf Club to facilitate a tunnel under the racetrack, an all-weather racing track and lights on the course proper for Friday night racing. Good luck Gold Coast Turf Club with that for, as most dodgy operators infamously say, the cheque is in the mail.

It is the issue of Friday night racing that concerns me most. As anyone with a modicum of racing knowledge would know, if you race Friday night you will not be racing on Saturday afternoon. As a Gold Coast Turf Club Board member for 14 years, I know that the Gold Coast Turf Club generates its well-known public attendance on Saturday afternoons, primarily because of the metropolitan racing in Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane.

Any major diversions from the current scenario will see a serious drop in attendance and fundraising capacity of the Gold Coast Turf Club. Our motto used to be ‘racing every Saturday in paradise’, and that branding was nearly as good as ‘beautiful one day; perfect the next’.

Racing Queensland is obsessed with the notion that its betting turnover will be massively increased if it races on Friday nights at the Gold Coast in conjunction with Moonee Valley in Melbourne and Canterbury in Sydney. Both of those venues conduct their meetings with little public attendance on Friday nights, and at the Gold Coast it will be even worse.

The hype that it will be the ‘Happy Valley of Australia’ is pure fiction as gambling in Hong Kong is a different world to Australian racing. On Friday nights the Gold Coast Turf Club will be competing with the array of restaurants, nightclubs and pokie palaces for the younger patrons and the over fifties, which are the majority of Gold Coast members, will be tucked up in bed. I cannot stress enough how much I believe this is a serious negative for the future of the Gold Coast Turf Club, which is a venue and an organisation extremely dear to my heart.

I understand the logic behind the other proposed asset improvements to the club. If that Government cheque ever arrives, as a member of the club for 40 years, I will look forward to the opening of those new facilities.

In reality, Friday night racing is a turn-off for public attendance and industry participants, trainers and jockeys preparing at 3am Saturday for their big money day on Saturday afternoon.

This is a short-sighted gamble by Racing Queensland to try to show that they are doing something to generate more turnover, but it is to the total detriment of the Gold Coast Turf Club individually, who are hobbled in this decision by their desire to seek funds for their other facility improvements.

Shame on Racing Queensland and let them limit their night racing to a midweek at the Gold Coast so that the Gold Coast Turf Club can continue to race on Saturday afternoons where they generate their enormous income and support the Queensland racing industry.

 

CHIEF STEWARD INVESTIGATED & EXONERATED BUT DON’T EXPECT DETAILS TO BE MADE PUBLIC – WHERE’S THE QRIC TRANSPARENCY?

OUR call for Chief Steward Peter Chadwick to be stood down pending an independent inquiry into allegations made by Archie Butterfly at peterprofit.com as expected fell on deaf ears at QRIC.

The response from Acting Racing Integrity Commissioner Mark Ainsworth:

“This alleged issue was investigated by the previous QRIC Commissioner and the Chief Steward was completely exonerated.”

With all due respect to the previous Commissioner Ross Barnett, who LGHR has the utmost respect for, the question that stakeholders and critics of Chadwick are posing is this:

‘Should any investigation into allegations made against Mr Chadwick not have been heard by an independent person or body rather than those at QRIC who were responsible for his appointment? If it was discovered that there had been some problem during his time in Singapore their due diligence in the appointment process would have been brought into question.’

Rather than hide behind the coat-tails of QRIC, if what was alleged on peterprofit.com is incorrect, why then has the Chief Steward not taken up the offer of the author Archie Butterfly to sue him and get it sorted out in court?

Furthermore, if the alleged issue was investigated and the Chief Steward completely exonerated then QRIC should have no problem (nor should Mr Chadwick) with full details being released to the racing public and industry stakeholders. It’s called transparency. What have they got to hide?

Whilst these sorts of investigations are held behind closed doors and explanations accepted then the dark clouds will continue to hang over the Chief Steward and QRIC.

Chadwick prefers to hold controversial inquiries in secret, in the absence of the racing media, which flies smack in the face of any sort of transparency which QRIC was established to ensure the industry had. If they want to gain respect then this has to stop – and stop now – it should never have been allowed to start.

But when you get a situation where something that needs clarification concerning the Chief Steward (whether he claims it was a family matter or not) then the racing public deserves to know all about it. If there was no case to answer then tell us why. If QRIC doesn’t do that, it will just continue to feed those who have an axe to grind.

There is always the option of individuals with information coming forward to back their case against Peter Chadwick. But there is no way they are going to take this to QRIC. It’s a matter of trust which those talking to us don’t have when it comes to the Integrity Commission. That’s why the Racing Minister needs to step in and order an independent investigation.

Until that happens Chadwick will be under the microscope 24 hours a day and websites like ours will continue to publish constructive criticism of the way he does the job whether it be from our own observations or those of the stakeholders who won’t give up until he is gone.    

 

CHIEF STEWARD SHOULD BE STOOD DOWN PENDING  INDEPENDENT INQUIRY INTO ALLEGATIONS CONCERNING HIS TIME IN SINGAPORE

ALLEGATIONS made by Archie Butterfly at peterprofit.com concerning Chief Steward Peter Chadwick cannot be swept under the carpet by the Queensland Racing Integrity Commission.

In the opinion of many – including some of his own colleagues – Chadwick has been a disaster waiting to happen since he returned to Australia after working in a similar role in Singapore.

Butterfly has taken exception to comments made by Chadwick in his report following an Inquiry concerning crude remarks made by trainer Will Hulbert in a private voicemail to the connections of Criminal Defence about the ride of Andrew Mallyon at the Sunshine Coast in late January. The voicemail was reproduced on peterprofit.com.

LGHR won’t publish the serious allegations made by Butterfly about an incident involving Chadwick when he was Chief Steward in Singapore but we have been aware of them and they have been doing the rounds in racing circles in Asia and Australia for some time.

We did raise them off the record with a senior QRIC official at one stage and were told that whilst certain parts were correct, the Chadwick behind-the-scenes explanation had been accepted.

That is not good enough from a transparency aspect as far as the racing industry is concerned and although there is no suggestion anything happened while Chadwick was working in Queensland there is a need for an independent investigation into what allegedly happened in Singapore. Respectfully, QRIC should stand him down until that is completed and a public report made explaining the situation to stakeholders and punters alike.

Here is part of what Archie Butterfly has written:

“It’s an honour to be called a disgrace by Peter Chadwick in my book, and I thank him for the free plug, even if he didn’t have the balls to call this website by name.

“I tell you what though, there is an easy way to determine once and for all who is respectable and who isn’t here, a real simple one.

“I have just in black and white made a very serious allegation of corruption by Peter Chadwick while he was in the role of Chief Steward of the Singapore Turf Club.

“If my allegations lack any substance in fact, and are therefore disrespectful, I CHALLENGE MY CHADWICK TO SUE ME FOR DEFAMATION.

“Alternatively, should that option not be palatable to the man, I ask Mr Chadwick to confirm that the inferences of disrespectability that he has made in the Hulbert matter are references to peterprofit.com and me, and then I will sue him.

“Either way we will get a result.

“What do you reckon sir?

“Let’s rumble.

“PS: The allegations I am making refer to corrupt conduct performed prior to employment by the QRIC. That means the indemnity provisions in Mr Chadwick’s contract of employment don’t apply, and therefore the QRIC cannot use public funds to fund his legal claim or defence.”

IT would seem that Chadwick doesn’t like social media platforms like peterprofit or letsgohorseracing who have dared to criticize and question the way he does his job, especially holding controversial inquiries behind closed doors. LGHR does not deal with him because we do not believe he should have the job. 

We will seek a response to the above today from Acting QRIC Commissioner Mark Ainsworth urging him to make public the details of what happened in Singapore including the defence that Chadwick has supposedly already made and that they have accepted.

This situation is not going to be swept under the carpet. The Chief Steward needs to be stood down until this whole affair is sorted. That can only be done by an independent body or respected steward, like John Schreck, Ray Murrihy or perhaps even Terry Bailey who replaced Chadwick in Singapore (why not get someone from the coalface?).

 

 

DOES SATURDAY’S CLASH OF TWO GROUP 1’S MAKE ANY DIFFERENCE?

SOME sections of the mainstream racing media are suggesting the Goodwood and Doomben 10,000 should not clash while others describe the two races as dress-rehearsals for The Everest.

Whichever side of the fence you sit neither has attracted the vintage fields that have attracted each of these Group 1’s on many years in the past.

As for the clash – well one is Weight-For-Age and the other a Handicap – but perhaps it wouldn’t hurt if the Brisbane Carnival was programmed to start a week later, after all it is supposedly run in Winter.

The decision by Chris Waller not to target the 10,000 with his star sprinter Nature Strip has robbed the Queensland carnival of a major drawcard although Jamie Kah looks set to fit that bill deciding to partner rising star Ayrton in his bid to make the Stradbroke field for which he is already favorite.

Eduardo is the $2.3 favorite for the 10,000 with Ladbrokes and has the form on the board with a recent win over Nature Strip. In the early markets he heads Wild Ruler and Trekking which would need to improve a furlong on its recent return run to Brisbane but that happens regular with horses that run bad in Queensland.

Top local trainer Tony Gollan has Vega One and Graff, the North Queensland-owned superstar The Harrovian returns from a Victorian campaign and Splintex looks the quiet achiever in the field.

THE Goodwood is a much more competitive affair from a punting perspective with the brilliant Behemoth vying for favouritism with Gytrash on the comeback trail after a bone-chip operation.

Robert Sangster Stakes winner Instant Celebrity is flying and steps out against the best now with Jamie Kah in the saddle but might have been suited from a better draw.

Visitors include Dirty Work,Viridine and Propeht’s Thumb while the other local hopes appear to be Kemalpasa, Beau Rossa, Savatoxl, Dollar for Dollar and Pretty Brazen.

   

 

 

FEATHERS FLY IN WAR OF THE ROSES AT BURRANDOWAN PICNICS 

IT might not have been the Run to the Roses – that was a week earlier when the Kentucky Derby ended in controversy at Churchill Downs. This was the War of the Roses at the annual Burrandowan Picnic Races last Saturday in Joh country out in the South Burnett.

The running of the third of five races at the famous country club that next year celebrates its Centenary wound up with feathers flying in all directions, stewards called to adjudicate and complaints of dangerous riding being fired in to QRIC Chief Steward ‘Pete the Plodder’ Chadwick.

To say Dalby trainer David Reynolds was angry after his odds-on favorite Miss Balitz (raced by his partner Miss M L Purvis and ridden by Rebecca Goldsbury) was beaten in a photo finish by Oakfield Commanche (with Hannah Phillips aboard) would be an understatement.

Not only did Reynolds fire in a protest claiming interference from the winner at the 1000m mark but he also attributed much of the reason for the defeat of Miss Balitz to tactics adopted by his ex-wife Leeanne Mcoy on Miralee which finished sixth.

Here’s the (partially edited) email that Reynolds sent to LGHR:

‘HAVE a look at my ex-wife’s ride (Leeanne McCoy) at Burrandowan in Race 3. More will come of it. At the 150m my horse gets put up the fence and rounding the home turn into the straight she appears to turn her horse’s head out pushing the horse outside of her to the outside fence. Three jockeys have complained about her actions and allegations of dangerous riding have been sent to (Chief Steward) Chadwick. The owner of the horse is my current partner (Miss M Purvis). There’s a lot more to this story (to which he added his mobile number for us to contact him).

Rather than do that we contacted Principal Media and Communications Officer for QRIC, Vincene Overs, who always does her best to accommodate our inquiries. LGHR does not talk to the Chief Steward because he bans the media from inquiries when it suits him so we ban him from answering questions to controversial issues when it suits us. And after all he would have been totally exhausted having to travel to the Gold Coast for the Hollindale Carnival meeting on Saturday when the track was rated a HEAVY 8 on race morning whilst everyone, including the Labrador companion of the Blind Man on the gate, knew it was in the SOFT range.

Ms Overs sent us the Stewards’ Report from the meeting where the panel of K Daly and C Fedrick were in charge. It reads:

RACE 3 - BAND 0 - 60 Handicap (1175 METRES): On return to scale a protest was lodged by D Reynolds, trainer of second placegetter MISS BULITZ against first placegetter OAKFIELD COMANCHE, for alleged interference at the 1000 metres.  After taking evidence from all parties and viewing the patrol footage, Stewards found approaching the 1000 metres OAKFIELD COMANCHE laid in marginally despite the efforts of its rider and bumped MISS BULITZ.  A short distance later, when racing in restricted room between MISS BULITZ and MIRALIE, OAKFIELD COMANCHE again shifted in marginally crowding MISS BULITZ which had to be eased.  Bearing in mind where this incident took place and the long head margin, Stewards could not be comfortably satisfied that MISS BULITZ would have finished ahead of OAKFIELD COMANCHE and the protest was dismissed.

MIRALIE – Moved wider rounding the home turn which resulted in MISS BULITZ being bumped, becoming unbalanced and taken wider on the track.  Stewards adjourned an inquiry into the actions of L McCoy, rider of MIRALIE, at that point of the race to a time and date to be fixed to allow R Goldsbury to fulfill riding commitments at the Toowoomba meeting.

OAKFIELD COMANCHE – Hung in approaching the 1000 metres.  Laid out rounding the home turn.
MISS BULITZ – Hampered near the 1000 metres.  Taken wider rounding the home turn, was bumped and became unbalanced.

Because the stewards at Burrandowan Picnics have adjourned an Inquiry into the McCoy ride we decided not to take Dave Reynolds up on his offer of providing more information. We will let him have his say to that hearing first.

MEANWHILE, our well-informed colleague at peterprofit.com (ARCHIE BUTTERFLY) today reported the following:

“As there is nothing about the matter on the QRIC website I am unable to confirm this rumor, so cannot put my hand on my heart and swear that it is true.

The rumour is that North Queensland trainer-jockey Trinity Bannon has allegedly copped a 12 month ban from stewards for refusing to take a drug test."

HERE’S hoping this is not another Inquiry that ‘Pete the Plodder’ decided to hold behind closed doors and report nothing to the racing public, the punters or the media. Time will tell.

LGHR is not suggesting the rumor is correct but it spread like wildfire in the north during the day and QRIC needs to clear the air because if it is incorrect Bannon is copping criticism she does not deserve.

Within hours of the Butterfly’s website reporting the rumor LGHR was contacted by former  North Queensland trainer John Zeilke suggesting if we wanted to know ‘plenty’ about the Bannon stable he would be happy to keep us informed ‘first hand as a former employee'. “You couldn’t make this shit up. It’s a novel,” Zeilke promised.

 

HIGH FIVE to KAH – HOW GOOD IS THIS SUPER LADY OF THE TURF?

WITH five winners from six rides at Caulfield on Saturday, Jamie Kah etched her name into Victoria racing history as the first woman to ride five winners at a metropolitan meeting.

After the success of Stradbroke-bound Ayrton in the last, the 25-year-old joined Bev Buckingham, who rode five winners in Tasmania in 1986, as the only Australian woman to post a metropolitan five-timer.

It prompted the question in the mainstream racing media: ‘Why is Jamie Kah so good?’

Some say it is soft hands and balance that makes horses want to roll with her. Others suggest the work she does early and late in races is the difference.

Perhaps it’s because she’s unflappable and doesn’t let the occasion get the better of her although some narks would disagree after her luckless ride in the last Melbourne Cup where she has some unfinished business.

It was rather ironic that Kah’s fiancé Clayton Douglas was one of the stars of the big Warrnambool carnival during the week winning the Grand Annual with a brilliant ride on Gold Medals.

Kah, well known for her deeds in Adelaide, Melbourne and more lately Sydney, but sadly Ayrton won't get enough weight for her to ride it in Brisbane.

Another leading lady jockey, Linda Meech, who has taken a year off to have a baby, was photographed recently riding trackwork with her trainer and partner, Mark Pegus. How long before another punters’ favourite makes her comeback?

 

HERE’S YOUR SAY ON RACING AROUND THE COUNTRY 

NOW that we’ve had our say, it’s time for yours, looking back at the week that was in Australian racing:

CHRIS K of VICTORIA writes:

‘IS there any better country carnival in the land than the three days at Warrnambool? Racing NSW can throw a truckload of money (and good on them) at feature meetings in Kembla Grange, Newcastle and Gosford, but from a racing public and punter perspective they don’t get within cooee of the popularity of Warrnambool. In fact I would go as far as suggesting that Gosford was an anti-climax on Saturday.”

BRUCE J of BRISBANE:

“I like to do my form and have done so for some time on racing of a Saturday in Queensland but I’ve had a gutful of the misleading track ratings. Gold Coast on Saturday remained in the heavy range despite some trainers deciding to start when they insisted their horses wouldn’t unless the track was upgraded to soft. After a race or two it was SOFT. Why not be honest and post that rating as an aid to punters so that they can do their form based on wet but no heavy? We have the Sunshine Coast today and it is rated heavy. What odds that is upgraded to soft soon after the first. It’s simply not good enough.”

MAX T of GOLD COAST:

‘I made the mistake of following two fancies from the Maher-Eustace stable and with all due respects to the high profile jockeys aboard, I felt both were slaughtered. It is my opinion that Mark Zahra gave Lord Belvedere a sore back in the Gold Coast Cup when he should have won instead of finishing second. Then we had Melbourne Cup winning jockey Jye McNeil drawing wide and showing Amish Boy plenty of the outside fence in the Gold Coast Guineas. With all due respects his ride on Holmesman in the Hollidane was no better. It gave me the impression Jye thought he had a mortgage on a spot on the track that was closer to the pie cart than the inside rail.’

 

GLEN J of SYDNEY:

‘THESE bookies seem to have a crystal ball – all they wanted to do was the lay the best horse in the Takeover Target in Signore Fox and it raced accordingly. I heart one of the SKY commentators suggest the track was too wet well why did it open so short. Adding insult to injury for the punters the winner Enchanted Lane was backed off the map after a terrible run when 9th at Randwick. I know stewards reported he was 1/5 lame (whatever that means) – a horse is either lame or it isn’t. Kris Lees, trainer of the winner, summed the race up best when he admitted: “It wasn’t a vintage Takeover Target field’.

 

    

 

POPULAR TRAINER KIM WAUGH TO FIGHT ANIMAL CRUELTY CHARGE

WHEN letsgohorseracing and peterprofit.com ran reports some time ago questioning why there had been no confirmation from stewards involving an alleged animal cruelty inquiry involving a top NSW trainer we were bagged left, right and centre as social media morons.

Although our sources were impeccable LGHR dropped off not only because we have the utmost respect for the trainer concerned but also we were reliably informed that this had been a set-up by an animal activist.

Sadly, the news has broken in the mainstream Sydney media that high-profile trainer Kim Waugh will fight an animal cruelty charge which alleges she failed to prevent the use of illegal spurs on one of her horses after being dobbed in by a stable employee.

FAIRFAX MEDIA reports that Waugh, the wife of former Australian cricketer Mark Waugh, has told close confidantes she will deny the accusation at a Racing NSW inquiry later this month. She has also been charged with failing to report the mistreatment as well as improper conduct towards the complainant.

Waugh and bush jockey Serg Lisnyy were both charged over the use of the spurs on maiden galloper Tarsus, which Racing NSW says “resulted in [the horse] sustaining injuries to its off side flank region”.

Racing NSW claims the spurs were not blunt and not approved by the regulator.

Fairfax has been told that Waugh, who has spent more than 30 years in the harness and thoroughbred industries without any welfare charges, did not attend the Wyong trackwork session in which Tarsus was said to have sustained the injuries.

She was believed to have spent the weekend away from the Central Coast farm she shares with her husband. The pair house several rescue animals on the property, which was inundated during the week-long NSW floods.

“I will be protesting my innocence and these charges are not good for business.”

Tarsus was sent to Wyong for a morning workout that weekend.

Lisnyy said he would also defend the three charges levelled against him, which include using the spurs in “an excessive and/or improper manner”.

 “I don’t think the charges are right,” he said. “They were normal spurs and similar to ones used by kids at pony club. I will be protesting my innocence and these charges are not good for business.”

Lisnyy has not been stood down from race riding and has been booked for rides at Newcastle, Mudgee and Quirindi from Saturday through to Monday.

Tarsus is yet to have an official race start, but stepped out for a first barrier trial on Wednesday at Newcastle and was beaten by 22 lengths. Lisnyy rode the horse in the heat.

Waugh has emerged as one of the state’s biggest non-metropolitan trainers in recent years and has been enjoying arguably the best season of her career with her horses winning $1.4 million in prize money in the 2020-21 campaign.

 

EAGLE FARM AFTER THE DOWNPOUR TURNED INTO A THREE-RING CIRCUS 

THE talking heads on the broadcast networks have been waxing lyrical about the recuperative powers of the Eagle Farm track.

But as Queensland heads into another Winter Carnival, our colleague ARCHIE BUTTERFLY from the subscriber-only website, www.peterprofit.com, has a different take on the track.

Here’s what ARCHIE wrote this week:

IS this for real?

The Brisbane Stewards inspected the Eagle Farm track after Race 6 on Saturday.

They discovered that there was a 'slightly wetter section of the racing surface between the 1100 metres and the 1000 metres approximately one to two horses off the fence' and advised jockeys of the prevailing conditions and advised them to exercise appropriate care.

WTF?

That is like the Transport Commission saying that there is a huge pothole in the highway in the 100km/h zone that motorists need to avoid, and not putting any witches hats, barriers, flashing lights, signs or stop go people on the spot to make sure that no-one drove into the hole and sunk.

If racing officials deem that a section of the track is off, then they either need to abandon the race, change the distance, or move the rail out to protect the safety of riders and horses. They can't just say to the jockeys 'oh and by the way, avoid this section of the track like the plague'.

That is totally unconscionable, and an utter breach of the officials’ duty of care to jockey and animal, and to the punters that bet on them.

After the warning was issued the video replays show that not a single rider wanted to go near the inside between the 1100m and the 1000m, and who the hell could blame them after what they'd just been told?

Steph Thornton on the 3rd favourite Holyfield, which had started from the pole position, put her mount under a stranglehold to follow the Stewards’ advice and avoid the 'slightly wet' section of the track.

As a result Holyfield - usually a front runner - started pulling its head off, which cost it any chance it that it had of winning or running a place in the race.

Had the track been okay, or had the rail been moved to outside the 'slightly wet' section of the track, Thornton wouldn't have had to take such drastic action to 'exercise appropriate care', and the race may have been run and finished very differently to the way it was.

Steph Thornton wasn't the only jockey who changed their intended tactics either.

This is an absolute joke.

We are at the start of the Winter Carnival, in a prestigious Group 2 race, and this total amateur-hour business happens that stuffs everyone up - rider, horse, connections and punters.

Peter Chadwick isn't a Chief Steward's arse, and the people who run QRIC wouldn't know camel turd from clay about horse racing.

Queensland racing is a laughing stock, a shambles, and an absolute disgrace.

 

 

WORKERS UNITED MIGHT NEVER BE DEFEATED BUT PITY THE POOR PUNTERS

‘THE Workers United Will Never Be Defeated’ – pity the same doesn’t apply to the poor old punters.

It’s Labour Day in Queensland at least when the unions unite with their supporters and hold the first parade since COVID kept them indoors and no doubt the old theme song will get a run in many watering holes.

Pity there isn’t a race meeting at Doomben and a Lord Mayor’s Labour Day Cup like there used to be but at least in the working class burb of Ipswich they will throng to the races – not to the same degree as the crowd of 20,000-plus that will turn out for Cup Day during the winter.

Being a day when we recognize the battlers, spare a thought for the mum and dad punters who invest their hard earned every week but have no say in the way the industry works or their investment is spent.

It’s hardly fair when every other stakeholder is represented – even the greedy big-time breeders who sit back and rake in the cash each season as their high priced stallions have another jump or a hundred or more.

The owners who keep the show rolling to the same degree as the punters at least have a say even though they are left to pick up the pieces when one is slaughtered by a top jock who just throws back the saddle with some weak-kneed excuse and moves onto the next victim or the trainer, most of whom have an assembly line of horses, just rolls the dice when the next race comes around.

Even the grubby corporates, who offer punters plenty of incentives (especially if you record shows you struggle to find a winner), are ploughing little back into an industry they rob on a weekly basis.  

IT’S TIME – time for PUNTERS to have a say in the running of racing. But who is going to make that happen, certainly not the yellow-bellied Racing Australia, the weakest link in the industry in this country.

 

WHY DIDN’T ‘PETE THE PLODDER’ ASK WHAT HAPPENED TO TREKKING?

IN case you were wondering why stewards didn’t see fit to question the performance of plunged topliner TREKKING in the G2 Victory Stakes on the opening day of the Queensland carnival, so was the panel at Radio RSN in Melbourne.

In their CORREC WEIGHT program on Sunday morning, form experts WARREN HUNTLY and DEAN LESTER expressed surprise at the lack of information forthcoming from the QRIC Stewards’ Panel headed by Pete ‘the plodder’ Chadwick.

Huntly started the ball rolling mystified why Trekking performed well below market expectations yet no explanation was sought.

Lester followed up with having looked at the Stewards’ Report and finding not even a mention of Trekking after it finished a tiring fifth to NICCANOVA.

Trekking looked like he was cantering half way up the straight but stopped quickly at his first run since finishing 4th in the G1 Winterbottom in Perth in November. Perhaps he was a victim of the wet conditions although he has won on the soft. Eagle Farm is very much a ‘horses for courses’ track and maybe he just wasn’t suited there.

No doubt some explanation will eventually be forthcoming from James Cummings at Godolphin. Better chance of that happening than ‘Pete the Plodder’ providing some answers for the punters – after all he had a stressful day trying to dodge the downpours, warning jockeys to ride carefully and deciding whether to call the meeting off and forcing problems with feature races on the opening day of the carnival.

 

CONSTRUCTIVE CRITICISM & A DESERVED UPPER-CUT FOR LGHR

BELOW are a couple of interesting emails that we have received in the past few days:

COLIN DIXON is a regular follower of LGHR with a policy of ‘keeping the bastards honest’ and we welcome his constructive criticism.

Here is his latest contribution:

‘BIT much for you to be trying to blame Eagle Farm for Nature Strip not coming up for the Doomben 10,000.

It’s a different track to Eagle Farm unless the fairies have waved a wand.

Also (Chris) Waller was circumspect about any target races up here for Kolding after his last win. (And) did not want to run (him) in handicaps, so the Hollindale and the Doomben Cup would have been the aims.

Little bit more fact rather than hysteria, less bias required.’

EDITOR’S NOTE: We’ll cop a deserved upper-cut for our Nature Strip mistake but have to remind Col that Chris Waller has publicly raised concerns about Eagle Farm in the past – as have other trainers, both local and interstate. Keep firing in your constructive criticism Col. Racing is all about opinions and you are certainly entitled to yours.

 

DOES GAI RELY ON BRISBANE WINTER TO BE RELEVANT THESE DAYS?

JACK W of BRISBANE writes:

‘REMEMBER the days when the locals struggled to win at the Winter Carnival in Queensland while the interstate and Kiwi raiders dominated. How times have changed.

But it’s almost the same in Sydney where Chris Waller, with the huge stable numbers he has, now dominates while Gai Waterhouse is almost irrelevant. She now relies on Queensland to get back into the spotlight at carnival time.

At least Waller has some opposition in Sydney from the likes of the Snowdens, Hawkes and O’Shea. Can we say the same for Gollan in Queensland?

His stable is set to dominate for years to come and has been competitive interstate. Gollan might not have won a feature on the opening day of the Queensland carnival on Saturday but he certainly threw out the ‘soon due’ signal. How good were Vega One and Garibaldi heading to possible Stradbroke goals?

Perhaps the best kept secret in Queensland is Downs trainer Steve Tregea who won the Victory Stakes with Nicconova. He doesn’t have a big team but aren’t they consistent?’

EDITOR’S NOTE: STEVE is a marvelous trainer but we at LGHR think the trainer to follow in Queensland is KELLY SCHWEIDA, his strike rate when the money arrives, is outstanding.

 

‘WILL THE GOAT RIDERS NEVER LEARN – BACK TO THE FUTURE IS NOT THE ANSWER?’

An old favorite ALBERT W has chimed in with his take on racing and politics:

‘RACING like politics is all about backing winners not losers.

Perhaps those running the LNP these days should sit down with a couple of old PRO punters and take some advice on rules that should never be broken.

One of those – you never back consistently unsuccessful Maidens and when it comes to betting you look to the trainers and jockeys who have the score on the board.

Now the poor old goat riders are so desperate they want to turn back time and appoint Lawrence Springborg to the LNP top job – have they forgotten he was the three-time loser when leading them into elections? Some reckon poor old Laurie the Loser still has a photo of Sir Joh in his wallet.

Those punters old enough to remember don’t want to risk another dose of that corrupt-style Government (a la the Fitzgerald Inquiry report)? If they want to change the grass roots culture in the LNP (especially the National Party goat riders), then go with change and a new, refreshing look headed by David Crisafulli (he’s an ex journo, who wouldn’t trust those guys?)

But seriously, with the backing and advice from someone who knows how to beat Labour and that’s the hard-hitting, pull-no punches Campbell Newman, the pair might prove a winning formula. Cambo might not tell the boys from the bush what they want to hear but he’s ‘the Messiah’ not some loser like Laurie.’

 

DID THE EAGLE FARM TRACK COST CARNIVAL WALLER DRAWCARDS?

TRAINER Chris Waller is too tactful to publicly admit it but one wonders if the decision to by-pass the Queensland carnival with Nature Strip and Kolding had more to do with the dodgy Eagle Farm track.

Waller had intended sending the Group 1 stablemates to Brisbane but last Friday announced the change of plans supposedly ‘to prepare both properly for the spring they need to have a decent break’.

“There are no issues with either horses. We just want the appropriate time to prepare them. As everybody in this modern day respects, preparing horses for big races is still an art and they do need a bit of down time.

“I can see both horses are not quite as bright as they were mid-preparation and I would rather stop now than know that I have gone one run too far,” Waller said in a stable statement.

“Nature Strip will follow a typical Everest path and Kolding will be prepared for the Winx Sakes either first or second-up.”

NATURE STRIP was the blockbuster Queensland needed for its Winter Carnival while Kolding is owned by popular Queenslander Neville Morgan, a long-time Waller stable client who loves to have his horses race in the big races on home turf.

Nature Strip’s managing owner Rod Lyons had spoken positively about a trip north declaring he had already booked accommodation in Queensland (where he has family) expecting the sprint star to contest the Doomben 10,000 (and yes that's not Eagle Farm).

Much has been made of the ability of the new Eagle Farm track to withstand any amount of rain (as it proved again when the heavens opened on Saturday) but many trainers have reservations about starting their horses there and Waller has spoken of his concerns in the past.

Prior to the running of Queensland Guineas on Saturday a Stewards’ inspection of the track revealed a slightly wetter section of the racing surface between the 1100 and the 1000m approximately one to two horses off the fence. Full marks to the stipes for advising jockeys of the prevailing conditions and suggesting they exercise appropriate care.

 

ANSWERS FOR PUNTERS WHINGING ABOUT RACE AT SUNNY COAST

WHILST we are praising the stewards, here are some answers for those punters who sent us ‘whinges’ concerning the second race at the Sunshine Coast on Friday night which saw a nice plunge landed on the winner.

They raised concerns about the rides on the two favourites but given both race back in the field and that it was hard to make ground with the rail so far out we have no problem with the cards that were dealt that pair.

Here is the Stewards Report on the winner:

PAPERCLIP – App. Huxtable was questioned as to the riding tactics adopted, given that the horse led in today’s event which is in contrast to its established racing pattern. App Huxtable stated that he had not been given any specific riding instructions and he had elected to ride positive to assume a forward position after beginning well. Trainer P Donnollan had confirmed he had not given any specific instructions, however was content for App Huxtable to ride forward in today’s event as the horse was stepping up to 1200m for the first time.  

THERE was another interesting outcome on Friday night at the Sunshine Coast when loud trackside entertainment caused the late scratching of an odds-on favourite which raises questions whether music should be ceased while horses are parading and racing.

Here’s the Stewards’ Report:

STEWARDS gave consideration to whether any action should be taken in relation to the pre-race manners of WEONA SMARTONE (NZ). However after interviewing Trainer D Vandyke, Stewards were satisfied that WEONA SMARTONE (NZ) had become fractious due to loud music being performed on-course and therefore no action was warranted in the circumstances.

 

      QUEENSLAND RACING LOSES ONE OF ITS FAVORITE SONS

QUEENSLAND racing has lost one of its favourite sons with the death of Gold Coast Hall of Fame trainer NOEL DOYLE.

Doyle, a jockey who once rode Eye Liner, turned trainer and prepared some great gallopers including Stylish Century, Kinjite and Don’t Play.

We’ll leave it to Gold Coast Turf Club CEO Steve Lines, who told Richard Goodbody of RQ, that Doyle was ‘part of the fabric’ of racing on the tourist strip. “He was a True Blue Aussie – he called a spade, a spade – but he had a terrific nature and was a gentlemen and it was a pleasure to have him as part of the Gold Coast.”

 

 

 

NO ANZAC DAY RACING IN BRISBANE – IS IT AN INSULT OR AN EMBARRASSMENT?

LETSGOHORSERACING regards the need to preserve the memory of the ANZACS and those who paid the ultimate sacrifice in all wars extremely important.

As keen followers of racing we always looked forward to the annual race meeting in Brisbane.

We have looked for answers why the now Brisbane Racing Club decided to abandon what we thought was a popular tradition of the Queensland Turf Club hosting a meeting on Anzac Day.

Some say it was because the club had to pay penalty rates and that a decision was made to avoid public holiday racing. One could understand this financial measure if other clubs took the same approach but they obviously don’t.

If every club adopted the stance of the BRC then there would be no holiday racing in Queensland. Instead we have seen clubs like Beaudesert, Kilcoy and this year the Sunshine Coast step up to the plate on Anzac Day while Ipswich now seems to fill the void of what was once a successful Labour Day Lord Mayor’s Cup meeting at Doomben.

With all due respects to those near Brisbane clubs that do their best, public holiday racing has become a bit of an embarrassment for Queensland with major meetings interstate still held at tracks in Sydney and Melbourne.

Officials of the Victoria Racing Club regard Anzac Day at Flemington as one of their biggest meetings outside the Melbourne Cup carnival. That was evident on Sunday when the ceremony to remember the significance of the date went over time.

Not that anyone bar those watching the clock at SKY and Racing.com cared.

But back to Queensland and considering the tens of millions of industry and taxpayer funds that have been wasted on botched attempts to resurrect the once great Eagle Farm track, surely they could afford to pay paltry penalty rates on Anzac Day.

They don’t seem to mind doing it on Exhibition Wednesday when obviously the return to the club is far greater. But in the opinion of many it’s just an open invitation for thousands of ferals and drunks to take control of the track and spend a motza on booze making morons of themselves while officials boast the crowd as the biggest outside of Stradbroke Day.

 

GOLD COAST MOVE FOR MORE SATURDAYS CREATES PREDICAMENT FOR RACING QUEENSLAND

PERHAPS the BRC will have a rethink on public holiday racing with news that the Gold Coast Turf Club is determined to increase its footprint with more stand-alone metropolitan meetings.

“We have five metropolitan meetings at the moment and see this as an opportunity to become the next metropolitan club in Queensland,” CEO Steve Lines told the Gold Coast Bulletin.

“We want to be hosting a minimum of 10 metropolitan Saturdays and metropolitan Friday nights so that is all part of the long-term plan for the club.”

That followed an announcement that the Gold Coast track was to undergo a $38 million transformation that will see the facility join the world’s elite and give the venue the inside running to earn metropolitan status.

Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said the multi-million dollar upgrade would pave the way for the track to host night meetings. Work is expected to begin later this year with Government contributing $31.5 million on top of a $1.5 million commitment already provided while the Turf Club will add inject $5 million of their own funds.

The upgrade will open the door for racing during the Magic Millions Carnival, the biggest meeting at the club, to be held under lights.

The GCTC has provided Racing Queensland with an interesting predicament. Allocation of more stand-alone Saturday metropolitan dates for the tourist strip would have to come from somewhere and that is obviously Eagle Farm and Doomben.

If you add the annual feature days at Sunshine Coast, Ipswich and Toowoomba and an allocation that the Gold Coast deserves, this would effectively mean that the Saturday dates in Brisbane would be reduced substantially.

One would have thought if RQ were to do their job fairly then Eagle Farm and Doomben would still have the lion’s share of Saturdays with Gold Coast ensured of a boost to their stand-alone Saturdays accompanied by night dates.

Sunshine Coast pioneered Sunday racing and should remain the front-runner there and a major player in the night racing scene in Queensland.

Toowoomba similarly pioneered twilight racing on a Saturday and should maintain that role. Most stakeholders and punters don’t regard Ipswich as a Saturday contender and that venue should be catapulted into the major midweek role but still retain their Cup-Eye Liner annual meeting which attracts as big a crowd as the Stradbroke.

Whilst all of this is happening there is a need for RQ to take a long look at the future of racing outside of the metropolitan area. Providing a night venue in a centre like Townsville makes sense and why not follow Victoria’s lead and hold the major country Cup meetings on a Sunday (or if officials aren’t keen on that idea then give them a secondary TAB Saturday while Gold Coast is the prime metropolitan race meeting).

 

NO PUBLIC REASON FOR MUNCE DECISION FROM INTERNAL REVIEWER – MANY FELT ORIGINAL BAN SHOULD HAVE BEEN DOUBLED

IT would be an understatement to suggest that the decision of the Internal Reviewer to lift a three month ban imposed on trainer Chris Munce has been well received.

There are many in the industry, some of them training colleagues of Munce, who believe the original suspension should have been doubled as a deterrent.

We sought an explanation from QRIC concerning the reasons for the decision by Internal Reviewer Kane Ashby and this is the response we received from Acting Commissioner Mark Ainsworth:

“ALL matters are considered by the stewards on their merits taking into consideration the circumstances of the matter.

Last week’s Internal Review for Christopher Munce considered only his breach of Australian Rule of Racing 254(1)(a)(ii), in which the Internal Adjudicator amended the original decision to a $5,000.00 fine with $2,000.00 suspended for two (2) years.

Mr Munce did not request an internal review of his breach of Australian Rule of Racing 232(i); therefore the Internal Adjudicator did not review that breach or the penalty imposed.”

If you’re confused so are we at LGHR but it seems that the reasons for decisions made by the Internal Reviewer are presented to the appellant but no longer made public in case the matter is taken further. In other words QRIC don’t want to jeopardize any further appeal but in this case Munce, having won his case at the hands of the Internal Reviewer, that isn’t going to happen so surely for the sake of transparency his reasons should have been published.

Not to worry we’re getting used to this new approach in the policing of racing in Queensland where the Chief Steward Peter Chadwick has a policy of hearing controversial inquiries behind closed doors. At least that  handful of unfinished inquiries are now being dealt with.

Here’s what one top trainer had to say concerning the Munce decision:

“I have no problem with Chris. Good luck to him winning his Review. But in their decision Stewards spoke of ‘the need for any penalty to act as a general deterrent to the wider industry that such conduct will result in a significant penalty. Sadly, instead it has sent a message that ‘it’s open season’ in Queensland so head north, walk the tightrope and if you fall chances are there will be a big net that catches you and then throws you back into the pool to try again’.

 

BITS & PIECES & SOME WHINGES FROM AROUND THE TRAPS

EMAIL from former top Queensland bookies GARY GORRIE, who still follows Australian racing from his new home in PHUKET:

‘JUST watched Flemington Race 5 (on Anzac Day) and had to switch to SKY 2. As they entered the straight coverage then went to a split screen (four-way, so just a quarter of the screen) for a dog race to be shown as well. SKY 1 had some provincial race on it. Wasn’t Flemington the No 1 meeting of the day? What’s next the Melbourne Cup goes to SKY 2 and a split screen?

 

GLEN CARSON, of BRISBANE, felt some comments were disrespectful to ANZAC DAY:

‘FULL marks to officialdom at Flemington for their handling of the Anzac Day meeting and ensuring the real meaning of the day wasn’t lost. But brickbats to the anchor of one of the broadcast channels for whining about the memorial service going too long and causing a problem for the national race timetable schedule. Perhaps that little guy should go back to Stawell, reach full speed on the running track then head out the gate and down the road never to be seen again.’

 

THIS one from a reader who describes himself as a ‘SUNDAY PUNTER’:

‘IS it time punters threw up the white flag where these top stables are concerned because it seems there is little stewards can do?

If you thought Chris Waller had a mortgage on second string runners winning races when stablemates were highly fancied flops – think again!

One could argue that Tony Gollan is following his lead. Race 7 at the Sunshine Coast on Sunday was a good example when hot favorite Snappy Reply performed like a mule while the stablemate Shamation stormed home to win at big odds.

As race-caller Josh Fleming described the finish: ‘The punters expected Gollan to win but not with that one.’

EDITOR’S NOTE: The Stewards’ Report: SNAPPY REPLY – Raced three wide without cover throughout.  Performed below market expectations. A post-race veterinary examination revealed the filly to have Cardiac Arrythmia. The stable representative was advised that the horse shall not start in a race until the Stewards have received a veterinary clearance including the results of an ECG and must official trial in the presence of Stewards. A post-race swab was also taken for analysis.
    

WILL THERE BE A WELCOME BACK PARTY ON THE COAST FOR PAUL?

HERE’S an interesting email from a high profile trainer at the GOLD COAST:

‘STORY goes that top NSW trainer MATT DUNN is about to open a satellite stable on the Gold Coast. Good news for Queensland racing. The bad news for some of us who haven’t forgotten the post-Magic Millions Waller stable victory party is that Paul Shaeler is reportedly going to be his foreman.’

 

‘ALL THAT GLITTERS ISN’T GOLD’ – ASK FOLLOWRS OF TOM’S TIPS

‘MY mates and I have been following the top tipsters for years but lately guys like DEAN LESTER seem to be in a bit of a slump. So we decided to pool our bank and buy the GOLD TIPS from TOM WATERHOUSE last Saturday.

Let us just say: ‘All that glitters isn’t gold’ and just because you spend the bigger bucks doesn’t mean the ‘inside mail’ is any better.

THESE were Tommy’s specials for Saturday: LION’S ROAR ($2.15, ran 4th), ENTENTE ($4.4, 7th) & MASKED CRUSADER ($3, 4th) at RANDWICK; PRIDE OF JENNI ($4, 6th) & YONKERS ($3.7, the only winner) at CAULFIELD; TYCOON STORM at ASCOT ($1.65, ran 2nd).    

EDITOR’S NOTE: SATURDAY was a tough day all round not only for the punters but the so-called ‘expert’ tipsters as well. Only saving grace, it could have been a worse day for Tom if even that one special didn’t salute. Do yourself a favor guys, try our LGHR LATE MAIL. We weren’t exactly on fire last Saturday either but we did a whole lot better than ‘little Tommy’ and the cost of our tips is minute compared to his.    

 

 

INCONSISTENCY IN INTERNAL REVIEW FOR HIGH PROFILE TRAINER & LOWLY TRACKWORK RIDER – THIS NEEDS SOME ANSWERS FROM QRIC

ONE of our readers, with decades of experience in the racing industry and a knowledge of how the Rules are supposed to be implemented on a fair and reasonable basis, has raised an interesting inconsistency in two decisions emanating from an Internal Review.

He wrote: “I’m wondering whether this inconsistent decision (in cases involving Chris Munce & Jade Rideout) on the same Rule is something that should be raised with the Acting Commissioner of QRIC Mark Ainsworth to see how he feels about it?”

Before we received this email LGHR had already sent a request to QRIC asking if Internal Reviewer Kane Ashby could provide some reasons for lifting the three month training ban on Chris Munce but because of the long weekend we have not yet received a response. Our request followed anger at the decision in emails received to us from stakeholders, some surprisingly colleagues of Munce.

The gentleman who raised this arguable inconsistency in the Internal Review decision on two similar cases has suggested that “Jade Rideout has an excellent case for appeal based on the treatment of Munce, a No 1 trainer, and herself, as a lowly track work rider.

“If Jade Rideout appeals her DQ to QCAT, the Munce penalty has to be a powerful argument in her favor, one which QRIC would likely want to avoid being canvassed in a QCAT hearing,” he said.

“My guess is they will more than likely concede in the light of the lenient treatment that Munce received that the Rideout DQ be quietly removed.”

We would welcome a response from the Acting Commissioner but understand a ‘no comment at this stage’ if QRIC plans to take the ‘inconsistent’ Internal Review decision further.

Below are the Stewards’ Reports & Internal Review decisions in the MUNCE & RIDEOUT cases. You be the judge if there is some blatant inconsistency.

STEWARDS’ REPORT – JADE RIDEOUT – 16 February 2021

Panel: J Adams, C Allison, E Suli

Queensland Racing Integrity Commission (QRIC) Stewards today concluded an inquiry into evidence provided by licensed stablehand Ms Jade Rideout during a Stewards inquiry at the Rockhampton Jockey Club on 25August 2020.

It was ascertained that during a Stewards inquiry into a substance that was found in a vehicle being used by Licensed Trainer Damien Rideout at the Rockhampton Jockey Club, Ms Rideout provided false evidence to the Stewards inquiry. After considering all of the evidence, Ms Rideout was issued with a charge pursuant to AR 232(i) which states: A person must not give any evidence at an interview, investigation, inquiry, hearing and/or appeal which is false or misleading. The specifics of the charge being that Jade Rideout as a licensed stablehand with QRIC, knowingly provided false evidence during a Stewards inquiry into a substance found in a vehicle used by Licensed Trainer Damien Rideout at the Rockhampton Jockey Club on 25August 2020. Ms Rideout pleaded guilty to the charge and made submissions in regard to penalty. When considering an appropriate penalty, Stewards view breaches of this kind very seriously as knowingly providing false evidence at an inquiry is a hindrance to those who are tasked with upholding the integrity of racing. The penalty must not only deter Ms Rideout but must also illustrate to the entire racing industry that these actions cannot be condoned. Stewards also considered previous penalties for breaches of this rule. Subsequently, Ms Rideout was disqualified for a period of four (4) months to commence 16 February 2021 and to conclude 16 June 2021. Jade Rideout was advised of the restrictions of AR263 and was made aware of her right to an internal review into the finding of the Stewards.

INTERNAL REVIEW: Jade Rideout – 19 March 2021

Original decision

Breach of Rule 232(i) of the Australian Rules of Racing – Four (4) month disqualification

Final outcome

Original decision of charge and penalty CONFIRMED – Four (4) month disqualification

 

STEWARDS REPORT – CHRIS MUNCE – Lady Brahmos – 24 March 2021

Panel: D Aurisch, W Hadley

 

Queensland Racing Integrity Commission (QRIC) Stewards today concluded an inquiry in respect of charges laid against licensed trainer Mr Christopher Munce in respect of an injection to LADY BRAHMOS during one clear day of that mare competing in a race. The QRIC’s Integrity Investigations Team (IIT) conducted a routine inspection of Mr Munce’s registered stables at Eagle Farm on 2 October 2020, during which the IIT identified a lump on LADY BRAHMOS’ neck indicating that the mare may have been recently injected. LADY BRAHMOS was subsequently scratched from Race 7 at Eagle Farm on 3 October 2020,being the Gallopers Sports Club No Metro Wins Handicap over 1200 metres, on order of the Stewards as a result of the IIT’s findings that LADY BRAHMOS had been injected during one clear day of the mare being engaged to race. After considering Mr Munce’s submissions in respect of the circumstances surrounding the administration of the intravenous injection to LADY BRAHMOS on 2 October 2020, the Stewards charged Mr Munce pursuant to Australian Rule of Racing 254(1) (a) (ii) and Australian Rule of Racing 232(i) respectively. Charge 1 pursuant to Australian Rule of Racing 254(1) (a) (ii) provides: A person must not, without the permission of the Stewards inject a horse engaged to run in any race at any time during the 1 clear day prior to 12:00am on the day of the scheduled race with the specifics of the charge being that Mr Munce did, without the permission of the Stewards, inject LADY BRAHMOS and administer a drip on the morning of 2 October 2020 when that mare was engaged to race at Eagle Farm on 3 October 2020. Charge 2 pursuant to Australian Rule of Racing 232(i) provides: A person must not give any evidence at an interview, investigation, inquiry, hearing and/or appeal which is false or misleading with the specifics of the charge being that Mr Munce, whilst attending the Ipswich races on 2 October 2020, did provide a false and misleading statement to a QRIC IIT officer by commenting that “the only reason the lump would be there was from the vitamins yesterday”.

Mr Munce pleaded guilty to both charges and made submissions in relation to penalty. When determining penalty in relation to the charges, the Stewards considered the following: 1. Mr Munce’s experience in the thoroughbred industry, noting that he has been involved in the industry for thirty (30) years and has been a trainer for the past six (6) years; 2. The large number of staff employed by Mr Munce that assist him in his stables, and the impact any penalty would have on those employees; 3. The number of horses Mr Munce has in active work; 4. Mr Munce’s guilty plea; 5. Mr Munce’s unblemished disciplinary history in relation to these particular rules; 6. The penalty precedents for the subject breaches; 7. That the breach resulted in LADY BRAHMOS being scratched by the Stewards from a Metropolitan Saturday race meeting at Eagle Farm; 8. Mr Munce’s initial false and misleading evidence regarding the intravenous injection; 9. That, in the opinion of the Stewards, ignorance of Australian Rule of Racing 254, particularly in respect of the one clear day portion of the rule, is not a valid defence in offending under that rule; 10. The need for any penalty to act as specific deterrent to Mr Munce to reduce the risk of reoffending and a general deterrent to the wider industry that such conduct will result in a significant penalty; and 11. The need for any penalty to be of a protective nature for the integrity of the racing industry to remain paramount. The Stewards, having considered all of the abovementioned factors, determined that the appropriate penalty is a three (3) month suspension in respect of the breach pursuant to AR254(a)(ii) and a $5,000 fine in respect of the breach pursuant to AR232(i).Mr Munce’s suspension is to commence on April 3 2021and will expire on 3 July 2021.MrMunce was advised of his rights to apply for an internal review of the decision pursuant to Chapter 6 of the Racing Integrity Act 2016(Qld).

INTERNAL REVIEW: Christopher Munce – 21 April 2021

Original decision

Breach of Rule 254(1)(a)(ii) and Rule 232(i) of the Australian Rules of Racing – Three (3) month suspension pursuant to AR254(1)(a)(ii) and a $5,000.00 fine pursuant to AR232(i)

Final outcome

Original decision of penalty pursuant to AR254(1)(a)(ii) AMENDED – $5,000 fine with $2,000.00 suspended for two (2) years

 

 

             LET’S NOT FORGET THE REAL MEANING OF ANZAC DAY   

TODAY is more than just another PUBLIC HOLIDAY. So when you enjoy that PUNT, BEER or BARBEQUE on the BEACH, spare a thought for those brave ANZACS who made the ultimate sacrifice all those years ago to make it possible. LEST WE FORGET.  

 

REPORTING OF QRIC STEWARDS’ INQUIRIES IS NOW UNDER REVIEW

YOU might recall that LGHR recently followed up on a complaint from a stakeholder that a Stewards’ Inquiry opened at Doomben in August last year and involving a high profile jockey had never been completed.

We took it up from QRIC and this was the response of Acting Commissioner Mark Ainsworth which we appreciative of:

‘THE inquiry into the ride of Mark Du Plessis on Starla in Race 6 at Doomben on 22 August 2020 was adjourned on race day pending further investigations.

Stewards have concluded their investigation and the Inquiry is expected to be finalized in the next fortnight.

I apologize for the delay in this matter.’

Subsequent to that another stakeholder asked us to check on the outcome of several other inquiries with QRIC.

Here is their response which we have been asked to attribute to Chief Steward Peter Chadwick:

“As a matter of process, some race day inquiries that do not conclude on race day take time to finalise before they can be confidently documented in race day reports.

While this is the case for some of these incomplete inquiries, there are some that should have been finalised sooner.

The documentation of race day inquiry reports and following up adjourned Inquiries is currently under review to improve the reporting of inquiry outcomes.

Tommy Button (06 July 2019 Rockhampton)

A suspected prohibited substance confiscated on race day was analysed and cleared, the report was not completed. The report is being taken over by the current Rockhampton Senior Steward who will bring the Inquiry to a conclusion on Saturday at the Yeppoon race meeting. 

 Natalie Morton (28 December 2019 Taroom)

Stewards determined no action was required after further review of the race footage and failed to complete the report. The participant has been advised and the report will be published in the Dalby race day report this Saturday

Robert Smith (15 February 2020 Toowoomba)

This inquiry has commenced, and his legal representative has made numerous requests for information and the inquiry is expected to be finalized within two weeks.

Corey Bayliss (31 May 2020 Toowoomba)

This incident related to the jockey allegedly leaving the track without permission, he has just returned to race riding after a break of several months from the industry, the Inquiry will be finalized and reported in the Dalby race day report on Saturday.

Tony & Maddie Sears (16 June 2020 Australian Federal Police)

QRIC is not involved in this investigation.

Jason Barbarovich (08 August 2020 Barcaldine)

This inquiry was finalized with no penalty and was not considered a breach under the rules, while stewards did not finalize the report the participant has been advised and the report will be added to the Yeppoon race day report on Saturday.

Ashley Butler (08 October 2020 Rockhampton)

Stewards adjourned this inquiry to seek further video evidence, when it became clear the vision was not available no action was taken. The participant has been advised and the report will be added to the Yeppoon race day report on Saturday.

We could rave on about whether some of these inquiries would ever have been completed or the racing public informed of the outcomes had we not raised this with QRIC on behalf of industry stakeholders.

But LGHR would rather look at the positive side of the comments from Mr Chadwick that: ‘THE documentation of race day inquiry reports and following up adjourned Inquiries is currently under review to improve the reporting of inquiry outcomes.

That is the positive outcome that our inquiries have ensured.

We were reluctant to publish mention of the alleged investigation into popular Downs father-daughter training duo Tony & Maddie Sears because it involves the Federal Police. LGHR is in no way questioning the integrity of the Sears stable but due to the fact that the racing rumor mill has given this a send around, there should be some clarification from the authorities to protect the interests of all concerned.

 

 

WHAT DOES FUTURE HOLD FOR ALBION PARK AFTER GAMES DUMPING 

WHAT does the future hold for Albion Park with news that the famous Creek has been virtually dumped as the preferred main venue if Brisbane secures the 2032 Olympic Games?

THE COURIER-MAIL reports that the historic Gabba will be totally redeveloped at a cost of more than $1 billion to become a beacon for Brisbane under a new plan for the Games.

Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk will today reveal more of the State’s vision for the Games, with The Gabba set to be transformed as the event’s main stadium to host the athletics and opening and closing ceremonies should the bid be successful, pushing out its 42,000-seat capacity to host 50,000 people.

The plan supplants previous thoughts around the possibility of building a new stadium at Albion Park with The Gabba reportedly far more central for Games visitors and a more central link between the city, Suncorp Stadium and other spectator centres via walkways and public transport.

Does this mean that Albion Park and QE11 Stadium are still vying for the athletics? One would assume these headline events would now be held at The Gabba.

Try and get an answer on the future of Albion Park and all you strike are road blocks.

Controversy still surrounds a secret deal done between some members of the Albion Park committee when David Fowler was chairman and Racing Queensland (involving CEO Brendan Parnell) concerning the sale of Albion Park.

It’s time to come clean on what is happening with the Creek especially in the light of this latest news which certainly suggests it will not be part of the Olympic Games if Brisbane succeeds in its 2032 bid.   

 

RACING IN SYDNEY HAS FINALLY SEEN THE LIGHT

IT took a while for the message to get through to the hierarchy in Sydney which has finally realized what Victoria has known for some time – how popular night racing is.

Racing NSW dragged their feet getting fair dinkum about night racing at Canterbury while Victoria has progressed in leaps and bounds at Moonee Valley, Cranbourne and Pakenham.

Obviously realizing they were being left behind, the V’landys disciples have confirmed that  night racing could soon be a reality for 16 nights of the year at Randwick.

The Australian Turf Club is canvassing neighbours of the iconic racecourse for their opinion ahead of lodging almost immediately a planning application with Randwick City Council.

“Night racing at Royal Randwick is part of the Australian Turf Club’s long-term planning vision to make the precinct a broader entertainment hub for Sydney,’’ Australian Turf Club Chairman Matthew McGrath said.

“This has been on the ATC’s radar for several years and we are now talking to the local community and keeping our stakeholders fully up to date on the progress of our planning.”

The $20 million project would put 79 poles ranging from 17 to 40 metres high right around the course and illuminate it with energy efficient LED floodlights.

The ATC is currently compiling an environmental-impact statement to look at the impact of the lights on the community and road users and the effect of any extra traffic.

Night racing will continue at Canterbury with the Randwick night races aimed at enhancing the major Spring and Autumn Carnivals. The 16 races would mostly be held during daylight saving between October and April and would wrap up by 10pm.

Such has been the success of night racing in Victoria that it seems more clubs want a part of the action. There are plans for night racing at Caulfield on a Wednesday to boost the already busy schedule at the other three venues in Victoria on Thursdays and Fridays.

In Queensland where there is already night racing at Toowoomba and the Sunshine Coast, there are plans to light the Gold Coast and calls for a night venue in the Tropical North, possibly at Townsville.

    

SWAN HILL CLUB OFFICIALS NEED TO GIVE THEMSELVES AN UPPER-CUT

IN the court of public opinion the award for the worst decision of the year goes to the Swan Hill Race Club where those responsible should give themselves a giant upper-cut.

In a bizarre reaction to criticism of its track following the death of two horses on the one day, the club has taken action against a local trainer for daring to criticise.

And in the process horse racing has been catapulted back into the spotlight for all the wrong reasons and the animal welfare lobby has been presented with an open invitation to again go on the attack.

The Australian Trainers’ Association to their credit have expressed ‘deep concern’ after Nathan Hobson was charged by the SHRC over comments made regarding the firmness of the track at the meeting on February 17 when there were two fatalities.

The deaths of Bon’s Ghost and Zipitsweetie have been referred to Racing Victoria for review with SHRC CEO Aaron Garvie quick to assert that the track was ‘prepared to RV regulations, passed inspections by Stewards and played no role in the fatalities’.

What was Hobson guilty of – simply telling the media? “We’ve got unlimited water here. We’re on the Murray and they produce a track like that. It’s got a great grass cover on it but obviously, at this time of the year, they haven’t been putting enough water on it.”

A number of trainers agreed that horses felt the hardness of the track post-race. But it was Hobson that the club sorted out for special attention requiring him to front a hearing to decide whether he was guilty of making comments ‘prejudicial to or subversive of the purposes or authority of the club or conduct prejudicial to the interests of the club’.

They had to be kidding! But they weren’t. Following a hearing on March 15, SHJC chairman Ian Ray advised Hobson he had been found guilty, would receive a $2,000 suspended fine and must write the club and track manager Josh Woolhouse a letter of apology.

The ATA described the action as a ‘worrying precedent’ and declared this a ‘free speech issue’. They have highlighted the fact that Hobson simply expressed an opinion on the race day track condition in answer to questions from the media and that no disparaging comment was ever made towards the club.

A weak-kneed Racing Victoria, which arguably should have intervened and told the SHRC officials that they had over-reacted, has instead declared the matter is between the club and Hobson.

Unbelievable!!!

 

WINNERS & ‘SORE’ LOSERS – A SAD SIDELING TO BIG-TIME RACING

A couple of our readers have raised the question whether high profile owner Brae Sokolski is a sore loser who likes to steal the spotlight when one of his top gallopers is in the news.

After Addeybb trounced Verry Elleegant in the Queen Elizabeth Stakes at Randwick on Saturday, Sokolski was quickly on the blower to trainer William Haggas in England offering a winner-take-all rematch.

Sokolski is not convinced the better horse won the Group 1 for the second successive year.

“Nothing went right for us and while I normally cop it on the chin this time I wasn’t convinced. I thought why not have a crack, and see what William had to say about a match race, Sokolski.

“He gave me time and listened respectfully, we talked for a good while and he actually said he loved the idea but it was going to be too hard this time around.”

Most remember how Sokolski was in the headlines during the Spring Carnival of 2019 when he made a controversial 11th hour decision to dump Linda Meech from his Victoria Derby hope Thought of That.

The fallout from the decision won few friends in the racing public for Sokolski and resulted in Melbourne Cup winning jockey Michelle Payne fined for her reaction on social media.

It led to apologies from Payne for calling Sokolski ‘a pig’ and Rachael Griffiths, director of the movie Ride Like A Girl for labelling him a ‘dickhead’. Meech came out and said ‘she hoped the horse got beaten’ in the Derby. Her wish was granted with Thought of That enduring a torrid ride under Mark Zahra and proving a major flop in the Group 1 feature.

But back to the proposed match race fizzer between Addeybb and Verry Elleegant, the closest that will get is if the pair clash again next Autumn. It wasn’t made clear where the match race would be run – perhaps a good idea would have been on neutral ground at Flemington – what would the big V think of that?

 

THE INQUIRY INTO A RIDE THAT IS GOING TO BE FINALIZED EIGHT MONTHS AFTER IT WAS OPENED BECAUSE THE PUBLIC WANTED TO KNOW WHY

WHEN one of our regular readers sent us an email claiming that a Stewards’ Iquiry that was opened into the ride of a high profile jockey at Doomben in August of last year had yet to be finalized we thought it was a belated April Fools’ Day joke.

Worse still the contributor claimed the Inquiry had been adjourned ‘Sini Di’ which means ‘without assigning a day for a further hearing’ or in our words ‘consigned to the never never’.

We decided to investigate and this is what we discovered:

The Stewards’ Report for DOOMBEN on SATURDAY, August 22, under the chairmanship of PETER CHADWICK, read, in part, for RACE 6:

STARLA – Fractious in barriers prior to the start. Slow to begin. A post-race Veterinary examination revealed no abnormalities. After taking initial evidence from M Du Plessis Stewards adjourned an inquiry into his riding in the early stages of the home straight.

STARLA, trained by Chris Waller and ridden by Mark Du Plessis, ran fourth at $3.9 behind AMICHE. We had a look at the replay and STARLA, after missing the start by a couple of lengths, got through to be ahead of two runners but on the fence as they turned. Let’s just say Du Plessis had little luck in securing a run in the straight and made late ground to finish a well beaten fourth. Starla should have finished closer.

So we decided to follow up with the Queensland Racing Integrity Commission to see if the Stewards’ Inquiry had been completed – after all it is ALMOST EIGHT MONTHS – and even allowing for the workload that the Chief Steward has on his plate we felt it was fair to assume we might have overlooked the result. Then again Mr Chadwick does things behind closed doors so we thought he may have finalized proceedings and forgot to publish a Stewards’ Report.

We didn’t approach Mr Chadwick (not that this would concern him) but if he wants to bar the media from the inquiries he prefers to hold in secret then we are going to bar him.

Coincidentally the STARLA INQUIRY also involves a horse trained at the Queensland stable of Chris Waller, the same as the recent Magic Millions celebration fracas which ended in a farce. And incidentally Paul Shailer, the satellite stable foreman who resigned as a result of that incident, reportedly was back working for a trainer in Northern NSW. That must have been short-lived because trainers on the Gold Coast tell us he wasted no time returning to a stable on the tourist strip other than Waller’s, but they are tipping he will return to where he resigned from in the not too distant future.

Now back to the Du Plessis riding inquiry and here is the response provided by Acting Racing Integrity Commissioner Mark Ainsworth:

‘THE inquiry into the ride of Mark Du Plessis on Starla in Race 6 at Doomben on 22 August 2020 was adjourned on race day pending further investigations.

Stewards have concluded their investigation and the Inquiry is expected to be finalized in the next fortnight.

I apologize for the delay in this matter.’

Acting Commissioner Ainsworth shouldn’t be apologizing for another embarrassment from his Chief Steward. How much longer is the racing public, specifically punters, expected to tolerate what is arguably sub-standard policing of the sport?

We wonder had this not been raised with the Acting Commissioner (who wouldn’t have been aware of the eight month delay or probably even the Inquiry) was Mr Chadwick ever going to finalize this inquiry and if not, WHY?

It also raises questions of whether there are other Inquiries Sini Di especially as so much since the new Chief Steward took up residency in Queensland that is handled ‘behind closed doors’.

As we’ve said before – SO MUCH FOR TRANSPARENCY.

HOOFNOTE: If you were framing a market on the outcome of the Inquiry, what odds no action will be taken? But that’s not the point. As for the Chief Steward if it looks like we are sorting him out for special attention, we make no apology and will continue to highlight the inadequacies of stewarding in Queensland until punters can bet with some confidence here.      

 
 


NATURE STRIP THE BLOCKBUSTER THE BRISBANE CARNIVAL NEEDS

NATURE STRIP is the blockbuster Queensland needs for its Winter Carnival but there seems to be some uncertainty over plans for the champion sprinter after his back-to-back wins in the Group 1 T J Smith at Randwick on Saturday.

Post-race trainer Chris Waller declared the long-term goal was the $15 million The Everest at Randwick in October. “He’ll be at The Everest for sure. So it will all revolve around that. The Everest is actually quite deep into the spring so there’s the chance to take him to Queensland if we need to.”

Managing owner Rod Lyons seemed more positive about a trip north when he spoke to RSN in Melbourne on Sunday morning declaring he had already booked accommodation in Queensland (where he has family) expecting Nature Strip to contest the Doomben 10,000.

A trip to Royal Ascot looks at least another year away for the $8 million stakes earner but Lyons confirmed he will almost definitely have another run before the spring.

“It was a fantastic performance (in the TJ). It was breathtaking. It sent shivers up my spine. It’s wonderful and it endorses what a wonderful sprinter he is,” Lyons, who missed being trackside for the win, told RSN. Last year he was absent because of COVID and this time his absence was due to the illness of a family member and sick pet (there’s one for the animal liberationists who want horse racing banned).

 

CONTROVERSY CONTINUES TO RIDE SHOTGUN WITH JAMES McDONALD

ONE of the reasons Jamie Kah rode into Sydney town and stole the spotlight from the magnificent performance of James McDonald on Doncaster day was that controversy continues to ride shotgun with Jmac.

McDonald captured two Group One’s (the Sires on Anamoe and T J Smith on Nature Strip) has part of a winning treble but it was his ride on High Supremacy in the G3 Carbine Club Stakes that left punters shaking their heads.

Stewards inquired into the tactics adopted and wanted to know why McDonald chose not to improve his position in the early part of the straight. He was of the opinion that the inside section of the track was the worst ground and no horse had won on the inside all day.

Stewards adjourned the inquiry to examine betting activities. High Supremacy was unable to secure clear running until inside the furlong when he flashed home to finish fourth but in the eyes of some should have gone close to winning.

As brilliantly as he continues to ride, McDonald’s form is littered by ‘the one that got away’ – whether it be through bad luck or no fault of his own. For every brilliant ride he produces – like the performance of Nature Strip – there is that bad one which the punters are struggling to forgive.

Punters have come to expect McDonald to suffer little more than a ‘please explain’ then smack on the hand and the High Supremacy ride is heading in that direction. Not that the stewards aren’t doing their best, he just seems to always have an acceptable alibi up his sleeve.

 

HERE’S HOPING RACING DOESN’T LOOSE JAMIE KAH TOO SOON

JAMIE KAH has so much ahead of her at the top of the racing game but rumours continue to persist that she will quit riding to pursue her Olympics goal.

It’s not hard to understand considering the layback nature of horse racing’s latest pin-up girl but it would be a crying shame if the pressure at the top forced her to walk away earlier than she needs to.

Kah is the hottest commodity in racing in Australia these days and not only the racing scribes but the media in general all want a piece of her. She resists the spotlight and prefers to divide her time among the loves of her life – her family (mum, day and fiancé Clayton Douglas) as well as her interest in equestrian competition (she one day wants to compete at the Olympics).

With the demands of racing taking up more of her time, if Jamie is to emulate the feat of her parents and compete for Australia at the Olympics (they were Winter Olympians) something will have to give. Qualifying for equestrian requires the right horse, competing overseas and is not an ambition that can be achieved on a part-time basis.

An indication of how much she loves family and racing can be gauged by Friday night when Jamie ventured to Cranbourne to ride a winner, owned by her father and trained by her fiancé, Clayton. Most jockeys engaged in a big meeting the following day would have either been travelling to or taking it easy focussing on that.

Kah continues to create history and is poised to become the first female to win the Melbourne metropolitan jockeys’ premiership. One would suspect she has unfinished business and will be looking forward to a Melbourne Cup mount after copping some criticism for her ride last year when she was a victim of circumstance. Most of all the racing public, especially the punters, will be hoping Kah delays her equestrian dream until at least the Los Angeles or hopefully Brisbane Olympics.

 

ADVANCE AUSTRALIA FAIR BUT NOTHING DARE SILENCE THE JERKS ON SKY

ARCHIE BUTTERFLY, our colleague at the subscriber-only website, peterprofit.com made a good point about the lack of respect for SKY in this article which we wholeheartedly support:

THE Australian National Anthem is an important national symbol of Australia and should be treated with respect and dignity.

That's not me saying it – that is the Prime Minister and the Federal Parliament of Australia.

I agree with them, as most true-blue, fair dinkum lovers of the Wide Brown Land do too.

When the anthem is played you stand, and you either sing or you shut respectfully up, just like you do when the Last Post is played at the setting of the sun at the RSL.

You DO NOT talk over the top of the anthem, no matter if it’s being sung by Julie Anthony or by a prep kid from Corowa primary school.

It's treason.

The bloke anchoring the coverage of the big Mildura Cup/Golden Easter Egg evening extravaganza is guilty of it.

This idiot, whose shame shall not be spoken lest it bring shame on our grand nation, cut to the boxes at Wentworth Park just as the field was arriving at the boxes. As the dogs and their handlers arrived the Anthem started playing, sung by a hard working local who'd been given her big moment on the national racing stage.

This disrespectful jerk ruined it.

He shat all over the flag, our golden soil, the Anzacs, Don Bradman, Phar Lap, Top Simbi, Paleface Adios and every other decent wattle loving Aussie too.

When he realised that the Anthem was about to be played this clown not only made some disparaging type oomph sound, he then proceeded to talk over our treasured national song the whole way through. It made me sick.

I was only quick enough to record the last bit but you can clearly hear this traitor speaking crap while the rest of us are singing in joyful tones Advance Australia Fair.

I'm happy to hand over the tape to the Un-Australian Acts Tribunal as evidence in his trial.

Give yourself an uppercut mate.

It might knock some sense into you.

 

ACROSS THE GLOBE RACHAEL STEALS THE SPOTLIGHT FROM JAMIE

JAMIE KAH held the world spotlight as the first female to ride a Group 1 winner for the powerful Godolphin Empire but that was stolen by RACHAEL BLACKMORE hours later when she became the first woman to win the Grand National at Aintree.

FRANK KEOGH of BBC SPORT reports that Blackmore made sporting history by becoming the first female jockey to win the Grand National with victory on Minella Times at Aintree.

The Irish rider (pictured above courtesy of THE TELEGRAPH) scored a thrilling triumph aboard the 11-1 chance, trained by Henry de Bromhead who also saddled runner-up Balko Des Flos.

"I don't feel male or female right now. I don't even feel human," 31-year-old Blackmore told ITV.

Any Second Now was third, with Burrows Saint fourth.

The 173rd running of the world's most famous steeplechase provided a story for the ages as Blackmore won in the colours of owner JP McManus.

Blackmore had already achieved a landmark success at last month's Cheltenham Festival when becoming the first woman to be the meeting's leading jockey.

She demonstrated perfect poise and timing to guide Minella Times expertly round the 30 fences over more than four and a quarter miles for victory by six and a half lengths.

The closest a female jockey had previously come to winning the race was Katie Walsh on Seabass in 2012 when she finished third.

"I cannot believe it," Blackmore said. "He was a sensational spin. It is unbelievable."

There were no spectators at the Merseyside track because of Covid-19 protocols, but the historic moment was not lost on the jockeys, trainers and owners in attendance who cheered the pair back into the winner's enclosure.

The 1-2 for De Bromhead sealed his own remarkable story, having won the Champion Hurdle, Champion Chase and Gold Cup at Cheltenham.

One of the 40 runners, The Long Mile, was euthanised after suffering an injury while running on the flat between fences. It was the second equine fatality in eight editions of the race since safety changes were introduced in 2013.

Jockey Bryony Frost was taken to hospital after being unseated from her mount Yala Enki.

 

THE ‘KAH TRAIN’ ARRIVES AT DONCASTER STATION IN SYDNEY

JAMIE Kah has taken Melbourne by storm this season, but a two-month plan for her ride in Godolphin blue delivered her finest moment as she won the biggest Randwick mile on Cascadian on Saturday.

CHRIS ROOTS reports for FAIRFAX MEDIA that Godolphin trainer James Cummings might not have been able to get Kah (pictured above coutersy of RACV) on his team that often in Melbourne but he has been watching her beat them regularly. He knew that she was the number one choice for a lightweight Doncaster ride.

“A couple of months ago my personal assistant Cath Carson and I set out a goal to get Jamie Kah for a lightweight ride in the Doncaster,” he said.

“Jamie’s team were interested but they held off to the Golden Slipper weekend and when this horse Cascadian ran so well [for fourth] in the George Ryder Stakes they took up the offer.”

The faith in Kah was well placed as she got Cascadian, which hadn’t won for 377 days, into the clear in the straight and charged over the top of Icebath to win by a head with Dalasan ¾ of a length away.

It was Kah’s fifth Group 1 winner, equalling Michelle Payne’s record for a female jockey, and she became the first woman to win at the top level for Godolphin anywhere in the world.

“This is right at the top,” Kah said. “You like to ride any of their horses in a group 1, they are always in the betting and always good chances. I was very happy to get the call up.

“I thought if he had the right run, especially after the late scratching [of Think It Over], he could win.”

Kah had her form done around the George Ryder Stakes, where Cascadian was fourth and thought the winner of that race, Think It Over, was the one to beat in the Doncaster. He was a late scratching after injuring himself in the float.

Cascadian had always had the promise to win a big race and Kah knew it would come down to timing.

“I have been in plenty of races with him and seen him go past me and then stop on the line and get beaten,” Kah said. “So I knew I had to time the run right.”

 

 

TWO THINGS PUNTERS HATE MOST ABOUT BIG RACE DAYS IN SYDNEY

TWO things that drive punters crazy are the way Glen Boss talks up his mount in a big race and the horse manure that the Sydney racing media write every time the enigmatic Nature Strip steps onto the track.

No one doubts Bossy is a great jockey but he should let his riding do the talking and stop exaggerating the winning prospects of Cox Plate hero Sir Dragonet when in clashes with two of the world’s best gallopers, Verry Elleegant and Addeybb.

Nature Strip on his day is unbeatable – sadly that doesn’t happen as often as it used to. From the better draw in the T J Smith one would have to almost declare the Chris Waller-trained sprinter, especially after its herculean 2nd to Eduardo in track record time in the Challenge.

Boss insists the $4 million Queen Elizabeth Stakes at Randwick on Saturday week is no longer just a two-horse race between arch rivals Verry Elleegant and Addeybb.

Sydney’s richest race of the autumn is shaping as a contest for the ages and Sir Dragonet has put himself right back into the mix after his dominant win in the Tancred Stakes although some might argue it wasn’t the strongest renewal of that feature.

Hall of Famer Boss couldn’t help himself declaring “I can’t wait to get at Verry Elleegant and Addeybb again. It’s game on. Sir Dragonet was a weapon today (in the Tancred). He’s a super horse.’’

All we can say is - spare us the tongue-down-the-throat performance from Boss if ‘the Dragon’ happens to upstage the two superstars.

We only have to wait until Saturday to see star sprinter Nature Strip back in action in the Group 1 T J Smith. It’s been ‘same as’ for the jockey the punters have a love-hate relationship with in James McDonald.

Here’s hoping JMac left his losing streak behind (beaten on four hot favourites midweek) which one expects he will with far richer pickings at stake at Randwick on Saturday.

Once again McDonald is adamant Nature Strip is back at the top of his game and expects him to exact revenge on Eduardo in the T J.

Nature Strip is looking for back-to-back wins in the race after claiming the premier Autumn sprint with a commanding front-running effort 12 months ago which made him look like he was jet-propelled for champion trainer Chris Waller.

McDonald claims Eduardo will clash with a vastly different challenge from Nature Strip when the pair face off for round two this weekend. “I don’t think Nature Strip can go much better. He is going really, really well. It will be a good race and our horse is in great form.

“He went super in the Challenge Stakes when obviously he jumped from the widest barrier and was off the track the majority of the race.”

Don’t forget punters Waller makes a habit of upstaging favorites with stable second-strings. Wouldn’t it be ironic if Jamie Kah (overlooked for the mount on Nature Strip after helping the horse regain its best form in the G1 Lightning in Melbourne) stormed down the outside on Haut Brion Her to win the TJ? That galloper had no luck first-up and is very capable mare on her day.

 

STEVE RAILTON NEW DEPUTY CHAIRMAN OF RACING NSW STEWARDS

RACING NSW wasted no time snapping up the services of Steve Railton  when he returned from Hong Kong and on Tuesday appointed him new Deputy Chairman of Stewards replacing another former Queenslander Wade Birch who has moved to the Greyhounds.

Railton has held numerous senior Stipendiary Steward positions during his 40-year career in the Thoroughbred industry, including as Chief Steward for Queensland Racing, Deputy Chairman of Stewards at Racing NSW and most recently as Stipendiary Steward & Secretary, Licensing Committee with Hong Kong Jockey Club.

Racing NSW General Manager-Integrity and Chairman of Stewards, Marc Van Gestel said: “Steve’s appointment is an outstanding gain for the integrity of the NSW Thoroughbred Racing Industry and will further strengthen our world-class Racing NSW Stewards Panel.

"Steve has officiated in some of the most scrutinized jurisdictions both in Australia and internationally and has been held in high regard in all those jurisdictions.”

Steve Railton will commence duties with Racing NSW next Tuesday.

 

COUPLE OF ‘JOKES’ EMANATING FROM SYDNEY RACING HEAD WHINGE

THE Wednesday Whinge has been dominated by a couple of jokes emanating from the big meeting at Rosehill Garden last Saturday.

One involved the way the track played and the other highlighted a feature race that punters overwhelmingly believe was on the nose.

Here are some of the contributions sent to LGHR:

“IT took a visiting jockey in Damien Oliver to state the bleeding obvious about the disgraceful bias to on-pacers that the Rosehill track displayed last Saturday.

“The track is a bit of a joke,” Ollie commented after his mount Rich Hips came from last to finish sixth in the G2 Emancipation.

“Of course there was little criticism from the top local hoops or the blatantly biased Sydney racing media who seem intent on praising officialdom when they aren’t finding alibis for disgraceful rides or races that look to have a smell about them.”

EDITOR’S NOTE: At Rosehill on Saturday horses struggled to make ground out wide early on the card while tempo played a role in a couple of the races with staying on the fence seemingly a distinct advantage. The winners of the first four races either led or trailed the leader in the run. The only winner to defy the bias on the day was Hungry Heart which staged a herculean performance in the Vinery Stud Stakes.

 

SHARED AMBITION IN LEADING ROLE GOT UP NOSE OF PUNTERS

IT was a surprise leader – Shared Ambition – that caught map readers by surprise and got up the nose of many punters at Rosehill.

Here’s what one had to say about the new tactics employed:

“Was there any notification from the Waller stable about a change of tactics with Shared Ambition before the Neville Sellwood Stakes? That horse had never led in his previous 18 start career.

“To make matters worse anyone who does the form would have expected Tim Clark to lead on Entente. Clark loves taking up the pace-making role and the horse looked the obvious leader.

“Some of the rides in this race were questionable. Mr Satchmo has shown no speed at all at two Australian starts yet here he is going forward and riding shotgun for the winner. To see Clark take a sit on Entente was jaw dropping stuff. The Waller duo up front made it near on impossible for hot favorite Master of Wine to win when they crawled along on a pace biased track.

“Stewards asked questions of Macdonald and Clark. In the case of Entente Clark said his mount after beginning awkwardly took some time to show its usual early pace. He believed his best option was to let Shared Ambition lead and take cover. Macdonald said his mount worked forward without being pressured and when Entente did not show intent to lead he did.”

So there you have it. Listed to the racing media in Sydney and they will tell you Macdonald pulled his rivals’ pants done. But hear the punters and they are ropeable about the change of tactics, then way the race was run and the fact that Clark took a sit on the likely leader.”

EDITOR’S NOTE: WHAT do we say – that’s Sydney racing!

 

DO PUNTERS TRUST BACKING TOP LADY JOCKEYS MORE THAN MEN?

IT could be argued that one of the reasons the top lady jockeys, especially Jamie Kah, are so popular is that punters trust them more than the men.

How many times, mainly in Sydney racing, do we see leading male riders miss the start or sit wide on heavily backed favourites and get beaten?

Kah, with a seemingly unbeatable lead in the Melbourne metropolitan premiership (she would be the first female to win it), heads to Sydney for Day 1 of The Championships on Saturday.

Here’s what one reader had to say about her foray interstate:

“JAMIE has gone from ‘the hunter’ to ‘the hunted’ in Melbourne but punters are wondering how she will fare swimming with ‘the sharks’ in Sydney.

“She has never ridden a winner at Randwick where she has four Group 1 rides at Randwick on Toscanini, Cascadian, Haut Brion Her and Queen of Wizadry. Here’s hoping at least one of those salutes.”

 

OWNER RECKONS VETERINARY FEES BEING CHARGED ARE ‘A RORT’

NOW for a change of pace we received this email concerning veterinary fees from a rather annoyed owner in JOHN T which read:

“I recently received what I thought was an exorbitant bill from (a Veterinary Services company – name with-held). (The chief vet) explained at length that his fees had never before been questioned so basically pay up or I will report you to the Stewards and bring in the debt collectors.

My concern was that all products he used on my horse were marked up 100% from prices on the web which amounted to an additional $150. He never questioned the 100% just sent two emails telling me it is perfectly normal practice to mark-up product by this amount.

Fellow owners, this is not right and we need to put a stop to vets that gouge additional fees by inflating the costs of medicines. Some vets mark-up product 20% but some like this practice have been getting away with 100% for years.

Vets are extremely expensive and form a huge part of the cost of racehorse ownership. I am open to feedback from others whether I am being unfair or if you agree how can we get an endorsement process operating where we support vets that only pass on the actual cost of medicines, syringes etc (plus handling 10%)?”

 

A FEW BITS & PIECES ON CURRENT EVENTS:

KEV P of BRISBANE:

“I see the love affair between LGHR and QRIC is on the ropes. It’s taken you long enough to wake-up. This mob will always feed you what they want you to write but go to ground when you try to keep the racing public aware of something they prefer to keep in-house. Ray Hadley got it right in the bake he gave them over the Waller stable affair on the Gold Coast and now we have allegations or evidence of a steward betting and it seems they want to cover it up. So much for the newfound transparency that QRIC promised us.”

NAME WITH-HELD by REQUEST:

“I am a supposed trainer colleague of the mighty midget Chris Munce and let me admit from the outset I am not a big fan. Spare me his bleating over this three month suspension and $5,000 fine on a treatment charge. I read where he described the penalty as ‘harsh and unfair’. Wonder how he felt when they threw him in the slammer in that Hong Kong jail. I don’t want to pre-empt what happens when he appeals the severity of the penalty but what odds a smart racing lawyer finds some loophole and it’s reduced to a fine only which most of us believe would be an absolute farce.”

ADAM J of BRISBANE:

“I wonder if QRIC is aware that Racing Australia has moved to tighten betting rules concerning jockeys in the wake of their refusal to comment on photographs taken of a steward in two PUBTAB’s in inner-Brisbane.

“RA has announced amendments to Australian Racing Rule 115, which covers the law on jockeys betting. The rule has been in force since March, 2019 when it was written into the rules with the intention of closing some of the loopholes initially covered by AR 83.

“But the new rule had a loophole itself which the legal team of jockey Ben Melham used to clear one of seven original betting charges as it dealt with alleged bets on races in Singapore.

“Melham was cleared of that charge last October by the Victorian Racing Tribunal who found the Australian racing rules did not explicitly prevent a local jockey from punting overseas on thoroughbred racing.”

“Perhaps QRIC should look at implementing some rules involving stewards not being allowed to bet on overseas racing or sport to cover any loophole outside forbidding them to do so on anything in Australia”.

 

 

  


 

IT’S THE ‘SILLY SEASON’ ALL YEAR ROUND FOR RACING AUSTRALIA

IT must be the silly season – Racing Australia seems to have lost the plot (yet again) and surprisingly on the home front in Queensland so has the Racing Integrity Commission (or so it seems).

At a time when there are arguably more important issues they should be dealing with, RA has introduced an amendment to the Rules of Racing that forbids anyone other than the trainer or owner from providing instructions on the riding of a horse in a race.

In a bizarrely timed Media Release on the evening before Good Friday, RA said it had become aware of the increasing prevalence of rider’s agents and form analysts providing tactical riding instructions to jockeys. They are of the view that this is inappropriate and my create integrity (and perception issues), as well as potentially confusing jockeys who receive conflicting riding instructions.

This is the pot calling the kettle black coming from a bunch of Dudley Dolittles who have done nothing but make a laughing stock of the Rules applying to use of the whip whilst bowing to the wishes of fruit loops in the animal liberation world who have all but destroyed jumps racing in this country.

The latest RA ruling came out of the blue – was there any consultation with jockeys concerning the work that form analysts, map readers and track workers do in making their life easier and safer. They don't instruct on how to ride. Legally, is it tantamount to a restriction of trade?

One wonders if RA has acted on an isolated complaint from some disgruntled owner or trainer. Surely the control body is aware that rider’s agents and form analysts don’t issue instructions.

That has always – and always will be – the domain of the trainer (perhaps in consultation with owners but many of them wouldn’t want to get involved anyway). Some jockeys ride up to five days a week and don’t have the time to do the homework required relying on form analysts to provide what could best be described as a work aid.

It comes as no surprise that the amendment to the Rules of Racing has been met with widespread criticism – like most things that Racing Australia does. RA should heed submissions heading their way from stakeholders who do know what they are talking about and withdraw the change before it takes effect on May 1.

But will it make any difference to what is happening now and has been since innovations to assist jockeys, like form analysis, was introduced. Victorian Jockeys’ Association CEO Matt Hyland summed up the situation perfectly:

"If you look at the Rule closely, it clearly states that the final instructions must come from the trainer, it's just clearing up that process.

"Jockeys can use the form analysts, they can access all the speed maps they want and everything else that is out there, it's just ensuring that it's clear where those final instructions come from."

Perhaps those most effected – the punters – should have the last say. Many trainers, jockeys and owners admit that without the assistance of expert form analysts like Dean Lester and Mark Hunter they could have missed many winners.

And there were two Melbourne Cup winners in recent years, the latest where Jye McNeil after winning on Twilight Payment praised ‘Dean Lester who helps me with my form' and Michelle Payne who credited the track walking skills of Peter Ellis after her historic win on Prince of Penzance.

 

MYSTERY SURROUNDS BIZARRE DECISIONS BEING MADE BY QRIC

NO mention of losing the plot when it comes to ‘silly season’ integrity would be complete without mention of some bizarre decisions that have surfaced involving the Queensland Racing Integrity Commission.

We have already devoted more than enough space to the incredible findings of the inquiry into the fracas at the post-Magic Millions party involving staff of the Chris Waller satellite stable on the Gold Coast.

Firstly, it was for some strange reason held behind closed doors weeks after the incident and then the unbelievable findings which declared no evidence of drug use and no action taken because it was hosted at a supposedly private residence.

Sadly for QRIC most who follow racing closely in Queensland regarded that as a whitewash and questioned if it was a level playing field in all things racing – nationwide – when the name Waller was involved.

Then emerged evidence of a high profile minor codes steward caught allegedly having a bet in two watering holes in inner-Brisbane. Evidence of this misdemeanor only became public when photographs were forwarded to letsgohorseracing and peterprofit.com of the Steward caught in the act.

When LGHR published details over the Easter weekend we were contacted within hours by Acting QRIC Commissioner Mark Ainsworth (who we have great respect for) offering an explanation. Sadly, the QRIC response provided more questions than answers.

Here is what they said:

In November 2020 a disciplinary investigation in compliance with the QRIC complaints policy was held in relation to allegations that an employee had contravened their employment contract.

The investigation and its outcome is confidential consistent with the practices across the Queensland Public Service. 

QRIC employees must not wager on any racing event anywhere and are subject to regular audits.

From information gleaned by LGHR sources we believe this is an internal crap fight between a former QRIC investigator who left the organization in far from happy circumstances and has since highlighted the shortcomings of some of those who continue to work there.

If the Chief Steward involved was betting, whether it be on overseas sport or local racing, then one has to pose the question: Is he fit to hold the position he does? And it raises another controversial issue as well.

For some time there have been stories doing the rounds alleging that a few Downs trainers have been taking their horses to the Oakey track and giving them a shot of electricity in the back straight. Stakeholders who claim to have witnessed this are not prepared to come forward to QRIC with information because they believe ‘the joint leaks like a sieve’.

Proof of that are the photographs taken of a group of stewards, including the one involved in the alleged betting cover-up, dressed in jungle greens as though they are on an Army exercise in the long grass beside the back straight at Oakey racetrack. It’s a standing joke among stakeholders on the Downs.

LGHR also asked if QRIC had been involved in a raid on a Downs stable that involved police and – believe it or not – the FBI. The response from Acting Commissioner Ainsworth was: ‘Please refer your questions about the *** Stable to the Queensland Police Service, this is not a matter for QRIC.’ Notably there was no denial so what the hell is going on.

EDITOR’S NOTE: LGHR has been one of the greatest supporters of QRIC from day one. We believe it was needed because some (we repeat) some high profile stewards of the past were, in the opinion of many in Queensland racing, not doing their jobs properly. When it became apparent that if the LNP won the last election QRIC would be dismantled, LGHR went into bat for QRIC highlighting how all the bad things that had occurred (integrity wise) in Queensland racing were during the era of specifically National Party rule. QRIC provided racing with the police powers it lacked in the past when stewards were restricted in what they could do. LGHR has made no secret of our lack of confidence in Peter Chadwick from the time he was appointed Chief Steward. Primarily, his decision to hold controversial inquiries in secret sends the wrong message to punters. Now we seem to have QRIC under the same dome. We are aware that they have targeted almost 20 criminal elements involved in the racing industry in Queensland. Whatever is happening behind the scenes, it is providing a feeding frenzy for critics of QRIC who are calling on websites like ours to provide answers. It’s only a matter of time before the Opposition slams a ‘please explain’ on the Racing Minister and what could be questioned under Parliamentary Privilege can only harm the already battered image of the Integrity Commission and some of its staff.           

 

RESPONSE FROM QRIC TO ALLEGATIONS OF BETTING BY A STEWARD

QUEENSLAND’S Acting Racing Integrity Commissioner Mark Ainsworth has provided a disappointing response to our story concerning high profile steward allegedly betting.

Here is what he had to say:

IN November 2020 a disciplinary investigation in compliance with the QRIC complaints policy was held in relation to allegations that an employee had contravened their employment contract.

The investigation and its outcome is confidential consistent with the practices across the Queensland Public Service. 

QRIC employees must not wager on any racing event anywhere and are subject to regular audits.

EDITOR’S NOTE: The racing public and those making complaints are none the wiser. Why should stewards be granted confidentiality when licensees aren’t? And if QRIC employees aren’t allowed to wager what was the steward in the photograph doing? Sorry Mark, I am a big fan of what you are trying to achieve having inherited the poison chalice, but the lack of transparency continues.

 

 

IS THIS HIGH PROFILE MINOR CODES QRIC STEWARD HAVING A BET?

LGHR received the photograph above from a racing identity who would know and he swears this is a high profile minor codes QRIC steward betting at a prominent watering hole in Brisbane.

We are not saying he was – perhaps the chap was just checking out the new technology available to punters at these you beaut new PUBTABS or he may have even been looking up the results at the Ipswich Dogs to see if they had changed since he worked there.

The photo arrived soon after an email from one of our well connected readers suggesting: “Perhaps the Waller stable inquiry at the Gold Coast wasn’t the only one conducted behind closed doors and was the result to this other one similar with no action taken because it occurred outside of a racetrack?”

Of course, the author of that ‘whinge’ was talking very much tongue-in-cheek (or we thought he was) until similar concerns were exposed in a story written by our colleague Archie Butterfly on his subscriber-only website, www.peterprofit.com.

Archie wrote about a photograph that he had received of the same guy, different but similar to one that was sent to LGHR:

I tell you what. I could have sworn I saw this balding punter here in the picture out at the Ipswich Dogs on Tuesday.

He was in the Stewards’ room, and wearing a QRIC badge.

Surely I must be wrong.

Stewards aren't allowed to bet.

It's a sacking offence.

Isn't it?

It should be.

Clue.

The punter’s name is not North or Philp (two stewards who were on the dog panel policing the Ipswich Dogs).

BECAUSE it is the Easter long weekend we will wait until Tuesday and offer Acting QRIC Commissioner Mark Ainsworth the opportunity to respond. We don’t bother trying to seek answers from Chief Stewards who aren’t worth feeding and if they close their doors to us holding inquiries in secret then we treat the likes of Peter Chadwick similarly on behalf of the punters he is supposed to be protecting. That’s not transparency in racing.   

Chadwick has already lost the respect of most punters after the Waller farce (we must publish what Ray Hadley had to say on 4BC about the outcome of that behind-closed-doors inquiry when we get a chance).

We are told that this can’t be mistaken identity and reliably informed it is a photograph of a Chairman of Stewards (or his twin brother) from a minor code allegedly having a bet.

Remember popular steward Martin Knibbs? He was dobbed in after supposedly having a bet at a Valley PubTAB by a disgruntled trots identity squaring him up. In that inquiry they called on CCTV footage. Here’s hoping the same happens here before it is wiped.

But perhaps the horse (or dog) has bolted. Our mail is an inquiry was held in secret, the racing public wasn’t told anything about it – there was no mention on the QRIC website or a Media Release – and that his explanation that he was betting on US Sports was accepted.

That’s different to what our witness – who photographed him at the Port Office and Queens Arms Hotel – telld us. He says it was on the gallops. Wonder how top jockey Ben Melham would feel about this while he is serving a lengthy disqualification for allegedly betting in a pub while he was out injured? Then again they operate like 'real' stewards in Victoria.

WEe can’t have one rule for some and another for the rest which is what some are saying happens with the Waller stable. Those who follow Sydney racing closely can’t believe the feature race at Rosehill on Saturday when one that has never led in its life got away with blue murder while another surrendered its normal pace-making role while a stablemate of the winner ran shotgun and made the task of the short priced favorite an impossible one. Questions were asked but as usual no action was taken. That's Sydney racing!   

While Brisbane has a likely race-less Easter Monday – courtesy of the clowns at RQ, SKY & the BRC who wouldn’t switch it to Eagle Farm at risk of doing damage to the premier track (what a joke), it should free up some time for the Chief Stipe to put together some BS explanation of how a high profile steward is allowed to bet at his local watering holes while jockeys are punished for doing the same thing.   

 

DOOMBEN CAN’T TRANSFER TO EAGLE FARM ON MONDAY BECAUSE THE PREMIER TRACK HAS TO BE PROTECTED – THEY HAVE TO BE KIDDING

TALK about passing the buck and lack of foresight – stakeholders are entitled to blow up big-time if the Easter Monday meeting at Doomben is lost because of the deluge predicted.

The Sunday Mail reports that with 100mm of rain predicted in the metropolitan area on Monday the BRC applied to transfer racing set down for Doomben to the better-draining Eagle Farm track on Wednesday.

It seems a reshuffle was just too much for the hierarchy at Racing Queensland and their mates at SKY Racing to cope with because it would have involved moving Ipswich on Wednesday to Thursday.  

One would have thought the simple solution was moving Doomben to Eagle Farm on Monday but the BRC rejected that idea because they don’t want to risk damage to Eagle Farm (where they raced on Easter Saturday) from track vehicles so close to the Winter Carnival and there were also some Easter staffing issues.

What a load of crap – LGHR knows of many casual race day staff that the BRC has never attempted to re-employ since the COVID closure. And if the premier track is going to stand up to constant carnival racing considering the tens of millions that have been wasted restoring it, then two meetings in three days shouldn’t be a major problem.

To add insult to injury The Sunday Mail reports that the rejection of a switch of Doomben to Eagle Farm on Wednesday was actually knocked on the head after RQ contacted SKY Racing, who in the minds of most in racing, already has too much influence.

With a Townsville meeting on Thursday, SKY said there was no possibility they could have two Queensland Thursday meetings broadcast on the premier SKY 1 Channel. What’s the problem – don’t they have two people at SKY who can fit two light bulbs or don’t they want to move the Hatrick Dogs or Bullamakanka trots to SKY 2?

If the big wet arrives as predicted and the Sunshine Coast Sunday and Doomben Monday are washed out the blame for loss of revenue lies squarely at the feet of RQ and SKY Racing.

 

RQ PASSING THE BUCK OVER TATT’S TIARA MEETING IS UNACCEPTABLE

FULL marks for BEN DORRIES for showing the balls he predecessor lacked as the new racing scribe at Queensland Newspapers – but he wants to watch that he doesn’t catch more than ‘foot and mouth’ for his bravery.

Dorries also reports in The Sunday Mail that RQ CEO Brendan Parnell has passed the buck instead of doing his job and rectifying a crap fight which has left a major carnival race meeting without a home.

The Sunday Mail has revealed that the venue for Group 1 Tattersall’s Tiara day is in limbo with the BRC and Tatt’s Racing Club unable to reach agreement on a venue hiring agreement.

The June 26 meeting, meant to be staged at Eagle Farm, features five Group or Listed races and its crowning cap is the Tiara which is the last Group 1 of the Australian racing season and a crucial race for mares aiming to snatch a prized Group 1 before retiring to stud.

Dorries reports:

“Less than three months out trainers are in the astonishing position of not knowing where it will be staged, with Sunshine Coast emerging as a fall-back option.

“No agreement has been reached on the venue for Tatt’s Tiara day, prompting top trainer Tony Gollan to call for immediate action from Racing Queensland.

“Gollan, who has one of the country‘s top mares in Group 1 star Krone, says it is ridiculous that Queensland is on the verge of the winter carnival, yet trainers cannot plan a Group 1 assault with certainty.

“Racing Queensland needs to step in and sort this out,” Gollan said. “We can’t afford uncertainty over venues at any time of year and particularly for a Group 1 meeting.”

 “We need to know what is going on. If they moved it to the Sunshine Coast, it and Eagle Farm are like chalk and cheese. They are both big tracks but entirely different surfaces.”

So what does the RQ CEO do at a time when his body is responsible for administering racing – tells the two bodies to sort out their differences and provide clarity over the race day.

Little wonder the word is strong that Parnell’s contract won’t be renewed when it comes up for renewal. The time has also arrived for RQ thoroughbred Board rep Graham Quirk to step in and make a decision if the two clubs refuse to.

 

 

ANGER AT OUTCOME OF ‘SECRETIVE’ WALLER STABLE PARTY INQUIRY

THE mail we are receiving suggests that most punters have been gobsmacked by the outcome of the behind-closed-doors inquiry into the brawl at a post Magic Millions party involving key staff from the Gold Coast satellite stable of Chris Waller.

Before we run some of the ‘whinges’ that LGHR has received concerning the incident, here is what ARCHIE BUTTERFLY wrote on his subscriber-only website www.peterprofit.com.

‘OF course the QRIC didn't find any evidence of drug use at the Chris Waller staff party that exploded into violence.

The coke had long gone up everyone's nose, and no-one who was interviewed was enough of a mug to admit that their nose was one of them.

Not that too many people who were actually there on the night were interviewed.

Only a few were in fact.

The Stewards don't hold inquiries in camera (behind closed doors) when they are conducting an open investigation into a matter of major public concern - rampant drug use in racing - do they?

What a joke this whole faux dig at the facts was.

Racing talks a big game about straight lines, but has never really walked the talk.

The truth is probably more than the game could bear.

And Chris Waller is a Koala.

Bear.

Yeah?

Yeah.

The QRIC's Acting Commissioner Mark Ainsworth told Racenet no racing charges would be laid and the matter was now closed.

“The Commission has investigated an incident involving racing industry participants that occurred on 27 January at the Gold Coast,” Ainsworth said.

“It has been determined there were no breaches of the rules of racing and no evidence of any drugs being present or consumed during what was effectively after work drinks. The incident occurred at a private residence; it was not a licensed stable, training venue or a racecourse. Nor did the incident occur at a race meeting or while the licensed participants were working in a licensed capacity.”

That is the cop out of the century.

The private residence in question is rented by Chris Waller Racing.

Chris Waller is a licensed person.

Of course it is racing-related.

The fence that the poor used, chewed up, spat out and abused apprentice jockey Michael Murphy drove into while blind drunk wasn't a licensed stable, training venue or a racecourse either.

The drunken single vehicle collision didn't occur at a race meeting, or while the kid jockey living on his own 1500 miles from home was working in a licensed capacity.

But Murphy still got punished.

Why are the Waller staffers any different?

Because Chris might pull his stable if it cops a touch up, that's why.

Everyone in racing knows that what Ray Hadley said on the radio was the truth.

No-one has sued him for defamation have they?

This whole thing is a joke.

 

DOOR IS OPEN FOR STAKEHOLDER TO COMPLAIN TO CCC THAT QRIC FAILED TO ACT APPROPRIATELY IN  WALLER STABLE MATTER?

AND here’s the opinion of one long-time, well-versed racing identity with legal experience on the issue:

IT is my opinion that ANY stakeholder could make a complaint to the CCC if they believe the QRIC failed to act appropriately in this matter.

The complaint is enlivened by the CCC jurisdiction which states: “Any person whose conduct is believed to be corrupt or affect the performance of a public agency”.

Obviously the fracas would come within the rule of ‘bringing racing into disrepute’.

https://www.ccc.qld.gov.au/complainants/matters-we-deal

Below are a couple of examples of action taken by QRIC on matters involving conduct issues, eg TEXTING.

RACENET report by NATHAN EXELBY on January 28 2021:

THE Queensland Racing Integrity Commission has finalised a number of outstanding charges against trainer Ben Currie, which have amounted to his disqualification being extended until May 31 and a $14,000 fine.

It means the only outstanding racing matter now is an appeal lodged by QRIC against a QCAT finding in favor of Currie last year.

QCAT found Currie not guilty of charges issued pertaining to text messages which were alleged to refer to the use of an electrical device.

Subsequently, QRIC appealed that not guilty finding and that appeal is yet to be finalised.

Another three-month term was for a text message sent by Currie in May 2016 which stewards determined amounted to “misconduct, improper conduct or unseemly behavior”.

Commission hands out misconduct penalties - 11 February 2021

RECENT misconduct charges have led to a call from Queensland Racing Integrity Commission (QRIC) stewards for industry participants to keep their behavior in check or suffer the consequences.

IN Central Queensland jockey Nigel Seymour was found guilty of misconduct and disqualified for nine months after sending threatening text messages to a licensed trainer.

If as reported or alleged the victim of the party brawl suffered serious injury, this is a serious criminal offence and the alleged possession of drugs is also a police matter.

What evidence QRIC has should have been referred to the police, which appears not to be the case judging by Mark Ainsworth’s reported statement.

I know of a complaint made to the CCC on QRIC failing to act on (trainer) Chris Munce putting his company into administration when it was reported that QRIC stated:

The Queensland Racing Integrity Commission confirmed Munce was allowed to continue training, despite his company going into administration because such a move does not “automatically trigger a review of their suitability to hold a license.”

(Then Commissioner) Ross Barnett should be asked to explain why this condition attaching to a trainer's license doesn't apply to Mr Munce.

Part of the conditions an applicant for a trainer's license is that  a trainer must be financially viable and continue to remain financially viable to hold the license.

It didn’t get past the first stage with the CCC. They did advise that the complainant that he could have opted for an internal review conducted by the CCC but he sensed it would be a waste of time.

In view of the outcome of the Waller stable party incident it would seem the door is open for anyone wishing to make a complaint to the CCC that QRIC failed to act appropriately in this matter.

Time will tell!

 

HERE’S WHAT CONTRIBUTORS HAD TO SAY & THEY AREN’T HAPPY

AND here are some comments from the racing public, stakeholders and licensees on the inquiry, how it was handled and the surprise outcome:

‘FROM the moment (Chief Stipe) Peter Chadwick closed the doors of this inquiry to the media this was going to be the outcome. How did this bloke get the job? Punters have no confidence in him and nor we are told do some of his colleagues.’

‘MY stable is hardly high profile but you can bet London to a brick on had this occurred at my place – and not Waller’s – there would have been no secrecy and those involved would be sitting on the sideline for a long time.’

‘WHAT is it with QRIC these days – the lack of transparency holding controversial inquiries behind closed doors, finding unacceptable excuses for taking no action and allowing big stables to crap in their face. So much for this newfound transparency in Queensland racing.’

“If nothing but a brawl happened at this party at the Waller Gold Coast stables why were those involved quick to resign? Why was the premises trashed and is it not a racing-related venue? If there were no drugs involved as the Stewards’ investigation found then what prompted the melee? Did someone steal someone’s marbles? Give us a break.”

“Queensland racing is again the laughing stock of the nation after what happened on the Gold Coast. Everyone knew about it before they even looked like opening an inquiry. What does it take to get Monsieur Chadwick off his behind? As long as this bloke is Chief Steward in Queensland the punters might as well give up betting on the joint – and many of them already have.”

“There are many instances – as LGHR would be well aware – when licensees and other racing folk have been targeted and carved up over incidents that occurred off track or racing precincts. Have QRIC become ‘gun shy’ because crafty lawyers representing those who should be thrown out of the game continue to win appeals on loopholes in the laws of racing or supposed denials of natural justice. It’s time to give up”.

 

‘I KNOW NOTHING, I SEE NOTHING’ – NO EVIDENCE OF BREACHES OF RULES OF RACING OR OF ANY DRUGS BEING PRESENT OR CONSUMED’  - ALL THEY HAD WAS A QUIET NIGHT, A FEW BEERS & BOTTLES OF WATER

IT began controversially, was heard behind closed doors, ended with a weak-kneed alibi for a powerful stable and did little for the image of racing in Queensland.

The Stewards’ Inquiry into serious allegations of misconduct by two senior staff from the Chris Waller Gold Coast satellite stable, allegedly involving a brawl over drugs at a post-Magic Millions victory party,  has been finalized unbelievably with no action being taken.

Despite Gold Coast stable foreman Paul Shailer and trackwork rider Paul Hammersley resigning almost immediately in the wake of the incident, Queensland’s Chief Steward Peter Chadwick barred the media from attending the inquiry which was held behind closed doors.

Now we learn that Queensland Racing Integrity Commission Stewards have determined no-one broke any Rules of Racing and that because the incident occurred at a ‘private residence’ and not at a race track or during a race meeting they have no powers to take any action.

Here’s what QRIC Acting Commissioner Mark Ainsworth had to say in response to a media inquiry:

“The Commission has investigated an incident involving racing industry participants that occurred on 27 January at the Gold Coast. It has been determined there were no breaches of the rules of racing and no evidence of any drugs being present or consumed during what was effectively after work drinks.

“The incident occurred at a private residence; it was not a licensed stable, training venue or a racecourse. Nor did the incident occur at a race meeting or while the licensed participants were working in a licensed capacity.”

It seems that gun trainer Waller must have had a crystal ball concerning the outcome of the inquiry. A few days after the stable fracas he said: “There has been speculation that there was a party that got out of hand on the Gold Coast involving stable staff on the evening of Wednesday, the 27th January. As this incident was outside of work hours, I haven’t made comment in relation to this until today.

“I can confirm that some of these staff were from my stable and have been stood down as a result of this incident which did include a physical altercation between two people who have resigned immediately.”

Ray Hadley on his 2GB/4BC Radio Show claimed the party apparently saw part of the property “trashed” and two staff members end up in hospital, including one who was allegedly “belted” over misplaced drugs. (LGHR understands the ‘private residence’ is owned by a prominent racing identity on the Gold Coast and questions whether it is attached to stables).

Hadley told his huge listening audience: “It’s reported to me, the party involved drugs and alcohol. Apparently, at the height of the party a bag of drugs went missing, and the person hosting the party asked all present to empty their pockets.

“One of the people involved had the missing drugs. As a result of the missing drugs being found in his pocket, he was allegedly belted by the person hosting the gathering, and then conveyed to hospital with a possible broken eye socket, and facial lacerations and other injuries Later X-rays cleared him of a fractured eye socket.”

Hadley said another partygoer was also sent to hospital via ambulance after being found in a “disorientated state" at the Gold Coast Racecourse early the next morning.

On air Hadley also stated that Waller had texted him: “Yes Ray, unfortunately it is true”, followed by the following statement.

“There has been speculation that there was a party that got out of hand on the Gold Coast involving stable staff on the evening of Wednesday the 27th January.

“As this incident was outside of work hours, I haven’t made comment in relation to this matter until today.

“I can confirm that some of these staff were from my stable and have been stood down as a result of this incident which did include a physical altercation between two people who have resigned immediately.

“Due to the incident being outside of work hours, we have to be careful how the matter is handled and therefore a thorough investigation is continuing.

“All of our 140 staff across Australia are randomly drug tested which included all of our staff present on Monday the 25th of January at the Gold Coast, who subsequently provided negative drug and alcohol samples. (EDITOR’S NOTE: Stewards would be aware the alleged booze and drug fuelled party was held on the evening of Wednesday the 27th of January – two days later).

“I can assure all my loyal clients that it will be business as usual at my Gold Coast operation.

“I am proud of the staff that currently work for Chris Waller Racing and they will always be supported through various issues whether it be work related or not, but a zero drug and alcohol policy will continue to be enforced.”

WOW – and all of a sudden QRIC decides to take no action when the industry has been brought into disrepute whether it occurred at the track or after the races. Can’t wait to hear what Ray Hadley has to say about this outcome.

LGHR can confirm there have been precedents of racing identities being dealt with concerning incidents that occurred outside of the race track, race meetings or stables.

Holding the inquiry behind closed doors has done nothing for the already battered image of Chief Steward Peter Chadwick in the eyes of the racing and punting public.

Waiting so long to convene an inquiry when it was the talk of the industry for weeks meant that drug testing of those allegedly involved did not take place when it should have straight after the party which would then have determined if there was no evidence of drug use as QRIC suggests.

Because of their ruling does it mean that the matter has not been referred to police for investigation. In the eyes of many stakeholders and punters the whole affair smells of a whitewash.

Clearing the way for those involved to return to their old jobs or work within the Waller stable (as has occurred in the past with workers involved in misdemeanours) simply sends the wrong message to the industry – one that many will claim backs suggestions that it isn’t a level playing field.

 

 

SUPPORT NETWORK BIG PART OF SUCCESS STORY THAT IS JAMIE KAH

IN this demanding era of seven-day a week racing it seems that the success story behind most high profile jockeys is a support network.

Craig Williams pays tribute to it every time he wins a race. And it seems this has a lot to do with the meteoric rise of Australia’s latest superstar rider Jamie Kah (photos courtesy of RACV).

Not only does she have a fiancé (Clayton Douglas) who is a trainer-jockey but parents (John and Karen) who were Winter Olympians and a hard-working rider’s agent (Lachie Weekley) who is a breath of fresh air.

Kah is about to eclipse a century of winners for the season in the Victorian metropolitan area after a successful treble at Bendigo on Saturday which included the feature Golden Mile on Ironclad and Guineas on Annavisto, both Listed races.  

Import Ironclad is now unbeaten in four Australian starts for trainer Will Clarken whose Racing Manager Weekley is also Kah’s agent and has played a key role in her success story.

Kah is in no hurry to chase the big races interstate. “She wants to take things as it comes,” Weekley said. “Jamie will be riding at Caulfield next weekend. Hopefully she will travel to Sydney for The Championships. We don’t plan too far ahead.”

Who knows what will happen when the unflappable Kah ventures from the comfort zone of her new home state in Victoria into the muddy waters of Sydney racing where she will be swimming with the sharks?

 

BITS & PIECES from THE BIG MEETINGS on SATURDAY

WRONG CHOICE: Business decision or not James Macdonald jumped off Stay Inside to ride Home Affairs in the Golden Slipper – largely to stay loyal to the powerful Chris Waller stable.

WORST RIDE of the DAY: Jason Collett was certainly not seen at his brilliant best on the heavily-backed She’s Ideel in the Epona Stakes. You can read all his excuses from the Stewards’ Inquiry into the ride but the end result is that the horse was a certainty beaten.

RIDES of the DAY: Tommy Berry on Slipper winner Stay Inside (aptly named after the COVID restrictions) and Mo’unga (first of many Group 1 winners for Annabel Neasham) in the Rosehill Guineas.

QUOTE of the BEATEN SLIPPER JOCKEYS: Rachel King on runner-up Anamoe – “He’s a superstar in the making, draws a gate and he wins.”

PULLED WRONG REIN: Eagle Farm trainer Barry Baldwin would no doubt like his time over with The Candy Man. It was a long way to travel for a hit-and-run mission in the Golden Mile at Bendigo only to discover the popular grey was not suited to the anti-clockwise way of racing.    

 

 

CHRIS MUNCE PLEADS GUILTY - SUSPENDED FOR THREE MONTHS & FINED $5,000 - QRIC SAYS PENALTY TO SERVE AS A DETERRENT

QUEENSLAND Racing Integrity Commission (QRIC) Stewards have finalized outstanding charges issued against Brisbane Thoroughbred Trainer Chris Munce.

Mr Munce has received a three month suspension and $5,000 fine after he pleaded guilty to giving Lady Brahmos an injection in contravention to the rules of racing and providing false and misleading evidence to Integrity Officers.

In October last year, Lady Brahmos was scratched prior to racing at Eagle Farm after stewards alleged the horse had received an injection in contravention to the rules of racing.

Queensland Racing Integrity Commission (QRIC) Stewards said this penalty should serve as a deterrent to illustrate that the integrity of racing is of paramount importance.

Acting Racing Integrity Commissioner Mark Ainsworth said the QRIC Integrity Investigations Team (IIT) and Stewards regularly carry out pre-race testing.

“These breaches of the rules are disappointing and despite the warnings and ongoing pre-race testing, they are an ongoing problem for the integrity of the sport,” he said.

“Racing participants should be aware we are out there testing, and their practises are being scrutinised so if they are breaking the rules they will be caught,” he said.

Mr Munce’s suspension will commence on 2 April 2021 and remain in place until 2 July 2021.

 

HERE WE GO AGAIN – ANOTHER ROUND OF BAILEY BASHING FOR ONE OF THE BEST STEWARDS AUSTRALIA HAS PRODUCED  

WHY is it that stewards who are proactive seem to cop the biggest bagging?

States where the punting public have no confidence the racing police are under fire for their lack of action.

The racing scribes in NSW are the first to criticize and condemn the Victorian stewards.

Whether it is constructive or not these same blokes are the apologists when top jockeys in Sydney slaughter favourites week in week out and the worst they cop is a slap on the wrist.

Not to mention the second string horses (backed at good odds) that win for top trainers whilst the more favoured stablemates perform poorly on a regular basis.          

Whether you liked his style or not Terry Bailey was feared by licensees in Victoria. He took no prisoners and in the process made mistakes (we all do) but had his credibility on and off the track destroyed – some might say because he was too tough.

Smart lawyers in many states ensure that trainers and jockeys, perceived by many in the industry as ‘crooks’, live to fight another day. They find loopholes in the laws of racing that once would never have qualified as a defence but now supposed ‘natural justice’ makes it all but impossible for stewards to do the job of protecting the punters they once did.

If Bailey is such a bad steward – and now his name is being dragged through the mud again in the controversial Richard Laming case – by association of course – when he hasn’t worked in Victoria for almost three years.

For all the ‘mistakes’ he supposedly made during his 13 years with Racing Victoria, Bailey was head-hunted by Singapore Racing before moving on to greener pastures in one of the best gallops venues on the planet.

LGHR makes no secret of our belief that Bailey is one of the best stewards in the world not to mention the best Australia has produced who has been systematically victimized because he took on the wrong people only to see politics force him out of Victoria for trying to do his job.

 

TIME FOR THOSE WITH NO CONFIDENCE IN QRIC & ITS STEWARDS TO PROVIDE THEIR REASONS TO MARK AINSWORTH

IT’S about time MARK AINSWORTH was appointed Queensland Racing Integrity Commissioner to replace Ross Barnett who resigned to head a Federal Government team investigating allegations of misconduct by Australian soldiers in Afghanistan.

Ainsworth has been in an ‘acting’ role for long enough and it is time the bureaucratic ribbons were cut enabling him to be appointed full-time.

This week the Acting Commissioner is heading to some far flung areas of the state – headed by the north – on a meet and greet which involves an opportunity for stakeholders to express any concerns they have.

Here’s the chance for those responsible for this text received by LGHR this week to step up to the plate. It read in part:

‘WHO do we have in QRIC that we can actually trust now?

Everybody I know have quit.

I have been constantly contacted by people in the north who want something done and the info given to me is mind-boggling.’

The text from a prominent trainer went on:

‘There are a lot of doubts (among stakeholders) about most of QRIC and the stewards integrity across the board.

Something really stinks in there.

My friends up north are beside themselves but can’t get anybody to listen.’

Rather than print the rest of the text we have forwarded details to Acting Commissioner Ainsworth who has invited those with concerns to speak to him while he is in the north or to contact him confidentially.

 

‘GLEESO’ HIT THE NAIL ON THE HEAD’ CRITISIZING THE EAGLE FARM TRACK

WHEN websites like LGHR & Peter Profit raise questions and criticize the state of the Eagle Farm track we are described as stirrers and dinosaurs, even by some of our supposed colleagues in the racing media in Brisbane.

But when a respected media identity and high profile journalist and television commentator like Peter Gleeson jumps aboard, they can hardly call him a ‘ratbag’.

Here’s what Gleeso, who hosts The Front Page on SKY NEWS, wrote in his column this week in The Sunday Mail:

‘HOW many more racehorses need to break down before something is done about the Eagle Farm surface? The promising Wuddashoudacudda is now out for six months after jarring up on the flint-like track. The reluctance of some trainers to speak up is tragic.’

As another contributor suggested: ‘But for the wild weather and safety aspect of racing in the heavy rain, had it been Eagle Farm and not Rosehill the Golden Slipper meeting would have proceeded and probably on a GOOD track. A Winter Carnival at Eagle Farm is a disaster waiting to happen.’

 

SOFT TRACK FOR GOLDEN SLIPPER – IS THAT PREDICTION PIE IN THE SKY?

TALK of ROSEHILL being in the soft range for the delayed running of the Golden Slipper on Saturday has to be pie-in-the-sky.

Given the dry weather forecast for several days now, the track has been so water-logged it will want to make a remarkable recovery to get out of the heavy.

And in a little piece of trivia, the Victorian picnic equivalent to the Golden Slipper, – Healesville’s popular Golden Thong meeting, will be run this Saturday.

Healesville has a COVID crowd cap of 2500 but officials are expecting a crowd of around 1,500 for their big day.

The Golden Thong was created a few years ago as a deliberate picnic spoof of the Golden Slipper. Because of last week’s postponement of the Slipper, the two races will be run on the same day for just the second time.

 

 

THE ONE THING PETER V’LANDYS CAN’T CONTROL IS THE WEATHER – VICTORIANS RECKON HIS ANSWER IS TO TARGET THE SPRING

THE more a water-logged SYDNEY sinks into the abyss during the autumn carnival, the more motivated Racing NSW CEO Peter V’landys becomes at targeting prize pieces of Melbourne spring real estate.

The latest big wet to hit Harbour City – and cause the Golden Slipper meeting to be moved forward a week – has prompted some key Victorian racing identities to question the real reason for V’landys tossing more and more hand grenades across the border.

Matt Stewart, the Racing Editor of RSN and a parochial fan of everything Victorian, has committed the sin that would see his colleagues in the Sydney media sidelined for life – he has dared to criticize the ‘little Master’.

In his ‘Unbridled’ column for RSN, Stewart wrote in part:

‘There was a far more strategic – dare we say unavoidable – motivation for V’landys scattering pop-up races through the latter part of the spring carnival, a sunny piece of racing real estate that had always belonged to Melbourne.

If you can’t work out what that motivation was, and if you live in Atlantis, the underwater city formerly known as Sydney, look out your window. Sydney is being washed out to sea. The weather of the last few days is a little unusual, even for Sydney. Saturday’s Golden Slipper was washed away for the first time since the 1960s.

Sydney has always been a sub-tropical monsoon magnet at this time of year but it seems to be getting worse every year. It has been a disaster for the Sydney autumn racing carnival.

The Championships were created a few years back to provide a glistening new centrepiece for the Sydney autumn but its creators forgot to check the weather. The Championships are almost always wet. This has been bad news for crowds and wagering – and appearance. When was the last time you saw Randwick dappled in autumn sunshine?

NOW we have outspoken Sydney trainer and media high-flyer RICHARD FREEDMAN weighing into the debate and declaring that the worse the autumn weather gets, the more Sydney authorities will sharpen their focus on spring – and uncharted territory beyond it.

Speaking on RSN’s The Verdict on Monday morning, Freedman said changing patterns that have made recent Sydney autumn’s wetter than ever before, would encourage Racing NSW to continue to explore options in November right through to early and mid-December.

A key motivation for Racing NSW dive-bombing into Melbourne spring territory was worsening autumn weather and the appetite Sydneysiders had for attending racing in spring.

Freedman said the endless annual story of wet weather had to be chipping away at V’landys and others. “People in Sydney want to go racing in spring. Melbourne has a view that it’s sacrosanct, it’s ours not yours but it’s everybody’s.”

He said Racing NSW would continue to put feature race focus on the spring as the autumn, traditionally Sydney racing’s time in the “sun”, keeps suffering at the hands of the Weather Gods. 

Freedman said there should be recognition between both states that each could host blockbuster spring carnivals – at the same time.

He said that if NSW was to follow the sun in a bid to maximise its product – meaning more focus on spring – it would benefit both states.

 

 

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