SPECIAL OFFER FOR LGHR LATE MAIL ON SPRING CARNIVAL FEATURES

SPECIAL ONE-OFF OFFER FOR THE LETSGOHORSERACING LATE MAIL FOR A DOZEN BIG SPRING CARNIVAL MEETINGS STARTING WITH THE CAULFIELD CUP & THE EVEREST ON SATURDAY THEN WORKING THROUGH COX PLATE, DERBY, MELBOURNE CUP, OAKS, STAKES & SANDOWN CLASSIC MEETINGS. ALL OF THIS FOR JUST THE ONE-OFF PRICE OF $100 – DON’T MISS IT, OUR LEISURE SERVICE HAS BEEN FINDING PLENTY OF VALUE WINNERS – JUST CONTACT This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or text 0407175570 for payment details.  

 

IF IT AIN’T BROKE DON’T FIX IT – JUST ADD MORE MILLIONS TO THE POT

NO sooner had Racing NSW turned The Everest into a block-buster than moves are afoot to tinker with the concept to boost the already absurd prizemoney and the number of horses that can compete for it.

ADAM PENGILLY reports for FAIRFAX MEDIA that a group of The Everest's slot-holders have warned that the world's richest turf race will ‘lose its glamour’ if more horses are added to the event, insisting Sydney's signature race will reach $20 million in prize money in coming years.

As interest intensifies from overseas and domestic parties wanting a slice of The Everest pie, some of the concept's initial backers want the field capped rather than expanding to 14 runners.

The first 12 investors - a mix of individuals, partnerships and companies who forked out $1.8 million each for a three-year commitment - have all agreed to extend their deals through to the end of 2021.

And there's no sign of them agreeing to another two slot-holders joining The Everest, despite Racing NSW being flooded with more than 20 applications for Damion Flower’s forfeited slot earlier this year.

Flower has been charged for his alleged role in a multimillion-dollar drug importation scheme.

Asked whether they would veto any attempts to expand The Everest field, slot-holder Max Whitby said: “I don't like the idea of expanding it to 14. I'm not a fan. It will lose its glamour at 14 as it will just play to the bigger brands. Stick with it the way it is.”

Racing NSW chief executive Peter V'landys has offered The Everest's first backers a lifetime option for the race, hinting the field will only be expanded with their blessing. And it appears increasingly likely fresh blood won't be added to the race any time soon.

The 2020 edition of the race will carry $15 million in prize money, reducing any potential losses for those with horses which finish in the second half of the field.

Regardless of how successful The Everest in the eyes of the majority of racing followers it will never be within the financial reach of most battling owners to compete.

 

‘THE MELBOURNE CUP WILL ALWAYS BE THE BIGGEST BETTING RACE’

BOOKIES are predicting the combined pulling power of The Everest in Sydney and the Caulfield Cup in Melbourne will trigger a betting blitz that could soon better the amount wagered on Melbourne Cup day.

CHRIS ROOTS reports for FAIRFAX MEDIA that betting houses are this year reporting a drop in turnover for the first time in a number of years for the spring carnival, but believe the running of The Everest and the Caulfield Cup on Saturday could be a turning point.

While the Melbourne Cup remains the biggest single race for wagering, the bookies say the effect of having big meetings running concurrently in Sydney and Melbourne on the same day will drive turnover in both states. And they are in no doubt that the betting splurge will be driven by The Everest, a race that has been heavily embraced by punters in its short history.

“The exceptional racing in Melbourne and Sydney is good for turnover because more people are watching and wagering on both states than if they’re run apart,” BetEasy chief executive Matt Tripp said. “We expect Saturday will put serious pressure on Melbourne Cup Day for the biggest betting day of the year.”

The flow-on effect of The Everest was evident when the Melbourne Racing Club announced that betting figures for last Saturday's Caulfield Guineas meeting saw turnover down 14 per cent from last year, when The Everest meeting was held on the same day.

That point of view will come as no surprise to Racing NSW CEO Peter V’landys, who said earlier this week: “We genuinely believe that both states having really strong meetings puts the focus right around Australia on racing. People know the horses in The Everest and they know what they want to back, which is one of its great strengths.

“We know that people like to bet on The Everest and for the first time on Saturday, we are going to get perfect conditions, which will increase the turnover."

TAB communication and media manager Adam Hamilton said The Everest was already the second biggest betting race in Australia in terms of wagering and generated a boost in turnover around the country.

"The Melbourne Cup is far and away still the biggest race with its tradition but for The Everest to go past races like the Golden Slipper, Cox Plate and Caulfield Cup shows what it means to Australian racing," Hamilton said.

 

'THE SUCK UP & SURVIVE MENTALITY OF SOME SYDNEY RACING SCRIBES' 

THIS wonderfully written column by MATT STEWART, Racing Editor of RSN, says it all. Stewart might be a parochial Victorian but he loves everything racing and unlike some of his colleagues in Sydney, spearheaded by 'Razor' who are regarded by racing followers as little more than 'spin doctors' for Peter V'landys, he says what he thinks.

Here is what Stewart wrote about The Everest and its clash with the Caulfield Cup this Saturday:

NORTH of the Murray a famous horse race that has existed since 1879, capturing imaginations Australasia-wide, has been pretty much been erased.

In Sydney, the Caulfield Cup has been run out of town, ripped from the news, by a rich slot race run at Randwick on the same day.

Sydney-based racing fans not interested in rampant-ego border wars and cashed-up propaganda pushed by sadly compliant media have been force-fed a lie.

The lie is that the Everest has taken over the world and nothing else matters. The consequence of being force-fed one message is that people start believing it.

Of the last 30 racing stories to appear in the Sydney Morning Herald, just one was written by a Sydney-based reporter about the Caulfield Cup, the second most famous and respected race in Australia. Other than preview stories and stories about minor Sydney races, every story bar one penned from Sydney was a promotional piece about the Everest.

The Caulfield Cup has been a melting pot of wonderful stories, where Australasia and beyond has come together in the name of sport and competition – that includes Melbourne and Sydney – for 150 years; a race that represents the essence of Australian racing, the egalitarian handicap.

From Mosman to Moonee Ponds, we are all richer for the Caulfield Cup.

But the Sydney media has put a red texta through it, declared it a late scratching, as it focuses on every itsy-bitsy story about the dazzlingly-displayed Everest.

At 8am today, the Daily Telegraph online featured eight Everest stories on its main page. The first mention of the Caulfield Cup came under a “Victorian racing” sub-section.

In the hard copy, there was an Everest spread on pages six and seven and five racing stories up the back of the “book”; four on the Everest and one on a race now linked to it, the Sydney Stakes.

The lead back page pic was of an Everest horse.

Today’s Australian, the “national” paper, had two Everest stories on page three, two on the inside and one on the back page. Somewhere in there was one Caulfield Cup story.

The relationship between Racing NSW, Sydney’s two major newspapers and one supposed to be truly national, has filtered and force-fed the racing message. It has shoved the Everest down consumer’s throats so relentlessly that sport and racing fans up there cling to Caulfield Cup memories rather than Caulfield Cup stories.

Down here, the Everest has been given ample oxygen because it is an interesting event worthy of coverage. The Caulfield Cup has received more for a simple reason – it’s earned it.

   

LINDA’S RIDE WAS SUPERB BUT JAMIE COPPED THE RAW PRAWN  

LINDA Meech enjoyed the sweet and sour taste of success on the Waterhouse-Bott trained Wolfe when it won the Coongy Handicap and qualified for a start in the Caulfield Cup.

It was another ride that showed Meech can mix it with the best of the male jockeys but sadly she cannot make the 50kg that Wolfe has in Saturday’s Cup and Beau Mertens has snapped up the ride.

Meech learnt from the mistake she made when attacked in front on Wolfe at its previous start when third to Melbourne Cup hope Surprise Baby. Rather than risk the same fate when Nelson, making his OZ debut for Team Williams, put the pressure on early she took a sit.

Form analysts who look closely at replays are struggling to understand how Stewards could reprimand top jockey Jamie Kah for the check that Oceanex copped when attempting a run on the inside of the tiring Nelson at the 200m mark.

Their report read: Oceanex (NZ) Checked near the 200m after attempting a run to the inside of Nelson (IRE) where there was insufficient room. Rider Jamie Kah was reprimanded and notified to exercise more care when attempting runs in similar circumstances in future. The tightening was aggravated by Sin To Win (NZ) shifting in when racing tight on the inside of Top Of The Range (NZ), thereby tightening the running of Nelson (IRE). Rider Jamie Kah was reminded of her obligation to ride all mounts out fully to the end of the race. A post‑race veterinary examination failed to reveal any abnormalities.

Form analysts say Brett Prebble should have been reprimanded for causing the problem to Kah on Oceanex albeit his mount was tightened by two runners on the outside. Kah shouldn’t have been blamed. She was the victim in this incident.      

 

WHATEVER PETE RUNS THE SHOW QLD WILL ALWAYS BE THE LOSER 

IT wouldn’t have mattered if Peter Beattie or Peter V’landys were at the helm of the Australian Rugby League Commission, Queensland was never a chance of hosting an NRL Grand Final.

An agreement this week between the NRL and the NSW Government snuffed out Brisbane’s hope of pinching the showpiece event but it was never going to happen.

It’s time the clubs outside NSW retaliated. Why can’t the Storm, the Raiders, the Broncos, North Queensland, Gold Coast and New Zealand join forces with a new Queensland side and perhaps a side from Fiji, Papua-New Guinea,  or even Perth in a separate eight-team competition?

How strong or successful would the NRL be without teams like Melbourne, Canberra and Brisbane who singularly draw bigger crowds than some of the would-be’s in NSW combined.

Perhaps the new Queensland-based competition, which arguably would be far more popular than the Sydney and their mates fixtures, could then invite the winners of the NRL to compete against the top Rest of Australia team in a Grand Final each year to be rotated from Brisbane to Townsville, Gold Coast, Melbourne, Canberra and New Zealand. 

     


THE MIS-MATCH THAT COULD BACKFIRE ON ANTHONY MUNDINE

THE publisher of LGHR has covered sport for four decades and as a schoolboy growing up in the north stupidly tried his luck at boxing before inheriting a total dislike for being sat on his arse.

As a writer I have watched some terrible things happen in the sport, far too many to even to attempt to relay to you right now.

But I doubt boxing has seen one as bad as the upcoming Anthony Mundine v Muay Thai Nobody fight though.

A year ago at Suncorp Stadium Mundine was knocked out in less than two minutes by RQ Chairman-in-Waiting Graham Quirk's nephew Jeff Horne. Even Horne was surprised at how easy it was. All he did was jab a sharp one into Mundine's kidneys and the former world champ dropped his guard and froze like an Easter Island statue suspended in time. The Hornet simply went straight right straight through Mundine's gloves, swivel and turn and make sure he's not foxing, and then BANG big hook and game over.

Horne did Mundine a huge favour, for if he'd carried him for a few rounds and peppered the defenceless one-time cobra quick mover with punches he very well might have hurt him badly. It was terrible to watch, and even the blind drunk yobbos enraged by the brevity of the much-awaited fight knew that the early stoppage was a blessing rather than a curse.

It was obvious that night that Anthony Mundine was gone. His reflexes were shot, his responses were so slow that a tortoise could have KO'd him, his speech was slurred after the fight, he was punch-drunk and a dementia patient just waiting to happen. In a country with decent boxing medical rules Mundine would never be allowed to fight again. He shouldn't be, no more than the brain-damaged Ali should have been  allowed back into the ring to be beaten to a pulp by a nowhere man named Trevor Berbick after his slow-motion bashing by a bemused and reluctant Larry Holmes.

Many believe officialdom will have blood on their hands for letting this fight happen, if not on the night of the bout then certainly in a few years’ time. Someone needs to grab Anthony Mundine by the arm like Joe Frazier's trainer Eddy Futch did after the 14th round of the Thrilla in Manilla and say "Son you've done great, but it's over".

They won't. 

This is boxing. 

Fighters are just commodities, and it's all about the dough. 

That's why they let a bloke like ''John'' Wayne Parr (the John is merely a nickname) who hadn't fought in a boxing ring for more than 16 years make his return to send a once-great fighter into the never-never of the dementia zone in the great beyond.

Parr could never box, even back then. He was game and he beat the pub fighters his promoters put up against him early to pad his record, but nearly 20 years ago a plucky little Scotsman with a heart the size of Phar Lap but a few length's shy of Big Red's best smashed Parr up and smashed him around all over the place, and after two more fights for a win against a nobody and a brutal beating by super middleweight named Sakio Bika who could fight, it seemed for all money that the lights had been turned out on the kickboxing wannabe Tyson for life.

Perceptions are often wrong, and like strong men do Parr came back and won heaps of Muay Thai fights, and then in 2008 while living and training in Thailand he won the Asian version of the contender, but he never returned to the square ring again. 

At least not until now, but here he is again.

People who don't understand the sweet science think that Mundine's a certainty against Parr, but they're sadly deluded. Mundine can't even lift his hands to defend himself any more. That why I fear he is 6-4 and firming to be able to slip a jab, hook, uppercut through the once great man's gloves and knock him straight to the canvas.

The whole thing is just sad, and if you think LGHR is wrong then tell us how Mike Tyson's final fight ended, and who it was he fought, and at the start of which round it was that the Iron Man refused to get up from his stool.

You can't can you?

Anthony Mundine can't either.

And that is the saddest thing of all.

 

PUNTERS KNOW THE EVEREST FIELD BETTER THAN THE CAULFIELD CUP

WITH The Everest dominating the headlines in the mainstream racing media we had to take a second look to make sure that the Caulfield Cup was being run this Saturday.

It prompted us to ask the question: Can you name several of the runners in each of the big races in Sydney and Melbourne on Saturday?

Most regular punters we spoke to could almost recite the starters for The Everest but struggled to name just a few in the Caulfield Cup.

It’s largely the result of the saturation media coverage that The Everest is now guaranteed. The prizemoney might be farcical but it’s winning the popularity race from one of the traditional lead-ups to the race that stops the nation.

Finche and Mr Quickie are easily recognisable in the Caulfield Cup but internationals high in the market like Mer De Glace, Constantinople and Mirage Dancer are virtual unknowns to your run-of-the-mill punter.

But mention Redzel, Sunlight, Santa Ana Lane, Pierata, Arcadia Queen and Nature Strip and these prime Everest contenders are household names in this country.

Just take a look at the racing headlines in today’s major newspapers and the answer to which race is winning the popularity race is quickly answered. Here’s an example: ‘Everest Can Bask In Sunlight With Right Gate’; ‘Can Fan Favorite (Redzel) Climb Mountain One More Time’; ‘Santa Ana Lane Ready To Put On Everest Speed Show’; ‘The Everest Barrier Draw To Light Up Sydney Harbour Bridge’; ‘Everest Summit In Sight for Les (Bridge with Classique Legend) After Climbing From His Death Bed’ & ‘In Her Time On Schedule For The Everest First-up’.

It was left to the Melbourne racing media to focus on the Caulfield Cup but the coverage was still meagre compared to previous years when the same day clash did not occur with The Everest. It was restricted to headlines like: ‘Kings Will Dream Out of Caulfield Cup’, ‘Trainer Trying To Keep Lid On Import Excitement (Trent Busuttin & Mirage Dancer)’; ‘Top British Stayer (Red Verdon) Back On Track After Lame Scare’.

The decision by the mainstream racing media to focus more on The Everest than the Caulfield Cup has nothing to do with the fact that one is worth $14 million and the other $5 million. Sadly, for the Melbourne feature, the punters are more interested in The Everest and that will reflect in the betting turnover.

 

SYDNEY RACING ‘SPIN DOCTORS’ SERVE IT UP TO THE VICTORIANS

THE other aspect of the coverage of Saturday’s two block-busters is that the Sydney racing media – known as the ‘Spin Doctor’s’ for Racing NSW CEO Peter V’landys – have taken every opportunity to bash the Victorians.

It came as no surprise that V’landys No 1 fan in the racing media, Sydney Telegraph Racing Editor Ray Thomas led the charge with a joint by-line story: ‘Racing Victoria’s Everest ‘blackmail’ exposed.’

This ‘exclusive’ claimed that Racing Victoria had demanded the date of the world’s richest turf race, The Everest in Sydney, be moved and in return Group 1 status would have been bestowed on the event.

NSW Racing chairman Russell Balding told his counterparts south of the border the bargain would be refused because the date the Victorians demanded was unsuitable.

The Age in Victoria responded with: ‘Racing Victoria Boss Refutes ‘Blackmail’ Claims’ which read:

Chief executive Giles Thompson has refuted suggestions that Racing Victoria tried to "blackmail" Sydney race organisers into moving The Everest from Caulfield Cup day by withholding Group 1 status for the $14 million race if they didn't.

"We knew The Everest was going to be on Caulfield Cup day this year. What we were and are concerned about is protecting the pattern of the program, particularly our Group 1 sprint, the Manikato Stakes, at Moonee Valley," Thompson said.

Then there were the stories in FAIRFAX MEDIA headlined:

‘Truly Remarkable: Everest Has Already Scaled Most Wagering Peaks’ which starts: It will be run for just the third time on Saturday but The Everest has already surpassed the Golden Slipper, Cox Plate and Caulfield Cup on betting terms.

And this one: ‘Everest Attracts Jockeys, Owners Over Caulfield’, which reads: Champion jockey Glen Boss says the prizemoney up for grabs in The Everest no doubt played a factor in him choosing to ride at Randwick over Caulfield.

It all makes for interesting fodder in the lead-up to one of the biggest days of racing in Australia but it’s a divided argument whether The Everest is entitled to Group 1 status in its fledgling years.

If it achieves G1, what happens next? Does ‘Genial Gerry’ use that as a precedent to pressure the powers-that-be into granting the Magic Millions Classic G1 status. There is no comparison as the Millions is a sales-related race and despite the prizemoney and publicity it attracts should never be a Black Type Classic.

 

DOUBTS EMERGE OVER PETER V’LANDYS LONG-TERM ROLE IN RACING

IT is very well known that Racing NSW supremo of the past two decades Peter V'Landys is taking over the reins of the NRL next year.

And it's a past the post certainty that he will improve the horse a dozen lengths on its previous trainer Peter 'What Position Does Number 1 Play?' Beattie.

It’s equally as well known that V'Landys has extended his job for life contract as Racing NSW CEO until sometime next year.

We’re reliably informed that will be it though. The Golden Greek is well and truly on the way out, and won't be seen in racing again after 2020 no matter what happens when he's heading the national north-east coast and small circle Melbourne oval ball game.

V'Landys intention to exit has become apparent by the elevation of Racing NSW Chairman Russell Balding to the role of spokesperson for all things thoroughbred in the castle with the money cup flowing over that his salaried man so brilliantly built.

Balding is a career bureaucrat who has just become eligible for the extended age pension. He hasn't a hope of running out the distance as well as the decade older genius that is slowly handing him the keys to the kingdom, rabbit punching and laughing as he fills his new career footy wait time by strutting backwards as he retreats.

The fact that Balding rather than the Big V is prosecuting the argument for The Everest to become a Group 1 (what a joke - if a race restricted to just a dozen rich slot holders selections can be bestowed G1 status then the Magic Millions two-year-old scamper should become the Cox Plate), then clearly V'Landys has his eyes on the new big prize, and ‘succession plan’ has suddenly become his middle name.

Racing NSW faces a huge challenge now, and that is to keep up the incredible momentum that V'Landys has generated, and to keep the Sydney game on top. 

Balding and co might be able to do it, but the truth is that it would only be due to a combination of poor quality opposition and the very best of extraordinarily good luck. If it doesn't fall north of the Murray's way then the VICS will kick, despite their obvious huge handicaps in the shape of folk like Amanda Elliott and the plum bob RV CEO with a smile Giles.

Whichever way the fuzzy dice falls no racing administrator in Australia over the next four decades will ever scale the heights that the bearded dragon with the huge attitude and the work ethic of a Trojan did, or at least that's what most folk say. 

They said we'd never see a flying machine like Black Caviar again either – and then just a couple of years later up popped Winx.

Played hard, done well Mr V'Landys.

Remember Wally and the Seagulls though Sir.

Now that you've lost interest, don't tarnish your legacy by hanging around on the stage for a second too long.

 

GOOD RIDES & BAD RIDES…ONES TO FOLLOW & THOSE TO SACK

UNSER FRITZ, a keen follower of racing especially in Queensland, became such a popular contributor to HAVE YOUR SAY at LETSGOHORSERACING that we gave him a column of his own. Here’s his contribution this week:

 

RIDES, WIDES, GLIDES

The Good

JAMES Orman on Gem of Scotland: Put it in the right place, took off at the right time, just about picked the filly up and carried her down the straight. After an indifferent couple of weeks the J-Man is back riding in white hot form.

The Very Good

DAMIEN Lane is a wonderful jockey, so good that it’s easy to forget that he’s still only 25 years old. You’d go a long way to see a better ride in a staying race than his on The Chosen One in the Herbert Power, and if the connections of the horse decide to head straight into the Melbourne Cup and they don’t buy Lane a crate of Moet they should be warned off from racecourses around the world.

The Great

ROBBIE Dolan on Colada in the Stan Fox Stakes (why is not called the Stan and Millie Fox Stakes?). He absolutely pulled the senior riders pants down. The young Irishman’s win in the Sydney Apprentices’ Title last year was no fluke.

The Brilliant

RYAN Maloney on Alligator Blood: Queensland’s best jockey gave the State’s best horse a dream run and every possible chance. His ride was an absolute pearler. Who would have thought you could possibly see one better all year, let alone in the same race?

The Simply Superb

MARK Zahra on Super Seth: This bloke is one of the Top 5 jockeys in the nation and would be Top 3 if he didn’t ride so little due to his weight. His strike rate speaks for itself, but this ride speaks even more. It was breathtaking.

 

AND THEN....

The Unlucky

ROBBIE Fradd couldn't get in from a horror draw on Deep Image, so had no real option but to sit wide without cover. It should have won by panels.

The Victim of Circumstances

BALLISTIC Boy missed the kick in the race in which James Orman rode a gem on Gem of Scotland. After that there was nothing much that Mark Du Plessis could do, and everything he did was right. You just can't come out slower than you should against good horses. There's really not much more you can say than that.

The Not Much Chop

DAMIEN Oliver thought he had far more horse than he did under him on Gailo Chop in the Caulfield Stakes. The lovely looking free-going gelding had never run faster final sectionals when he was young and injury-free, so what made Ollie think he could do it now? Poor Ben Melham: Oliver took Homesman down with him went he went at the 600, and there was not a thing in the world that Melham could do about it.

The Average

STEPHANIE Thornton on Speaking Bad at Eagle Farm: She has been in sparkling form since moving north but stuffed this one up big time. It’s a long, long straight at headquarters Steph. You can’t go for home on the point of the turn. Your ride cost connections and punters the race.

The Awful

WHAT was Kerrin McEvoy thinking getting so far back on Avilius in the same race as Homesman and Gailo Chop? We all know that the horse’s racing pattern is coming from behind, but the high-class former French galloper didn’t need to be that far back, particularly at Caulfield, and the heavily backed favorite was never going to win once he was. This was a very poor ride by a normally great rider. McEvoy redeemed himself in part by his beauty on Trekking in the last, but it just goes to show that sometimes even the best of us can get it all wrong.

 

TIME TO BACK

SUBEDAR

ENORMOUS run in the Guineas: Made up just as much ground as Super Seth, maybe even more. Just get on this Godolphin galloper wherever he next starts.

CALIFORNIA ZIMBOL

DID it from the front in good time, kept rolling out quick sectionals, won with its head on its chest: Will be mighty hard to beat in the Group 1 1200m three-year-old race on Derby Day.

EMANUELA

HAS looked enormous in his pair of wins at home track Scone in the first two starts of his second prep, and proved it again by murdering the opposition in the Highway. In my opinion Paul Messara is such a great trainer that he could be Chris Waller if he didn’t have the family business to run. This mare will go on to black type, as sure as night follows day.

LYS GRACIEUX

THIS high-class Japanese galloper didn’t run on Saturday, but the countryman that it has a dozen lengths on in Suzuka Devious did. And after coming home faster than a train in a low 11 second something final 200m that horse made its much superior compatriot look a near certainty in the Cox Plate. Take a look at Lys Graciuex’s last run on a replay, then look back at the quality of its form, and you can see why the smarties have backed it from 8’s into 7-2, and realize quickly that at anything better than 6-4 is still a good price. How did so many of us miss it?

 

TIME TO SACK

AMPHITRITE

I told you this after her last run, but because I was wrong about her one-time stablemate Veery Elleegant I will say it again.  Hayes/Hayes/Dabernig can’t get the former Weir-trained mare going, which is no surprise to anyone familiar with the stable’s metropolitan strike rate. If anyone kept records of sales purchases prices v wins and prize money these jokers would be in the bottom 50. Amphitrite is finished. The Waller or Hawkes yards, the breeding barn or Bairnsdale are the only options for her now.

SESAR

NOT on a good track anyway. The colt that was purchased by Aquis for a packet, ripped away from trainer Steve O’Dea and sent to Sydney and the Hawkes stable only seems to perform well on wet tracks these days. Some might say it was karma. Give up on him until it has rained for a few days in future.

THE ODYSSEY

KELLY Schweida’s colt looked like being a world-beater midway through its two-year-old season. Now it just looks like any other restricted grade horse. It will win a few in the right class, but black type looks beyond it and even open company might now be a distant dream. Orman gave the horse every chance, but once again it proved just not good enough. Heartbreaker!

FRANCISCA

STEVE O’DEA’S galloper is always in the market but never wins. Until you see it run in a lowly Sunday event at the Sunshine Coast just keep looking the other way.

 

CONTROVERSY CORNER

Scraping, Scratching and Starting

THE well-backed Jagged Edge was examined at the barriers by the vet in Brisbane, was found to have a problem in the form of an abrasion on the inside near fore fetlock but still allowed to start. It laid out the whole race, which is no surprise seeing that that it had a bad scrap on the equivalent of what is the ball of your foot. Step on a big stone while running across a park racing your nephew to the car and see if you keep running straight or start wobbling. There needs to be more consistent rules about when a horse can start and when it can’t, so that we can all cease blaming the vets.

Darren Weir and Co

IF the claimed vision of Darren Weir and Jarrod Mclean jolting a horse on the neck with a jigger really does exist, then the pair should be warned off racecourses forever and stripped of every title they have ever won. You can’t make any judgement until the gavel falls, but from a racing code welfare point of view this puts live baiting in the shade. The dastardly greyhound cheats were hurting other animals; the thoroughbred cheats if guilty were hurting their own.

This whole affair has to raise questions about why Racing Victoria and the RAD Board were so swift and – with certain exceptions – seemingly so eager to strike a deal with Weir that might make it a whole lot easier for the former trainer to the stars to avoid uncomfortable examination on the public stage. Aquanita, Weir and a whole lot more really make you wonder what has going on in Victoria, and why the crusading Terry Bailey was so cruelly forced to leave.

 

Sydney’s Silence on Snow May Soon Melt

THE smart money says that Victorian racing is not alone in being shrouded in stench, and that when (if?) the full story behind Sally Snow’s ex-communication finally becomes public there may well be a lot of red faces among the top echelon of the racing hierarchy in NSW. There is not much more than can be offered at this stage, but they say there will be, and the mail is that some shocking allegations might soon emerge, but not until after the Eagles and Everests dominate the headlines.

 

Peter V’Landys

LINGARD had a go at the Golden Greek last week, and quite rightly so given the wild Racing NSW claim about changing the date of the Melbourne Cup. He (V’Landys) has been rather quiet ever since. Is anyone really surprised?

 

Amanda Elliott

The Queen of Chic and Failing to Remember Your Age VRC Chairman refused to dignify Peter V’Landys’ Melbourne Cup claims with a comment. That’s a first. It must have hurt the Golden Greek’s ego worse than any ‘little man’ comment ever could. Amanda must have changed PR companies, or, if not, at least started listening.

 

A LITTLE BIT OF THIS AND A LITTLE BIT OF THAT

A Star For the Late-Comer

HOW often does a horse have 76 starts over five seasons for just two miserable wins and then pop up at the bright old age of seven and win two from its next five starts, both back to back, in the process doubling its career tally? The Dan Russell-trained and driven Moonlight Butcher has by winning its past two starts at Marburg in a hand canter. Good things come to those who wait, and they are coming for the Russell family now. Good on them too.

 

Dreaming of Climbing Mountains

IF Trekking wins The Everest LGHR will shout free beers at the North Lakes Tavern from dawn til sunset. Tell the Sheik and young James Cummings that they're dreaming.

 

The Epsom Form

THE form out of the Epsom has been well and truly franked by Fierce Impact's massacre of its rivals in the Group 1 Toorak Handicap at Caulfield on the weekend.

Kolding well and truly had the former Japanese miler's measure in the Bill Ritchie two starts back, and came out to kick back and beat Te Akau Shark. It will just keep winning everything it contests.

So too will the Shark, as long as they don't set it for the Cox Plate. It would be madness to stick the lightly race five-year-old up against the big boys and girls at weight-for-age. Being Kiwis though, the Richards stable will probably do it. Best of luck to them if they do, for it would be a wanton folly just gone mad.

 

Crazy Little Pony Called Pinatubo

HOW good is this Charlie Appleby-trained, Godolphin-owned 2YO colt by Shamardal?

Fantastic is the answer.

Pinatubo closed out his juvenile year with a perfect six from six record and never for a moment looked like being beaten in any of them either. He's won two Group 1's and a Group 2 without even really trying, and has landed a Timeform rating even better that earned by a young Frankel, although there is little chance that the Sheik's boy will ever be anywhere near as good. No horse could be, because Frankel was Phar Lap. Pinatubo's pretty damn good though, make no mistake about that. 

 

The Big Race - No, Not The Everest

WITH Everests and Cox Plates and Caulfield Cups to be run over the next couple of weeks no-one is paying much attention to the race that used to stop a nation before it became the equine equivalent of the United Nations.

It’s nice to know we have a legitimate local hope in Surprise Baby that could actually win the big one. And it would certainly raise a few eye-brows among those who remember the skeletons in the closet of the battling trainer if he was drinking from the famous Cup after what happened in the past.

Just another scallywag some might say in the absence of disgraced Cup winning trainer Darren Weir and akin to Ben Currie strapping the horse and Jimmy the Jockey Tapes Pumper Cassidy making a comeback to ride it.

That won't happen though. The internationals will win it once again, and the stayer with its number in the frame will be placed perfectly at the weights by its world-class trainer and ridden by a jockey who just knows how to win and can clock a clocktower when they spot one.

That rules out Frankie unfortunately, but in his middle to old age the Italian Stallion is too heavy to ride Aiden O'Brien's good thing Il Paradiso at 52.5kg anyway. The trainer's hugely gifted jockey son Donnacha is too, so either Willie Lordan or a lightweight local like Kerrin McEvoy or even the evergreen and irrepressible Bossy will land the mount, and a lucky little devil they will be too. Twenty dollars is currently on offer about the best of good things. Don't dither, for those who hesitates cops eights.

Constantinople would be a rough hope if it wasn't trainer by David Hayes, but it is so it isn't, and Steel Prince would be too if he can somehow get to the post with enough gas in his tank after missing a vital run when scratched at the barrier on the weekend. Marmelo has been very kindly treated by the handicapper, and is in the big one up to his seven-year-old ears.

 

The Everest

This is starting to sound like a broken record.

Sunlight, Sunlight, Sunlight.

I'm not going to bother saying it again.

 

The Trots

KEVIN Seymour took two horses down to Melbourne for the big races and Grant Dixon slaughtered them both again.

Conservatives gain comfort in things that don't change, so I'm sure Mr Queensland Trots will be grinning from ear to ear.

Punters who backed the Group 1 Victorian Cup runner-up Colt Thirty One when he ran second to his claimer grade stablemate and $60 shot Leo's Best won't be however, not unless they are the former well-known racing writer who threw enough on old Leo to buy himself a mansion by the sea, and a couple of greyhounds to keep him in a lifestyle that he enjoys. Does anyone know where the local pub in Muckadilla Siding Bay is?

*********

 

WHERE IS THE TRANSPARENCY IF THESE INQUIRIES ARE CLOSED TO HE MEDIA?

WHERE is the transparency in racing in Victoria if some of the most controversial inquiries in history are being heard behind closed doors?

The racing public – and punters in general – are entitled to know why these hearings have been closed to the media.

If it is felt that publicity surrounding them will jeopardize charges that have been laid by police then why not simply say that.

It’s not a good look when it took just 46 seconds for the media to be booted out as trainer Jarrod McLean faced a stewards' hearing at Racing Victoria headquarters on Thursday afternoon.

Police have laid 16 charges against McLean as part of the case involving disgraced trainer Weir, stablehand Tyson Kermond and former jockey Willie Hernan.

Weir has been charged by the Victoria Police Sporting Integrity Intelligence Unit with nine offences. Kermond is facing seven police charges and Hernan has beens issued one charge. All four are due to face Melbourne Magistrates court on October 23.

 

STEWARDS’ REPORT REGARDING SHOW CAUSE NOTICES

FOLLOWING is an RV Stewards’ Report issued late Thursday:

RACING Victoria Stewards this afternoon opened inquiries in relation to charges issued on 9 October 2019 against four persons by Victoria Police’s Sporting Integrity Intelligence Unit.

The charges emanate from an investigation that was commenced by RV’s Integrity Services team into the activities of licensed persons in the Warrnambool and Ballarat areas.

During the course of its investigation, the RV Integrity Services team sought the support of Victoria Police on the matter, thus instigating the Unit’s investigation.

Victoria Police issued charges yesterday as a result of the Unit’s investigation which included the execution of warrants at properties in the Warrnambool and Ballarat areas on 30 January 2019.

Licensed trainer Jarrod McLean, registered stable employee Tyson Kermond and licensed rider agent and registered stable employee William Hernan were directed to attend the inquiries to answer questions in relation to the charges.

Mr McLean and Mr Hernan attended their inquiry, whilst the Stewards consented to a request from Mr Kermond to be represented at his inquiry by his legal representatives.

The Stewards issued one charge each against Mr McLean, Mr Hernan and Mr Kermond for a breach of Australian Rule of Racing 232(h) which states:

“A person must not refuse or fail to attend or give evidence at an interview, investigation, inquiry, hearing or appeal when directed or requested to do so by a PRA, the Stewards or a person authorised by a PRA or the Stewards”. 

A summary of the particulars being that, during the course of the inquiries, Mr McLean, Mr Hernan, and Mr Kermond, via his legal representatives, each refused and/or failed to give evidence as directed and/or requested by the Stewards.

Each of the charges will be referred to the Victorian Racing Tribunal (VRT) to be heard on a date to be fixed.

Show Cause Notice – Jarrod McLean

The Stewards subsequently requested Mr McLean to show cause why the Stewards ought not exercise their powers under AR 23, and specifically their powers:

  1. a) pursuant to AR 23(a), to suspend Mr McLean’s licence to train; and
    b) pursuant to AR 23(b), to prevent any horse owned or part-owned by Mr McLean from participating in any race or official trial.

The Stewards then received submissions on behalf of Mr McLean by his legal representatives.

Following careful consideration, the Stewards ordered, with immediate effect, and until the indictable criminal charges issued against Mr McLean by Victoria Police on 9 October 2019 have been heard and determined (including any appeals):

  1. a) that Mr McLean’s licence to train is suspended pursuant to AR 23(a);
    b) that any horse owned (or part-owned) or leased by Mr McLean is not permitted from participating in any race or official trial pursuant to AR 23(b); and
    c) that the horses in the care of Mr McLean accepted for tomorrow (11 October 2019) at Ballarat – Wish I Might (Race 2), Lucy Mac (Race 4), Pour Vous (Race 7) – have been withdrawn by order of the Stewards.

Show Cause Notice – Tyson Kermond

The Stewards also requested Mr Kermond, via his legal representatives, to show cause why the Stewards ought not exercise their powers under AR 23, and specifically their powers under AR 23(a) to suspend Mr Kermond’s registration as a stable employee.

The Stewards then received submissions on behalf of Mr Kermond by his legal representatives.

Following careful consideration, the Stewards ordered, with immediate effect, and until the indictable criminal charges issued against Mr Kermond by Victoria Police on 9 October 2019 have been heard and determined (including any appeals):

  1. a) that Mr Kermond’s registration as a stablehand is suspended pursuant to AR 23(a); and
    b) that any horse owned (or part-owned) or leased by Mr Kermond is not permitted from participating in any race or official trial pursuant to AR 23(b).

Show Cause Notice – William Hernan

The Stewards also requested Mr Hernan, via his legal representatives, to show cause why the Stewards ought not exercise their powers under AR 23, and specifically their powers AR 23(a) to suspend Mr Hernan’s licence as a rider agent and his registration as a stable employee.

The Stewards then received submissions on behalf of Mr Hernan by his legal representatives.

Following careful consideration, the Stewards ordered, with immediate effect, and until the charge issued against Mr Hernan by the Stewards under the Rules of Racing has been heard and determined (including any appeals):

  1. a) that Mr Hernan’s licence as a rider’s agent and registration as a stablehand are suspended pursuant to AR 23(a); and
    b) that any horse owned (or part-owned) or leased by Mr Hernan is not permitted from participating in any race or official trial pursuant to AR 23(b).

Darren Weir

Former licensed trainer, Darren Weir, who was named in the media on Wednesday, 9 October in connection with the charges laid by Victoria Police, is currently a disqualified person serving a four-year ban over charges laid earlier this year by RV Stewards under the Rules of Racing.

Mr Weir will be directed to attend an inquiry on a date to be fixed.

JIGGER VIDEO LINKS WEIR SCANDAL TO THE MELBOURNE CUP

FAIRFAX MEDIA reports today that distressing vision of one of Darren Weir's prized horses being tormented with an electric prod in preparation for last year's Melbourne Cup may be a crucial piece of evidence in the case against the disgraced trainer and two of his associates.

The emergence of the video at the start of a new spring carnival directly links the Weir scandal to Australia's greatest horse race.

Video footage obtained by Victoria Police detectives and shown to racing authorities shows Red Cardinal being "jiggered" in the neck by stablehand Tyson Kermond as it "jog trots" on a treadmill inside Weir's Warrnambool stables, sources have told The Age and The Sydney Morning Herald.

The footage, which runs for about 20 seconds, allegedly shows Weir and stable foreman Jarrod McLean looking on as the horse is repeatedly subjected to the painful ordeal on the weekend before the running of the Cup.

A source who has watched the footage described it as "terrible" and "shocking". Two further sources confirmed that Red Cardinal's run in the Cup was material to the case against Weir.

Weir, McLean and Kermond are each facing criminal charges under Victoria's animal cruelty laws including torturing, abusing, overworking and terrifying a thoroughbred horse and causing unreasonable pain or suffering to a horse.

The trio are also charged with conspiring to defraud stewards and other offences in one of the most damaging scandals to hit Australian racing.

A fourth man, 31-year old retired jockey William Hernan, is charged with using corrupt information. Sources familiar with the investigation said this related to a $50 bet on a horse suspected of being jiggered.

Red Cardinal began the Melbourne Cup as a $31 chance and laboured badly over the two miles to finish last.

The jockey who rode the horse in the Cup, Damien Oliver, said after the race that Red Cardinal "didn't have enough air" to finish the two-mile classic. The owner of Red Cardinal, Australian Bloodstock director Jamie Lovett, told The Age and The Sydney Morning Herald he believed the horse choked on the bit.

There is no suggestion of wrongdoing by Oliver or Lovett.

The alleged use of an illegal jigger on Red Cardinal has tainted the event that made Weir a household name three years earlier, when Michelle Payne rode home on Prince of Penzance, a 100-1 longshot trained by Weir, to win the Melbourne Cup.

Detectives from the police Sporting Integrity Unit, who were last August invited by racing integrity officials to investigate allegations of animal cruelty and corruption against Weir and his associates, scrutinised the famed 2015 Cup and found no evidence of corruption, and there is no suggestion Payne was involved in any wrongdoing.

Another feature race of last year's Flemington carnival, the Mackinnon Stakes, and the Grand National event run at Sandown earlier in the year were also closely examined by police. It is believed that these races, although under investigation, do not form part of the charges against Weir and his co-accused currently before the Melbourne Magistrates Court.

Police in January raided Weir's properties in Warrnambool and Miners Rest, near Ballarat. At his racing headquarters at Miners Rest, police seized three jiggers from Weir's bedroom.

Weir is serving a four-year ban from racing after pleading no contest at a Racing Appeals and Disciplinary Board hearing to possessing the jiggers and conduct prejudicial to racing. The board made no finding that he used the jiggers on any of his horses. Possessing jiggers is not a crime, but is a breach of the rules of racing.

 

‘BOBBSIE TWINS’ TO COP SLAP ON WRIST OVER ‘SAND DUNES’ COMMENT

IF stewards are satisfied there is nothing to investigate in the ‘magical sand dunes story’ then why have they not questioned the ‘Bobbsey Twins’ of Australian horse racing over what they had to say.

Racing Victoria Chief Steward Robert Cram has indicated that he will speak to trainers Wayne Hawkes and Lindsey Smith – and possibly James Cummings – and remind them to respect one another.

“None of the material we’ve seen suggests we need to launch an investigation,” Cram said. “But I will be contacting certain trainers to remind them of certain things regarding what is appropriate and what might not be.”

Both Hawkes and Smith have said they want to move on from a potential spat sparked by ambiguous comments made by Hawkes on racing.com. Cummings later made a quip in reference to Hawkes’ comments.

During a broad discussion about the spring carnival on the After the Last program, Hawkes said “the old Warrnambool sand dunes are back in action”, a comment Smith believed was a slur directed at him.

Smith said he was not a cheat and perceived gibes against him jeopardised his stable. He said he’d hoped his unblemished record has earned him “more respect than that.”

Smith has enjoyed great success in just a handful of months since opening a satellite stable at Warrnambool, in stables formerly owned by disqualified Darren Weir., a close mate of Smith’s.

If stewards believe there is nothing to investigate should they be looking at asking Hawkes for an explanation and warning him of the rule that involves bringing the industry into disrepute?

 

SURPRISE QRIC REFUSAL OF STABLEHAND LICENCE TO DARREL GRAHAM

HARNESS followers and fans of top Queensland horseman Darrel Graham have questioned why he has been denied a stablehand license.

Graham, who received a 15 month disqualification on a cobalt-related charge, had it reduced to a 12 month suspension of his trainer’s and driver’s licence on appeal to QCAT.

After having his application for a stablehand license refused by the QRIC Licensing and Registration Department in August, Graham sought an Internal Review but Adjudicator Kane Ashby recently confirmed the original decision.

Although there appears to be nothing in the Harness Racing Rules that prevents a suspended trainer being licensed as a stablehand it is obviously discretionary and in this case no reasons were provided for the decision. In the gallops in Queensland it is our understanding that a suspended trainer cannot be licensed as a stablehand.

The latest decision is a surprise and body blow for Graham, who has served his time and is a popular and successful harness racing identity in Queensland.

 

WHINGERS TARGET WALLER, THE ‘RED HOTS’ & SQUEAKY CLEAN TRAIENRS

HERE are some of the contributions that we have received in the LGHR HAVE YOUR SAY mail box in the past week:

‘WILL there be a retrospective inquiry into a race in Queensland if a high profile pacer wins in much stronger company in Victoria at his next start or can we expect the fearless Albion Park stipes to simply treat punters like crap again?’

‘WHATEVER happened to those behind-the-scenes investigations involving treatment of horses that were going to net some big fish in Queensland? It seems that some stables were out of form while the situation hotted up and now that it has died down a couple in particular are flying which has been the subject of some less than favourable comments doing the rounds.’

‘PLENTY was made, especially by the Sydney racing media, about the FAB day that Chris Waller enjoyed in Sydney and Melbourne last Saturday. The champion trainer won all four Group Ones on offer at the weekend and eight races across the two States. It silenced those who suggested he would not enjoy as much big race success once Winx was retired. What wasn’t mentioned was that of those big race winners – King Will Dream (Turnbull), Come Play With Me (Metropolitan) and Verry Elleegant (Hill Stakes) – were all inherited from other stables. Another area the Sydney racing media steered clear of was how Come Play With Me arguably turned in a form reversal to win The Metrop – a G1 race – after looking a shade plain when favorite and sixth to stablemate Finche in the lesser G3 Kingston Town at his previous start. And before someone suggests the step up in trip made all the difference, the former West Australian had failed at his only try over it before the Metrop. Of the five Waller runners the favorite Brimham Rocks, which blew punters out of the water winning the G3 Naturalism at Caulfield at his previous start, simply never got sighted. But let’s focus on the success of Waller not how many second string runners beat their more favoured stablemates or how hard it is to follow the form of his horses. Standby for more spin doctoring from his media mates with Finche looking a genuine chance of giving the former Kiwi his first Melbourne Cup winners.’

EDITOR’S NOTE: The Stewards’ Report says Brimham Rocks was slow to begin, got crowded in the straight and proved difficult to get to the outside of Gallic Chieftain so standby for that to be used as an excuse if he wins at his next start.        

 

 

WHERE IS THE TRANSPARENCY IF THESE INQUIRIES ARE CLOSED TO HE MEDIA?

WHERE is the transparency in racing in Victoria if some of the most controversial inquiries in history are being heard behind closed doors?

The racing public – and punters in general – are entitled to know why these hearings have been closed to the media.

If it is felt that publicity surrounding them will jeopardize charges that have been laid by police then why not simply say that.

It’s not a good look when it took just 46 seconds for the media to be booted out as trainer Jarrod McLean faced a stewards' hearing at Racing Victoria headquarters on Thursday afternoon.

Police have laid 16 charges against McLean as part of the case involving disgraced trainer Weir, stablehand Tyson Kermond and former jockey Willie Hernan.

Weir has been charged by the Victoria Police Sporting Integrity Intelligence Unit with nine offences. Kermond is facing seven police charges and Hernan has beens issued one charge. All four are due to face Melbourne Magistrates court on October 23.

 

VICTORIAN STEWARDS’ REPORT REGARDING SHOW CAUSE NOTICES

FOLLOWING is an RV Stewards’ Report issued late Thursday:

RACING Victoria Stewards this afternoon opened inquiries in relation to charges issued on 9 October 2019 against four persons by Victoria Police’s Sporting Integrity Intelligence Unit.

The charges emanate from an investigation that was commenced by RV’s Integrity Services team into the activities of licensed persons in the Warrnambool and Ballarat areas.

During the course of its investigation, the RV Integrity Services team sought the support of Victoria Police on the matter, thus instigating the Unit’s investigation.

Victoria Police issued charges yesterday as a result of the Unit’s investigation which included the execution of warrants at properties in the Warrnambool and Ballarat areas on 30 January 2019.

Licensed trainer Jarrod McLean, registered stable employee Tyson Kermond and licensed rider agent and registered stable employee William Hernan were directed to attend the inquiries to answer questions in relation to the charges.

Mr McLean and Mr Hernan attended their inquiry, whilst the Stewards consented to a request from Mr Kermond to be represented at his inquiry by his legal representatives.

The Stewards issued one charge each against Mr McLean, Mr Hernan and Mr Kermond for a breach of Australian Rule of Racing 232(h) which states:

“A person must not refuse or fail to attend or give evidence at an interview, investigation, inquiry, hearing or appeal when directed or requested to do so by a PRA, the Stewards or a person authorised by a PRA or the Stewards”. 

A summary of the particulars being that, during the course of the inquiries, Mr McLean, Mr Hernan, and Mr Kermond, via his legal representatives, each refused and/or failed to give evidence as directed and/or requested by the Stewards.

Each of the charges will be referred to the Victorian Racing Tribunal (VRT) to be heard on a date to be fixed.

Show Cause Notice – Jarrod McLean

The Stewards subsequently requested Mr McLean to show cause why the Stewards ought not exercise their powers under AR 23, and specifically their powers:

  1. a) pursuant to AR 23(a), to suspend Mr McLean’s licence to train; and
    b) pursuant to AR 23(b), to prevent any horse owned or part-owned by Mr McLean from participating in any race or official trial.

The Stewards then received submissions on behalf of Mr McLean by his legal representatives.

Following careful consideration, the Stewards ordered, with immediate effect, and until the indictable criminal charges issued against Mr McLean by Victoria Police on 9 October 2019 have been heard and determined (including any appeals):

  1. a) that Mr McLean’s licence to train is suspended pursuant to AR 23(a);
    b) that any horse owned (or part-owned) or leased by Mr McLean is not permitted from participating in any race or official trial pursuant to AR 23(b); and
    c) that the horses in the care of Mr McLean accepted for tomorrow (11 October 2019) at Ballarat – Wish I Might (Race 2), Lucy Mac (Race 4), Pour Vous (Race 7) – have been withdrawn by order of the Stewards.

Show Cause Notice – Tyson Kermond

The Stewards also requested Mr Kermond, via his legal representatives, to show cause why the Stewards ought not exercise their powers under AR 23, and specifically their powers under AR 23(a) to suspend Mr Kermond’s registration as a stable employee.

The Stewards then received submissions on behalf of Mr Kermond by his legal representatives.

Following careful consideration, the Stewards ordered, with immediate effect, and until the indictable criminal charges issued against Mr Kermond by Victoria Police on 9 October 2019 have been heard and determined (including any appeals):

  1. a) that Mr Kermond’s registration as a stablehand is suspended pursuant to AR 23(a); and
    b) that any horse owned (or part-owned) or leased by Mr Kermond is not permitted from participating in any race or official trial pursuant to AR 23(b).

Show Cause Notice – William Hernan

The Stewards also requested Mr Hernan, via his legal representatives, to show cause why the Stewards ought not exercise their powers under AR 23, and specifically their powers AR 23(a) to suspend Mr Hernan’s licence as a rider agent and his registration as a stable employee.

The Stewards then received submissions on behalf of Mr Hernan by his legal representatives.

Following careful consideration, the Stewards ordered, with immediate effect, and until the charge issued against Mr Hernan by the Stewards under the Rules of Racing has been heard and determined (including any appeals):

  1. a) that Mr Hernan’s licence as a rider’s agent and registration as a stablehand are suspended pursuant to AR 23(a); and
    b) that any horse owned (or part-owned) or leased by Mr Hernan is not permitted from participating in any race or official trial pursuant to AR 23(b).

Darren Weir

Former licensed trainer, Darren Weir, who was named in the media on Wednesday, 9 October in connection with the charges laid by Victoria Police, is currently a disqualified person serving a four-year ban over charges laid earlier this year by RV Stewards under the Rules of Racing.

Mr Weir will be directed to attend an inquiry on a date to be fixed.

 

JIGGER VIDEO LINKS WEIR SCANDAL TO THE MELBOURNE CUP

FAIRFAX MEDIA reports today that distressing vision of one of Darren Weir's prized horses being tormented with an electric prod in preparation for last year's Melbourne Cup may be a crucial piece of evidence in the case against the disgraced trainer and two of his associates.

The emergence of the video at the start of a new spring carnival directly links the Weir scandal to Australia's greatest horse race.

Video footage obtained by Victoria Police detectives and shown to racing authorities shows Red Cardinal being "jiggered" in the neck by stablehand Tyson Kermond as it "jog trots" on a treadmill inside Weir's Warrnambool stables, sources have told The Age and The Sydney Morning Herald.

The footage, which runs for about 20 seconds, allegedly shows Weir and stable foreman Jarrod McLean looking on as the horse is repeatedly subjected to the painful ordeal on the weekend before the running of the Cup.

A source who has watched the footage described it as "terrible" and "shocking". Two further sources confirmed that Red Cardinal's run in the Cup was material to the case against Weir.

Weir, McLean and Kermond are each facing criminal charges under Victoria's animal cruelty laws including torturing, abusing, overworking and terrifying a thoroughbred horse and causing unreasonable pain or suffering to a horse.

The trio are also charged with conspiring to defraud stewards and other offences in one of the most damaging scandals to hit Australian racing.

A fourth man, 31-year old retired jockey William Hernan, is charged with using corrupt information. Sources familiar with the investigation said this related to a $50 bet on a horse suspected of being jiggered.

Red Cardinal began the Melbourne Cup as a $31 chance and laboured badly over the two miles to finish last.

The jockey who rode the horse in the Cup, Damien Oliver, said after the race that Red Cardinal "didn't have enough air" to finish the two-mile classic. The owner of Red Cardinal, Australian Bloodstock director Jamie Lovett, told The Age and The Sydney Morning Herald he believed the horse choked on the bit.

There is no suggestion of wrongdoing by Oliver or Lovett.

The alleged use of an illegal jigger on Red Cardinal has tainted the event that made Weir a household name three years earlier, when Michelle Payne rode home on Prince of Penzance, a 100-1 longshot trained by Weir, to win the Melbourne Cup.

Detectives from the police Sporting Integrity Unit, who were last August invited by racing integrity officials to investigate allegations of animal cruelty and corruption against Weir and his associates, scrutinised the famed 2015 Cup and found no evidence of corruption, and there is no suggestion Payne was involved in any wrongdoing.

Another feature race of last year's Flemington carnival, the Mackinnon Stakes, and the Grand National event run at Sandown earlier in the year were also closely examined by police. It is believed that these races, although under investigation, do not form part of the charges against Weir and his co-accused currently before the Melbourne Magistrates Court.

Police in January raided Weir's properties in Warrnambool and Miners Rest, near Ballarat. At his racing headquarters at Miners Rest, police seized three jiggers from Weir's bedroom.

Weir is serving a four-year ban from racing after pleading no contest at a Racing Appeals and Disciplinary Board hearing to possessing the jiggers and conduct prejudicial to racing. The board made no finding that he used the jiggers on any of his horses. Possessing jiggers is not a crime, but is a breach of the rules of racing.

 

 

IS RICHARD PEGUM DREAMING RATHER THAN MAKING BUSINESS SENSE IN HIS THROW AT THE CUP STUMPS?

THE news overnight is that wealthy merchant banker and businessman Richard Pegum, the son of a local GP from Wagga and 1/6th owner of turn of the century winner Brew, has splashed out $320,000 to buy a quarter share of Melbourne Cup runner Mustajeer, and a ticket in the 24 bit lottery of every racing person's dream.

Mustajeer is currently $26 to win the Cup in the Beteasy futures markets (it is only $18 on the TAB, which is a wonderful example of the benefits of the Tatts/Tabcorp merger, to the shareholders at least).

If Pegum simply threw the $320 000 that he paid for a 1/4 share of the seven-year-old gelding on it to win the Melbourne Cup in a bet he'd be in for a collect of $8.32 million if saluted the judge.

As a quarter owner his share of the winner’s purse is $1.1 million.

On that basis you would have to surmise that Pegum has taken huge unders on his purchase price, and given that only 12 of the past 157 Cup winners have even been Mustajeer's age or over there is only one real conclusion that you can draw about the successful banker's shy at the first Tuesday in November stumps,. And that is that racing is all about romance and nothing about common sense.

Pegum once said that he had brought a Macquarie Bank approach to buying and selling horses. I’m not good at looking at horses he told a journalist some years back, adding that it comes down to value.

That was then and this is now, and my how things have changed.

Who can knock the man for taking a mad, passionate crack at the big one though? If you or I had a lazy 320 large spare there's little doubt that we'd probably do exactly the same. Lloyd Williams has been doing it for years.

Peter V'Landys has got it all wrong. The Melbourne Cup is not a commodity to be traded, or a revenue opportunity ripe for exploitation. It's every little, big and in-between racing boy or girl's waking dream.

Good luck Dick. You'll need it. 

But don't we all?

 

WHAT DOES THE RACING PUBLIC OR INDUSTRY MAKE OF THE WEIR – MCLEAN ARRESTS?

SO what can we make of the Darren Weir/Jarrod McLean arrests?

Not a lot really until the matter is heard, but you can make a few observations.

The police are slow to gather evidence and act.

McLean was kidding himself when he made applications to have the matter heard behind closed doors and to have the case delayed further to allow his legal team to address ‘additional matters’.

 It's no surprise that Darren Weir hasn't been seen or heard of lately.

The horses he trained seem in the main to go alright for other trainers who aren't accused of any jiggery-pokery or anything untoward at all.

It's a most unusual charge that Weir is facing of Conspiracy to Defraud Racing Victoria Limited Stewards.

Wouldn't the conspiracy (if proven) be against the control body that pay the prizemoney? Or the punters? What skin do the Stewards have in the game?

If Weir is found guilty of any of these charges he will have to be stripped of any training titles or awards that he has ever won.

Prince of Penzance's Melbourne Cup win will be forever tainted.

Given the involvement of the Australian Federal Police in the Weir raids, are there other arrests to come, and who else might be caught in the net?

Is it possible that Weir, McLean and others could perform such dastardly deeds as the police allege in complete isolation from jockeys, stable staff, owners and racing officials?

Is this whole thing a tragedy for the sport, or the dawning of a bright new age?

If Weir and/or McLean are convicted of torturing, abusing or terrifying a horse by using a cow prod on it, and/or causing it unreasonable pain or suffering as a result, then how many beef farmers are about to have the police rock up to their properties with an arrest warrant if the logic is rationally extended?

Will we have to build new jails to house them all?

And what then is the future for the whip?

 

SHOULD THE VICTORIAN RACING INDUSTRY HANG ITS HEAD IN SHAME OVER THE WAY THE DARREN WEIR CASE HAS BEEN HANDLED?

BACK in another working life your now publisher of LGHR worked for Fairfax Media at the Sydney Olympics alongside some great sporting journalists and one of those was one of my heroes Peter FitzSimons.

The author, media commentator and former rugby international came to the swimming one night to write a feature and unlike some of his colleagues who did likewise was courteous, humble, professional and most of all – a team player.

I might not always agree but I respect Peter’s opinion on horse racing (it seems to always make sense) and although he doesn’t share my love and interest for the sport, what he writes is always worth reading, well researched and gets a message across to the millions who simply enjoy a bet on that one big day of the year.

Here is FitzSimons take on the controversial case involving disgraced trainer Darren Weir, which we republish courtesy of Fairfax Media and which poses some questions that the hierarchy in Victoria really need to address:

WEIR’S CASE SHOWS UP RACING'S LACK OF INTEGRITY

THE case of Melbourne Cup winning horse trainer Darren Weir? We’re going to get to that in a sec.

Just before we do however, let me ask you, when it comes to sports ensuring their own integrity which one do you think is the top of the pile?

Surely it has to be golf where time and again you see golfers who make even the smallest errors, report themselves, fall on their swords, apologise and as often as not pull out. No-one blinks – it’s just what’s done and woe betide anyone who is found to have gone outside the rules in even the tiniest ways and hasn’t turned themselves into the nearest official.

But now to the worst of sports, the ones where it appears that not only do many of the major participants have no interest in preserving the integrity of their own sport, but neither do the authorities who run it.

I would have said professional distance cycling fitted the bill, right up until Lance Armstrong was run out of town – and probably sprint athletics before that. But right now, it is hard to go past Australian horse racing and, more specifically, Victorian horse racing.

I do indeed refer, of course, to the case of Melbourne Cup winning trainer Darren Weir who on Wednesday was charged by Victorian police – after an investigation lasting more than a year – with nine offences of animal cruelty and conspiracy.

The charges include no fewer than three counts of "engaging in the torturing, abusing, overworking and terrifying of a thoroughbred race horse, and three counts of causing unreasonable pain or suffering to a race horse".

Even for we non-racing folk, Weir is familiar, yes? The name rings a bell? That may be because he was the trainer when Michelle Payne won the Melbourne Cup (on Prince of Penzance), and that whole story is currently being featured large in the successful film Ride Like A Girl.

But he also might be familiar to you for the fact that earlier this year, he was the one that made the news after raids on his properties by police revealed that he had "jiggers", broadly an equine equivalent of a cattle prod – and instruments of animal cruelty.

So how did racing react to this discovery that one of their own had in their possession such barbaric instruments? Some within the community were suitably appalled, led by Dyson Hore-Lacy SC, the Melbourne barrister who is the brother of trainer Rick Hore-Lacy, who wrote in the Herald that, "the allegations against Darren Weir represent the greatest scandal in local racing history".

He's a champion horse trainer with hundreds of wins under his belt, but just who is Darren Weir?

As I wrote at the time, this was no small claim for a racing industry beset by so many scandals and including the likes of Fine Cotton. But beyond people like Hore-Lacy and their outcry, two other things were notable.

Firstly, the remarkable lack of publicly expressed outrage by other trainers. And secondly, the rather muted reaction of the authorities.

For despite the fact that Weir is a fellow that Racing Victoria counsel Jeff Gleeson QC described "as one of the most substantial and significant trainers in Australian thoroughbred history . . . he's a champion trainer of one of the biggest stables in the world," and despite the fact that using the cruel jiggers gives trainers an unfair advantage (though Weir was charged only with possession), the reaction of Racing Victoria had to be seen to be believed.

It could fairly be described as doing "the least bloody possible, in the hope that it will all go away."

Imagine what golf would do if it was established that some golfers, through some implement, had been getting an unfair advantage. How long would the golfers last? How deep and wide would the inquiries go from the authorities to rid the sport for all time of all those who transgressed?

But racing did nothing like that.

There was no widespread racing inquiry seeking to get to the bottom of just how widespread the practice is, no calling in of jockeys, strappers, other trainers asking, "How is it that you all know what a jigger is in the first place? Where did you hear of it? Who else uses them?"

No, nothing like that at all.

For of course, in an industry built on gambling it’s all just too hard. Once you lift the lid on such practices, you throw into question the fate of hundreds of millions of dollars that’s already been paid out on past results. That might also be an explanation for why there were reports that the racing industry had been aware of the jiggers for six months, but did nothing till the high racing season was over. Get the money out of the punters first, then we can have a look at that, if we must.

And then, when they did have a look, it was done with unseemly speed.

Weir was charged under the Rules of Racing for possessing jiggers. He pleaded no contest to the racing Stewards' charges which meant there were no findings of fact in respect of the offences. In other words, the background conduct of Weir's charges was not determined by any tribunal, and in my view he got the staggeringly light sentence of a four-year disqualification, with the whole thing wrapped up just in a week or so!

Nothing to see here, folks, so move along and ideally – back to the TAB.

There was absolutely no sense at the time of a sport genuinely wanting to get to the bottom of such practices. It appeared to be all about getting through the unpleasantness as quickly as possible, and getting back to – possibly corrupt – business as usual.

I wrote at the time: "I say bullshit. I say that while it’s one thing for the racing industry to leave it there – as an exercise in self-preservation – it is the duty of the government, the legal authorities, to get to the bottom of it, for the sanctity of an entire industry."

Prima facie, they appear to have done so.

And of course merely possessing a jigger is itself not a crime that can be prosecuted by the police, so their own inquiries have gone much deeper and wider, but that is the whole point, yes? Why was it left to the police to do the heavy lifting in the whole thing? Where was the outrage from the racing industry itself to get to the bottom of it?

It will be for the courts to decide Weir’s guilt or innocence beyond reasonable doubt. But in the meantime, let the racing industry hang its head in shame that the full-blown investigation was left to the law, making racing's own efforts look anaemic by comparison.

 

 

V’LANDY’S – A LEGEND IN HIS OWN LUNCHTIME – HAS LOST THE PLOT IF HE THINKS WE SHOULD MOVE THE DATE OF THE MELBOURNE CUP

LOVE him or hate him - and the jury is squarely out - Peter V'Landys is universally respected as the most proficient racing administrator in the Southern Hemisphere, if not the world.

The man – who some south of the border regard as a ‘legend in his own lunch-time’ has rarely put a foot wrong in almost two decades at the helm of Racing and Harness Racing in New South Wales, during which the sometimes divisive character who's not short and not short of confidence either has transformed his State's thoroughbred industry into the envy of the non-millionaire Asian or Sheik-funded world. 

Nothing lasts forever though they say, and they are right.

The original temple in Jerusalum got razed to the ground, Atlantis sunk, and the Notre Dame cathedral was turned into ashes overnight in a blaze. Peter V'Landys long fought for and hard won credibility just did too.

The Melbourne Cup should be shifted from the first Tuesday in November to a date that suits the Racing NSW/Tabcorp profit-driven agenda the once great man proclaimed this week. 

I guess we should relocate Christmas to the low season to stimulate retail sales and move Easter to mid-July so that the chocolate eggs don't melt too quickly too. While we're at it we might push Boxing Day across the calendar so that it coincides with the next MMA promotion, bow down to the demands of the dreadlock-wearing dole bludgers who want to end climate change by doing something like gluing themselves to roads with adhesive made in Chinese factories with smoke-belching chimneys, and believe Prince Andrew when he tells us that he travelled all the way across the Atlantic to inform his child sex fiend mate that touching up children wasn't kosher, and marked the occasion by posing for what many believe was an inappropriate photo of himself with a 15-year-old girl.

What on earth was the man who until now had never taken a misguided step thinking?

You can't move the Melbourne Cup. 

The idea is simply ridiculous, but Peter V'Landys has put it forward forcefully and in the process blown his credibility into a million pieces just at the moment that he is about to step onto the national stage as the spiritual leader of the NRL.

“The Melbourne Cup will be successful wherever you put it,” Peter told the Fairfax Medias in arguing for a reshuffle of national race scheduling that would involve moving the date of the Melbourne Cup that has survived since Archer walked from Nowra to Flemington unscathed.

“If you are really interested in the national racing scene, don't give us diatribe. Look at it and if there is a better pattern, they should act instead of being critical all the time thinking they have a monopoly and attacking the other states”.

LGHR won't waste your time or ours even trying to explain how misguided V'Landys proposal is, or how it has caused so many people who once stridently support him to suddenly start questioning their sanity, and perhaps his too. The answers and the reasons are so self-evident that simply speak for themselves. 

Peter V'Landys horrible misjudgement of the values and beliefs held dear by Cup loving Australians does too.

The incoming footy boss might well have been successful in his cynical attempt to ensure that everyone outside of racing knows his name, but what he failed to consider is that we are all spelling it M-U-D.

V'Landys couldn't have blown up his good name and reputation as a sports administrator any better if he's used two tonnes of gelignite.

Actually, perhaps he has. 

 

THE CRUCIFIXION OF TE AKAU SHARK COULD BE LIKENED TO THE CANBERRA RAIDERS

COACH Ricky Stuart’s refusal to blame referee Ben Cummings blunder that could have cost the  Raiders an upset victory over the Roosters in last Sunday’s NRL grand final has been described as classy.

The same could be said of the connections of Kiwi Te Akau Shark, which include retiring NRL star Paul Galen, who were entitled to believe they were robbed of Epsom success by being badly handicapped.

Like Ricky Stuart, the owners took defeat on the chin but the Sydney racing media form ‘experts’ should have questioned why Te Akau Shark conceded 4kg to Epsom winner Kolding when they arguably should have been on level weights.     

The well-supported flashy Kiwi Te Akau Shark looked for all the world as if it was going to sweep straight past Kolding at the furlong pole in the Epsom a Randwick on Saturday afternoon, but the combination of a genius ride up the rise by the old master Glen Boss, the weight of history and an inexplicable excess of lead in the star New Zealander's saddle bags proved just a tad too much for him, despite the brilliance of another J Mac ride.

You can't do much to beat Bossy when he pulls out his usual pearler over the mile at headquarters, but what no-one was telling you in the mainstream racing media in the lead-up to the big race is that no Kiwi had won the Epsom for about half a century, so the Shark was up against it before the race started. Both of those factors were obstacles for the visitor, but they weren't what beat him in the end. Weight did. It stops trains, and it stopped the Shark.

Why did Te Akau Shark have to carry so much though? As you will see as you read on the 54.5kg allotted to the Jamie Richards-trained horse by the handicapper was an extraordinarily unfair burden that clearly cost it the race, and if you'd studied the form hard you’d surely have to wonder what on earth the handicapper was thinking. We’ve heard of visitor's draws in big races, but the concept of visitor's weights is something altogether different.

Te Akau Shark is a 5YO gelding who has had just nine starts. He won his first two in lowly maiden and 3YO grades, then stepped up to Group 1 company and ran fourth in the Canterbury 2000 Guineas behind some ordinary commodities such as Embellish, which was last seen finishing in the middle of the pack in a Tauranga Open Handicap, and Age of Fire which at its past two runs has finished last in the Sky High Stakes beaten 24 lengths and last in the Scone Cup beaten 10.

The Kiwi gelding then spent nine months in the paddock before returning to win a BM82, a Group 3 sprint at Hastings worth less in prizemoney than a Saturday Class 3 at Doomben, and the Group 2 Coupland Bakeries Mile beating average open company plodders like Boots N All, which had finished 6th of 7 in a Welter the start before, and an aged gelding named Kolonel Kev that had finished 5th of 10 in an Ashburton Cup worth less in stakes than a midweek race on the Kenso the run before.

Shark then runs second in a Group 2 race to Chris Waller’s former Aussie-trained import Endless Drama, which he’d sacked because it wasn’t up to good class company in Sydney, and then crossed the ditch to split Dreamforce and Eckstein in the Group 2 Tramway. That form’s not looking real great right now, and never really did.

So the question is this: How did Te Akau Shark get handicapped with 54.5kg in an Epsom?

The former Weir-trained 5YO stallion Fifty Stars had worked its way through the grades winning five from seven, then stepped up to win the G3 Sandown Stakes, the G2 Blamey and the G2 Ajax Stakes. It went into the Epsom a year older, the winner of eight races including two Group 2’s and a Group 3, with total prizemoney earnings of $564 000.

Te Akau Shark’s record was five wins (1 x G2, 1 x G3) and $279 000 in the bank. Yet they were handicapped at the same weight. How?

Gem Song is a 4YO stallion which prior to the Espsom had worked its way through the classes quickly by winning a 2YO maiden, a 2YO handicap and a BM 72 before running an excellent second in the listed Dulcify Handicap at his first run in black type company. The Kris Lees-trained galloper then won the G3 Eskimo Prince,  the G3 Gunsynd Classic, ran 4th in the G1 Doomben Cup, second in the G2 Theo Marks and  2nd in the G2 Shannon Stakes, and came into the big Randwick mile with earnings of over half a million dollars, double that of Te Akau Shark.

Yet it carried just 52kg.

The ultimate winner Kolding is a 4YO gelding just like the Shark. It had worked its way through the grades quickly like the New Zealander, stepped up to win the Group 2 Queensland Guineas, ran fifth in the G2 Tramway Stakes, then won the Group 3 Bill Ritchie, meaning that as they stepped onto the track for the Epsom Kolding and Ta Akau Shark’s racetrack records were all but a mirror image other than that the Chris Waller-trained galloper had $60 000 more in the bank.

For reasons that LGHR can’t understand or explain Kolding was handicapped on just 50.5kg in the big Randwick mile, 4kg less than its Kiwi opponent with the near-identical record, and as everyone who watched the race knows that four kilograms made the difference between winning and losing.

It really is quite outrageous, and LGHR offers the Sydney handicapper unedited right of reply but we have been told that officialdom in Sydney racing doesn’t recognize lowly websites and prefers to just deal with the mainstream racing media. One can only wonder why).

 

 

TRAINER LINDSEY SMITH DECLARES: ‘DARREN WEIR ISN’T THE SECRET TO MY SUCCESS’

FORMER West Australian trainer Lindsey Smith, who has produced two Group 1 winners since setting up base at Warrnambool, has taken the unusual step of declaring that sidelined Darren Weir isn’t the secret behind his success.

“I don't cheat,” Smith told Tim Auld of the Warrnambool Standard. “I am a mate of Darren Weir's, but he doesn't train these horses. I do. And I pay the rent - it's a big rent - so we need a lot of horses."  

Smith admitted he had taken personally a couple of 'jibes' made in the media recently and has hit back, stating: "I don't cheat".

The former WA trainer set up base at Warrnambool mid-year and has already produced two Group 1 winners with Scales Of Justice in the Memsie Stakes and despised outsider Black Hart Bart at $101 in the Underwood Stakes. 

Smith said he didn't need the 'white noise' as he tries to establish himself in Victoria. “There have been a couple of jibes about the magic sand dunes. I must admit I've sort of taken that like it was directed at me personally.

“I wouldn't mind sorting that out with the two gentlemen and I'll see them on Saturday and just see if the inference was towards me. I don't need white noise.”

 

CAN CHRIS WALLER FULFIL HIS LIFELONG DREAM AND WIN THE MELBOURNE CUP?

WILL champion Sydney trainer Chris Waller turn the Group 1 racing of the Spring Carnival into a one-sided affair?

That’s the prediction being made as his love affair with the Sydney racing media intensifies with some high profile identities tipping he will capture the big one – the Melbourne Cup – for the first time. 

CHRIS ROOTS reported for FAIRFAX MEDIA that Waller is eyeing off the Spring's big five races, worth a combined $40 million, after an  unprecedented four Group 1 wins last Saturday.

The trainer of Winx had his best day outside taking the champion mare to the races with eight winners - six at Randwick and a double at Flemington including a sweep of the Group 1’s. He only had runners in nine races across the two racing capitals.

Roots wrote: When Winx retired, it left a massive hole in Australian racing and Waller's stable but he could soon have winners of the Caulfield Cup, The Everest, Cox Plate, Golden Eagle and Melbourne Cup in his stable.

“With our horses they are expected to peak at about their third or fourth run and then hold their form and that was the case with them [on Saturday],” Waller said

That seems like a warning for other stables that the Waller blitz is just beginning. Funstar, Kolding, Kings Will Dream and Come Play With Me were all first-time Group 1 winners on Saturday while stayers like Verry Elleegant and Finche showed they were on track for the Cups.

Waller is driven by success and would love to add his Group 1 collection, particularly in races like The Everest and Melbourne Cup which he is yet to win.

“The Melbourne Cup is the race you dream about as a kid but The Everest is another challenge,” he said.

Lee Freedman was the last trainer to prepare the Caulfield Cup, Cox Plate and Melbourne Cup winners in the same year in 1992 with Mannerism, Super Impose and Subzero. The Melbourne trinity has now been joined by the $14 million The Everest and the $7.5 million Golden Eagle.

The Waller train will continue at full stream in the next couple of weeks, starting with Kubrick in Saturday’s Caulfield Guineas and Night’s Watch and Tom Melbourne in the Toorak Handicap.

But most eyes are focussed on the biggest prizes of the spring. Waller will have multiple runners in each of the richest races and at the moment has the favourite for the Caulfield Cup, Golden Eagle and Melbourne Cup.

 

PAUL O’SULLIVAN ENJOYS HISTORIC START TO NEW SEASON IN HONG KONG

NEW Zealand trainer Paul O’Sullivan had Sunday’s meeting at Sha Tin in Hong Kong circled on the calendar for some time and delivered in spades, landing his first treble in more than 18 months.

O’Sullivan was the toast of Sha Tin after his trio of Hidden Spirit, Band Of Brothers and Chicken Dance all saluted on an otherwise dour day, also marking the best start to his 15-year Hong Kong training career with five winners in the first eight meetings.

While Hidden Spirit’s win came on the all-weather surface in Class Five, both Band Of Brothers and Chicken Dance produced in Class Three and look to be on the rise as the shining lights of his stable.

“It’s been a good day. When I looked at the program about a month ago I thought October 6 would be the first day that I would have some reasonable horses stepping out,” O’Sullivan said.

“So it is very pleasing that they ran well because if you walk home after not training a winner when you send some of your better horses out, it is a long walk, even though it’s only 100 yards.”

O’Sullivan credited the red-hot start to the season to his Conghua stables, which allowed him to work horses over the off-season, ensuring they are better prepared for this time of the year.

Given the transport difficulties, the poor weather and general chaos in Hong Kong, it was no surprise that just 12,016 made the trek to Sha Tin on Sunday for what would generously be described as an average meeting.

The vibe was akin to a midweek all-dirt meeting and the crowd was clearly the lowest for a weekend fixture in years.

Interestingly, 4,993 attended Happy Valley for the cross-betting facilities – well up on usual – which suggests many decided to stay local given how hard it was to move around the city.

That was only reinforced after the ninth race when it was announced all the stations along the MTR East Rail were closed.

The Jockey Club provided shuttle buses to Pai Tau Street in Sha Tin so customers could transit to other forms of public transport.

 

 

UNSER FRITZ, a keen follower of racing especially in Queensland, became such a popular contributor to HAVE YOUR SAY at LETSGOHORSERACING that we gave him a column of his own. Here’s his contribution this week:

A TALE OF TWO RIDES – OR THE REASON PUNTERS DON’T BET IN BRISBANE ANYMORE?

A fortnight ago jockey Mark Du Plessis was reportedly instructed by the stable to take a ‘sit’ on promising three-year-old Profit in a race over a mile won by its then stablemate Guntantes.

For some reason things changed when the field jumped and Du Plessis, a jockey of international experience, decided to ignore those instructions and kicked the horse through to take up the lead. 

Profit led and its well backed stablemate sat in behind. Apprentice Nick Keal hooked Guntantes out and into the gap at the 300m mark and after a pitched battle down the straight it drew away on the line to beat the leader by a neck.

Du Plessis was called before the Stewards to explain his ride where he provided what punters generally regarded as a lame excuse about the horse jumping too cleanly and over-racing, a combination of events that left him with no option but to lead against the instructions of the then Anderson-Heathcote stable.

The jockey didn't mention the kick in the ribs for all to see who watch the replay that he had given Profit to sool it to the front. He also didn't say when he made no attempt to ease it back and allow the one on his outside to cross. And for reasons that baffle most punters and form analysts, the Stewards didn't bother to ask.

Fast forward a fortnight and the Anderson/Heathcote training partnership has been severed (many say due in no small part to how this race panned out although that has not be provided as the official reason). Profit and Guntantes clash again in an 1800m event at Eagle Farm on Saturday.

This time Du Plessis has been replaced by another internationally successful jockey Ron Stewart. Nick Keal stays on Guntantes and Profit meets his last start conqueror 1kg better on the weights after Keal's claim.

The moment the barriers open Stewart takes Profit back to last, where he remains until he makes his run for the roses at the 600m mark. Keal on the other hand comes out with the leaders, moves outside the one in front then hits the brakes looking for a sit like the one he gained the fortnight before. Matthew McGillivray on the outsider Al Jood has other ideas though and he pops one-off to sit at the leader’s withers and in the process pushes Guntantes three-wide.

Now with the benefit of wisdom and hindsight it is obvious that young Keal should have slid forward again and taken the one-off the fence spot but the apprentice is still learning, so when he found himself unexpectedly wide with no way in and probably had instructions not to lead under any circumstances he froze like a rabbit caught in a spotlight and got stuck out there in no-man's land for the trip.

If Guntantes could run a genuine 1800m (or even a genuine mile) it might not have mattered because they ran the first 1200m of the race in 1.18.5, one of the slowest times LGHR can remember run over this distance at Eagle Farm. So despite the three-wide with no cover trip the last-start winner should have been able to whack home fast enough to win. 

But Guntantes is really a sprinter who just got lucky over the mile when his stablemate was ridden upside down at its previous start, and in the general run of things the time of 1.38.32 that he ran on a Good 4 track that day wouldn't be fast enough to win a Gatton Maiden, so his chances of relishing an extra furlong in this race were never good from the start, and by the top of the straight Guntantes was gone. 

When later questioned by the Stewards about his ride Nick Keal told the truth - well almost. He did leave out the rabbit in the headlights thing, but who could blame him, it's embarrassing. He explained that Guntantes was still travelling well to the corner but found nothing under pressure, which is pretty much what you would expect from a horse running a furlong or two past its optimum distance. Imagine Nature Strip in a Caulfield Cup and you will get the picture.

While Gunantes was searching for an oxygen mask, Stewart has hooked Profit to the outside from the rear and starts coming and coming and coming down the straight, and while most people, including the caller Josh Fleming, couldn't believe that he could possibly catch the leader from last off such a pedestrian pace, he did.

It was an outstanding run, and the three-year-old Its A Dundeel gelding that couldn't run faster than about 34.30 for the last 600m from the front a fortnight before ran home his final 600m in a sizzling 33.89 seconds, which would be brilliant time on its own except that Profit made up about six lengths in doing so, which takes his real sectional time down to about 33 seconds neat, and that's low flying in any company including Group 1's (by way of comparison King's Will Dream won the Turnbull on a  faster Good 3 track as opposed to Profit's Good 4, and ran his final three split in 34.20).

There are three things that punters can learn from this race. 

One is that Guntantes is not a middle distance performer.

The second is that Profit is one serious racehorse, and if trainer Chris Anderson decides to take him to Melbourne for a shot at the carnival riches you can back him with confidence in any race he contests.

Last, but far from least is, the Stewards need to revisit the running of the previous Guntantes/Profit clash the fortnight before and watch the replay closely. If they have ever heard of the word ‘retrospective’ then that sort of inquiry should be opened into the running of the race on that day. Perhaps they should also have a look at the betting sheets and before someone accuses us of an unacceptable attack on the Du Plessis ride this is all about transparency and if he had ridden Profit the way Stewart did on Saturday it would have bolted in.

More importantly if the much-maligned new Chief Steward Peter Chadwick wants to claw back some respect with the punting fraternity then it’s time to get off his backside and show them he’s fair dinkum when things go pear-shaped with a favourite in Queensland racing – which seems to happen on a weekly basis.

Punters have had a gutful of stewards doing next to nothing at south-east Queensland TAB meetings – just to blow some hot air at an inquiry and sit there listening to lame explanations which treat them like fools is simply not good enough. The racing public deserves better. Perhaps it’s time for an SOS to be sent to Terry Bailey to return from Singapore.

 

THERE NOTHING WITH MORE SPOTS THAN A NIGHT AT THE ‘RED HOTS’

THE Kevin Seymour-owned Colt Thirty One won the Queensland Pacer of the Year trophy at the recent harness racing awards, and quite rightly so because by and large the home-bred four-year-old was head and shoulders above his local opposition all season.

That's why the bookmakers sent him out at the prohibitive quote of $1.20 in an ordinary Open company event at Albion Park on Saturday night, and plenty of punters looking for an anchor to their weekend multis snapped up the price thinking that it was tremendous value.

Colt Thirty One's stablemate Leo's Best is a former Queensland Pacer of the Year too, but in recent years that Seymour-owned aged gelding had tumbled out of the top grades after a string of poor performances, and had only won three average-class restricted races in the past two years, the fastest of them in a mile rate of 1.54.7 – a time well short of that required to be competitive against the current titleholder Colt Thirty One. That's why the Grant Dixon-trained third stringer was sent out unwanted in the betting at 60-1.

Well wouldn't you know it, Paul Diebert - the driver of another longshot named Ohoka Punter when it sprung a huge upset by beating Colt Thirty One in last season's Sunshine Sprint after Grant Dixon got surprisingly beaten on the favourite - sprung Leo's Best from the barrier, found the fence, eased it back under a triple grip and was able to walk the field through the middle stages of the race without challenge.

Dixon sat Colt Thirty One three back in the running line while his stablemate got away with blue murder up front. By the time he got the favourite moving it was sadly too late and suddenly a million multis were flushed down the toilet.

Leo's Best won.

Colt Thirty One should have.

The Stewards’ Report makes for fascinating reading and as expected the explanation was noted:

STEWARDS questioned trainer-driver Grant Dixon in regard to the performance of Colt Thirty One which after beginning from the outside of the front line settled in a rearward trailing position. Colt Thirty One was moved three wide in the back straight on the final occasion, worked forward but was unable to obtain any lead over the leader Leos Best and was beaten 4.8 metres into second placing. Grant Dixon explained that he was not inclined to move to a more forward position in the early stages of the race as he was of the view that Mattgregor NZ, which was racing without cover, would keep Colt Thirty One out three wide. He said the horse continues to improve with racing and has only had one trial this preparation however its final sectionals in this race were pleasing. When questioned regarding the performance of Leos Best, Grant Dixon explained that due to handicapping conditions this horse had been drawing unfavourable barriers in recent times. At its previous start over 2138 metres, there was no chance of leading in this race when Watch Pulp Fiction had drawn to its inside. Grant Dixon further explained that when Leos Best has been drawn to lead, the horse has not been beaten nor handed up that position. Stewards noted the explanation future reference.

The more things change the more they stay the same!

COLT THIRTY ONE lost no fans but once again harness racing in Queensland did. Little wonder they can’t even get a crowd to Albion Park when they throw the gates open and offer free admission.

  

TWO-YEAR-OLD RACES

IN his column in The Sunday Mail, Racing Editor Nathan Exelby raised the old chestnut of two-year-old's that haven't barrier trialled being given a start in races ahead of early season juveniles that have.

This is an annual complaint raised by Exelby and the Queensland branch of the Australian Trainers’ Association that just seems to return unaddressed a year later. So perhaps it’s time we had a closer look at the issue.

Here are the facts.

By our count there were 20 young horses that gained starts in the first 2YO city races of the year on Saturday. 

Six of these horses had not competed in a barrier trial prior to racing. These were trained by Les Ross and are owned by prominent racing identity and pool builder Mike Crooks through his company Mishani Enterprises. 

Two horses missed a start after being balloted out. Both had run in a single barrier trial and neither had won. These two youngsters were trained by Paul Butterworth and Toby Edmonds. If the pair had been automatic entries into the fields as Exelby suggests, then two of the Mishani horses would have been denied starts – each in the Fillies & Colts divisions. 

Is Exelby for some reason not supportive of the numbers presented by Ross and Croosk for the early season two-year-old or simply expressing his on-going criticism of a system that doesn't work to improve wagering turnover at a time that it's on a major slump in Queensland.

LGHR can't give you an answer, other than to say that the betting turnover on the two-year-old run in Sydney on the weekend where every horse had trialled was no better comparatively than the turnover on the 2YO races in Brisbane where seven out of 20 of the debutantes hadn't. 

We’ll add a question just to encourage our readers to step aside from The Courier-Mail Racing Editor's logic and think about the issue sensibly. When it came to betting turnover on a pair of races with two fields of 10 first starters, would it have really mattered whether seven of them hadn't barrier trialled or only five?

We will let you be the judge.

 

POINT THE BLAME FOR THE ABSENCE OF NEW TRACKS AT THE RQ CEO

IT was interesting to see my one-time drinking buddy Peter Gleeson (before he saw the light) use his column in Monday’s The Courier-Mail to question the efforts of Margaret Reynolds and Dale Cartwright, the Harness and Greyhound racing representatives on the Racing Queensland Board. 

I’m sorry old mate but I do, with all due respects, feel your veiled criticism of the pair's performance is rather unfair.

The simple fact overlooked by Peter is that the composition of the RQ Board is that there are seven members, and only three of those are appointed to represent a code of racing - Reynolds (harness), Cartwright (greyhound) and Graham Quirk (thoroughbred).

The other four are by law non-industry representatives with no allegiance to any code or anyone other than the Government that appointed them. In other words they are the Racing Minister's hand-picked men and women. 

Of course it is strange that you would stack a Board charged with running a multi-billion dollar industry with people who have no experience in the industry, but that is a political issue that needs to be addressed at the ballot box by those who disagree with it. What it means though is that either Cartwright or Reynolds or both could stand on the Racing Queensland roof and scream until they are blue in the face, or chain themselves to the Albion Park gates if they wished, but no matter what they say or do they will be outvoted at the decision making table each and every time that the Board meets.

Given this reality it is somewhat churlish of Gleeso or his anonymous ‘leading trots man’ (who on earth could this be, given that there are really only two leading men at the trots, Kevin Seymour and Greg Mitchell) ór anyone else to criticise the two dedicated industry representatives for their failure to deliver new tracks. Make no mistake that is what Gleeson is talking about - when it is patently apparent that they don't have the voting numbers on the Board to make it happen no matter how much they'd like it to.

The fault here, if there is one, rests fairly and squarely on the shoulders of the Racing Minister and his Government, and no amount of name calling or finger pointing or buck shoving can change that reality. 

If Peter Gleeson really wants the Queensland racing industry across all codes to enjoy the benefits delivered by Peter V'Landys and his colleagues in NSW then we suggest that he start lobbying for a racing industry leader who cares so deeply about the industry that he or she are prepared to take up the cudgels to the State Government and fight the good fight on the trots, dogs and gallops behalf. That person of course would be a dynamic CEO of Racing Queensland, an expert upon whose recommendations the Racing Minister could rely and act.

Where we do we find one?

 

RUNNING WITH THE BULLS AND GETTING SPEARED

OSBORNE BULLS is a back-marker, and every punter knows it.

The Godolphin stable’s star sprinter always jumps out slow and ends up near the rear, then roars home in the straight, and because his style of racing requires a hot pace up front for him to perform at his best, the Bull often misses by a shadow and breaks his backers hearts.

So the Bull turns up at Randwick on Saturday in a five-horse field that clearly contains no logical speed, and the masochists who have backed him in each of his past five defeats when either favourite or high up in the betting market unload on him again in the hope of one day getting square.

Wise men say that if you do the same thing over and over again all that you get is the same result, and they are of course correct. 

Tommy Berry takes the bull by the horns and sits outside the hard-pulling leader Home of the Brave then drops anchor. 

The somewhat limited Graff, who is not a Group 1 winning sprinter’s rear end, drops third the fence. 

Osborne Bulls sits last, with the second-favourite and fellow come from behind runner Classique Legend in front of him.

They crawl in front and run 35.57 seconds for the first 600m. It's about a half second faster than any astute form analyst predicts on their speed maps, but still slow enough to stop traffic on any street in Sydney.

As they approach the turn Tommy revs up Brutal, and from then on and all the way down the straight his ride is brutal as he gives his mount everything he's got using reins, arms, whips, hands, spurs and anything else he can get hold of. Under the urgings of the rider who has worked the race out far better than the mugs in the pubs and TAB's the Hawkes stable star keeps on trucking and wins because he's going too fast off the slow early crawl for any of the runners coming from the back to catch him.

Classique Legend and the Bull loomed up at the top of the straight seeming as if they were bolting, but it was fool’s gold, believed only by those who can't read races. Berry had slipped the pair or favs, and made their highly competent riders look second rate. It was a superb ride, but one that could hardly have been unexpected.

Osborne Bulls hurt himself trying too hard to win a race that he was never going to, and is now out of The Everest. Classique Legend loomed up to run second but died on its run at the same time that Home of the Brave was digging deep and kicking back, and now the Les Bridge-trained runner looks shaky and vulnerable too. 

The punters who had backed them both were cursing and screaming and slagging their jockeys Nash and Hugh. If they were really conducting a proper post-mortem of the race they should have just been giving themselves an upper cut. But at least Osborne Bulls unfortunate injury might save them from backing him again.

 

THE EVEREST

One word!

SUNLIGHT.

 

CHRIS WALLER

One word!

GENIUS (sorry Lucky, don’t choke on your Corn Flakes).

 

JAMES McDONALD

Another word!

DITTO.

RYAN MALONEY

Best rider in Brisbane by panels.

 

ENTERPRISE PRINCE

MICHAEL LAKEY has done a wonderful job with this stallion, and the four-year-old has rewarded him by doing a first-class job for the likeable Deagon trainer as well. Open company here he comes and the Prince will win there too.

 

SURPRISE BABY

GREAT win, top training performance, poor field.

I wouldn't back him against the internationals in the Melbourne Cup with your money. (You might have got big odds Mr Lingard but don't go spending it too soon).

 

MR QUICKIE

His spring carnival prospects sure were. 

 

VERRY ELLEEGANT

We wrote off this Waller-trained mare after its last start fourth.

The editor of this site John Lingard told us we were very much mistaken.

He was right, and we were wrong.

The sky's the limit now the trainer extraordinaire has her back in form. If she can beat the internationals she will win the Caulfield Cup.

 

MYSTIC JOURNEY

LINGARD told anyone who would listen that this mare wouldn't get a mile and a quarter down a steep well (many disagree with him after Saturday).

He's a good judge make no mistake about that. You only need to look at the profit figures on his tip sheets (the LGHR LATE MAIL) to prove it. 

Unless Adam Trinder steps her back to 1400m this little Tasmanian girl's Spring Carnival future looks bleak.

 

BEN MELHAM

The coolest, calmest, best-judged ride you'll ever see on Moonlight Maid in the last.

A cool $200 on it at 50-1 to turned a bleak day into gold.

God bless you Benny, may good luck and fortune follow you for the rest of your days.

 

SOUTH AUSTRALIAN RACING

POOR prize money, even poorer horses, terrible betting pools, trainers fleeing in droves, jockeys too, total maladministration and absolutely nothing going on at all. 

Why do they bother?

Perhaps ‘the Bantam’ can retire to his beloved South Australia and lend them some of his administrative skills from The Creek.

 

THE MILLIONS DOLLAR CHASE

NSW Greyhound's brilliant initiative in putting on this series is the greatest racing promotion since The Everest, and attracting just as much interest from the punters and the players.

It shows how to turn a simple idea into success, and revolutionise an industry.

Congratulations to all involved.


ENABLE

THREE ARCS in a row just proved a stretch too far for the great Gosden-trained galloper.

Winx would have won four, or five if she'd raced on.

Never mention the two mares again in the same breath. It's sacrilege. 

 

COOPER CHRIST SUPERSTAR

FOR many years most people (including this author) assumed that Cooper Cronk was the least important of the big three of the Melbourne Storm spine behind Cameron Smith and Billy Slater. 

It's now beyond dispute that we were all wrong.

Super Cooper has now won two grand finals in a row, one with a broken wing and the other one with only 70 minutes spent on field. He is a brilliant footballer, as brave as Ned Kelly, and a superb leader of men. On top of all that Cronk has something that most don't. He's a winner, in his profession and seemingly every other aspect of his life. He came in a winner, and he goes out a winner, and what a wonderful ride the Queensland champion has given us all.

Meanwhile, his great friend turned enemy turned icy acquaintance Cam Smith's left looking sadly at the scoreboard for the last two years, and it's not a long look because there is nothing there. The quiet achiever has stolen the throne.

 

RQ ANNUAL REPORT PART 3 – HOW MUCH LONGER CAN THE INDUSTRY AFFORD TO CARRY THE MILLIONS BEING LOST BY THE TROTS?

THE real financial results revealed in the Racing Queensland Annual Report – audited by our forensic accountant with a background in racing and harness racing – are somewhat different to those published in the media releases.

Despite the huge injections of capital from the Government the thoroughbred code lost more than half a million dollars which suggests those administering the code need a wake-up call.

Harness racing lost six and a quarter million, and the sports future post-Seymour looks particularly bleak. 

A few years ago the greyhound code was standing on the edge of a cliff and about to be thrown over. Today the dogs are the saviour of Queensland three-code racing. The sport made a profit of nearly $8 million, and single-handedly lifted Racing Queensland into the black – all without a real home, or a new track.

The harness racing administrators continue to whinge and moan. The dog folk just put their heads down and get things done. Everyone involved in the sport should be proud of its achievements, and be applauded as they walk down the street. What an incredible turn around it has been, and achieved with the code’s back against the wall. A superb effort all round.

What can you say about harness racing? How much longer can this code continue to slowly die by a thousand cuts before it collapses? Is it really feasible for the other two codes to continue to prop their unprofitable cousin up to the tune of $50 million a decade for another 10 years? Or is it time to call the administrators in? The answer appears self-evident.

Not a cent from the Racing Infrastructure Fund was spent on anything tangible for the harness and greyhound industries, outside of a penny or two thrown at consultants to tell the bureaucrats whether a dog track can be built on a vacant piece of abandoned swamp land. The rest of the near $25 million drawn from the fund was used to remedy self-inflicted issues at poorly performing thoroughbred race tracks such as Ipswich.

Only seven of the 85 staff at Racing Queensland has worked there for more than five years. Institutional knowledge is an absent friend, which is a huge concern in an organization charged with the weighty responsibility of managing a billion dollar plus industry, and a cause for huge concern.

What is even more concerning is that the separation rate is nearly 30%, meaning that three in 10 of every RQ employee quits or is sacked every year. This is an extraordinary statistic when weighed against the national average of 8.1%, and should set alarm bells ringing. Instead RQ claims to be a model employer, and no-one except LGHR is asking the obvious questions.

Tabcorp earned revenue of $137 million from Queensland racing, but after inexplicable, unsupportable and unsustainable deductions for race field fees and point of consumption tax rebates were able to reduce the amount paid to the industry to about a third of $71 million, which can only be described as a lawfully mandated disgrace.

One day the industry might wake up and realize how badly it is being exploited and under paid, but by then it will almost certainly be all too late. Given that the returns to NSW and Victorian racing from the TAB is in the many hundreds of millions, it probably already is. 

Country racing received $6.3 million more from industry funds than it was lawfully entitled. We might as well give them the lot. At least people turn up to attend meetings in the bush. 

Net wagering revenue was down $12 million from last year, which is no surprise at all. Have you ever been to a TAB lately? How did you find it among the sea of closures?

Sponsorship revenue across the codes was down almost $10 million – that’s not surprising either given that the gift-like Tabcorp/RQ agreement locks out any other prospective gambling sponsor.

RQ lost circa $12 million through the disposal of assets. How they managed this tremendous feat is not explained.

QRIC received only a cost of living increase in funding, which either raises questions about the industry's on-going commitment to integrity, or signals that the Commission is doing just the right job, we are not sure which.

Administration costs ballooned by over $4 million or nearly 50%, but no-one is telling us why. Wage costs went down by $80 000, so it can't be that.

Workcover premiums almost doubled, which makes you wonder whether the investigation into the near death of the little girl at Redcliffe may actually have been completed and tabled, and no-one has been told.

Marketing expenses increased by 30%, for no immediately apparent tangible benefit to the industry.

The value of RQ-owned property, plant and equipment dropped by $22 million, which is what happens when you don't spend any money on maintaining your buildings and leasing all your equipment instead of owning it.

The good news is that $2 million has been set aside to repay jockeys for unpaid - read wrongly taken - superannuation payments.

The bad news is that $12 million worth of Callaghan Park assets have disappeared through the reversion of ownership to the club. Why RQ ever had such a large stake in what seems to be an unprofitable racing enterprise is a mystery to one and all.

The State Government injected an additional $68 million into the racing industry through a range of programs, proving that the Government is not the problem in racing, the industry leaders and their inability to manage their businesses are.

Board members continued to earn around $40,000 a year for turning up to half-day meetings 12 times a year, and CEO Brendan Parnell earned over half a million dollars in salary. His executive team members all earned around a quarter of a million, or five thousand dollars a week as opposed to Parnell's 10,000. It's good work if you can get it. 

When does Graham Quirk take over the reins as Chairman?

It just can't happen soon enough.

 

AND THE WINNER IS…KING KEV’S MAN OF COURSE…BUT SHOULD IT HAVE BEEN THE PUNTERS' CHOICE KYLIE?

WE at LGHR have watched with interest how Grant Dixon has followed in the footsteps of the training and driving genius of his dad Bill and are the first to acknowledge his terrific achievements.

But in fairness we find it difficult to understand how Grant won the Trainer of the Year Award at last weekend's Queensland Harness Racing awards. We guess that working for the right boss might have given him a fair bit of start.

Yes Dixon trained the most winners in the season, but that achievement wins a person a premiership, not an award, and you need to look at his season record in context rather than just on the Solid Earth-inflated numbers on their own.

Dixon trained 340 winners from 2256 starters at a strike rate of just over 15%, and the horses he trained won just under $3 million in prizemoney, meaning that his average runner to earnings ratio was $1315.

Kylie Rasmussen doesn't have the level of support that Dixon enjoys from the State’s biggest owners, Kevin and Kay Seymour and Greg Mitchell (no-one does). So she only had 343 starters for the season but 80 of these were winners, giving famous harness sire Vic's daughter a strike rate of almost 23.5%, which means that her hit rate was more than 50% better than Dixon's.

Standardbreds trained by the younger Rasmussen sister won about $546,000 over the season which resulted in an average earnings per runner of nearly $1520, and she didn't have the benefit that Dixon did of training two horses (Colt Thirty One and Ohoka Punter) which between them won almost half a million dollars in stakes. If you take that pair out, Dixon's average runner to earnings figure drops to about $1135, again about half that of Rasmussen's.

Added to that, Colt Thirty One didn't leave the State during the year, Dixon preferring to pick off the easy races on his way to the Winter Carnival and Ohoka Punter won just one weak race at Redcliffe prior to Dixon's curious tactics in the Sunshine Sprint gifting his Paul Diebert-driven stablemate a win in the rich Group 1 Sunshine Sprint just one run before the faded star juvenile retired to a Seymour-owned stud.

Kylie Rasmussen on the other hand revived the career of an unfashionably bred filly named Smart As Camm Be which had spent seven months on the sidelines after breaking down, and in the space of just eight weeks took it from a win in a lowly three-year-old race at Albion Park on a Tuesday afternoon to a win in a heat of the Victorian Oaks and third favouritism in the final against Archie Butterfly's favourite horse Belle of Montana. Setting aside my mate Archie's one-eyed promotion of her merits, I am told the ‘Belle’ is quite possibly the best filly seen on either side of the Tasman in the 21st Century, a claim backed by her recently being crowned NZ Filly of the Year.

Among an array of other great training achievements, over the course of the season Rasmussen also transformed an averagely performed New Zealand pacer named Lilac Flash from a Class 3 horse into a top class Free-For-All performer which won 14 races during the season, including a couple of top line events in Melbourne. 

While Rasmussen was performing these training miracles her rival Dixon, thanks to the peculiarities of a State breeding incentive system heavily promoted by Kevin Seymour, was turning out eight of the 10 runners in one of the rich but weaker than tepid water QBRED series finals and inflating he and his owners pockets with industry-funded prizemoney while he was doing it.

So the question is rather simple. 

How in the world did the judging panel determine that Grant Dixon was a more worthy recipient of the Trainer of the Year Award than Kylie Rasmussen, when clearly the opposite is true?

Who are the judging panel anyway? We at LGHR have asked a number of prominent people in the harness industry and no-one seems to know. Given that the awards are publicly funded we all have a right to know, but for some reason just like it has proven in our failed requests to find out who is on the judging panel for the thoroughbred RQ Hall of Fame, no-one in the corridors of racing power seems to want anyone to know.

We at LGHR are at a loss to know the reason for the lack of transparency around such simple issues, and believe that the integrity of both codes is being compromised by these unnecessary veils of secrecy being erected by Racing Queensland.

The racing public deserves answers.

So does Kylie Rasmussen, who in our opinion was clearly robbed.

Let's hope this article spurs our racing administrators to give them to us.

And before someone accuses us of tearing down Tall Poppies, LGHR – many, many moons ago witnessed young Grant growing up watching his dad dominate in Townsville while the Rasmussen girls were toddlers always close by their dad who honed his skills at a property near Woodstock where one of his first very successful horses was Sydray the Second. We don’t favour either family and admire the path that Bill and Vic set for their siblings in the sport they loved and how they have risen to national prominence.  

 

WHY IS THERE NO DEDICATED WEBSITE FOR THE RQ HALL OF FAME?

A NUMBER of readers have asked us where they can find a list of all the inductees into the Queensland Racing Hall of Fame and after making inquiries we have discovered that the answer is certainly not where you would expect – on the RQ website – but hopefully that will soon change.

When the Hall of Fame was started in Queensland – and the LGHR Editor was heavily involved in that process during another working life – it was decided a wall would eventually be built at Deagon where the racing public could visit but that never happened. Initially there were to be plaques on a wall of the Board room and corridors at RQ which makes it a wee bit difficult for the average racing fan to inspect.

RQ has however been kind enough to supply us with a list of the inductees, and we thank the organisation’s Corporate Affairs Manager Richard Goodbody for taking the time to do so and being subjected to our impatience largely because at the time we were being hammered by contributors for answers. 

What we discovered is that there are many startling omissions from the list RQ provided, so we've also requested information regarding the composition of the nomination and selection panel, who is on it, and what the criteria for selection for entry into the Hall is, and hope to be able to share that with you as soon as it is received. 

This is all we can tell you at this stage. The reply from RQ: IN relation to the selection process, it is overseen by Racing Queensland with a four-person selection panel comprising of RQ, the BRC, a media representative and a member of the Thoroughbred Racing History Association.

Our interpretation of that suggests the TRHA member on the panel would be Peter Howard, a retired turf journalist and thoroughbred breeding columnist with the Brisbane Telegraph, who is a perfect choice. We assume the media representative would be Bart Sinclair, himself a Hall of Fame inductee or Mark Oberhardt, a popular turf writer, author and a great racing historian who probably deserves to be there as much as Bart. But it does raise the question of whether there are too many former turf scribes on a four-person panel.

God only knows who the reps are from RQ and the Brisbane Racing Club? One must ask why the BRC is the only club with a member on the panel. There is a distinct lack of country racing representation. Shouldn’t the trainers, jockeys, owners, breeders and bookies have a say in the process. And most of all why not involve the racing public and ask them to nominate possible inductees in each category annually. It would attract more interest to the process and after all it’s the mum and dad punters who help racing survive.

 Here is the list as provided by RQ for the four categories from 2005 to 2019:

HORSES: Lough Neagh, Fitz Grafton, Tails, Spear Chief, Dalrello, High Syce, Smokey Eyes, Falvelon, Snippets, Mode, Buffering, Molly’s Robe and Bore Head.

JOCKEYS: Russell Maddock, Graham Cook, Larry Olsen, Bill Briscoe, Pam O’Neill, Mel Schumacher, Glen Boss, Digger McGrowdie, Chris Munce, Ken Russell, Fred Shean and Noel Best.

TRAINERS: Dick Roden, Harry Plant, Brian Mayfield-Smith, Roy Dawson, Tom Dawson, Watty Blacklock, George Anderson, Peter Moody, Con Doyle and John Size.

ASSOCIATES: Vince Curry, Bob Bentley, the Tucker Family, Wayne Wilson, Bill & Ev Stanley, Clive Morgan, JC Anderson, P J O’Shea, Bart Sinclair, Ceb Barnes, Sir Albert Sakzewski and Pat O’Shea.

It’s a hard job trying to satisfy everyone when you only have limited berths to fill each year but as we said, there are some startling omissions. 

Here are just some of them, to name a few:

HORSES: Eye Liner, Gunsynd, Bernborough, Vo Rogue, Strawberry Road, Chief De Beers, Picnic In The Park, Abruzzi (the Toowoomba champion that beat Bernborough four out of the six times they clashed), Daybreak Lover, Lucky Ring and Grey Affair.

JOCKEYS: Mick Dittman, Michael Pelling, Gavin Duffy, George Moore (how could George not be there?), Neville Sellwood (ditto), Frank Reys, Colin O'Neill, Whopper Stephens, Darby McCarthy (we are certain that Darby was actually inducted a few years ago but he doesn't appear on the RQ list), Neil Williams, Stathi Katsidis and Brian York.

TRAINERS: JJ Atkins, Bruce McLachlan (how could either of those outstanding mentors not be there), Pat Duff, Fred Best, Ron Conquest, Athol Strong.

ASSOCIATES: Russ Hinze (show us a man who did more for Queensland racing than the Big Fella and don’t go bleating about him being a crook as arguably there are already a couple of shady characters among the inductees), John Wren (highly controversial, but was responsible for building many of Queensland's race courses), Sir Byrne Hart, former QTC chairmen Sir Edward Williams & Peter Gallagher, Keith Noud, Alan Thomas, Dr John Power, James Simpson (Secretary/Manager of the Townsville Turf Club for 38 consecutive years). TM Ahern, JHS Barnes, Jim Anderson, Brian Ogilvie, Larry Pratt, Laurie Bricknell, Sir Clive Uhr and many more including our old mate Phil Purser who pioneered racing websites and doesn’t get the credit he deserves from racing officialdom because he dared to criticize. 

It seems most peculiar, if not incredible, that some of these names aren't on the list, perhaps the records that RQ have are not accurate, but you can only go on what they provided and the list we have is it.

We are sure that we've missed plenty in our suggested list of additions to the Hall of Fame, so we encourage readers to contact LGHR via the contact form on our site to throw your thoughts into the hat.

One thing is for sure though, and that is the industry needs to celebrate the achievements of our greats in the Hall of Fame more widely than it does at present, so LGHR will be actively pushing for the creation of a dedicated Hall of Fame website and an on-course honour board on a statue or purpose-built wall proudly listing the great Queensland racing figures who have earned their place among the stars of the industry in this State. Perhaps it could become part of the Queensland Racing Museum.

And speaking of the Hall of Fame, one wag sent us this email about the one at Longreach, which isn’t dedicated to horse racing but pays tribute to the pioneers of the Australian outback. He was asking whether RQ Chief Steward Peter Chadwick found time outside his official duties to visit last weekend and cynically suggested it was the closest he would get to a Hall of Fame. Here’s hoping the email we got wasn’t sent by one of his colleagues at RQ. It read: ‘Old mate can’t find too much work to trouble him at Longreach on Cup Day - nice weekend away – leaving the problems in town to the rest of the crew.’

 

 

LGHR DISSECTS THE RQ ANNUAL REPORT – PART 2 – THE CEO

HERE is the SECOND PART of our TRANSLATION of the RACING QUEENSLAND ANNUAL REPORT which is designed to enable the industry, stakeholders and followers of the three codes to understand and appreciate what we believe it contains.

LGHR was approached by a highly respected, now retired accountant with a background in gallops and harness racing who offered to take a ‘forensic look’ at these annual reports because he ‘is sick of the spin doctoring that occurs each year’.

These are the pivotal documents that affect everyone in gallops, trots and dogs and we feel it’s important that industry participants and mug punters who fund racing know what’s really going on in their sports, and where the money is being spent.

That way we can have an informed discussion about the future and make decisions based on dollars, ideas and common sense, rather than being bamboozled by big words and difficult to understand financial language that shuts the man and woman in the street out of the process.

Yesterday our accountant examined Chairman Steve Wilson’s Annual Report where he claimed that under his leadership Racing Queensland has turned a converted $20 million loss in 2016 into a $1.1 million profit in the space of just three years.

Our man insists what really happened is that the State Government kicked in an additional $65 million to the Racing Industry and RQ copped $13 million from a heavily discounted ‘confidential settlement’ of a legal matter.

Take this extra dough out and RQ have, in his opinion, lost about $80 million during the year.

Today our accountant looks at the Annual Report of relatively new RQ CEO BRENDAN PARNELL. We repeat our offer from yesterday, that should RQ feel that we have misunderstood or misrepresented any part of their Annual Report they are welcome to unedited right of reply.

THE CEO’S REPORT

BRENDAN PARNELL is my old buddy from SKY days who got fined with me by some over-enthusiastic motor bike cop because we were too hung-over to fasten our seat belts while being driven to the MM Sales on the Gold Coast one year by good mate Christian Letford who later got unceremoniously rissoled from SKY despite being their hardest worker – AT aside – in Queensland – so much for loyalty, don’t you think Brendan)?

The following is not intended to offend the RQ Board but it is the ‘take’ of a respected forensic accountant who says he would have provided the same information to the mainstream racing media but believes they wouldn’t have been prepared to publish it. So here goes:

In his Annual Report, Parnell is clearly eager to look forward rather than focus on what has arguably been an $80 million loss catastrophe. He starts out his report on the front foot with the following inspiring quote:

“The future belongs to those who plan for it”.

Sadly he misattributes that to former South Australian trainer C.S. Hayes – father of David, who was going to boycott the Queensland Winter Carnival and send it into ruins if Ben Currie wasn’t booted out of racing, and then brought two slow horses up to race.

Sadly it wasn’t old Colin who actually coined the phrase, it was Malcom X the militant US Brotherhood of Islam terrorist group spokesperson and race rights activist of the sixties, presently deceased. Malcolm X – birth name Malcolm Little – also famously opined that “a man who stands for nothing will fall for anything”, so I guess Brendan your choice of quote was apt after all (sorry old mate).

The CEO basically says in not so many words that his predecessor Eliot ‘ET’ Forbes – a former camel vet in Dubai last seen scraping a living as a consultant to the dog industry – got it all arse-up, and that he’s been spending his time over the past year working diligently on RQ’s strategic and operational objectives to grow and enhance the Queensland racing industry.

Sadly, judging by the numbers, poor Brendan hasn’t had a lot of luck.

If you believe him though (and some of us are historically skeptical when it comes to RQ officials making promises they cannot keep) things are about to change, for Parnell has sussed out the problems in the industry in this State and is committed to setting them right.

What are these problems – a lack of unity, a failure to evolve, misalignment, not enough transparency, and insufficient mechanisms to ensure trust?

What does all that mean? Who knows?

Parnell has the answers though, these being:

  • MORE round table conferences (it helps to get through the day).
  • FACILITATING new information (for e.g., emailing clubs the next day’s weather forecast).
  • NEW and transparent equitable distribution models for prizemoney (giving the trots $5 million more than they deserve, propping up the gallops who are barely breaking square off a revenue stream of $253 million, and totally ‘dudding’ the dogs which is the only code that actually makes a real profit in Queensland).
  • FACILITATING new information sharing and presenting key financial data (telling clubs their finances are freckled and convincing them that they have to pull their heads in).

Àccording to Parnell, the thoroughbred industry united to strike on Cox Plate day last year to send a clear message to the State Government that racing wasn’t viable under ET’s old business model, and that RQ was able to win huge gains because they stood staunch.

That might be surprising to the many who thought that RQ ran ‘dead’ during the strike and that the $26 million prize money injection was won by the jockeys, trainers and owners who forfeited a weekend’s pay to stand on the picket lines while Parnell and his motely bunch of head honchos at RQ continued to collect their hefty weekly salaries.

The good news is that on top of the $26 million that the gallops copped, the State Government was also persuaded to chuck an extra $4 million a year over three years into the hat to enable an $8 million increase to prizemoney for the dogs and trots.

Why the dogs who made a profit of almost the entire $8 million had to share the booty with the trots that burned $6 million isn’t explained, nor is the discrepancy between $3-$4 million equaling $12 million, but only $8 million being injected into increased stakes. Again it’s a case of close your eyes, turn your calculator off, think about fairies and trust us, because we’re on your side.

Parnell waxes lyrical about the increases to race field information fees RQ hit the Corporate Bookies with at the same time the State Government slugged them with the new 15% Point of Consumption Tax, but like all babes in the woods or racing chiefs walking around with their eyes half shut he fails to draw the correlation between increased taxes and decreased revenues.

He also neglects to mention that $77.6 million of the $81.7 million collected from the Corporates as race field fees was kicked back to Tabcorp in rebates. I am sure you will agree it’s only a minor oversight.

The RQ CEO notes the passing of Basil Nolan Jnr (RIP) and the tragic accident that almost killed the little Whittaker girl at Redcliffe six months ago, but he doesn’t tell us where the investigation report into that incident is at, or when it might be released (insiders are saying that if conducted properly, the report will make for interesting reading, especially when it comes to the apportionment of negligence and blame).

A bunch of non-TAB clubs are being converted to TAB venues, including ones that already are, like Roma and Yeppoon.

Minimum bet limits have been introduced for the trots and dogs, although Parnell doesn’t say what they are (the actual minimum amount a bookie has to bet punters to lose on dog and trot races is just $500, which is an absolute joke. Imagine being cut off at a bet of 20 bucks a win on a $26 shot and you will get the gist. And by the way, a limit is a maximum amount, not a minimum. Think drink-driving and .05. If you record more than 0.05 you are over the limit, aren’t you? It’s the maximum amount you can drink, not the minimum. RQ don’t seem to know which way is up).

The TAB merger that ET Forbes fervently supported is an absolute dud and Queensland racing is getting done like a dinner as a result. Parnell tried to dodge the issue a bit by pointing to TAB merger-funded improvements to race tracks and carnival upgrades, but the last time we looked the only real improvement to a race track was an urgent and very expensive remediation of an upgrade that went pear shaped at Eagle Farm.   

Even Parnell admits however that the performance of the Queensland TAB – the main funder of all things racing – is poor, so bad in fact that RQ has been forced to take their major partner to court to try and shake a few gold coins out of the pockets of the multi-national corporate bookie, who through some unexplained process RQ regards as something altogether different and apart. (Someone should tell the RQ CEO that Tabcorp is one of the largest Corporate Bookies in the world and that other countries with proper anti-competition laws compete on an even footing with the Neds, Ladbrokes, Sportsbet, Beteasy and Bet 365’s of this world).

The CEO claims that the engagement process with the Corporate Bookies was robust, but on this one he has to be kidding. (Anyone who is close to a corporate bookie will insist there was no process. They were simply told this is how it is and left to suck it up).

Parnell also tells us that this ‘robust’ process was necessary to support critical club funding including repairs and maintenance, which would be wonderful if not for the fact that most of the $4 million left over from race fees after Tabcorp’s rebate slings was spent on the stuff-up at Ipswich, and that the rest inexplicably was put toward a more than $3 million increase in the cost of administration of RQ supplies and services (whatever that is).

On to Ipswich, and Parnell assures us that the Bundamba redevelopment project will be completed in 2020, just as his predecessors assured us that it would be finished years before. The latest news from the RQ spin doctor in the Daily Fish and Chips Wrapper is that there is some progress on that front.  

Sadly we lament that when the dirt was dug up at Ipswich it was found to have been contaminated with asbestos, which should have come as no surprise given that we paid project consultants a poultice to test the soil, but for some reason has shocked the hell out of the big boss daddy who signs the cheques.

As a result of this shock discovery that land fill from pre-1960’s built and later demolished fibro structures might contain a touch of the old killer asbestos. RQ have had to pay 10 times the amount for the radioactive stuff to be removed from Bundamba, blowing the cost of the project out faster than the bookies could wind the price of Profit in the race won by its stablemate at Eagle Farm recently that some believe blew up the Anderson/Heathcote training partnership.

Never fear though, for Parnell promises that the Racing Infrastructure Fund will be plundered to make up the shortfall, and assures us that RQ will dip its hand even further into the pot of money earmarked for infrastructure projects at other race clubs and new dog and trot tracks to pay for the repairs to the drainage issues that were paid for out of the Racing Infrastructure Fund a couple of years ago.

RQ demonstrated its commitment to country racing by allocating $3.9 million to the 114 non-metropolitan clubs. (Only 54 of them copped an RQ sling, which works out at about less than $8 000 per club. Here’s hoping they don’t spend it all in the one place).  

Heaps of dough was spent on the business case for a one-turn dog track, and feasibility studies on building a new dog track and whacking in lights at the Gold Coast gallops.

 Apparently all three are edging closer to reality. A job worth doing is worth doing properly. And as everybody knows building a dog track is really difficult. It involves creating an oval, whacking in an inside and outside fence, attaching wires and a fake rabbit as the lure, putting up a stand with foundations that don’t sink (avoid the mob that built the Russ Hinze stand at the Creek like the plague), knocking together a few kennels, and hiring a stop and go man to police the parking and a topless go-go-dancer to man the bar. Putting up lights around the track at the Goldie is even more complex. No company in the Southern Hemisphere has ever built floodlights at a sporting stadium before.

Ben Currie gets a mention when Parnell refers to RQ invoking its never before used powers under AR 55 to scrub the controversial trainer, but the name of the rascal who sent a couple of texts about string instruments to his mates is neither spoken nor sworn. It’s all about transparency you see.

Like all gamblers who don’t know how to work a staking system and end up in the poorhouse, Parnell advises that he and RQ have ‘doubled-down’ on the QTIS (gallops) and QBRED (trots) breeding programs, which is a brilliant allocation of scarce funds to two industries that (a) break just over even, and (b) lose $6 million a year.

Queensland racing is in very safe hands isn’t it? That is something that nobody can ever deny, especially after reading Parnell waxing lyrical about his visit to the property of Darren Weeks, the brother-in-law of the recently acquitted accused match fixer Vicki Rasmussen, and himself a man who just three years ago was booted out of the trot game for 15 months for doping horses.

It’s all about integrity you see, and on that note Parnell gives a quick nod to Commissioner Ross Barnett and his team, just after he highlights that a review will be held into the protracted racing appeals disciplinary process.

The unabashed commitment of RQ to elevating the harness racing Winter Carnival was rewarded by its progress, although Parnell doesn’t quite lay out what this so-called progress is. We don’t imagine that it was the less than the $4,000 in total win pool of wagers bet by punters on the $250,000 Group 1 showcase event the Black’s a Fake, that’s for sure.

Jeff Lloyd, the South African jockey who came, saw and plundered, then left with a whole lot of suspensions still stayed on appeal, gets a glowing mention, and the owners of Winx, who sell baseball caps bearing their horse’s name on Ebay for a hugely inflated 25 bucks, also do too for their benevolence in bringing the super mare’s trophies to the track to show off. (It’s believed that the 37 punters in the member’s area who came to see them were mightily impressed).

Last but not least Parnell acknowledges Steve Wilson’s able leadership of the Board, says cheers to the Queensland Government, and thanks his exceptional staff at RQ for the time, effort and energy they have put in working 36 and a quarter hour weeks at top dough over the past 12 months.

WE can’t wait for the Albion Park Harness Racing Club’s annual report to see what ‘spin’ they can put on their past year. Whatever the result we will get our forensic accountant to delve deeply into that and report back. Morning ‘feathers’, please don’t choke on your Coco Pops!

 


 

LGHR DISSECTS THE RQ ANNUAL REPORT – PART 1 – THE CHAIRMAN

HERE is the FIRST PART of our TRANSLATION of the RACING QUEENSLAND ANNUAL REPORT which is designed to enable the industry, stakeholders and followers of the three codes to understand and appreciate what we believe it contains.

After all it is probably the pivotal document that affects everyone in gallops, trots and dogs. It’s important that industry participants and the mug punters who fund racing know what’s really going on in their sports, and where the money is being spent.

That way we can have an informed discussion about the future and make decisions based on dollars, ideas and common sense, rather than being bamboozled by big words and difficult to understand financial language that shuts the man and woman in the street out of the process.

It’s a big chunk of information to absorb, so we have broken it into two parts – TODAY the CHAIRMAN’S REPORT and tomorrow the CEO’S REPORT.

Of course, should the RACING QUEENSLAND BOARD or its CEO BRENDAN PARNELL feel that we have misunderstood or misrepresented any part of their Annual Report they are welcome to unedited right of reply.

 

CHAIRMAN’S REPORT

STEVE WILSON is making what insiders say will be his last report as Chairman of Racing Queensland and given the results under his leadership many are saying ‘thank God for that’ and ‘bring on Graham Quirk’.

Wilson claims that under his august leadership RQ has turned a $20 million loss in 2016 into a $1.1 million profit in the space of just three years. After dissecting the report our forensic accountant questions that. He says: ‘On paper RQ might seem to have turned things around, but to me that’s a load of bollocks.’

What arguably happened is that the State Government kicked in an additional $65 million to the Racing Industry and RQ copped $13 million from a heavily discounted ‘confidential settlement’ of a legal matter.

Take this extra dough out and RQ have arguably lost about $80 million this year.

What an outstanding result!

The news gets worse, because despite new funding of $26 million from the State Government, a debt write-off of $18 million from loans that RQ couldn’t pay, and a kicker of an additional $20 million into the dogs and trots, Queensland prizemoney is about half of that in NSW and Victoria.

That’s what Wilson maintains. But prizemoney for run of the mill thoroughbred and harness races still falls well behind the southern states average. In contrast, stakes pools for the dogs have caught up rapidly, and on an average week (excluding feature events) are roughly equal to or better than the purses on offer down south.

It appears that without any public tender RQ have spent a truckload of industry money on engaging their consultants, IER, to spin us a yarn about the value of racing to the tourism, events and entertainment industries, because there’s no way you could show that under the current regime racing other than in the greyhound code is a winner on its own.

The IER report tells us that there are 40 000 participants in the racing industry, the equivalent of 11,500 people employed full-time, and an extra $1.5 billion in add-on value being contributed to the economy.

Our accountant says: ‘If you believe that you believe in fairies, and probably need to make an appointment with your local head-shrinker.’

While Queensland can’t even get enough jockeys to ride at half a dozen race meetings on a Saturday and trainer numbers are falling through the floor where do you find the 11 500 full time jobs?

If the punters who fund and fuel the industry aren’t regarded as industry participants where do you find the 40 000?

When three men and a dog outside of those competing in races or buying and selling at sales travel to Queensland specifically for racing-related purposes where do you get the added on $1.5 billion from?

One could argue through smokes and mirrors (it’s a common phrase in racing in Queensland when it comes to Annual Reports) – a cynically spun web of facts and figures and a bottle filled with bulldust’.

THERE IS GOOD NEWS THOUGH

$8 million has been gifted from the Government and set aside for constructing world class greyhound and trot facilities. Strangely we don’t actually have any being currently built, and the money for these has been included in the accounts as if its income when it’s not.

Wilson also tells us that his former First Lieutenant at RQ, Mark Sowerby, did a brilliant job bringing his fine commercial mind to racing  but some aware of the hurdles hit by Mark’s flagship business might disagree.

The Chairman also reports that RQ’s progress in moving from a $20 million loss to one of about $80 million less additional Government contributions was largely as a result of the foresight of a Board member with insiders questioning why such a valuable talent was allowed to resign.

Susannah George – the PR merchant and grand-daughter of former BATC chairman Judge Eddie Broad – also left the RQ building, and Wilson wishes her well, although she doesn’t get any pats on the back like Sowerby does.

It’s good to know that the Board went on the road this year too. They traveled to such far climes as Toowoomba for a soiree in the now former Chairman’s room on Weetwood day (what was second prize), a slap-up feed and free drink at the Coast on Magic Millions day (making sure Genial Gerry is happy with the massive handout he's getting from the taxpayers & racing industry of Queensland to put on a show that benefits his private company) and a welter of entertainment in a private box at Bundamba for the Ipswich Cup and Eye Liner meeting (hope the former Mayor who was once on the ITC committee didn’t arrive for a ‘tell-all’ appearance). Wilson doesn’t fill in the detail like we just did. He simply says the Board members took to the road for the good of racing. Bet the poor old paying punter wishes he had it as good.

Wilson welcomes Graham Quirk to the RQ fold but doesn’t give him the wrap he deserves. (In a short time the former Lord Mayor has made the job Sowerby did look second rate and in any of his visits to the colonies he hasn’t bored the natives with CD’s of his horse’s winning. More seriously full marks for a Sterling job by the Racing Minister in crossing political borders to have Quirk appointed to the Board of a sport he loves despite an 11th hour bid by Gee Gee to have a Labor Party hack installed instead).

Wilson also says hello to Susannah George’s replacement Jane Seabrook, a lover of netball, IT, the furnishing industry, superannuation funds, chamber music, rental tenancy leases, medical and biomedical start-ups and coal mining too. But he doesn’t make any mention of Ms Seabrook’s passion for racing and her history of involvement in the sport, presumably because she doesn’t have any.

Second last but not least Wilson praises new RQ CEO Brendan Parnell describing the former SKY & UBET hot shot as a genius as you would a bloke who has presided over a real money $80 million loss.

He also tells us that Racing Minister ‘Pounds’ Stirling Hinchliffe is a strong and steady hand with a passion and commitment to racing that can’t be questioned. That’s true – if you can find Pounds at the track to ask him any questions – good luck, you’ve backed a 100 to 1 winner.

 

Join Us on Facebook

Racing News

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
 

 

Getaway & Go Racing &
Day at the Races FREE Ratings
BN: 55127167

 

RIDING FOR THE DISABLED ASSOC is an international, not for profit organization that provides horse riding & associated activities for people with all types of disabilities. Over 140 RDA groups operate throughout Australia.

For more information or to locate the nearest centre to you, please visit their website at: www.rdaq.org.au.

Login Form