Jenny - Clean



THE Australian racing industry is about to get a Christmas present that it didn't expect, although given the criticism the thoroughbred and harness codes have endured since a negative story aired on the ABC's 7.30 Report, nothing should surprise.

Details of the "exclusive" are wrapped up tighter than a Christmas present and are known to only a handful of people, but the source is impeccable - so stay tuned.




IN his column yesterday LGHR Editor Lucky Lingard tipped that at least a couple of shorties would get beaten at the Sunshine Coast last night, and lo and behold the vastly experienced racing writer was right.

There were some other peculiar things that happened at the meet too. Let’s have a look at some of these.

Race 1

RYAN Maloney is riding the Toby Edmonds-trained $2.20 shot Usmanov, which jumps from barrier four in a 1000m scamper. It begins okay but Maloney shows no real interest in hunting through with the leaders and lobs a spot in the one-one. So far so good.

Then for no reason at all, and despite being at least two lengths clear of his roughie rival Bachelor’s Art, Maloney lets his horse drift three wide and allows the roughie up the middle. The Stewards later say he raced three-wide with cover, but unless they can see invisible horses that no-one else can see, that reported observation is a load of crap.  How can you be three-wide with cover when there are only two horses in front of you, and one of them is on the fence and the other racing outside it? Wake up to yourself Emus, what are you trying to do, become Chief Steward or something?

Usmanov looms up to win at the furlong but as soon as it gets to the lead it stops, the extra effort from the unwarranted three-wide trek clearly telling as it fades over the final 100m into third. ‘

Lucky’s tips are off to a flying start.

Favourite backers aren’t.

Race 2

BIRKIN Black is the $2.50 favourite in a race over 1200m. It starts from barrier 2, jumps well and looks like taking the early lead, but jockey Sean Cormack decides that he prefers fighting a horse that has just been suddenly shifted down two gears in three strides to having the wind in his hair, so eases it back into third place. The reefing and tearing competition between horse and rider tells and Birkin Black just battles into fourth place after never looking like winning.

The funny thing is the apparent lack of vigour that the former South African hoop displays in the straight. Cormack must be a member of Animal Lib I reckon, because he only used the whip on four occasions during the entire race that I could count, and just once in final 200m, and even that was a feather light, left-handed, half-sissy slap of the sort you’d imagine the Bantam throwing if someone took the RESERVED sign off one of the three poker machines that he was simultaneously playing at the Albion Pub on a Monday morning after the Press Room.

The Stewards fail to comment. The Emu’s probably getting his glasses checked by the on-course optometrist, a bloke named Ray Charles.

Race 3

THERE were no optical illusions by the rider of the favourite in this one, but rather by Brad Stewart, rider of the third favourite Willo Titto, a last start Ballina winner, and by the Stewards. Eye doctor Charles has obviously been very slow in assessing Chairman of Stewards Emu’s specs.

Willo Titto jumps only moderately, is eased back by Stewart, and lands in a spot one off the fence slightly worse than midfield over the mile journey, which is not such a bad thing given that the Hulbert-trained No Refund is going like last week’s pay in front.

Stewart doesn’t think so though, for after the field has gone about 300m he hooks Willo Titto out three wide as if he’s about to dash around them up to a position outside the leader but it’s a mirage, for all he really does is amble up into nowhere, and from that point on his mount never sees anything less than two horses inside him, and three and four of them on the home turn.

The Stewards are seeing ghosts. After WIllo Titto naturally battles into 8th spot, the Emu’s crew report that he raced three-wide with cover, but just like the incorrect report about Maloney’s mount in the first there is no cover there, only just a horse racing in the death seat and another in the 1-1, and then young Bradley Stewart racing out in the ranges all on his Pat Malone.

As an aside, the tearaway leader raced at Doomben four starts back, and hung out severely on the home turn. When called into the Stewards’ room for a chat about ophthalmological issues and his charge’s errant behaviour, Ben Currie’s former BFF Wild Bill Hulbert declared that he would look to race on bigger tracks in future starts. Then he took No Refund straight to Ipswich, and then back to Doomben.

The Stewards didn’t say a word. They were probably cleaning their new glasses, the ones with the cast iron lenses.

Race 4

THE Kelly Schweida-trained, Mark Du Plessis-ridden galloper Slow Hands goes off as the 6-4 favourite and performs like a busted bum.

The poor horse is probably missing Schweida’s self-declared BFF Wayne ‘Is there anything for me’ Innes, who is presently serving out the tail end of his ultra-light sentence for rather huge multiple frauds gifted to him by the courts as a big thank you for being a stool pigeon and police informer.

Race 5

FINALLY a favourite lands when The Move leads and kicks his rivals’ heads in.

Nothing further to report, except that punters are still trying to recoup on the horse when it was a long odds-on loser on debut.

Race 6

FIRST starter All Native is sent out as the $1.60 favourite.

It misses the start after rider Brad Pengelly appears a fraction slow to respond, is sooled up the rail by its rider, goes to the lead, and then pulls like Wicked Wendy at Bubbles Bath House in the early 80’s and is the first horse beaten in the straight.

Dick David Vandyke says the filly is off for a spell. Let’s hope it’s not to the glue factory house of fun at Caboolture.

Race 7

THE night ends as it began and as it continued for six of the seven races on the card, with a favourite going down.

It’s yet another Edmonds/Maloney combination, but this time the defeat of the $2.30 favourite Nemingah is not its own jockey’s fault – it’s rival Robbie Fradd’s.

Fradd is riding a walker named Lyon’s Mane, which has failed to run a place in 14 previous career starts. It jumps okay and is eased into a spot one off the fence about 7th, and after pulling a little early when Fradd put the brakes on it seems to settle into a slow groove, but at the 1200 the Lyon’s rider pulls it out suddenly and swoops around the field three wide.

It catches up to the leaders – one of whom is Maloney’s mount Nemingah, which is travelling sweetly outside the front running horse – and Fradd looks like taking the Lyon to the lead, but just as Maloney eases the fave to let the former South African who was famously charged with race fixing in Hong Kong across, Fradd puts the brakes on too, leaving Maloney no option other than to kick up and hold his position in the middle.

From then on it is nightmare for the punters desperately seeking to get out by backing the market leader, for once Maloney boots back up Fradd outs the pedal down again, and for the better part of five furlongs the no-hoper gasses Nemingah, and by the time they reach the 300m it’s all over red rover and goodnight nurse, and long before they have hit the winning post favourite backers have headed for the gates and gone to look for bottles they can cash in for 10 cents a pop to scrounge enough dough for the petrol required to make it home.

It was a great night out, and a fun time was had by all. Some more than others. Nudge, nudge, wink, wink, say no more.

EDITOR’S NOTE: THE LGHR LATE MAIL tipped ALL NATIVE to get beaten and told clients to jump on SIR PELLIAS in the last that NEMINGAH was a risk. Our best of the night – Lickety Lackie – won the second thanks to a Darryl Hansen plonk. But we prefer tipping in Melbourne where our two specials – DEPLOYS ALONE & GOOD THERAPY duly saluted at the VALLEY. As for the Sunny Coast it’s time that Chief Stipe Peter Chadwick used some of his international experience, got off his behind and took a drive up there for one of the meetings and had a closer look at what’s going on. Then again our Asian spy insists when Peter was running the show in Singapore one of his favorite days was Monday – after the weekend races – sitting down with the panel and picking the dead-ens. That surely can’t be true. One thing is true though unless his 'boys and girls' start lifting their act and protecting the punters LGHR is going to continue to provide it's own 'Stewards Report' on races in south-east Queensland. Happy Days ahead!   



FEDERAL MP Andrew Wilkie and Reverend Tim Costello are calling for a Royal Commission into gambling that includes the sports betting industry.

It follows revelations by the ABC that one of the largest sports betting agencies is using secret algorithms, restrictions and delaying tactics to skew the competition and drive up profits.

"Gamblers use these sites in good faith, assuming they're playing an honest game," Mr Wilkie said. "But if this allegation is correct, then gamblers are being cheated.

"Not only should we have a Royal Commission very broadly into gambling generally, including casinos, of course, but now into sports betting as well."

Mr Wilkie has previously called for a Royal Commission into Crown after a whistle-blower came forward with CCTV footage and allegations that foreign high rollers avoid customs inspections and exchange huge amounts of cash with no trace at its Melbourne casino.

"The picture's pretty clear that the gambling industry in this country is pretty rotten. Any sort of national inquiry should look at all aspects of it, including sports betting."

Reverend Costello, chief advocate for the Alliance for Gambling Reform, told the ABC that "piecemeal" inquiries were not going to cut it, and a Royal Commission was crucial for bringing the problems to light.

"No Government will ever act to reform gambling in Australia because of political donations, because of political capture," Reverend Costello said.

"Only a Royal Commission will actually get to the central question: How has Australia ended up with the biggest gambling losses per head in the world?"

Former bet365 customer account supervisor James Poppleton told the ABC in an exclusive interview that the betting agency has a set of secret tactics that target winning punters.

"You can't win, those that win are stopped. Those that lose are exploited and then they develop cheating techniques as well," Mr Poppleton said.

ABC Investigations also obtained a series of documents from inside bet365 that reveal how winning customers are restricted from betting large amounts with the company.

Bet365 told the ABC in a statement that its service is provided "in accordance with its published terms and conditions and all applicable laws and regulations".

As part of those terms and conditions, it can close or suspend an account at any time for any reason.

Mr Poppleton also claimed these algorithms applied not just to winners, but those who lose as well.

"As soon as you start losing, they'll open you up to lose more and more and more, you can bet bigger and bigger amounts," he said.

"If you stop winning, you're allowed to bet more and more and more. It's the opposite of responsible gambling."

Reverend Costello said the allegations were "truly disturbing and should be investigated".

"Bet365 is using data and algorithms to maximise profits, but in doing so they are exacerbating gambling harm," he said.

"They can and should be using this data to identify harmful levels of gambling to provide help to those who need it, not exploiting people for staggeringly high profits."

Bet365 said it had "a robust responsible gambling policy in place to monitor each customer's gambling patterns and expenditure and ensure that their gambling behaviour is within responsible limits".

Bet365 is a privately owned, UK-based company that is licensed to operate in Australia by the Northern Territory.

Mr Wilkie said Australia needed a national gambling regulator.

"Up until now, gambling in this country has been largely regulated by the state and territory governments, and they have consistently shown they can't be trusted when it comes to overseeing gambling within their jurisdictions," he said.

He believes state and territory governments have become reliant on gambling taxes so it is not in their interest to prioritise consumer protection.

"State and Territory Governments, on one hand, want to maximise gambling revenue and on the other hand are supposed to ensure gambling houses act properly and that punters are protected. There's a conflict of interest that doesn't work," Mr Wilkie said.

Alastair Shields, the chairman of the Northern Territory Racing Commission, rejected the idea that the regulator had a conflict of interest.

He said he has had complaints about restrictions being placed on successful punters' accounts, but there was little he could do about it.

"Essentially, it's a contractual matter between a client and a sports bookmaker," Mr Shields said.

"That's a bit the same as if I go into a shop and the shopkeeper decides they don't want to serve me. They can decide not to do that."






WE assume you will be too busy resting up in preparation for a big day at Doomben tomorrow but on behalf of the punters could you make an exception and head to the Sunshine Coast this evening.

Punters have had a gutful of the beaten favorites at this venue in recent weeks, especially those that look good things and perform like mules without any explanation being sought by your panel.

Tonight there are several odds-on fancies. We are not suggesting anything untoward will happen but if recent history is any guide one or two of them will perform below expectations.

We would ask the same of the stewards in Sydney tomorrow where the Chris Waller stable has half or near half the field in some races but it would be a mission impossible to expect anything different down there.

Most punters have given up trying to follow the Waller fancies where second string horses, backed at good odds, inevitably upset their more favoured stablemates and then the mainstream racing media – rather than ask questions on behalf of the punting public – simply highlight an excuse or terrific training effort by the great one.

Forget about all the prizemoney increases or fancy promotions until the racing police in NSW and Queensland start to lift their acts punter confidence will continue to plummet.

You might notice we didn’t mention South Australia. That’s because racing there has degenerated into an absolute farce. As one well known interstate trainer commented recently: ‘Take some advice, if you head over to Adelaide make sure you take your own jockey.’        



SOUTH Australian stewards have cleared in-form jockey Barend Vorster of any wrong doing following a complaint from an owner alleging a ride was incompetent, highly questionable or corrupt.

AAP reports that stewards held an inquiry following contact from Mark Hoare, the managing owner of the Paul Preusker-trained Marcel From Madrid, expressing concern over Vorster's ride on the gelding at Morphettville on October 12.

Hoare expressed the opinion Vorster's ride was either incompetent, highly questionable, corrupt or that he failed to give Marcel From Madrid every opportunity to obtain the best finishing position.

Stewards heard evidence from Hoare, who attended the inquiry and acted on behalf of the owners of the gelding, and Vorster.

Hoare's submissions included that Vorster was unbalanced at the start, failed to take runs during the race and wanted to stay inside in the straight while he also tendered correspondence from the Preusker stable, signed by the trainer's partner Holly McKechnie, advising the instructions given.

Vorster told stewards he was blocked on a number of occasions.

Officials examined information from a betting exchange that did not reveal any betting activity outside normal parameters.

On the day, stewards noted Marcel From Madrid began awkwardly then near the 200m when improving on the inside of Karlovasi was obliged to alter his course to the outside of that horse before being unable to improve his position over the final stages.

During the inquiry stewards noted Vorster was not unbalanced at the start and there was no clear option to the outside that would have advantaged the horse.

They added had Vorster not elected to take an inside run, stewards may have expressed concern as to why he had not considered that option.

Formerly based in Singapore, Vorster came to Australia earlier this year to ride primarily for trainer Tony McEvoy.



LETSGOHORSERACING is owned & published by RACING AROUND PTY LTD. JOHN LINGARD, a former award winning journalist, sporting & racing writer is the EDITOR. He is the operator of the LGHR LATE MAIL, an economical, leisure punting service which promises no 'get rich' returns but continues to attract clients. LGHR uses a number of contributors, including ARCHIE BUTTERFLY, one of the most-read and controversial columnists in the country & GODFREY SMITH who provides feature articles on a regular basis. We also invite readers to HAVE THEIR SAY in a popular WHINGE section.



RACING Victoria is reportedly set to seek an audit into the betting accounts of two men caught up in an IBAC anti-corruption probe.

The ABC reported on Monday afternoon that Racing Victoria had ordered the investigation into the accounts of Cr Geoff Ablett and property developer John Woodman.

PAUL TATNELL reports for that the hearing previously heard that Victorian-based racehorse bloodstock management company Spicer Thoroughbreds had been involved in payments to a councillor caught up in the corruption probe.

The hearing had heard that Casey councillor Sam Aziz received $5,000 per month so he could supposedly purchase racehorses for wealthy Chinese buyers.

However, Mr Woodman has since admitted that payments made to Aziz, that were passed through Spicer Thoroughbreds, were to influence his role as a councillor.

The ABC also reported on Monday that Cr Ablett, who is a hobby horse trainer, received $60,000 in the past financial year alone to look after racehorse Prima Facie.

This was at the same time there were multiple planning issues being presented before the council which Mr Woodman had interests in.

The inquiry heard Mr Woodman paid Cr Ablett about $5,000 a month to look after the horse, which stayed in the paddock but cost Cr Ablett about $300 a week to look after.

"Are you seriously suggesting that $180,000 is the cost of keeping a broodmare in a paddock?" counsel assisting IBAC Michael Tovey QC said.

"You were getting paid $60,000 a year to look after a one-third interest in Prima Facie, who was just in a paddock?" Mr Tovey said.

According to the ABC, Mr Tovey said the suggestion was "patently ridiculous", despite Cr Ablett claiming he spent 40 hours a week looking after the horse.

"I thought I was entering into a legitimate horse partnership and I never gave it another thought," Cr Ablett said.

Prima Facie never made it to a race track. asked Racing Victoria whether it had ordered an audit of bookmaker accounts of Cr Ablett or Mr Woodman, what action it was taking or pursuing following the IBAC hearings, or whether it had launched any type of investigation into Spicer Thoroughbreds.

A spokeswoman declined to answer the questions, saying ''we [Racing Victoria] do not disclose the specifics of such activities until such time as we determine if a matter is worthy of action under the Rules of Racing''.

“Where there is a matter of public interest regarding licensed or registered racing participants, our integrity department will regularly seek to garner information to determine whether there is or has been a threat to the integrity of the sport,'' she said.

‘’Where appropriate this includes requesting information from other parties, including wagering service providers, to ensure that the integrity department are appropriately informed and can consider whether they need to proceed with a formal investigation or inquiry.''

The Age reported that the owner of Spicer Thoroughbreds, Brad Spicer, had told investigators the payments made by his company were “totally unauthorised” and he knew nothing of them.


A TALE of TWO ARCHIE’S & HOW the PUNT can be a great EQUALIZER.


OUR own ARCHIE BUTTERFLY was over the moon after his family’s exploits at the dogs on the weekend. Here's his story:

IS there any trainer anywhere in the world right now who's hotter than the Capalaba Greyhound Club Chairman John 'JC' Catton?

JC has nailed five winners and four placings from his past 10 runners, recording the incredible strike rates of 50% the win and 90% the place, and what's even better is that three of the winners and one of the placegetters are Hillbilly Jilly and Skip the Line, both owned by Bananabean Racing, a syndicate managed by my wife Maggie and populated by my kids, my God kids and a couple of real good mates, which since its recent formation has recorded the even better strike rate of 75% winners to runners and 100% the place.

Our pair of yappers success is all down to Johnny Catton of course. He’s an absolutely outstanding mentor of chasers, and as clean as a whistle too. There is no live baiting, or drug cheating, or skulduggery of any kind where JC is concerned, just hard work, brilliant talent, and a devotion to doing the best thing by the dogs and looking after their welfare at every juncture.

Maggie's over the moon, the kids are counting the cash, and a blow-in hippy up in  the North Queensland rainforest has landed a very healthy two leg multi at 83-1 across multiple corporate bookmakers, making it a substantial five figure weekend haul when added to the plunges that the kaftan wearing tragic landed in the Inter Dominion heats, on Tornado Tears in the Melbourne Cup ($6, have the bookies lost their minds), and the Newbury Hurdles at 2.30 in the morning. His Gold Coast based lawyer and barrister from Sydney are rubbing their hands in glee.

Sometimes good things happen to good people, and JC is one of them. Well done to him. And for the sake of the TAB agent in Kuranda let’s hope that the hot streak continues until we all reach pension age.



THEN we have the not so happy ending story of ARCHIE ANDREWS, who spends his spare time most weekends punting when he isn’t working and he especially loves a bet on the Sunday gallops at the Sunshine Coast.

Here’s Archie’s tale of woe:

“I’m one of those blokes who won’t have a bet unless I can see the race and being a shift-worker there are some weekends when that means my punting activities are limited which might be for the best.

I didn’t finish work until late afternoon on Saturday but there was still one race to go at Doomben so I plonked on the favorite Soxagon. In his short career this horse has become a real favorite of mine. I remember backing him in a Maiden at Toowoomba when he won like Bernborough.

Soxagon did the right thing by me again when he won at the Sunny Coast. I missed him when he went to town and won at Eagle Farm then ran second at Doomben. He always seems to be very short odds and I though the $2.8 I took on the Fixed Odds on the TAB on Saturday was the right price.

But he let me down and that was to be the start of a terrible weekend. A fellow TAB punter, who had just finished shift work, whispered in my ear that horses from the stable of Soxagon tend to mix their form and that the strike rate has dropped to rock bottom since ‘Daddy Day Care’ took over from ‘Sonny Ben’ who apparently is living the life of a surfer on the Gold Coast these days.

Back to my story of the punt and I backed up at the Sunny Coast where I love to bet. I won’t bore you with all the details but after hearing that one of the best tipsters on Queensland racing, Chris Nelson, had declared the favorites in the last I decided to put my faith in his confidence.

I couldn’t believe it when Picka Plum, which first-up from a bad alley and over 2200m had finished a close second at a Saturday fixture, came out and ran the worst race of his career. He had won five on end before that mind you.

Adding insult to injury Picka Plum, a $1.9 favorite couldn’t finish in the first three.

I figured that Chrissy Nelson, being the great judge he is, couldn’t be wrong twice in the one day so I buttered up on another favorite Pumpkin Diamond in the last only to see it finish third to the well backed Joy’s Reward.

Jim Byrne spanked apprentice Corey Bayliss’s bum and to say that Pumpkin Diamond was never going to win the way it was ridden would be an understatement.

Now I don’t want to be painted as a sore loser and I’ve preferred to ignore all the stories about the bad statistics of favourites at the Sunny Coast (and in south-east Queensland racing in general) but I was disappointed that stewards didn’t even bother to ask why Picka Plum went so badly or even speak to Bayliss about what had to be a terrible ride on Pumpkin Diamond.

Maybe it’s time for me to start listening to my mates and follow their lead in focussing my betting activities elsewhere interstate in future. I’m far from impressed.



YOU have to hand it to the great Australia media mogul Rupert Murdoch who prefers to live in America and deliver a second rate service to those who still bother to buy his newspapers.

We continually get told how to vote, that George Pell is as clean as a whistle, that the Labor Government in Queensland needs to get tossed out at the next election, that there is no Freedom of the Press in Australia anymore and that social media should be shut down. (On the latter we agree if it is being used for the wrong reasons but those like us at LGHR simply provide an alternative service and we all know Rupert hates competition and loves a monopoly in the media).

LGHR subscribes to the on-line NEWS service and as part of that the bonus is Saturday and Sunday delivery of the newspapers in Queensland (if you can call that a bonus). It provides us with the results service in The Sunday Mail which is normally all we use it for.

But on Sunday, because the last race at Doomben was run at the ungodly hour of 5.55 Queensland Time, the Sunday Mail did not have those results – instead a notice which read Race 9 was not available at time of publication.

On a good day you could drive from where we live to the CBD or News Ltd at Bowen Hills in 15 minutes. They have to be kidding if they call this a newspaper. Don’t bother telling us about your millions of readers – perhaps the true circulation figures would suffice and even a mug knows they are going downhill like an out of control roller-coaster.

And while we’re giving Rupert a backhander, here’s one for Foxtel which he shares an interest with another useless Australian company in Telstra, which continues to charge more than it is worth.

If you happen to have a satellite servicer for your Foxtel broadcast – which millions do – then every time a sparrow farts and the smallest amount of rain falls on your roof you will be out of business and receive the message ‘no signal is being received’.

Is the satellite that Foxtel uses a second hand model bought on the cheap. If the same was being used by those monitoring flight patterns then we would have passenger planes colliding with each other every time it rains.

Thanks a million Mr Mudoch for being part of another shit service for the good citizens of Australia not to mention the battling punters who miss watching a race every time the SKY falls in.




The Albion Park Electoral Challenge

THIS is a fascinating story of patronage and betrayal, snouts and troughs, old and new, competent and incompetent, smart and dumb, chickens and foxes, blokes who can fight and fools who forget they can’t, men who play pokies and men who don’t, the past and the future and the past, and electing a leader who can drag the sport out of the swamp that the men who let Kevin Seymour down landed it in, and back up to where it belongs.

I will lay out the story in a serial over the next week, but the two most important things you need to know for now are to Vote 1 Brad Steele, and that the Bantam is gone.

Speaking of the Bantam

Weren’t his tips good yesterday?

David selected three in each race at Doomben – a total of 27 win bets in all – and landed just two, Dusty Tycoon at $2.70 and A Man to Match at $2.25.

Backing the Bantam’s tips would be like betting on him to still be Albion Park Chairman in a couple of weeks’ time.

A loser?


Stephanie Thornton

HASN’T she been a revelation since coming to Queensland?

We understand that there was some ugliness that led to the apprentice’s move north, but every cloud has a silver lining and Stephanie’s seem to have plenty.

Thornton is a damn good jockey, don’t you worry about that, and thanks to her ability and her determination the world is starting to open for the young rider. Good on her too.


The George Moore

WOW, what a race, befitting of the super-rider from Mackay that it’s named after.

Great ride by Mark Du Plessis on Chapter and Verse. He tucked it away worse than midfield on the fence just sitting and smoking his pipe, popped it off on the corner and steered onto Outback Barbie’s back, hooked around it and went bang. If you backed it, you owe the former South African Kiwi a scratchy for Christmas.

If you backed Outback Barbie Jim Byrne owes you one. A victim of circumstances from the wide barrier for sure, but still I’ve seen better rides.

Brad Stewart on Boomsara couldn’t do a thing from the 15 slot. He was always going to be stuck wide, and the Munce-trained horse’s run was incredible. You’d want to be backing it at the Magic Millions meeting, that’s for sure.

I don’t now what’s wrong with the Snowden-trained Sydneysider Brave Song, but whatever it is I suspect that it’s incurable. Put it on your never again list.



I’VE been very critical of MiRunners, regarding it as nothing more than a unit trust sham that gives punters a tenth of a one percent share in a business structure that owns a horse (not a syndicate) and charges them 250% over the odds in fees for the privilege.

I’m not at all convinced that I’m wrong on that count, but what the concept does do is give poor mugs like me a chance to have some skin in the racing game (a smidgen) other than a losing ticket in the second chance draw for a 10 buck bet drawn hourly at the Aspley Hotel.

As most LGHR readers now know, thanks to Feral Frankie and Lys Gracieux and that Jap that won the Caulfield Cup, my daughter won enough money to buy a joint named Frank Lodge in Byron Bay by the rainforest and not far from the sea – aka Kuranda, or Godzone to writers on a three year can’t leave Queensland probation order – and being a broke and a bum who doesn’t even benefit from the distribution of the Family Trust that she started after the big kick, I’ve moved up to join her for the free rent.

Lo and behold the second person I meet in the tiny joint at the top of the Skyrail is a bloke named Jeff who runs the pub (the first was a dope dealer), and would you believe it Jeff owns shares in the Heathcote-trained MiRunners 2YO Dusty Tycoon that has won two from two, and he’s pretty damn excited about it too.

Lots of people who own micro shares in the MiRunners horse are, as we saw at Doomben, so maybe it’s a wonderful thing to get people involved in racing after all.


Either way I’m still not sure that Racing Queensland is acting within the law by getting into a partnership with the private sector money makers running the show. If that’s okay what’s wrong with the Department of Transport and Main Roads being sponsored by Ford?

And how many owners of the horse are there really? Nathan Exelby claims there are 1,000, but authoritatively puts the number at 680. If that News Limited-owned website is correct – and the Exelby fairytale in the News Limited-owned Sunday Mail is wrong, which is highly likely – then after trainers and jockeys’ cuts the MiRunners owners copped less than a hundred bucks each.

Hope they don’t spend it all in one place.


How Many Starters Does It Take to Push a Button?

DOES anyone know why we had two starters at Doomben on Saturday?

Starter R. Smith opened the gates in races 3, 6, 7, 8 and 9, whereas Starter S. Lister let them go in the 1st, 2nd, 4th and 5th.

What would Mr Rex Kelly think?


Sexy Rexy

REX Terp played on the wing in the top-flight for St George and did his job more than adequately, turning out in 39 games over four seasons and scoring 15 tries, which is 15 more than most of you and I ever did or will.

Rex’s greatest claim to fame though wasn’t his brilliance on the field; it was missing out on selection in the Saints’ team for the 1993 decider against the Broncos, the Grand Final that went down in history as Alfie’s “St George Can’t Play” day after St George got belted.

What sort of a mug was Brian Smith, and why the hell did anyone ever rate him? Do you know who he left out of his side other than Rex?  The Man – Anthony Mundine.

Rex is a Melbourne Steward these days.

The Man just gets beaten around by bums.

Does anyone know where Brian Smith is?

Once were warriors hey?


Robbie Laing

WE wrote about him a long time ago when he defaulted on Racing Queensland and despite the spin for him stories that some journos, for reasons of their own, have run lately, Racing Victoria aren’t falling for it.

God only knows what Laing’s problem is that has got him into so much trouble, but he’s absolutely rooted in racing now, and it’s hard to envisage any way back. It’s sad for a bloke who had scaled the heights, but shit happens and usually it’s at least half the fault of the person it happened to (unless of course it happened to me).



Riding Honors

THE winners were Scott Sweedman and Alannah Fancourt for booting home trebles at Thangool and Kilcoy respectively.

And honorable mentions to Mark Du Plessis, Stephanie Thornton, Ryan Plumb, Jag Guthmann-Chester, Allan Chau, Brooke Stower, Terry Treichel, Nick Keal and Kenji Yoshida for riding doubles all around the place.


Economies of Scale

THEY raced at four venues in NSW yesterday and two in Victoria.

Racing Queensland funded nine meetings across the State.

Is it any wonder our prizemoney is a fraction of theirs?

I guess at least it’s still better than South Australia’s.

Why do they even bother down there?


Weird Stewards Decisions

THERE hasn’t been more than a half a teaspoon full of rain in Innisfail for a month.

The track throws up as a firm 2, or fast in the old language.

The trainer of a horse named Roscommon approaches the Stewards and says that she doesn’t think her horse will be suited by the track conditions that you could see coming a mile away.

Despite the form guide saying that Roscommon has only recently won a better class race in Townsville on a Good 3 surface, the stipes accede to the trainer’s request and the horse is a late scratching.

They would have to be kidding, wouldn’t they?


Raelene the Non-Queen

Is the Rugby Australia boss a dead woman walking (professionally)? Raelene Castle is one strange looking dude. Isn’t she hapless and hopeless too?


Israel the Loon

HE can play footy like a God, but despite Israel Folau’s convictions there ain’t one, and even if there was Izzy wouldn’t be his man on earth.

This bloke is nuts.

Nevertheless, he will settle his case against Rugby Australia for a fortune.

Castle should ask chief sponsor Alan Joyce to stump it.


The Man

OH dear Anthony – beaten by a bum who hasn’t boxed for 16 years, and never really could.

Why did your people let you do it?

An early pass to a dementia ward is surely just around the corner.

How terribly sad!



WHEN ARCHIE BUTTERFLY wrote exclusively for LGHR that there was to be an election for the ALBION PARK HARNESS RACING CLUB committee involving some big names we , at LGHR, copped plenty of flak.

Well here is the ballot paper and interestingly it contains those high profile identities that we predicted wanted to see the back of current chairman DAVID FOWLER and some of the current committee.

It includes BRAD STEELE, the former harness representative on the RQ Board, who, with all due respects, would be a wonderful asset to the club in its time of need.

To those who sent anonymous emails and made those gutless phone calls in the middle of the night - up yours!



Dear Member,

As you are now aware, five members have nominated for committee with myself, Paul Ellis and Max Simpson each standing for re-election.

It has been several years since an election took place.

It has been my pleasure to serve on the committee since 2003 and as Chairman for the last five years.

I would consider most of you would know me well enough by now so the purpose of this letter is not to campaign for re-election. You, the members, will ultimately make that decision.

More importantly, I believe, is to expand on the decision the committee took recently to cease litigation with Racing Queensland, reported in the Courier Mail on November 21.

The litigation had been in train for almost three years and had been a significant financial expense to the club.

The club took the avenue of litigation as a last resort after several years of inaction to a Court Order that committed Racing Queensland to build a $14 million grandstand to replace the Russ Hinze grandstand.

It is worth pointing out that when the decision to litigate was taken, there had been no discussion or announcement by Racing Queensland to either selling or commercially developing the Albion Park Raceway.

This was announced by Racing Queensland in May 2017 and the club subsequently fought a strenuous campaign that the Albion Park Raceway should be retained as a racing venue.

This was also a costly exercise to a club that relies on its’ finite cash resources and Racing Queensland subsidies for existence.

Fighting on both of these fronts took up much of 2017, all of 2018 and a fair part of this year.

Against this background was Racing Queensland’s unwavering commitment to either selling the Albion Park Raceway or commercially developing it themselves.

This was, and is, wholeheartedly supported by the current State Government.

Another key point that is sometimes forgotten is the Albion Park Harness Racing Club is a tenant of the Albion Park Raceway of which Racing Queensland is the owner.

A few months ago, Racing Queensland confirmed a $39 million world class greyhound facility at Purga, scheduled to begin operations in 2023.

Racing Queensland has made a similar commitment to the harness racing industry (and this club), currently short listing alternative sites.

The afore-mentioned hasn’t happened overnight. Almost 12 months ago the Albion Park Harness Racing Club and Racing Queensland were in advanced discussions on an alternative site that later became unavailable.

Taking all of the above into consideration, the committee voted in favour of ceasing the litigation, accepting a compensation figure, and moving forward.

Moving forward encompasses working collaboratively with Racing Queensland, the club’s future assured, and a world class facility to be built.

A world class harness racing facility will be Albion Park’s new home with the club in a position to examine and implement non-racing revenue streams.

It should be said that the committee is also mindful of the industry at large who have been frustrated at the deadlock that had existed between the APHRC and RQ while observing the other codes moving forward.

In conclusion, I had been a supporter of the litigation and campaign to retain Albion Park as a racing venue.

Yet, like anything in life, circumstances change and you must be at least adaptable to change. We believe, taking into account

  • (a) Racing Queensland and State Government’s unchanged position on the Albion Park Raceway
  • (b) Continued erosion of club’s finances through legal expenses
  • (c) Confirmation of the greyhound industry’s world class facility
  • (d) RQ assurance of the APHRC’s future
  • (e) RQ assurance of a world class harness racing facility
  • (f) RQ assurance of a short list of alternative sites to be available for consultation with APHRC in early 2020
  • (g) the frustration of industry participants

The committee made the most pragmatic decision in ceasing litigation and moving forward.

We believe the alternative of continued fighting with Racing Queensland, taking all outlined factors into account, would not be in this club’s best interests.


David Fowler


EDITOR’S NOTE: THE last thing we want to be accused of at LGHR is showing favouritism to our old, loyal mate in his hour of need. Should any of the other candidates for election to the APHRC wish to have their say (or right of reply) then we are happy to publish same on our website.



SHOULD officialdom from Racing Queensland join the think tank of ‘heavy hitters’ from NSW and Victoria attempting to dismantle the carnival clashes that have contributed to alarming declines in wagering turnover?

This is not solely about the spring and how to avoid clashes of major drawcards like The Everest and Caulfield Cup but should also include the peripheral affect any change that suits the two big States might have on the Winter and Summer Carnivals in Queensland.

Let’s face it the north’s traditional carnival attraction – the Stradroke Handicap – faces the prospect of becoming just another feature event if its current prizemoney of $1.5 million is not boosted substantially.

Racing NSW has just completed a Spring Carnival where there were nine consecutive weeks with feature races worth $1 million or more. And this will just provide a framework for the future with more big money races to come.

Where does that leave Queensland if the top stables in Victoria and NSW focus more on the better prizemoney in those two States and target the leftovers in Queensland with their less than elite gallopers?

We continually hear how Winter in Queensland is the springboard for Spring success and that has been true – even this year Melbourne Cup winner Vow And Declare campaigned in the north en route to the big two-miler. But will this continue to happen?

The challenge to Victorian tradition that Racing NSW has created with its extended spring is here to stay but the dates will be reviewed and the question Racing Queensland officials should be asking is will this encroach onto the carnivals in the north.

Reports from well-informed scribes on both sides of the border, CHRIS ROOTS in SYDNEY for FAIRFAX MEDIA, & MATT STEWART in MELBOURNE for RSN RACING & SPORT suggests the following:

RACING’S heaviest hitters, from both warring states, are working towards dismantling the carnival clashes that have contributed to alarming declines in wagering turnover.

The Melbourne Racing Club has expressed dissatisfaction to both the Australian Turf Club and Racing NSW over the clash this year of the $13 million Everest and $5 million Caulfield Cup.

MRC chief executive Josh Blanksby said he was awaiting clarification from NSW about the impact of the first round of new bidding for Everest slots following the expiry of the three-year commitment of the initial slot holders.

He said the MRC was also awaiting news from Racing NSW chief executive Peter V’landys following a suggestion that Racing NSW would seek a mid-week public holiday date for future Everest’s.

He said the MRC would review using the Schillaci Stakes on Caulfield Guineas day as a win-and-you’re-in for the Everest. The MRC bought an Everest slot this year.

“There are a number of issues we have and will bring up with Racing NSW and the ATC,” Blanksby said. “On-going, we’re not sure about the positioning of the Schillaci seven days before the Everest.

“And while we cannot be sure what impact the Everest had on Caulfield Cup turnover, and vice versa, we do know that the two biggest turnover hits during the spring carnival were on days where there were two very big races on the same day in two states; Caulfield Cup and Everest and the (new) Golden Eagle on Derby Day.”

Overall wagering plummets on Caulfield Cup and Derby Day were down 17 and 18 per cent respectively.

Racing Australia chairman Greg Nichols told Racing Pulse that two-state clashes of feature races in spring was far from ideal. “I cannot see any advantage of the Caulfield Cup clashing with the Everest,” he said.

Nichols said he understood the rationale of NSW to push deeper into October and November because prior to the creation of the Everest and new pop up races, the Sydney spring carnival “fell off a cliff.”

But he said there had to be a more sensible and respectful way for both states to maximise their carnivals. He said any encroachment of Victoria into Sydney’s autumn Championships would be “retrograde.”

“The best way to accommodate NSW and Victoria is for both to get down, get together and try to resolve it,” he said.

Nichols said a “conversation was about to be had” by a group of “very influential” people from both states regarding an olive branch strategy to the future growth of NSW and Victorian racing.

“I won’t mention their names,” he said.

Just take a look at what the minor racing states now have to compete with and it’s going to get worse as the stakes war hots up:

NSW: $14 The Everest; $7.5mn Golden Eagle; $4mn Queen Elizabeth; $3.5mn Golden Slipper; $3mn Doncaster Mile; $2.5mn T J Smith Stakes; $2mn Inglis Millenium; $2mn Australian Derby; $2mn Sydney Cup; $1.5mn Tancred Stks; $1.3mn The Kosciuszko; $1mn AJC Sires, Golden Rose, Epson, Spring Champion Stakes, George Ryder, Golden Gift, The Hunter, the Gong, Bondki Stakes, ATC aoaks, Coolmore Legacy, Arrowfield Sprint; Randwick Guineas; Redzel, Rosehill Guineas, Percy Sykes Stakes and that’s just the beginning.

VICTORIA: $7.75mn Melbourne Cup; $5mn Cox Plate, Caulfield Cup & All Star Mile; $2mn Caulfield Guineas, Victoria Derby & Mackinnon Stakes; $1.5mn Australian Cup & Blue Diamond Stakes; $1.25 Newmarket handicap; $1.25 Newmarket Handicap; $1 million Caulfield Stakes, Manikato, Cantala, Coolmoore Stud, VRC Oaks, VRC Spring Classic & Australian Guineas – and the number is growing.

WESTERN AUSTRALIA has three $1 million races – the Railway Stakes, Winterbrottom & Kingston Town Classic.

SOUTH AUSTRALIA has one $1 million race – the Goodwood Handicap.

QUEENSLAND has the $1.5mn Stradbroke followed by the $750,000 Doomben 10,000 & BTC Cup; the $650,000 Doomben Cup; $600,000 Queensland Derby & T J Smith; and the $500,000 Queensland Oaks & Winter Stakes.

Then, in the north, the water gets a little murky when we start comparing Magic Millions Day which some in the industry still see as a restriction of trade because not every horse owner is eligible to compete for the pots of gold yet Racing Queensland and the Queensland Government contribute to the overall pool of prizemoney on the day largely arguing that MM draws millions in tourist dollars to the State in the middle of the high season on the surf strip which respectfully is a load of horse manure.

We won’t bother trying to explain the smokes and mirrors of the MM Day prizemoney but it is advertised as two $2 million races – the MM 2YO Classic & MM 3YO Guineas supported by five other $1 million races. It seems that this year they have dumped the support fixture on the same day for the non-MM battlers but that's according to the RQ website which even a Rhodes Scholar would struggle to understand. 

In the opinions of most who follow racing MM is a sales-related series where the proceeds largely go into the pocket of one of Australia’s richest men. It’s a bit rough when the Stradbroke is the only ‘real genuine thoroughbred race’ in Queensland worth more than $1 million while the southern states ‘real genuine races, not sales related ones’ continue to jump in prizemoney in leaps and bounds not to mention everything in NSW from The Everest to The Gong and the one they should run in honor of a couple of the spin doctors for the big V and call it The Wank. It’s like the Big Pineapple, the Big Banana, the Big Prawn, the Big Merino, the Big Lobster, the Big Potato - where will it end?

With 'Genial Gerry' throwing something back into the coffers of racing in Queensland Harvey Norman sponsoring the Stradbroke for $5 million - not likely?     




LUCK’S a fortune, and it favours the brave.

The brave isn’t necessarily the wise, but that’s a story for another day, and involves a whole lot of self-reflection that I’m not yet ready for, so the story here is that there are only 25 pacers lining up for the world championship of the Southern Hemisphere, and only a dozen of them have any chance in hell of winning the damn thing.

I reckon an outsider called On The Cards – known as Ace to his mates – will win it, and that Barry Purdon’s winner will be driven by the greatest reinsman of the 21st century, Dexter Dunn included.

Here’s Archie’s Tale of the Inter Dominion Tape.

Ultimate Sniper

ONCE upon a time I thought this horse was going to be the next Lazarus.

I was kidding myself.

The Sniper is brilliant when he can bully his opposition, but like most faux tough guys he goes to water when the big boys stick their fists up in his face.

I doubt this pea-hearted could be superstar will even make it through the series, but if he does and happens to make the final then his only chance is sitting back off a crazy pace and going bang down the outside in the 25 type quarter we know he’s capable of running if the conditions suit.

He’d have to be lucky though, and gamblers who rely on luck are usually married to women who sneak out on pay night when they’re asleep and stroke the pokie screens during free games.

Ultimate Sniper is all yours, and so are the pokie touching desperate sheilas who can’t count.


Bling it On

CAN a nine-year-old who was on the sidelines for almost two years come back and win the best race in the southern world?

It certainly seems so at present, but I reckon its fools’ gold.

Bling is a brilliant horse, and he has the best driver in the world outside of Zac Butcher, but I don’t think that at his age he can hack four gruelling runs in 14 days.

I won’t be overly surprised if I am proven wrong, but you can have him too.


Cruz Bromac & The Fixer

NEITHER of these horses will ever be rated up amongst them in the pantheon of the pacing gods, but hell, you would love to have shares in either of them. `

The pair is 1 and 4 in the pre-post market, and in the absence of their stablemate Spankem probably deserve to be 1-2.

They will both make the final, and both can win.

Of the two I prefer The Fixer.

He’s a mighty horse; Cruz Bromac is just a warhorse.

Like I said, you’d love to have shares in either of them.


Chase Auckland

WHAT an enigma this pacer is, just like his Dad was.

On his day Chase Auckland can do anything.

The problem is that he is unlikely to get his day four days out of four.

Another one you can have.


Colt Thirty One

THIS is one serious horse, as I have been telling you for a couple of years now.

Is he good enough to win an Inter Dominion?

I’d love to think so, but I still have serious doubts about his ability to run consistent sub 55’s for the last half, and I doubt that he can do it against the top flight from the death, which means Mr Seymour’s boy is coming into the series with an Achilles heel or two.

Then of course there is Moses.

He’s never driven in New Zealand, let alone on the tricky Alexandra Park track. Do you reckon his ex-missus Nat the Ras isn’t going to make mincemeat of him? Or that King Zac won’t do him like yesterday’s pie in the microwave?

The Colt’s best hope of providing Kev and Kay with the 50th anniversary gift they deserve is for Moses’ missus Trista to hold onto their third boy for a fortnight. If she can then the lad born on final night will no doubt be named Colt.


Our Uncle Sam

A rough chance, but no more.

Enjoys an early gallop too much for my liking.

Terrible draw in the first round of heats.


San Carlo

I can’t cop the SKY Channel presenter Jason Bonnington, and regard him as an absolute tosser.

San Carlo is his favourite horse, Bonno’s version of my Belle.

It would grate me to see him proven right, but I reckon that if Carlo handles the right-handed way of going, he is a huge chance of taking out the series.


AG’s White Socks

THIS enigmatic pacer has all the ability in the world but has never quite been able to deliver it.

He has been transferred to the care of Barry Purdon during the past fortnight.

It’s not much time to transform a gunna into a doner, but if anyone can do it, then it’s Baz.

Don’t write him off at odds.


Triple Eight

HERE is one who sneaks in relatively unknown and under the radar of most, but not the bookies.

T8 is an Auckland track specialist who has won 10 and been placed in 20 of his 27 starts at Alexandra Park, and at the age of five is fast maturing and coming into this series as a rapid improver that has won his past four on the sacred right-handed swing. His last start second to the Sniper was huge, and in a wide-open ID he is a huge chance, which is exactly why the digital satchel swingers have him in the top echelon at $12.


Ashley Locaz

THIS fella is a really, really good pacer, make no mistake about that. His form is exceptional, and the gaps in it are few and far between. Don’t forget that he’s always raced in the top tier.

He will need the right luck in the runs, but the $23 is massive.


Henry Hubert, Conviction, Check In, My Kiwi Mate, Solid Gold, Atomic Red, Star Galleria, Dance Time, Another Masterpiece, Mach Shard, Sicario

TEAR up your tickets, if you were silly enough to buy them.


The Devil’s Own

SEE above.

I accidentally had 200 on this cat to win the series.

Blame it on the Kuranda raised Bruce Banner.

The dope.

I’m one too.


On the Cards

ACE is what Barry and Katrina Purdon call him, and they mean it too, and this pair are the best judges of pacing flesh that I’ve ever seen outside of Jean Feiss, and rank ahead of Dean Shannon, Kevin Seymour and Peter Lagan, each of whom are absolute geniuses.

If Baz and Kat reckon a harness racer’s the Ace, then it probably is.

On the Cards was paying $250 on the fixed odds markets before I backed it tonight to win a hundred grand.

It’s $67 now, and still huge overs.



  1. On the Cards
  2. San Carlo
  3. The Fixer




Two Toowoomba Trainers have been stood down after screening positive in preliminary testing for prohibited substances.

The Queensland Racing Integrity Commission (QRIC) Integrity Investigations Team (IIT) conducted a no notice testing operation at Toowoomba track work yesterday when one trainer made admissions to drug use, another trainer screened positive to benzodiazepines and when breath tested returned an alcohol reading in excess of the permitted .02 threshold.

Both trainers were stood down pending confirmatory analysis. One track work rider screened positive to opiates but was not stood down.

The IIT operation saw 11 jockeys and 21 track work riders providing samples and breath tests and also resulted in two unlicensed track work riders being referred to the Stewards.

All samples collected yesterday will be sent to a laboratory for confirmatory analysis.




WHEN is Racing Queensland going to stop pussy-footing around and give SKY Channel’s exclusive broadcasting rights the boot.

The media rights contract for Queensland is up for grabs and if doesn’t take over or at least share the spoils when this is announced in the middle of next year, then RQ and the clubs deserve what they get.

Those at SKY Channel know the spotlight is on their performance at present but they continue to crap in the face of the Brisbane Racing Club and Racing Queensland.

BRC Chairman Neville Bell was far from impressed by SKY’s weekend coverage of the start of the Summer Carnival and told AAP: “Once again on Saturday we were playing second fiddle to the minor NSW meeting at Gosford when we had two Stakes races. It just isn't good enough.”

Some of the lead-up coverage of the major races at Doomben on Saturday was flicked to SKY2 to pave the way for ‘Dad & Dave’ to do their boring, drawn out preview from the mounting yard of the second rate fixture at Gosford in NSW. It was an absolute insult and shows just how badly SKY rates a State that has been loyal to them from Day 1.

And to think that the now CEO of RQ, Brendan Parnell, was once a head honcho at SKY. What the stuff is he doing about this anomaly or doesn't he have any start there any more?

It’s time to stop talking Nev and piss SKY off permanently or at least combine the coverage with and end the exclusivity clause. It's obvious RQ isn't going to do anything about it.



THIS email arrived from a prominent country racing administrator, who, for obvious reasons, doesn’t want to be identified:

IT seems as though the Brisbane Racing Club is looking for an industry handout to help buy water for the Eagle Farm and Doomben tracks.

If Racing Queensland bows to the wishes of the biggest club in the State, what about the dozens or hundreds of others who have been suffering because of the drought for some time?

Let’s face it the BRC copped millions to correct the botched job that was done in redevelopment the Eagle Farm track.

If RQ creates a precedent by giving money to finance the watering of Doomben and Eagle Farm as the impact of the drought moves to the city, then every other club in the State that has suffered a similar fate is entitled to put their hand out as well.

Excuse my ignorance but whatever happened to those dams that fed off spring water in the Eagle Farm area? Are these not as effective since the redevelopment project was completed and if not, why was there no consideration given to drought times when this work was done?



ANOTHER matter being raised by stakeholders and punters in Queensland is contained in the following email to LGHR from GRAHAM MARKSFIELD:

IF the reports are true, Racing Queensland is paying 50 per cent of the salary of Sam Hyland, the Victorian now working as a host and form commentator on racing in the north on SKY’s coverage.

Why is SKY not picking up the entire bill? Sam doesn’t seem to do all that much work for RQ although he certainly has learned quickly how to ‘suck up and survive’ as most in the racing media in the north have.

Sam might be a nice guy but most punters don’t rate him as a presenter. The crazy part is that while Hyland, a Victorian, is doing the work that a Queenslander could be doing, Bernadette Cooper continues to parade around on the pony and do the on-the-track interviews during the carnival in Sydney. What’s the story, don’t they have a former lady jockey capable of doing just as good a job down there. It would seem that both Sam and Bernie have some ‘start’ with someone in a high decision making role in racing in Queensland.

LGHR would be happy to hear a response from RQ on this issue but don’t bother asking anymore as they are only interested in talking to the mainstream media. We seem to have been dropped off their distribution list of Media Releases but who cares? Any story worth running is given one-off to The Courier-Mail – it’s the only way Racin’ Nathan can find an exclusive with the belting he's copping from our old colleague Mark 'Obe' Oberhardt at AAP.  



WE welcome another contribution from our good mate, former top bookie GARY GORRIE, nor enjoying retirement in PHUKET:

‘I think it’s time for someone to think outside the box for the future of all racing in Queensland. Now it’s only by some creative accounting the Southeast Corner clubs get close to breaking square each year by putting any grants in as income when it is really a capital injection.

The country clubs only meetings that run at a profit are the Saturday ones and they struggle to make enough to subsidize the losses of midweek and fixed costs. 

Now we could sell off all the country tracks (but should RQ receive the money from the tracks established by the townspeople many years ago) and reduce the prizemoney there and throw it all into the south-east corner.

The social and economic cost from this would be catastrophic and I think politically will never happen and should never. Even if this did happen the southeast corner would still have a deficit. They have to look at reducing costs like in Melbourne now the tote machines are all touch screen, so no wages. All the clubs are losing on tote with the drop in turnover because of the smart phone and corporates. Selling off all the country clubs is like our Government selling banks, electricity, railway, ports and airports. When these are gone what do you do then? We need to be income positive, not sell our heritage and racecourses.

The country clubs have great locations in their towns with many of these places expanding over the years so why not utilize the assets which sit there unused from meeting to meeting.

Victoria has Tabarets in most of the country clubs which are successful. Many clubs have markets on Sunday mornings and our grey nomad population are always looking for RV parks with many Caravan Parks now converted to land developments.

The clubs could also go into the meeting, conference and wedding business. Why not do a big day out band tour going through each town one after the other. They all have bars, toilets and are set up for such a thing. Set up a business plan for all the clubs modifying when needed.

Now I think Mackay (I am biased but know it well) would be a great test after you see the success of Harrup Park Country Club (Mackay Cricket even put a nine hole golf course in there) and I think if set up correctly there are many Government grants available.

So what I am proposing is build a proper poker machine club, function rooms and food bars. The position is ideal with so many houses in the area and plenty of parking. Properly managed it would make more than enough to pay all the prizemoney for Mackay races and the maintenance and up-keep of the track. But it has to be NEW not a rehash of the small function room already there.

We have some wonderful assets very under-utilized that can be developed and turned into a cash positive business to put money back into the industry.

I was very lucky to be involved in the best years of racing but still love it and hate seeing the demise of it. But new ideas and ways of operating are needed. The answer isn’t to close everything down and see many jobs lost. Create new jobs and EXPAND – that is the secret to the success of many businesses.

That’s my pennies worth and I hope others have some positive ideas to put up too.



MEANWHILE, JOHN the FIREMAN, a regular contributor on all things racing in Queensland, has weighed into the debate:

WHAT is RQ going to do with regard to the poor Sky Channel treatment of our product coverage?

A new low has been achieved with part of Doomben the coverage (parading) being televised on SKY2 last Saturday and as usual a second rate service.

NSW took priority over everything with two meetings to cover and horseback interviews to be completed before anywhere else gets covered.

What’s the go with the jam up in the parade ring at Doomben? Can’t it hold a full field of horses?

And on the subject of the sale of Albion Park, how are the proceeds going to be managed and distributed? Is it Harness money, Industry money or whose money?

How long before stakeholders see the plans or location of the future Harness facility, especially if it is being built as standalone racetrack?

I understand the theory and cost savings around putting harness and gallops facilities together but the reality is the consensus would be very unlikely from any gallops club.

To correct the past loss of Gold Coast and now Albion Park it isn’t an unreasonable viewpoint for Harness to have one new modern facility which hopefully meets future racing needs plus achieving multi-purpose income outside of the racing side of the facility.

What innovation RQ provides regarding this secondary income to the project will be very interesting, particularly the process undertaken to make these decisions.

This is important as the product needs to change and the number one priority should be track design and grandstand design (needs to be multi-storey on the finish line with good track views).

As previously said due to current day crowds it shouldn’t require massive race day public facilities. I would like to see the bottom of the stand create a theatre of the horse style parade ring before going onto the track.

Let’s hope RQ are prepared to provide answers.


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