Jenny - Clean

TIPSTER LEARNS THAT PUNTERS CAN BE AN UNFORGIVING BUNCH

TIPPING can be a tough gig – just ask arguably the best in the business, Dean Lester.

Punters are an unforgiving bunch especially when they closely monitor tips like his.

Lester wound up wrongfully in the cross-fire when top jockey Luke Currie was interviewed after winning Saturday’s G1 Newmarket on the roughie Zoutori.

Thanking those involved with him, Currie mentioned how Lester convinced him to ride Zoutori because he liked the horse’s chances.

Followers of Lester’s tips were quick to pounce and question why he had not included the winner in his six selections for the big race.

Deano was quick to explain that when asked by Currie for his opinion on Zoutori he described it as a winning chance – especially considering its terrific form down the straight at Flemington.

But this was before prior to the horse drawing on the inside which Lester considered – along with a lot of other form experts – that this would be detrimental to its chances.

Take the tip punters – you will finish a furlong in front following Lester and his colleague David Gately than forking out big money for the smooth talking Tommy Waterhouse and winding up with a second rate package he describes as ‘gold’.

 

COUPLE OF PRETTY ORDINARY RIDES BY TOP JOCKEYS ON SATURDAY

TIPSTERS weren’t the only ones on the backend of some trash talk from punters after the second weekend of major upsets – a couple of top jockeys were as well.

Craig Williams copped plenty over his ride on favorite September Run in the Newmarket. After watching replays we think the horse was more the victim of his draw in the big field down the tricky straight track.

Interestingly, September Run (which on form looked the hardest to beat after the Lightning) drifted from $2.3 to $2.8 while the second string (how unusual) from the Chris Waller stable in Imaging firmed from 15’s to 8’s. Neither of them got sighted.

Another very promising horse that was the subject of much anger from punters was Mo’unga, certainty beaten in the Randwick Guineas. This time the criticism of the ride by Tommy Berry for a top jockey seemed justified – he simply got lost.

We won’t bag the ride of James McDonald on the punters’ nightmare horse Nature Strip in the Challenge Stakes and accept that the barrier draw didn’t help. Some are saying Jamie Kah pulled JMac’s pants down after her ride on the enigmatic sprinter to win the Lightning.

Considering the ground that Nature Strip covered only to be beaten a pimple by a very smart horse in Eduardo in track record time he could well come out and win one of the features during the Sydney autumn at his next start.

Trainer Joe Pride couldn’t help himself after Eduardo won and was quick to remind punters that it wasn’t the horse’s fault when he flopped in The Everest. In an uncharacteristic ride, Rachael King lost the plot letting the seven-year-old lose when he when he tried to run 11th behind Classique Legend.

And just back to Waller for a moment. It is an owner’s privilege to have who he likes train his or her horse but Perth trainer Tiarnna Robertson is entitled to feel bitter about losing star sprinter Fabergino.

Owner-breeder Jim Anderson has transferred the horse to Waller’s Flemington stables declaring there were ‘exciting times ahead for the six-year-old’. Wonder what he calls the 12 wins from 19 starts that Robertson has guided Fabergino to?

“We are also in discussions with several potential buyers including a part sale with Chris Waller’s clients,” Anderson told The Races WA. “Chris has big plans for Fabergino including a career-ending finale at Royal Ascot.

“She will then commence her next chapter as a broodmare and a service in England to one of the best European sires at the time. Part of Fabergino’s ownership crew include John Tierney and Martin McDonough who live in the UK. They will have the opportunity of seeing her run in the flesh again.”

Here’s hoping he provides Robertson with a replacement. As for Waller well the champion trainer is an opportunist who has obviously long forgotten his days with the bum out of his pants trying to train winners in New Zealand.

 

SUPER SATURDAY A MEETING THAT JAMIE PREFERS TO FORGET

GLAMOR jockey JAMIE KAH might prefer to forget Super Saturday at Flemington.

She knocked back the ride on Newmarket winner Zoutori to Sirius Suspect which ran 7th but also jumped the wrong way in partnering Lunakorn which ran last in the Matron Stakes behind two horses she has ridden regularly in Sovereign Award and Quantum Mechanic which fought out the finish.

Adding insult to injury Kah suffered a suspension for careless riding when she won on Cumberbatch. Whilst it was in the low level she took one for the team – punters would not have collected had she not pushed out of a pocket.

Kah begins his stint on the sidelines after next Saturday’s All Star Mile meeting at the Valley but looks to have the Melbourne premiership sewn up even this far from the finish.  

 

PUNTERS NO MORE CONFIDENT IN SYDNEY RACING AFTER INQUIRIES

PERHAPS our colleague ARCHIE BUTTERFLY was right in questioning what is happening in Sydney racing and why some rides by top jockeys are disgraceful yet seem not to concern the Stewards.

Two to note were James McDonald on Stay Inside and Tommy Berry on Mo’unga in big races on Saturday when the losses of this duo cost punters plenty.

Here’s the stewards report on Stay Inside:

Began awkwardly, shifted in and made contact with Anamoe. From the outside barrier was then shifted behind runners in the early stages. When questioned regarding his riding, J McDonald stated that, as notified by the stable, his instructions were to ride the colt in a conservative manner from its wide barrier. He said that he followed Alpine Edge throughout the early and middle stages and when that runner commenced to lay out from the 600m he elected to improve to its inside and follow one of the fancied runners, Remarque. He added his decision to do so was further influenced by the fact that Alpine Edge had an inclination to lay out and he was concerned that if he shifted to that runner’s outside he may be forced to cover extra ground. J McDonald further added that, when Remarque did not improve into the event as he had hoped, he became held up on the heels of that colt until near the 250m when it was able to follow Anamoe into the race. He added that Stay Inside ran on reasonably well once afforded clear running. Co-trainer Mr M Freedman confirmed the instructions issued and expressed satisfaction with the ride of J McDonald. After considering J McDonald’s explanation and the racing manners of Alpine Edge at the relevant stage of the race, the Stewards found that the decision of J McDonald to improve to the inside of Alpine Edge was reasonable.

JMAC was also back in the Stewards’ room after his ride on TRIFACCIA with the subsequent report:

Slow to begin and from a wide barrier was then shifted behind runners in the early stages. When questioned regarding his riding, J McDonald stated that from his wide barrier he had been instructed to go back on the filly to ensure his mount was not caught wide. He added that he had also been instructed to ensure the filly settled as it had been inclined to race ungenerously at its first race start. He said, in accordance with his instructions, he rode the filly conservatively in the early stages, which resulted in Trifaccia settling at the rear of the field for some distance from the main body of the race. When questioned regarding his riding from the 600m and as to whether there was an opportunity to improve to the outside of Chill, J McDonald stated that leaving the 600m he had observed one of the main chances, Swift Witness, to be racing in advance of him, so he elected to commence to improve to follow that runner to avoid having to cover additional ground and also to avoid the unfancied runner, Chill, not taking him into the race. He added on straightening Trifaccia commenced to respond well to his riding and this resulted in it improving to the inside of Swift Witness when that runner did not quicken as he had anticipated and as a result he was obliged to steady and shift Trifaccia out to avoid being positioned too close to the heels of Gstaad, which was commencing to weaken. J McDonald further added that when Swift Witness quickened near the 200m, Trifaccia was able to secure clear running, whereby it then finished the race off strongly. Trainer Mr J Cummings confirmed the instructions issued and was satisfied with the decision of J McDonald to secure inside runs rather than improving around the field. After considering J McDonald’s explanation and the reasons for electing to improve to the inside of Chill, the Stewards found that his riding at that section of the race was reasonable.   

So there you have it – punters just need to accept that ‘you can’t help bad luck’.

 

SUDDEN DEATH OF POPULAR RACING CHAPLAIN FOR FOUR DECADES

FATHER Peter Gillam, the much loved horse racing chaplain in Brisbane for four decades, has died.

After retiring as Catholic Parish Priest at Hendra in 2011, Fr Peter maintained his role as racing chaplain until 2017.

He said at the time: “I have always had a close association with racing and it is important we honour our jockeys. It is time for someone younger to take over but I will still maintain an interest in racing.”

The Redcliffe Catholic Parish announced the unexpected overnight death of Fr Gillam earlier this week. May he rest in peace.

 

HOW WILL THE ‘RED HOTS’ SURVIVE WITHOUT THE GLAMOUR COUPLE?

THE news must have shattered the Albion Park Harness Racing Club where they’ve backed another loser.

The new faces of the Creek ‘red hots’ – swimmer Emily Seebohm and radio host David ‘Luttsy’ Lutteral have apparently split.

The Courier-Mail sadly reports that the duo’s differing lifestyles put their relationship under strain. No it wasn’t that Saturday night at the Creek mingling with the multitudes who take advantage of a free night out to lose their money!

The high profile Brisbane couple are rumoured to have called it quits last month after more than a year of dating. The relationship is believed to have strained with sources close to the couple saying they argued over their clashing lifestyles following a racing function in late January.

According to the CM the couple were common fixtures on Brisbane’s social scene and were last seen together attending a Brisbane Racing Club event at Eagle Farm in December upon Seebohm’s return from Europe.

Either Albion Park doesn’t rate a mention in the same breath as the Farm which has been in the news for all the wrong reasons or the glamour couple haven’t been fulfilling their duties as the new faces of harness racing.

One wag suggested there was a blow up after a night at the trots when you could have fired a canon into the stands and not hit anyone and Luttsy said to Em: ‘This place hasn’t been the same since Feathers left. What the f… are we doing hanging out here on a mission impossible to boost the crowd’.

What’s next to get the fans back to the Creek: ‘A free bus ride after the last to The Beat to hear the Albion Park Choir sing a medley of songs by the Pet Shop Boys & the Village People?     

 

 

LITTLE WONDER RACING SUFFERED WHEN THE ‘GOAT RIDERS’ WERE SO BUSY DESTROYING EACH OTHER IN A CULTURE ROTTEN TO THE CORE

LITTLE wonder racing in Queensland has withered on the vine when the ‘goat riders’ run the Government.

The damning series of articles by Peter Gleeson for The Courier-Mail and The Sunday Mail highlight how the rabble that is the LNP can’t even get their own house in order.

And before his legion of fans start reminding us what a great job big Russ did as Racing Minister spare a thought for the hundreds of millions that he wasted on infrastructure that today sits virtually unused in racetracks around the State.

Not to mention integrity that was virtually non-existent during the Russ era where his private trainer was allowed to punch a stable driver in the face in Silks Restaurant at Albion Park because he won on the wrong horse owned by the ‘big fella’ at the Gold Coast trots.

It was during the era of LNP Governments that we had the Fine Cotton ring-in affair and the caffeine crisis. It was LNP Racing Ministers and Treasurers who promised that Queensland would wind up ‘a furlong in front’ of the southern states and that within a year a new-look Eagle Farm would be a world first track.

It took Labor to make the changes that racing needed in Queensland. Bob Gibbs, was the Racing Minister who stripped the QTC of principal club powers and Rob Schwarten ended the decades old rift which led to the merge of Eagle Farm and Doomben.

Like him or despise him Bob Bentley did more than any other Chairman of the Racing Queensland Board to effect changes that were needed – like the reduction in the number of country clubs and increases in prizemoney but in the process took advice from too many wrong people – like ex public servants who managed to setback the advances he had made.

Blokes like the three-time election loser Springborg and his mate Jeff the Goose Seeney carved up racing identities under Parliamentary privilege during the Bentley era for political purposes making accusations they would never have the guts to in public for risk of being sued.

Little wonder the LNP in Queensland has been relegated to the back-blocks when they have handled the power grabs and treachery within so badly. And to talk about returning the ‘borg to the fold to lead them out of the wilderness is almost laughable. Seeney is still bitter and twisted. Nicholls is yesterday’s man. Campbell Newman was the only one worth feeding.

John Paul Langbroek was once the hope of the side but he was back-stabbed to the political wilderness. His mate and colleague from the Gold Coast, Ray Stevens, would have made a terrific Racing Minister – having experienced every facet of the industry from the city to the bush. But he suffered the same fate as JP.

From a racing perspective Labor's Grace Grace might be useless but nothing could be as bad as the likes of Steve Dickson – the furlong in front Racing Minister who ended up jumping ship to One Nation where he has proved a colossal flop.

New LNP leader David Cristafulli has a lot to learn. Every time he steps into the ring with Alan Jones on SKY he comes away with a black eye and a bloody nose. And in racing parlance he should learn never to go ‘the early crow’. It’s refreshing to see his confidence but down right dumb to declare you are going to win an election that is over three years away.

 

COTTON FIELDS WAS NOT ONE OF MALONEY’S BETTER RIDES  

LET’S be nice and suggest that ride of Ryan Maloney on hot favorite Cotton Fields at the Sunshine Coast on Sunday was arguably not one of his best.

The tactics adopted by Maloney on the David Vandyke-trained mare are the subject of a Stewards’ Inquiry, opened by the Chairman at that meeting, James Williamson.

Their report reads:

COTTON FIELDS: Leaving the 300m was disappointed for a run between KING OF THE DESERT and MONTEZ which shifted out slightly. Near the 200m was checked when attempting to obtain a narrow run between KING OF THE DESERT which shifted out and SHINSHINTO which shifted in marginally under pressure. Stewards inquired into this incident and were not satisfied that COTTON FIELDS had established a run at this point of the event and ruled that the horse was disappointed for this run. Stewards adjourned an inquiry into the tactics adopted on this mare from the 600m onwards, after taking evidence from trainer D Vandyke and rider R Maloney to obtain wagering records.

Those who have taken a gander at the Betfair action on the race will be a shade concerned by the trend to want to risk the hot favorite which one would assume won’t assist Maloney’s defense of his ride.

Perhaps Maloney is still a little ‘gun shy’ after his much-publicized fall from favourite Isotope in the Gold Coast Magic Millions Guineas in January when it was travelling like a winner.  

 

WILL THIS BE ANOTHER INQUIRY HEARD BEHIND CLOSED DOORS?

IT will be interesting to see when the Cotton Field inquiry resumes if James Williamson adopts the policy of his boss and conducts another controversial hearing behind closed doors.

Punters have little confidence in Peter Chadwick and are starting to question how many high profile trainers or jockeys have been the subject of major inquiries since he took over as Chief Steward for Queensland racing.

Time flies – Chadwick has now been in the role since September 2018 – and sadly hasn’t improved the lack of confidence that punters (big and small) have in the product in the Sunshine State.

Chadwick had experience in four Australian States and Territories before spending almost 20 years in Singapore before relocating to Queensland.

Punters have had a gutful of favourites missing the start, sitting wide or being caught up in traffic jams almost on a weekly basis at TAB meetings in south-east Queensland and stewards just accepting explanations.

 

LACK OF TRANSPARENCY CONTINUES TO HAUNT NEW CHIEF STIPE

LACK of transparency is one of the biggest criticisms being levelled at Chief Stipe Chadwick by not only punters but also by some stakeholders in the industry in Queensland.

What has happened to the inquiry into the melee at the Chris Waller satellite stable on the Gold Coast during their Magic Millions celebrations?

No-one knows because Chadwick has elected to bar the media from attending and is conducting hearings behind closed doors.

If he’s trying to shut down any discussion of drugs being involved the horse has bolted – some of the stories doing the rounds of why an alleged brawl occurred are priceless.

Keeping the punters in the dark isn’t protecting the image of racing in Queensland – it’s just making things worse Mr Chadwick!

 

THE SUNSHINE COAST BIGGEST WINNER IN QLD RACING

THE Sunshine Coast continues to lead the way as the best racing venue in Queensland.

That was proven with the way the track coped with an 18-race double-header last weekend not to mention the first class management of the meetings on and off the track.

What a wonderful facility this is – from pioneering Sunday racing, to meetings under lights and a more than capable substitute when the major Brisbane tracks, like Eagle Farm, need to be rested on a Saturday.

The promised upgrade to the Gold Coast makes a case for both these venues to be granted more stand-alone Saturday meetings whether the problems at Eagle Farm are rectified or not.

 

UP THE CREEK WITHOUT A PADDLE – by ARCHIE BUTTERFLY

And just a couple of articles from the Archie Butterfly file on harness racing:

GIVEN all the money the Albion Park Club spent on hiring a DJ with an alcohol problem and a former swimmer with an eating disorder to promote its new bar and grill, why are there still only two men and a dog going to the trots?

Is there any truth to the rumour that the Creek boys next plan is to hire Peter Foster to promote punting systems and Robbie Waterhouse to extol the virtues of racing integrity?

SPEAKING of the Creek boys, why is it that women employees in the club office are reportedly leaving in droves?         

   

THOSE MAGICAL BLINKERS CAN SPARK AN AMAZING IMPROVEMENT


LUNAR FOX created history becoming the longest priced Group One winner in Australian racing history at Flemington on Saturday and had punters questioning whether it is a waste of time and energy doing the form.

They were entitled to feel cheated after the 300 to one hope improved a furlong and in the process had even stewards and connections scratching their heads trying to find answers for the massive form reversal.

Here are feel-good and feel-bad stories that probably cover the mixed emotions of most punters after the boilover win.

LUNAR FOX IS A GREAT ADVERTISEMENT FOR RACING!

ARCHIE BUTTERFLY on his subscriber only website, peterprofit.com, went for the jugular:

‘WHAT better advertisement for the integrity of thoroughbred racing is there than Saturday’s $301 Australian Guineas winner Lunar Fox?

His original trainers – the father and daughter of Terry and Karina O’Sullivan – are sitting on the sidelines, after having been scrubbed out of the game for 3 and 5 years (Dad three, daughter five) for blood doping horses.

The trainer who took over control of Lunar Fox after they got outed isn’t much better.

Paul Preusker was outed for four years for using a jigger on a horse at trackwork a decade ago. His stable foreperson and partner Holly McKechnie got outed for three.

O’Sullivan, O’Sullivan, Preusker, McKechnie – what a roster!

Lunar Fox turned its recent form upside down and improved by 15 lengths on the weekend.

That’s what racing needs – consistency, electric shocks and cobalt.

Perhaps we could put the faces of the quartet of the Fox’s former and current trainers up on a billboard, festooned with balloons beating the words INTEGRITY.

BEWARE – YOU ARE ENTERING A SITE WHERE ABSOLUTELY ANYTHING CAN HAPPEN!

MATT STEWART, the Racing Editor of RSN, took a different slant:

THE beauty of racing is that not much of it makes sense. The script only takes you so far. It will rob you and reward you and all you can do is strap yourself in and hope.

On Saturday, The Harrovian had compiled a picket fence of wins from here to the horizon. Winning had become easy and expected. On law of averages, he’d win again.

But then circumstances changed, which they can on a racetrack, and that picket fence of 11 straight wins was smashed to bits.

Lunar Fox had been going like a “busted”. You looked at the form guide before the Australian Guineas and it was mathematically and logically impossible for him to win. He’d been beaten 13.2 lengths by Tagaloa a fortnight earlier, at $151.

The Guineas afforded him an extra 200m to rein that margin in and anywhere other than the track, this could only have been achieved by an act of God, like a bolt of lightning through sunny skies that wiped out every runner bar him.

But Lunar Fox, this time double his previous price at $301, surged past Tagaloa in the Guineas, beating him by almost a length.

The racetrack provides little tools and clues that can occasionally make the impossible possible, and punters don’t always completely ignore them.

One of them is the form guide, which if you dug deep enough revealed that almost exactly a year earlier, Lunar Fox had beaten a key Guineas rival, Ole Kirk, in the Sires at the same track. Maybe he liked Headquarters? Worth a few bob at the price to find out?

The other little tool was a set of blinkers that trainer Paul Preusker had fitted to Lunar Fox, probably out of desperation.

Stewards quizzed Holly McKechnie about the astronomical improvement in Lunar Fox, which in any other sport or walk of life would have been inexplicable;  akin to the hopeless pot head up the back of the classroom suddenly racking up straight A’s or Tim Paine making a test century.

McKechnie shrugged her shoulders at the stewards and said neither she nor her partner, Preusker, expected Lunar Fox to win but they did expect the blinkers to help. Racehorses are weird beasts, wired to respond to certain things, like Lunar Fox to blinkers.

Long-shot winners are rare but they occur often enough to suggest every racetrack should have a warning scrolled across the front entrance: “Beware, you are entering a site where absolutely anything can happen.”

MICHAEL DEE LABELLED ‘MICK THE DICK’ AFTER BOILOVER WIN

PUNTERS were quick to label MICHAEL DEE, the talented young jockey who piloted bolter LUNAR FOX to Australian Guineas victory, MICK THE DICK.

During an interview after the boilover win in Saturday’s G1 at Flemington, Jason Richardson told Dee: ‘You are normally the punters’ pal Michael, but not today.”

‘Mick the Dick’ replied: “I don’t really care to be honest’ which went over like a lead balloon with the punters who do the betting that provides the revenue that pays the prizemoney from which this little turkey benefits.

“I can’t believe what has happened,” Dee went on to explain.

Perhaps it was the BLINKERS that SPARKED him up.

 

HERE’S what PUNTERS had to WHINGE about from the WEEKEND RACING:

ONE of MANY we received concerning the BOILOVER in the Australian Guineas:

‘THERE’S no point in doing the form – whether it’s a Maiden or a Group One – when you get results like Lunar Fox in the Australian Guineas. You couldn’t have backed that horse under any circumstances. Punters might as well be picking their winners with a pin.’  

‘SHAQUERO must have lost a leg since his win in the Magic Millions. He beat only two home in the Skyline Stakes. Added insult to injury for us punters it was the stablemate O’President that won his way into the Golden Slipper with an upset win – yet another second string stable success for Chris Waller.’

EDITOR’S NOTE: Stewards questioned the ride of Hugh Bowman and also spoke with trainer Chris Waller who confirmed the instructions were to take up an on-pace position on the colt. He stated that in his opinion Shaquero did not appreciate the soft track conditions and that the colt had performed similarly when it raced first-up at Eagle Farm on 26 December 2020. He further stated that in his opinion Shaquero would gain a fitness benefit from the performance and undertook to report if there was anything amiss with Shaquero subsequent to the race.

‘THE Waller stable continues to crap in the face of the punting fraternity winning with outsiders when they have heavily backed favorites in the race. It happened twice on Saturday at Randwick – firstly with O’President beating MM winner Shaquero out of sight in the Skyline and then Yonkers relegating Great House to third later in the day. Not a whimper about the beaten Waller favorites from his mates at SKY.’

‘SOME of these big trainers must be the worst judges in the world. James Cummings declared Zakat his best of the day anywhere in Australia on Saturday. It lined up a heavily-backed favorite in the last at Randwick and could do no better than fourth.’

‘WHATEVER happened to co-ordination between stewards in various states to dodge race clashes created by delays for the re-shoeing of horses or barrier mishaps etc? A major race at Flemington jumped at the same time as one from the Sunshine Coast on Saturday due to a shoeing delay in the northern venue. SKY doesn’t seem to care any more about Melbourne racing with their priority not only Sydney racing but the second string venue in NSW as well.’

 

 

REFRESHING TO SEE OBJECTIVE SKY COVERAGE ABOUT THE FARM

HERE are a few of emails (whinges) that we have received – some were contributed during the Eagle Farm race meeting this afternoon (Thursday):

‘WASN’T it refreshing to see such objective coverage by SKY of the Eagle Farm race meeting this afternoon when the spotlight was put on the state of the track? Instead of the hosts putting just their thoughts forward they asked those at the coalface – especially the jockeys for an opinion.’

‘DON’T mean to appear cynical but the race to race interviews with the winning jockeys on SKY at Eagle Farm today almost seemed like someone had suggested the need to pump up the deflated tyres on the track. Here’s hoping it doesn’t come back to bite the jockeys and trainers in the bum. It will be the owners who blow up if down the track their horses pay the penalty for running there.’

‘SOMETHING very strange seemed to be happening at Eagle Farm today. It’s early on but every jockey asked about the track so far is saying how great it is. With all the rain we have had the surface should have give in it.’

‘GOOD to see SKY paying their way in this new contract with the BRC and promoting the Eagle Farm track today. If it didn’t have some cushion for the horses today after all the rain there has been this week then it never will. There was a story doing the rounds that someone at RQ had told a close friend at SKY to do their best to silence all those silly social media critics. Sadly both parties concerned are walking a tightrope with their job – one is gone for sure and the other will then surely follow’.   

‘HERE’S hoping SKY, with some influence from their new mates at the BRC, aren’t moving the best form analyst in the business Mike Maxworthy to the back-blocks. Now that Nathan Exelby has moved from The Courier-Mail to his new digs at the Farm, he seems to have joined Bernadette Cooper as the ‘form expert’ for Eagle Farm and Doomben. If Maxworthy has to play second fiddle to either Nathan or Bernie then something is horribly wrong, especially as he never gets involved in political controversy in racing and is so well liked by all from punters to stakeholders.’

‘NOTICED you recently ran a whinge about the new Courier-Mail form guide – well let me throw a bit more gossip onto the fire. Story goes the CM is now being printed at Yandina and that is why people, like me on the Northside, don’t get some papers, especially at the weekend, until after nine o’clock when we used to get it at five. Spoke to my newsagent about it and he said delivery contracts (when they expire) are not being renewed because some mob called Anon Pty Ltd has taken over. So when you get some Indian driver tossing your daily from the other side of the road and it doesn’t even clear the fence, my suggestion is given the Courier-Mail Circulation Department a call and register your protest.’

EDITOR’S NOTE: For those who have contacted LGHR asking what has happened to ARCHIE BUTTERFLY and his subscriber only website www.peterprofit.com. His coverage for the past week has been scaled back because of a court case that has commandeered his time.

In Archie’s words, his explanation starts:

“My apologies that stories have been so thin on the ground this week, but short of never sleeping it has been unavoidable.

I have been tied up in the hearing of four applications for restraining orders against me brought by senior officials of the Brisbane Racing Club after charges based on their spurious claims that I criminally stalked them by writing stories they found offensive or unpalatable – charges that could have seen me jailed for 10 years – that were dropped just days before I was due to go to trial.

You can read the rest on his website.

HERE'S SOMEONE WHO DOESN'T AGREE WITH ROB HEATHCOTE

WE also received this email from JOHN WATTS of johnwatts racing on the DOWNS in relation to the ROB HEATHCOTE situation:

'I find it nothing more than an ego driven Robert Heathcote to have to go public and carry on about principle after a totally uncalled for abusive tirade aimed at jockey Mark Du Plessis. There is absolutely no need for this type of behaviour, publicly or privately. Don’t we constantly hear advertisements damning abuse and bullying in the workplace?

What commercial industry in the world tolerates this type of behaviour, abusing employees/contractors. There are laws in this country that must be upheld to stop abuse in the workplace and individuals like Heathcote feel that this is their right to say what they like. He said as much himself in his recent published interview about going legal on the matter.  What Heathcote said was most unprofessional and to send that to owners as he alleges makes it even more reprehensible. Obviously one owner has been disgusted by Heathcote’s abusive tirade and thought the industry needs to be aware that if this is the way a leading trainer behaves then what happens to others in the same situation. It is not anybody’s right to speak to people like this as Heathcote by his own admission feels it’s his prerogative. If you are a trainer and unhappy with a ride then tell the rider respectfully and professionally and simply don’t put them on again. Heathcote is renowned for giving jockeys “time”. I hope Heathcote gets the book thrown at him for abuse in the workplace and it costs him a fortune. He obviously needs anger management therapy. His reputation would be much better served copping the fine and apologizing for his foul abusive mouth. Robert Heathcote hasn’t a leg to stand on. Mind you, this isn’t an uncommon practice in the racing industry so maybe this could be a lesson for a few trainers, making an example of a Group 1 winning trainer that he is not above our Occupational Workplace & Safety laws. It’s about time!!

 

 

TRAINERS GETTING FINED FOR DOING STEWARDS’ JOB IS A BIT RICH

IT’S a bit rich when trainers are being penalised for what some could argue is an inability by stewards in Queensland to do their job.

If the racing police had been diligent enough to question jockeys concerning these rides that have caused the problem then there would have been no need for the trainers to blow up at jockeys.

The situation again highlights a lack of confidence that punters and stakeholders have in the QRIC Chief Steward at the gallops, Peter Chadwick.

Some cynics even joke when Chadwick is in charge of meetings that there should be a gear change notified: ‘Blinkers ON’.

Group One winning trainer Rob Heathcote has won plenty of industry sympathy and support for his decision to appeal after being found guilty of a misconduct charge involving a ‘spray’ he gave jockey Mark Du Plessis after a questionable ride on one of his horses.

Heathcote insists the charge arose from a private post-race debate with Du Plessis over the tactics he adopted on the heavily backed Stuttering at Eagle Farm on February 6. He admits saying ‘fuck you’ to the internationally experienced jockey after ‘he failed to follow instructions’ to lead and elected to take a sit when Stuttering finished third.

The debrief with Du Plessis after the race was taped by Heathcote on his mobile and sent to the connections of Stuttering. It was intended to be private but wound up becoming public when the audio clip was circulated on social media, suggesting it was forwarded by one of the owners.

Rather than see fit to open an inquiry into the Du Plessis ride the Stewards obviously became aware of Heathcote’s concerns when they heard the audio clip which resulted in an inquiry being opened.

Stewards last Saturday convened an inquiry and found Heathcote guilty of a misconduct charge, stating he “did misconduct himself after the running of Race 9 by way of inappropriate language directed to jockey M Du Plessis.”

Heathcote was fined $500, half of which was suspended, after being found guilty of the charge, which falls under the category of conduct detrimental to the interests of racing.

There are several aspects to this interesting test case. Why didn’t the stewards open an inquiry into the ride? Should Heathcote have expressed his concerns to them over the tactics adopted? Is the owner who forwarded the private audio file to social media not guilty of bringing the industry into disrepute more responsible than Heathcote and should the trainer not be conducting his own investigation into how what he had to say privately all of a sudden become public?

Heathcote told website Racenet: “I said ‘f--- you, Mark’. Never at any other time did I swear. No one was around me and I only recorded it for my owners.”

PUNTERS DON’T HAVE TOO MUCH POSITIVE TO SAY ABOUT CHADWICK

STEWARDS would no doubt be aware of a similar but much worse expletive laden audio file rant occurred earlier involving co-trainer Will Hulbert and jockey Andrew Mallyon involving dissatisfaction over his ride on a stable runner.

One might ask – in the absence of any report to the contrary – why an inquiry hasn’t been opened into the alleged conduct of Hulbert. Are stewards sorting out Heathcote for special attention?

As Chief Steward Chadwick for some reason likes to hold controversial inquiries behind closed doors (a la what happened at the Waller stable party at the Gold Coast which seems to be dragging on forever) it would be interesting to know when or if he is going to deal with Hulbert as a matter of consistence.

This was a case where Hulbert went off his trolley about the Mallyon ride on Criminal Defence several weeks ago at a Saturday meeting at the Sunshine Coast (and the owners supported his stance). Ask anyone who watches race videos and this was a ride where questions should have been asked but once again it was left to the trainer to raise the issue with the jockey – doing the job that stewards failed to.

LGHR continually receives complaints that since Chadwick took over the role of Chief Steward at the gallops in Queensland the integrity of racing on and off the track has got worse.

Here are some of the comments that we have received – one from a well known identity:

“Since he took over as Chief Stipe has Mr Chadwick conducted an inquiry involving any high profile jockey or trainer? And the only time he gets half close to doing his job – like the Waller stable fracas at the Gold Coast he hears evidence behind closed doors. Why?”

“Anyone who still bets on racing in Queensland is crazy. Why does it always seem to be a well backed runner that misses the start, gets trapped wide or runs into traffic in the run? The response in the stewards’ report is more excuses than reasons for it happening.”

“Is the Chief Steward unaware of the unsubstantiated rumuors doing the rounds about a certain stable and alleged use of illegal treatment? As a trainer of many years standing I cannot afford to go public, but it’s time there were a few stable raids on race eve. In fact the Tommy Drums were beating that this had happened recently and the least said about the results the next day the better. Come on Mr Chadwick, get off your arse and do the job you were appointed to do”.

 

IF THE TAB IS PAYING NEWS LTD FOR NEW LOOK FORM GUIDE THEY’RE GETTING WELL & TRULY DUDDED

THE new-look Form Guide in The Courier-Mail has some regular readers of the punting fratnerity more than a little upset.

Rather than LGHR trying to explain, here is what one regular contributor sent us:

After expressing my concerns to the TAB in Queensland this is the response I got:

Dear ….,

Thank you for your enquiry.

 Unfortunately we are not involved in the production of the racing form guides in The Courier Mail.

Please contact News Corp Australia, who are the publishers of The Courier Mail, to provide your feedback in relation to these form guides.

Regards,

TAB Customer Support

‘Far from happy with the new Form Guide I filled in The Courier-Mail contact form alerting them to the necessity to include the horses’ performance on the various track conditions. As hereunder:

‘The CM Form Guide now carries the TAB masthead (previously Ladbrokes sponsored the Form Guide).

The new Form Guide has some of the old features, for example the description of jockey colors is included in addition to the images of the colors but one important item is missing. That is the horse's form on the state of the track Firm, Good, Soft, Heavy, Synthetic.

So for next week could you please ensure this information is provided it is vital information for punters and as I assume the TAB is paying they ought to be consulted.

You would think whoever put the Guide together wouldn’t need to be reminded of this.

The TAB is obviously paying News Ltd but their reply to me was one of dismissal and disinterest.’

THE attitude of the MURDOCH MEDIA comes as no surprise – feed the public with political bullshit that serves the purposes of your boss, tell them your circulation is soaring by using readership figures to boost a dismally downward trending sale of newspapers and the crazy need to increase subscriptions. Blame it on the monopoly and those politicians that enabled Rupert to achieve it.

There is a positive side to all of this – Ladbrokes will soon own the TAB and those dills from Customer Support passing it to the other dills at News Ltd responsible for the Form Guide will soon be shown the door.

 

IT MUST HAVE BEEN A BAD NEWS DAY PUMPING UP ‘TOMMY’S TYRES ’

IT must have been a slow news day for ‘Razor’ Thomas – super turf scribe, spin doctor for Racing NSW and PR man for Peter V’landys and the Waterhouse clan.

Just fresh from his hols, ‘Razor’ produced this little gem for the News Ltd Turf Network:

RACING scion Tom Waterhouse believes the $3.5 million Golden Slipper is starting to shape as a race in two between unbeaten colts Profiteer and Stay Inside.

Waterhouse, one of Sydney’s most astute punters, said the reputations and race records of Profiteer and Stay Inside has been enhanced by the growing Slipper attrition rate.

Enthaar is the latest two-year-old to fall from Golden Slipper favour after finishing unplaced in the Blue Diamond last Saturday.

Unbeaten youngsters Acrobat and Sneaky Five are out for the season with injury while the likes of Remarque and Four Moves Ahead have had recent setbacks in training and are in a race against time to be fit, then qualify, for the Golden Slipper.

Waterhouse, a former bookmaker who now operates a successful punting business “TomWaterhouse.com”, said the results of the Silver Slipper and Blue Diamond only convinced him that Profiteer and Stay Inside are the ones to beat for the Golden Slipper, run at Rosehill Gardens on March 20.

Where do we start?

Time to think about retirement if that’s the best you can do ‘Razor’.

Had to look up what a ‘Racing Scion’ was – the words used to start the story quoting little Tommy Waterhouse. It’s actually ‘a descendant of a notable family’. Less said there the better.

But we will comment on the pump-up that suggests he runs ‘a successful punting business TomWaterhouse.com’.

If ‘Razor’s’ reward is a set of little Tommy’s Gold Tips it’s little wonder he needs that multitude of jobs with the Sydney Tele, Sky Radio, Sky Racing and boosting the profile of the Waterhouse's.

Why? Well we see the tips most weeks and would argue that backing these would leave you with the backside out of your pants!   

 

ALL OF A SUDDEN THE EAGLE FARM TRACK IS ‘BACK FROM THE DEAD’

ALL of a sudden the much-maligned track is back from the dead with headlines of optimism at Eagle Farm.

They have to be kidding.

Forget the spin doctors at SKY who painted a false picture on Saturday and hark the warning from Ben Dorries of racenet who warned: ‘One swallow doesn’t make a summer.’

Writing for The Sunday Mail as well now, Dorries covered his backside adding: “At least some case for cautious optimism only months out from the Winter Carnival.”

For the sake of Queensland racing one hopes Eagle Farm doesn’t need to again be dug up and that the verti-draining and extra grass will add more cushion and improve the track sufficiently to convince trainers and jockeys (not only local but also from interstate) to head toward the carnival with more confidence than scepticism.

But here are two close observers of the racing scene in Queensland who disagree:

ARCHIE BUTTERFLY on his subscriber only website, www.peterprofit.com, reports that the official times RQ is publishing for Eagle Farm are far from accurate.

He says the whiz bang Trackus timing mechanism that cost a motza isn’t to blame but more so the barriers are being placed in the wrong position by not calculating the adjustments properly when the moveable rail is out at the Farm.

Archie suggests: ‘Everything about Eagle Farm is rooted these days. It’s time to let go of the past and shut the whole shebang down.’

The Butterfly posed the question: ‘DID you see how badly the Eagle Farm track played on Saturday?’

Only one winner all day came home further out than three off the fence and that was a stayers’ race where rating 55 horses were going around in a BM 80 for the appearance money.

Outside of that class disparity horses that came down the middle or outside of the track just couldn’t win.

At the 250m mark they would cruise up and look like they were going to sweep straight by to win by panels, but they’d get to about the 125m and stop as if shot. It looked for all the world like they’d run into a 10 foot pit of quicksand and maybe they did too, for it happened race by race and it went on all day – on a GOOD 4 surface.

The track is cactus. Eagle Farm is f…d. How can they possibly run a Winter Carnival on this?

JOHN the FIREMAN weighed into the track controversy as well with this contribution:

‘The racing media and Sunday Mail talking up the Eagle Farm track again is a joke.

They have to be kidding and are a disgrace.

If the track didn’t perform under the circumstances leading into Saturday’s meeting you will never get an OK surface.

It rained all week leading into the meeting with no rain on the day to create surface water.

Yet it raced as a Good 4 and across the road at Doomben the track on Thursday was a Heavy 8 and on Saturday the Gold Coast was a Heavy 10 and unraceable.

The Eagle Farm track drains too quickly and requires far too much water at a cost that the industry cannot afford.

Lies need to stop and realty needs to be accepted. They simply got the rebuild wrong.

Finally, it was predictable that the PRESS ROOM show on Monday on RadioTAB would talk up Eagle Farm and not delve into the real facts as to why the track appeared to improve on that particular day.’

 

DORRIES A POPULAR NEW PANELIST DESPITE ‘GODFATHER’S’ DISLIKE

BEN DORRIES – a surprise new panellist on PRESS ROOM considering the ‘Racing Media Godfather’ in Queensland doesn’t like him – got one thing 100 per cent right.

Mark Ainsworth – unlike Chief Steward Peter Chadwick – is a valuable addition to the integrity network and looks a perfect fit to fill the vacancy of Queensland Racing Integrity Commissioner created by the resignation of Ross Barnett.

Ainsworth is smart enough to realise the poison chalice that awaits him. The former ‘top cop’ who solved the Baden Clay murder case is a shoe-in for the job if Sal Perna who recently quit as Victoria’s Racing Commissioner doesn’t throw his hat into the ring.

Like Ben, LGHR was privileged to sit down for a fireside chat (over a cup of coffee) with Mark recently. No stories out of school but you can bet London to a Brick On, the briefing we gave him touched on some far more hotter topics and industry scumbags than the discussion he had with Dorries.

 

DOGS ARE BARKING A WELCOME BACK TO STEWARD WADE BIRCH

IT sounds like an April Fool’s Day joke being played out in February.

Wade Birch, sacked as Racing Queensland’s General Manager of Stewards and Integrity in the fallout from the greyhound live baiting scandal, is to be appointed Chief Steward of the Greyhound Welfare Integrity Commission in NSW.

Considering the stand that the Government in NSW took, then reversed, of banning greyhound racing in that state in the wake of the controversy, this almost seems a contradiction in terms or complete hypocrisy.

Don’t misunderstand what we are saying, LGHR once regarded Birch as a shining light of the steward ranks in this country and believed he was thrown under the bus by RQ in the wake of the live baiting controversy along with the RQ CEO at the time Darren Condon who was lost to racing completely.

Birch bounced back with his appointment as Deputy Chief Steward for Racing NSW but that role has come back to haunt him after working with some colourful people in the industry during his absence from the stewarding ranks.      

Birch, who has been Marc Van Gestel’s offsider on the Sydney panel since April 2019, will depart Racing NSW after Golden Slipper Day with search already underway to find his replacement.

 

HOW WILL THE GOAT TRACK AT EAGLE FARM COPE WITH THREE SUCCESSIVE SATURDAYS OF WINTER CARNIVAL RACING?

THERE were plenty of bells and whistles when Racing Queensland unveiled its new-look Winter Carnival to the ‘chosen ones’ in the media today of which LGHR is not one.

Then again the ‘spin doctors’ are not interested in asking the tough questions like: How in the hell is the Eagle Farm track in its current delicate condition going to cope with three successive Saturdays of Carnival racing?

The good news is that the Carnival, over 10 days from May 1 to July 3, will feature a cash transfusion of $2 million taking stakes levels to $20.5mn and featuring eight Group 1’s and 53 Black Type races.

It seems all the high-flyers – except the Racing Minister who again seems to have gone MIA – waffled on about what a great success story the Carnival will be but managed somehow not to mention the problems with the Eagle Farm track and no doubt weren’t asked any awkward questions by their mates in the media.

RQ Chairman Steve Wilson declared:

“Major events like our iconic Winter Racing Carnival are critical to growing tourism and events in Queensland and this year’s program is expected to do just that.

“The Winter Carnival’s biggest day, the TAB Stradbroke Handicap, will be among the nation’s most anticipated and lucrative race days, while the national and international exposure for Queensland will be unrivalled thanks to new our media distribution agreements which will showcase us to the world.
 
“Following limited feature racing in 2020, we’re looking forward to turbo-charging this year’s Winter Carnival and extending Queensland’s renowned hospitality to locals and visitors alike.”
 

And just when we thought the biggest tourism and racing drawcard in Queensland was the Gold Coast Magic Millions.

CEO Tony Partridge praised the new Carnival on behalf of the BRC (Chairman Bell must have been too busy preparing for his court battle with Archie Butterfly):

“The pinnacle of Group racing for Queensland is Stradbroke Season when Australia’s best compete at Eagle Farm and Doomben,” Mr Partridge said.

 “Stradbroke Season is also a brilliant time to visit Brisbane. 

“This year the Sky Racing Q22 and increased prize money levels from the last Winter Carnival will only add to the appeal.

“Stradbroke Season is designed with attractions on and off the track. We have outstanding races that lead towards Stradbroke Day when the TAB Stradbroke, Sky Racing Q22 and JJ Atkins will each offer more than $1 million in prize money. 

“We look forward to seeing the best of our Queensland horses, trainers and jockeys and then the established names and the rising stars from inter-state and beyond.”

HERE’S hoping those attractions on the track aren’t horses breaking down and as for the rising stars coming here from ‘interstate and beyond’ – the BRC crystal balls must suggest COVID restrictions are being lifted from overseas destinations.

There’s no show without punch and ‘Pins’ Parnell, the half million dollar man in his RQ CEO role, had his two bob’s worth as well:

“There’s a lot to look forward to during this year’s Winter Racing Carnival.

“We’re delighted to return the time-honored Brisbane Cup to two miles, while the two-year-old and fillies and mares program will receive a significant boost.”

So there you go. Not one word on the problems that have dogged the Eagle Farm track and continue to provide week-in, week-out dramas between the BRC, RQ and its participants. It fits in with reports that pleas were made to trainers and jockeys to suffer the current problems and a new track will be built after the Carnival.

Here’s hoping the Chinese Year of the Ox doesn’t turn into the Year of the Goat Track for Eagle Farm while the national spotlight is focused on Queensland during its once great Winter Carnival.

 

THIS GOAT TRACK IS AS ROOTED AS ‘STIFLER’S’ MUM 

IT’S rather ironic that THE STIFMEISTER, named after one of the iconic stars of the American Pie movies, will make his debut at Eagle Farm on Saturday – a track that is the laughing stock of Australian racing.

Eagle Farm has had almost as many face-lifts as Stifler’s mum has had roots in the popular comedy franchise – but in the case of Queensland’s No 1 track the laugh is on the industry stakeholders and the taxpayers.

The Stifmeister, who has trialled well for his debut at Eagle Farm, was bought and named by trainer Stuart Kendrick’s son, Nathan and it’s a reference to the nickname and is well named out of the mare Hot Mama.

To suggest that trainers will head to Eagle Farm on Saturday having little idea of how the controversial track will play is an understatement. In the eyes of the cynics those who continue to race on a track which some declare injures horses deserve what they get.

In many recent meetings, Eagle Farm has been rock-hard with stewards’ reports littered with cases of horses who have jarred up or not let down on the surface. It’s a great excuse for beaten favourites or form reversals. Here’s hoping the rain in Brisbane late in the week reduces the risk of injury and that the track doesn’t chop up like it has done in the past.

However there was heavy rain at times in Brisbane on Thursday and there is more rain forecast in the lead-up to race day and on race day itself.

 

TIME FOR SKY CHANNEL TO COME CLEAR ON SAM HYLAND DEPARTURE

IT’S about time SKY Channel or Racing Queensland came clean on what happened to media identity Sam Hyland.

The racing rumour mill can get things wrong but the story goes that Sam has for some strange reason been shown the door.

Controversy has ridden shotgun with Hyland in his attempts to pursue a career in racing since he retired as a jockey.

Mystery still surrounds the reasons he was sacked by TVN in 2017 which caused uproar from his fans in the racing public and supporters among the stakeholders.

Some blamed it on his interview style on horseback with winning jockeys, officialdom said it had more to do with his inability to take directions and then there was his up-front delivery of track reports on RSN daily which didn’t sit well with some clubs and their curators.

Hyland ventured north in 2019 with a deal understood to have been brokered between RQ and SKY but did most of his work in more recent times for the race broadcaster as a paddock host at TAB meetings, mostly outside Brisbane.

Some are saying he was dispensed with to make way for Nathan Exelby to transfer from Racing Editor of The Courier-Mail to a joint role with SKY and the BRC promoting Brisbane racing. It doesn’t make sense that Hyland would have interfered in any way with Exelby’s arrival or the work he is going to do.

Perhaps it had something more to do with Sam’s mobile phone use at a Brisbane race meeting and the story goes he wasn’t making a call.

 

 

‘PROSTITUTING’ NEWSPAPERS FOR ALMIGHTY ADVERTISING DOLLAR

THE Murdoch Media – in the eyes of many – have managed to prostitute some once great newspapers all for the sake of the mighty dollar.

Magnificent mastheads that once carried banner headline stories attracting hundreds of thousands of readers have been replaced by near full-page Harvey Norman ads.

It’s an incredible sell-out at a time when circulation figures are dropping to the degree that some newspapers are now just on-line and there is a dark cloud hanging over the future of some of the bigger ones.

Respected publishers, editors and high profile journalists of a by-gone era would be rolling in their graves if they could see the wrap-arounds and massive front and back page advertorial that now invades the space that was once nothing but news and sport.

With all due respects to the Harvey Norman company making the most of a great marketing opportunity, they say the advertising investment which must be costing big bucks (and a nice return in tax revenue) has helped their ‘Job Keeper’ program.

But there is a downside for the Murdoch Media as well. One of ‘Rupert’s boys’ has confided to LGHR that there is a mutiny among high ranking editorial and management staff over the Norman invasion of the front and back pages which could soon see it end or reduced substantially.

And from a readers’ perspective – that dwindling number that are still left – the sooner the better.

  • OUR accompanying photo of the front page is from the once great Townsville Daily Bulletin where decades ago when they decided to move sport to the back page management found it necessary to survey readers on whether the comics should be moved and funeral directors on how they felt about their ‘Daily Notices’ being shifted to the inside pages of the paper. How times change?

 

HERE COMES THE JUDGE – A REUNION OF RACING MATES AT THE CREEK

SPEAKING of Townsville, a group of old racing mates from the northern city had a reunion at the Brekky Creek during the week.

Retired judge Bob Pack made the trip south to meet with lawyer Don Cleary, accountant David Hart and car dealer Neville Hyde when much reminiscing was done.

No doubt they would have had ‘the Judge’ in the witness box answering questions about why the ownership (of which he is one) rejected almost $3 million from Hong Kong interests for the Chris Waller-trained Kinane sent for a spell after it subsequently ‘lost a leg’.

The bunch of great blokes, all with a story to tell about their owning, punting and racing exploits, came away believing that the one who had weathered the storm of life the best was ‘Nifty’ Neville which just goes to show there’s less stress in selling cars than working in the courts or doing peoples’ tax.

There was one missing ingredient from the ‘boys day out’ – the beautiful Pauline – not sure whether she would have controlled the party or ensured it got out of control!

 

AND FINALLY CONTRIBUTORS' COMMENTS FROM THE WEEKEND RACING:

‘WASN’T it fantastic to see the quiet-achiever Jamie Kah out-ride motor-mouth Glen Boss in the Lightning Stakes. Jamie let Nature Strip do the talking while Boss, all piss and wind before the Group 1, rode the heavily-backed Bivouac far too close to the lead. She pulled his pants down.’

“WASN’T that Irish lass from County Kildare a delight on the eyes speaking to racing.com after the win of bolter Runaway at Flemington on Saturday? That’s where it ended though for many when she declared: “We expected him to win.” It had to be an Irish joke – the Waterhouse-Bott-trained galloper was third-up after a long break, his best recent effort was runner-up in last year’s Australian Hurdle and he started at $31. Now he’s heading to the Sydney Cup.”

“THERE was a lesson to be learnt from the Doomben meeting on Saturday and the Stewards’ Panel shouldn’t need the punters to explain. If Chief Stipe Peter Chadwick doesn’t know what we're talking about then he needs a seeing-eye dog. As they say, ‘the greater the truth, the greater the libel, so the less said by us, the better protected we are legally.”

“ANYONE who saw the win by Spirit House at the Sunshine Coast on Sunday had to be impressed. This was only a Class 1 for Fillies & Mares but Spirit House was going so well near the rear of the field that top jockey Michael Rodd had trouble restraining her off the heels of the runner in front. The sectional for the last 600m was 33.61 so her time from near last at the 200m to win with plenty of reserve had to be sensational. Like all the horses trained by Tony Gollan, she is racing like she has an outboard motor.”

“NOT much positive can be said about South Australian racing at the moment apart from the performance of the lady jockeys who rode five of the nine winners at the Morphettville Parks meeting on Saturday. But one of those winners was the result of an outstanding ride by apprentice Scarlet So who adopted daring tearaway tactics on The Red Sea to beat boom lady rider Jessica Eaton on the favorite Tibetan. The ride copped big raps from some top judges.”          

 

BOTTOM LINE: WHO IS RESPONSIBLE FOR EAGLE FARM FIASCO?

YOU know things have hit rock bottom when Racing Queensland hosts an industry workshop and asks stakeholders to come up with a fix for the troubled Eagle Farm track.

Isn’t this one of the things that our useless Racing Minister Grace Grace would expect the mate she appointed as RQ Board Chairman in Steve Wilson and his first lieutenant, the half million dollar man, CEO Brendan Parnell, to have the answers to?

Of course both are as useful as ‘tits on a bull’ when it comes to rectifying industry problems – that’s why, in conjunction with the Brisbane Racing Club, they have managed to turn the No 1 track in Queensland into the standing joke of Australian racing.

Trainers, jockeys, owners and breeders were invited to a strategic (whatever the hell that means) workshop on Monday hosted by RQ to discuss a number of issues, primarily the controversial Eagle Farm track.

Story goes the last time trainers and jockeys met with RQ they were told to ‘be patient’ until after the Winter Carnival and then funding would be provided to once again dig up the latest failure and spend another $10-million plus of industry and taxpayer money to build a new one.

Wait until after the Winter Carnival – they have to be kidding – no-one wants to race at Eagle Farm at present – just look at the field sizes. And what Winter Carnival – only the needy and the greedy will bring horses from interstate to compete on that goat track.

The Racing Minister should shoot her mate ‘Whirlwind’ and his ‘go-to boy’ Pins out of their Deagon bunker into the bay and appoint the Board Member she didn’t want, Graham Quirk to conduct an inquiry into what went wrong while finding some answers to fix the problem once and for all. She could even enlist the help of 4BC Morning Show host and keen racing man, Ray Hadley, to assist Quirk in rooting out the Eagle Farm ferals responsible for this debacle.  

It is not only unbelievable but scandalous to think the industry in Queensland has reached this stage given Eagle Farm was first closed for renovations in 2014 yet seven years later is still deeply troubled.

There is a suggestion from some trainers that Eagle Farm should be closed now and some of the Saturday meetings moved to the Gold and Sunshine Coast. If that occurs what happens to the Carnival – does Doomben again bear the brunt of taking on the majority of the Group 1 races?

If this happens one of the casualties will be the quality of Sunday racing with more meetings being allocated the tracks like Gatton, Kilcoy and Beaudesert where punters aren’t keen to bet.

What a tangled mess we’re in!

 

MIXED REACTION TO SUSPENDED SENTENCE HANDED DOWN TO SHUCK

THERE has been mixed reaction to the suspended sentence handed down to former Racing Queensland Infrastructure Operations Manager, Bill Shuck, who rorted the tendering process for track upgrades by feeding ‘inside information’ to businessman and supposed mate, Wayne Innes.

Shuck pleaded guilty in the District Court to five counts of fraud while working for RQ in 2014-15 alleging he provided Innes with ‘inside information’ about project budgets and competitors’ quotes so that Innes could secure work for his earthmoving company Landfill Logistics.

There are those in the corner of Judge Julie Dick, who in granting Shuck a three-year suspended sentence, said he had been naive and had enjoyed that it had given him a “friendship with Innes”.

She said their dealings had given Innes a “considerable advantage in the tender process and subverted the proper commercial tender process”.

But others agree with our colleague Archie Butterfly at peterprofit.com who wrote a story on his subscriber only site today headed: ‘Quarter of a Million Dollar racing fraudster Bill Schuck escapes prison – the Fix was In – this is Queensland – the Fix is Always In.'

The story starts: The fix was in. The deeply corrupt Racing Queensland procurement manager Bill Shuck has walked free after helping the serial fraudster and conman Wayne Innes rip off $250,000 from the racing game. You would have to be kidding. The whole thing is wrong etc.

Prosecutor Sam Bain told the court that Shuck supplied Innes with details about upgrades for the Redcliffe Harness Racing Club and forwarded competitors’ quotes for a redevelopment at Kilcoy racetrack asking: “do you want to revise this quote?”

The pair was charged in 2017 as part of the Crime and Corruption Commission’s Operation Yardage, which investigated the fraudulent contracts. Innes, a former NSW policeman who raced horses with a leading Brisbane stable, served 12 months of a four-year jail sentence after pleading guilty to fraudulent dealings with both RQ and Ipswich City Council.

Bain said while Innes was the “corrupter”, Shuck was in a significant position of trust.

Barrister Jeffrey Hunter QC said Shuck had not received any kickback from his dealings and had given the information to Innes because the company was known for quality work that delivered “safely, on time and on budget”.

“Importantly unlike Innes he did not benefit substantially, and he wasn’t motivated by greed,” Hunter said. “Rather he was motivated by a misguided sense of altruism.”

At the end of the day the only thing stakeholders, the industry and the racing public are in almost absolute agreement on is that Wayne Innes ‘got off too light’ in this whole corrupt affair.

 

FROM HUNTER TO HUNTED, JAMIE KAH FACES A PREDICAMENT

JAMIE KAH, the pin-up girl of Australian racing, has inherited a predicament that some top jockeys could only dream of as she graduates from the hunter to the hunted.

Such is the demand for the services of Kah that soon she will have to decide whether to jeopardise her chances of becoming the first woman to win the Melbourne metropolitan premiership if she elects to ride at the major meetings in Sydney and Adelaide.

Barring suspension or injury Kah has a lead that even with such a long trip to the finish line will take some overtaking especially with the strike rate she is enjoying at metro meetings each week.

When Chris Waller sent an SOS asking her to ride ‘head case’ Nature Strip success was bound to come with some baggage (if that’s what one could call it). No doubt the way the superstar sprinter responded to her magic hands in winning the Lightning Waller will want her to maintain that association with the horse when he goes to feature races during the autumn in Sydney.

And one would imagine Kah is so rapped in the horse and the opportunity to link with the powerful Waller stable that she won’t think twice about border-hopping provided there are no COVID obstacles at the time.

Therein lies another problem. Her rival jockeys in the big brigade in Melbourne, headed by the likes of Damien Oliver, are ‘gentlemen’ compared to the sharks she will have to swim with in Sydney. They don’t even like each other when they get on the track (well not in the big races anyway).

 

WAS GOLLAN VICTIM OF EAGLE FARM ON THAT ONE BAD WEEKEND?

PUNTERS – big and small – who have been enjoying the magic carpet ride on the back of the amazing success being enjoyed by the Tony Gollan stable are wondering what went wrong.

They certainly aren’t talking about Saturday when Gollan saddled up runners in four races at Doomben and won all four. The last time the main meeting of the week was at Doomben, back in late January, they landed a successful treble.

So what happened the previous Saturday at Eagle Farm when punters went from driving away in a limo with an armed guard to walking down Racecourse Road with the backside out of their pants?

Statistics suggest it was that mongrel of a track at Eagle Farm where even the best of horses can be casualties – a la Gollan’s $1.30 favorite Ingear that had to be content with an out-of-character second.

Some of the cynics have other reasons for the stable leaving a Saturday meeting in Brisbane empty-handed. Most can’t remember the last time that happened but a week can be a long time in racing.

Punters, big and small, recouped not only what they lost the previous week but even more when the Gollan horses simply exploded on Saturday. It started when Leadership Spill raced away from his rivals in the first, to be followed by boom filly Madam Fleiss bolting in with the second. The wins that followed by Socialising and Garibaldi had to be seen to be believed – both made their rivals look second rate running sizzling sectional times.

The Gollan quadrella cost corporate bookies throughout the country a small fortune – three of them carrying huge bets and backed into odds-on. This flies in the face of the days – not all that long ago – when punters, especially the pros, were reluctant to back ‘shorties’ in Brisbane for fear that they would miss the start, sit wide or run into trouble in running.

The party continued for the stable at the Sunshine Coast on Sunday with the plunge win of Spirit House, coming from a seemingly impossible spot to win running away and Foxy Rippa resuming from a bad alley and providing another win for the Gollan-Michael Rodd team which is set to become lethal on the south-east TAB scene.

Gollan, with over 100 winners for the season, is unquestionably the Chris Waller of Queensland. How his attempt to start a stable in Sydney failed is beyond belief. His horses are simply too good for their rivals in Brisbane. Can anything stop this super stable success story?

 

WHAT A LOAD OF SELF-INDULGENT CRAP – ‘BEN’S’ THE MAN FOR THE JOB

SOME racing scribes just lead with their chin and Nathan Exelby has to be one of them after reading his farewell piece in The Sunday Mail.

It’s not as though the ‘would-be’ Racing Editor is retiring or leaving the racing industry. After all he’s just going down the road to join the Brisbane Racing Club and SKY Channel who one could argue he has done as much work for in recent years as his newspaper job.

At least Exelby will no longer have to pretend to protect the interests of the punting public and can simply roll over to what he’s been doing – promoting the BRC and Racing Queensland without being accused of favoritism and failing to be objective in certain political areas.

Gone are the days when the big newspapers in Australia had ‘fair dinkum’ Turf Departments, with highly respected Racing Editors throughout the country. No longer do they have writers dedicated to the minor codes of harness racing and greyhounds.

At the end of the day Exelby was smart enough to see the writing on the wall. He was the Turf Editor of a team of one at Queensland Newspapers – that was himself – and News Ltd’s acquisition of the popular Racenet website effectively saw him demoted further. Following his predecessor and mentor Bart Sinclair to the BRC was a wise move and he has had experience working with SKY despite having a good head for radio.

His departure promotes the question of whether Queensland Newspapers will retain the role of Racing Editor. Having read Exelby’s self-indulgent crock of crap in The Sunday Mail, he is obviously irreplaceable. A one-time, high profile RQ figure texted and asked if I, like him, had almost thrown up my breakfast.

The hope of many is that Ben Dorries transfers back from Racenet and takes over as Racing Editor but first he will have to overcome a giant obstacle of one of Exelby’s media mates now at the BRC who has never forgiven Dorries for writing the truth about the Eagle Farm track.

When will you learn Ben that to survive in the racing media in Queensland you have to bow and scrape to this bloke and never write a bad word about certain situations?                   

 

 

‘WHAT A FLOP’ – HEADLINE AFTER OPENING OF SYDNEY’S FIRST TAB

By veteran racing scribe MAX PRESNELL, courtesy of FAIRFAX MEDIA 

THE year 1964 was a vintage one for racing in which Royal Sovereign, trained by the recently deceased John Page, overshadowed the introduction of the TAB in NSW.

Now the lifeblood of the industry, the TAB is under siege from invaders, but the off-course tote didn’t leap out of the barrier with authority.

“What A Flop” was the headline in the early afternoon newspapers after the first TAB agency in Angel Place, Sydney, opened at 8.30am to no patrons.

However, by 11.30am the NSW TAB had learned a valuable lesson. Horse players don’t bet early. Headlines were changed in later editions as the floodgates opened that would make the TAB world-renowned and better with the strong racing influence in the boardroom before privatisation in 1997. Even Hong Kong sought the advice of the NSW TAB about the implementation of a betting system.

Alas Ladbrokes – carpetbaggers from abroad – are storming the parapets to gain control of Tabcorp’s wagering side. Fortunately Peter (The Great) V’landys is ready to repel them with the hot oil he poured from the courts on the mainly overseas corporate bookmakers who wouldn’t pay their fair whack from what they plucked out of Australian racing.

The strength of the product today is emphasised at Royal Randwick with the Apollo Stakes and at Flemington with the Black Caviar Lightning – possibly not in the mode of Royal Sovereign but more Wenona Girl, who was successful in the Lightning down the straight five (1000 metres) in 1964.

Royal Sovereign was one of the rare three-year-olds to win three Derbies – the AJC, Victorian and QTC – a feat more notable considering his fourth in the Golden Slipper at Rosehill the previous year.

The feat came to mind with the death of Page, 89, a top Randwick trainer until he became assistant or stable manager to his astute wife Helen Page, who has prepared winners galore since their move to a Gold Coast stable in 1997.

Obviously, Royal Sovereign was outstanding in a great period, emphasised by Wenona Girl, but the Lightning this year presents an intriguing contest between the one-time world’s best sprinter Nature Strip, Bivouac and Chris Waller’s up-and-coming filly September Run. Perhaps modern champion mares Winx and Black Caviar, who was successful in three Lightnings, were better than Wenona Girl but not as tough.

Wenona Girl had 68 starts for 27 wins and 26 placings over distances ranging from four furlongs (900m) to a mile and a half (2400m).

Yes, Wenona Girl is a distant memory, like the one that lingers regarding the early days of the TAB when Justice Edward Kinsella’s royal commission reported that illegal SP bookmakers had an annual turnover of $550 million – a modest assessment.

The off-course “machine” held little fear for them with no radio broadcasts, only win and place offered on seven races, plus a daily double and quinella on the last. Bets cut off 40 minutes before the race, which was hardly competition for off-course operators who allowed telephone investments until the start.

Technology was slack but not racehorses.

Still, when it comes to pure grit, Verry Elleegant, who returns in the Apollo, has a dash of Wenona Girl. Waller remarked to me at Randwick last Saturday how good the mare, who already has a Caulfield Cup (2400m) and Winx Stakes (1400m) to her credit, was looking.

Maybe Derby triumphs like those of Royal Sovereign will never be seen again, but great mares are very much in fashion. Hopefully, Verry Elleegant can continue the trend and the racing industry and not overseas shareholders will be the major beneficiary.

 

QRIC STEWARDS HANDOUT MISCONDUCT PENALTIES - MEDIA RELEASE

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

Central Queensland jockey Chris McIver has been disqualified for 12 months after kicking a horse at the barriers before a race in Rockhampton last month.

McIver was found guilty of misconduct after he twice forcibly stomped on the hindquarter of his mount ‘Or Else’.

Chief Thoroughbred Steward Peter Chadwick said breaches of this kind are very serious and any behavior involving the mistreatment of a thoroughbred racehorse must meet with a significant penalty.

“The penalty must not only deter Mr McIver but must also illustrate to the racing industry that these actions are not to be tolerated,” he said.

“In this case Mr McIver also had two recent breaches of the misconduct rule in 2019 and 2020.”

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

In another incident, Brisbane-based jockey Nathan Thomas pleaded guilty to misconduct and was suspended for two weeks after an incident before a race in Mackay this week.

During the barrier loading process, jockey Thomas was dislodged and then forcibly struck his mount ‘Whosday’ with his whip in the region of the horse’s shoulder.

In a further misconduct incident, this time at Emerald, Central Queensland stable-hand Nick Trimble pleaded guilty to misconduct and was disqualified for three months. While unsaddling ‘Dirt Rich’ following the running of race two at Emerald on 6 February, Mr Trimble forcibly struck the horse in the girth.

Mr Chadwick said all of these incidents had a detrimental effect on the image of racing, and penalties must serve as a general deterrent to illustrate to the racing industry that these activities are unacceptable.

 

 

CHIEF STEWARD’S PATHETIC REPORT ON FIRST DAY OF WALLER STABLE INQUIRY WAS AN INSULT TO THE INTEGRITY OF RACING IN QLD

RESPONSE to our story criticizing QRIC Chief Steward Peter Chadwick for holding behind closed doors an inquiry into the fracas involving staff of the Chris Waller satellite stable on the Gold Coast has been overwhelming.

There have been cries of ‘favouritism for Waller just like he gets in Sydney’ to ‘another whitewash on the cards – bet nobody gets time over this just a fine or slap over the wrist’ and ‘where was the mainstream racing media in reporting this – they only chimed in after it was raised by you guys’.

Whilst the ‘lack of transparency’ in opening the inquiry to the media if ‘they had nothing to hide’ highlighted much of the feedback, sadly there was an overwhelming call for QRIC hierarchy to step in and replace Chadwick as the Chief Steward.

Sadly, it is hard to get anyone – apart from those trainers and jockeys he dealt with in Singapore where he was Chief Steward – to endorse his approach to the job. He cops a bagging from some of his colleagues in Asia and behind his back there are those working on the panel throughout the State in Queensland who rate him as ‘the non-playing captain and refer to his work ethic in far from complimentary terms behind his back’.

We were assured by QRIC that the Waller stable was receiving no special treatment in this current case and that the policy of Chief Steward Chadwick was to hold all of these types of inquiries behind closed doors.

In a story written today Archie Butterfly has taken that suggestion to task and lists several stakeholders with a much lower profile than those associated with Waller who have been ‘thrown under the bus’ in inquiries open to the media.

After the first day of preliminary evidence in the Waller stable inquiry, we received this little gem from Chadwick:

‘THE Stewards commenced an inquiry today into an incident involving racing industry participants that occurred on 27 January at the Gold Coast. The Inquiry has been adjourned for further investigation.’

That’s an insult to the transparency and integrity of racing in Queensland. If it’s the best Chadwick can do then the new QRIC Commissioner, whoever it is that gets his feet under the desk, should immediately ask him to Show Cause why he should continue to hold the job when there is such a lack of confidence in how he does it.

 

HOW CAN THE CHIEF STIPE PENALISE HULBERT FOR HIS AUDIO RANT WHEN HIS PANEL FAILED TO EVEN RECOGNISE A SLAUGHTER JOB?

YOU might recall the report we ran about co-trainer Will Hulbert blowing up over the recent ride of Andrew Mallyon on the well-backed Criminal Defence at a Saturday Sunshine Coast meeting.

Hulbert went off his trolley in an expletive laden profane rant audio file meant exclusively for the owners of Criminal Defence not only expressing his dismay at the ride but also containing a tongue-in-cheek (hopefully) threat to kill Mallyon.

Sadly the audio file was widely distributed throughout the industry causing some of his colleagues to claim that Hulbert’s defamatory attack on Mallyon had breached several Rules of Racing and calling for stewards to take action.

In the emails that we received at LGHR, along with a copy of the audio file, it was suggested that the ‘blow up’ by Hulbert did not impress the owners of the horse.

Well one of those owners, who is based in Sydney, has contacted us declaring that statement to be absolutely incorrect. He says the ownership group have no problem with the passionate way that Hulbert expressed his dismay at the ride and the loss by a horse he thought could win.

No doubt this will be the subject of an upcoming inquiry and Hulbert will be punished for his outburst that should never have gone public. How many of us at some time or another has blown up in the same manner about a ride and in jest suggested we would like to run the jockey over with a truck.

Perhaps Hulbert should have complained about the ride to the Stewards. More importantly why Mallyon changed tact and took the horse into the worst part of the track (which every jockey was avoiding on the day) is a question that Peter Chadwick and his panel should have asked. But as usual the Chief Steward the punters have no confidence in did what he normally does - SFA. What is it with this bloke?

If he holds an inquiry and penalises Will Hulbert who is going to hold an inquiry and penalize him for some might say failing to do his job.

 

QUESTIONS THE INDUSTRY WANT ANSWERED ABOUT ASCOT GREEN

IT comes as no surprise to many that litigation is pending involving our good mate Archie Butterfly and some high-flyers at the Brisbane Racing Club, which could be described as a retirement village for any racing scribe who likes to suck up and survive.

The Butterfly, who is itching to go in a court room battle with some of the big names in the racing industry in Queensland, posed an interesting question on his peterprofit.com website this week:

‘Well isn’t this strange.?'

For those who don’t subscribe to peterprofit – you’re missing out on a great read for little more than a daily coffee or cold stubbie, here is an extract from what he wrote:

‘ON New Year’s Eve the Brisbane Racing Club paid an undisclosed sum to buy the last of the apartments at Ascot Green, the first stage of a major state of the art development at the Eagle Farm racecourse that is owned by the club.’

According to Archie this apartment had been listed for sale for $2 million for almost two years.

He poses an interesting question that the racing public would like the answer to as well: ‘Why would a club that is almost $100mn in the hole pay an undisclosed amount that by any proper commercial standards must be the sum advertised as the sale price to purchase an apartment from itself that it already owns?’

We received an interesting email on the high rise development at Eagle Farm from a regular contributor which read:

‘They say the proof of the pudding is in the eating and there is apparently no lack of confidence in the Ascot Green development. Someone did a search and discovered that directors of the BRC have bought a penthouse and at least four other units (one even purchased 3). Now that’s a show of confidence in what they are selling.”

EDITOR’S NOTE: We will not go any further with ‘The Butterfly’s’ comments on peterprofit.com except to say if the BRC directors wish to clarify the situation (which is the topic of much discussion in the racing industry at present) LGHR would be delighted to run their unedited response.

 

ARE THE CAIRNS AMATEURS IN FINANCIAL TROUBLE AND WHY?

ANOTHER item hot off the peterprofit press suggests that one of the most popular events on the national racing calendar, the Cairns Amateurs, is cactus unless Racing Queensland or the Labor Government (through Tourism Queensland) throws a truck-load of money at the event.

Archie Butterfly reports: “No-one except those who run the Far North Queensland Amateur Turf Club know exactly how, but it seems the club that races only twice a year over two days, yet still manages to employ a full-time CEO and a marketing manager, is stone cold broke, despite hosting years of racing events that attract up to a hundred thousand patrons.”

Archie, who now lives in the Cairns region, says that many locals are asking where all the cash has gone, especially the huge sums raised by the ever popular but now seemingly privatized Tulloch Club that those in the know say was not that long ago a cashed up to the eye-balls fund-raising group attached to the Amateurs but the FNQATC for some reason is reportedly no longer linked to them.

Many long-time supporters of the Amateurs are calling for an investigation into what is happening in relation to the Race Club and why it is no longer apparently associated with the Tulloch Club.

LGHR would ask Racing Queensland for some answers but we are on the banned list for Media Releases from that outfit because, unlike the mainstream media (many of whom enjoy annual junkets to the Cairns Amateurs) we apparently don’t write what they want to read. They are welcome to right of reply to this but hell will freeze over before we ask them for a comment. In any case it's time Grace Grace got off her behind and threw off the Board all of her mates that she appointed during her first useless stint as Racing Minister. Former Lord Mayor Graham Quirk is the only one worth feeding and the story goes she opposed his appointment. What hope has the industry got?

 

‘SCOBIE’ WAS THE REAL DEAL: ‘A GIANT OF SPORTS STORY-TELLING’

AT a time when journalism is increasingly becoming a bunch of imposters, we have sadly lost one of the good guys.

Paul ‘Scobie’ Malone (photograph courtesy of NEWS LTD) will be remembered as one of the great sporting writers of this country but more than that he truly epitomised ‘a real good bloke’.

The tribute written by his long-time colleague and close mate Robert Craddock on the website of The Courier-Mail today says it all. Rather than LGHR try to relate the Paul Malone story we couldn’t hope to do it half as well as ‘Crash’ has.

Craddock reported that: “Scobie’’ Malone, 59, died at St Andrews War Memorial Hospital hospital at 7.30pm on Tuesday night, 19 months after a fall in another hospital left him a quadriplegic.

He had initially entered hospital in May, 2019, for tests just weeks before he was scheduled to take off for a dream family holiday to Wimbledon but the accident during that hospital visit meant the holiday never eventuated.

Malone displayed incredible courage, tackling many major physical and mental challenges with a spirit that had long-serving doctors and nurses expressing deep-seated admiration for the man and his equally inspiring wife Sharon.

John Hartigan, a former chairman and CEO of News Limited, paid tribute to the passing of “one of the giants of Australian sports story-telling.”

“For many Australians, our love and passion for sport was nurtured through Paul’s writing. He captured those memorable moments of sporting combat and delivered them to an eager audience in his delightfully romantic and poetic prose, Harto said.

As Craddock so eloquently put it ‘Malone, with his own rich blend of hard news gathering and shrewd analysis, covered more than 100 State of Origins, Kangaroo tours in rugby league, the birth of the Broncos and wrote books with Brent Tate and Allan Langer, who greatly admired his work.

His broad brush included three Olympics, countless Australian Opens in tennis, and even the Rugby World Cup in 2003 where hard-marking tournament winning English coach Sir Clive Woodward took him aside in a stairwell to praise his description of his England side as the best he had read.

Never were his qualities as a top journalist demonstrated better than in 2001. After two non-stop weeks chronicling Lleyton Hewitt’s US Open triumph in New York, he had enjoyed just a one day break when the 9-11 terrorist attack rocked the city. He switched gears immediately to cover shattered lives and the carnage unfolding just blocks away from his hotel.”

Malone enjoyed a day at the races as well and one of his best mates was former Turf Editor Bart Sinclair who was a regular visitor to his hospital bed.

RIP Scobie – you will be sadly missed.   

 

CHADWICK DECIDES THAT CONTROVERSIAL INQUIRIES – LIKE THAT INVOLVING THE WALLER STABLE – SHOULD BE HEARD IN CAMERA

WHERE is the transparency in racing if Queensland Racing Integrity Commission stewards hold controversial inquiries behind closed doors?

We at LGHR have been inundated with complaints from punters and the racing public in general after it was announced the media would be barred from a hearing into allegations of misconduct by senior members of the Chris Waller satellite stable on the Gold Coast.

One wonders if there would have been any inquiry at all unless Archie Butterfly and Letsgohorseracing had not raised concerns about the incident brought to our notice by stakeholders on the Coast.

An indication of the widespread feeling can be gauged from this whinge from a well-known trainer on the tourist strip which read: “Had this not been the Waller stable but someone like me or even a battler would we have been thrown under the bus?”

We took the matter of the closed inquiry up with QRIC and were told that Waller was receiving no special treatment and that the policy of the new Chief Steward Peter Chadwick was to hold all of these types of inquiries behind closed doors.

Like many others in the racing industry in Queensland we were flabbergasted but we don’t rate Mr Chadwick. He was reportedly under a cloud coming here from Singapore (we don't know enough to even comment on that). Nevertheless, little he has done since taking over as Chief Steward has convinced punters, form analysts or some of his colleagues throughout the country that he is worthy of the job.

LGHR sees things happening every week on the track in south-east Queensland that next to nothing is being done about. Punters have no confidence in the product. Favourites miss the start, sit wide, run up rump steak, get blocked for a run and excuses are accepted. Horses from one high profile stable mix their form alarmingly – one day they go like rockets, the next start like Radish – and nothing is said. Perhaps there needs to be more stable raids on this particular joint.

There is a school of thought that Mr Chadwick feels inquiries that could involve drug use are best heard in camera to limit fallout that would damage the industry. Drugs are the core of many problems in racing and need to be eradicated. Hiding behind closed doors isn’t going to change that – deterrent penalties are.

The Gold Coast Waller stable inquiry will take only preliminary evidence today (Wednesday). It involves an alleged physical dust-up at a Magic Millions celebratory party in January involving stable foreman Paul Shailer and trackwork rider Paul Hammersley after both were left requiring medical attention. Don’t expect Hammersley to dump on Shailer.

Waller, who is not under any investigation in the Gold Coast incident, issued a Media Release, confirming that ‘some stable staff had been stood down as a result of this incident between two people who have resigned immediately”

But those targeting Waller in emails sent to LGHR have posed the question: “How long do you think it will be before Shailer in particular is back on the job? Not sure, but I’ve been told he’s Waller’s brother-in-law. And don’t forget what happened with Liam Prior in Sydney – he’s now back in the fold.”

Rather than LGHR explain the background to the Prior situation, here is a story written at the time by former high profile racing media identity SHANE ANDERSON which reads:    

‘THE fallout from Racing NSW Stewards investigation into the sale of Lil Caesar to Hong Kong interests continues, with two of the horse’s former owners labelling the experience ‘disappointing and sad’.

Long-time friends Ben Weiss and Steve Sandor each owned five per cent of the former Chris Waller-trained galloper and raised concerns early about the process around the sale of the horse.

“I looked at this as a blue-chip opportunity as opposed to other racehorse ownership ventures,” Sandor said.

“You would think that racing a horse with someone as well-known as Richard Callander and being trained by Chris Waller would be a safe-as-houses endeavour as an owner.

“I thought it was bulletproof, that it would be a fun experience, but the end result was the last thing on our minds.”

Sandor, who has owned small percentages in three other horses, bought into Lil Caesar on the advice of Weiss. Both formerly worked as medical support staff for the Richmond Football Club, including during the club’s most recent premiership in 1980.

“I raced and bred horses for 30 years but hadn’t owned one for 30 years,” Weiss said.

“Breeding had always been a passion of mine, I think that I know a bit about it, and I liked the bloodlines of this horse.

“I took five per cent in him and advised Steve to do the same.

“We paid all training fees for a year but the communication we received was poor.

“In fact, I didn’t even know about the horse’s first barrier trial.”

Weiss had concerns in October 2014 after receiving correspondence from the stable that the horse had limited ability and that the best option would be to sell him.

“A voicemail message came from Chris Waller, as part of the stable correspondence,” Weiss said.

“Waller said that the horse had limited ability and advised us that we should look at selling him, that he wouldn’t likely be a city-class horse.

“We were then told that he would be trialled again with the intention of that being used as a sale tool, to hopefully get us a good price.

“Two weeks later the horse trialled again and he won very impressively but, again, the voicemail message from Chris Waller said that he had limited ability and that we should sell but if a buyer could not be found then we would race in a few weeks.

“We only had five per cent each so didn’t have much say in the matter, (and then) a few weeks later we are told that the horse was sold for $140,000.

“My question is who decides at the stable whether a horse has limited ability?”

Lil Caesar was sold to Hong Kong interests in October/November 2014 for $210,000 while the owners were told that the son of Holy Roman Emperor had been sold for $140,000.

“The horse was sold as an early three-year-old,” Sandor said.

“On pedigree, we didn’t think that he would be at his best until he was a late three-year-old or four-year-old.

“We listened to the experts and we only had 10 per cent holding so we ran with what the majority believed, everything was out of our hands.”

Weiss sent correspondence to Waller Racing asking for an invoice for the sale of Lil Caesar.

“My beef was that things were always fishy from the outset,” Weiss said.

“I would send emails to the stable and all of the replies would come from Liam Prior.

“I asked to see an invoice for the sale of the horse and I would get a response saying that there was no such thing as an invoice, I was not satisfied with that response.

“I questioned the integrity of the process all the way through - we hadn’t even been told where the horse had been sold to.”

Despite not receiving the response that he was after, Weiss entered Lil Caesar into the Google search engine and found that he was now being trained in Hong Kong by Danny Shum, racing under the name of Lucky Year.

“I watched every trial that he had, I watched every race,” Weiss said.

“I wrote to Liam Prior and congratulated him for selling a horse to Hong Kong with such limited ability as he was doing exceptionally well for his new owner.

“I even contacted the Hong Kong Jockey Club wanting to congratulate the new owner and ask for full details of the sale but I received no response.

“After every win, I sent Liam Prior a note to say ‘well done on the sale of a horse with such limited ability’.”

Lucky Year has had eight starts in Hong Kong, winning four times and placing on three other occasions and collecting more than $A700,000 in prizemoney.

Weiss became further concerned when he heard details of the Racing Victoria inquiry into trainer Brent Stanley and jockey Glyn Schofield over the sale of the horse Equita to Hong Kong, with that horse also in the stable of Shum.

Further contact was made to Callander and Prior requesting an invoice for the sale of the horse yet nothing came.

“I got the same email response from Prior saying how much more could he do to show that all was above board,” Weiss said

“How on earth can you sell a horse overseas and not have an invoice?

“I warned them that I would take this up with Racing NSW Stewards if an invoice wasn’t produced.

“It wasn’t long after that when I received correspondence from Callander that we had been done for $50,000.

“He rang me and was tearful and apologetic, that his career was ruined.

“The next day, five per cent of the $50,000 was paid into my account.

“All I wanted was evidence of the true sale of the horse.”

Both Weiss and Sandor are yet to decide whether they will take further legal action over the matter.

“I am not interested in crucifying people,” Sandor said.

“Careers are in jeopardy.”

Weiss is still frustrated by the whole process.

“Chris Waller has rung and apologised for the misjudgement in selling the horse,” Weiss said.

“I just wished that we knew the answer to the question as to who advised that the horse had such limited ability - was it Waller, Prior, Callander or someone else?

“I take Chris Waller at his word that he had no involvement in any dealings around the sale of the horse.”

Both men are considering whether they will race horses again.

“This was my first horse purchase in 30 years,” Weiss said.

“It will likely be another 30 years before my next one.”

HOOFNOTE: Liam Prior and Richard Callander were disqualified after a Racing NSW inquiry into the events surrounding the Hong Kong sale. Prior is now back working for the Waller stable while Callander has returned to work in the racing industry, including SKY Channel.

IN another incident involving drugs a Waller horse (Betcha Thinking) tested positive to methamphetamine (meth, ICE). At a subsequent inquiry Waller was fined $30,000.

There was no evidence of how the meth got into the system of the horse but it was considered more than likely it came from a Waller staff member by inadvertent means. Seventeen members of the 100-strong stable-hands were tested and six proved positive to illicit substances. Those who had worked with the horse that returned the positive could not be identified because the CCTV security system in the stable was not working due to a software glitch.

Stewards submitted at the inquiry that this was an adverse reflection on the Waller stable standards. The champion trainer agreed to undertake random drug testing of staff to avoid a repeat of the breach. One wonders if similar testing was undertaken at the Gold Coast satellite stable.

Because the inquiry is being held behind closed doors the racing public will never know if stewards even asked this question. Where’s the transparency, where’s the integrity, what hope has racing got in Queensland when there’s a lack of confidence in the steward driving the truck, Peter Chadwick?

 

 

WHEN WILL FOWLER START BEING OBJECTIVE ON ‘PRESS ROOM’ SHOW?

WHAT a contradiction in terms the name ‘Press Room’ is – do we have to wait for a change in ownership of the TAB to see ‘Feathers’ Fowler shown the studio door?

Station management should demand – as the punters do – objective and constructive commentary on this program not propaganda seemingly designed to improve the image of the host in the eyes of his racing political colleagues.

As a regular contributor to the Wednesday Whinge at LGHR – John the Fireman – wrote:

‘Fowler’s back and the Press Room is promoting rubbish again.

‘Here he is pumping up his own tyres and defending the Eagle Farm track again and coming up with some lame excuses. In my opinion the bloke is a disgrace and does the industry more harm than good.’

You have a lot of mates who feel the same way John but they’re asking why he ‘dogged it’ at the AGM of the Albion Park Harness Racing Club of which he was Chairman. Story goes he was at the Test cricket that day swaning around with one of his old mates from the BRC.

The Fireman went on to write:

At a BOTRA meeting last week RQ was asked about infrastructure and Albion Park and very little was said as they claimed they knew nothing. They actually said money was going to be spent on improving the stable area.

“So how can Fowler – who has left the building and didn’t stick around to answer some sticky questions – know that there will be an announcement in a month about the Yatala site?

“Of course he doesn’t provide any detail regarding what the deal was to shift away from Albion Park.”

If ‘Feathers’ wants to selectively chose topics to discuss on his program – especially those involving his leadership at Albion Park – perhaps he would like to answer these when the next Press Room show goes to air:

  • WHAT was the secret deal he did with RQ – without the knowledge of some of his fellow APHRC directors – involving the future of the Albion Park complex?
  • WHY did he gutlessly flee the scene of the APHRC AGM so that he didn’t have to answer questions from Members concerning Albion Park, specifically Harness King Kevin Seymour?
  • HOW does he feel about the deal being exposed that he allegedly did with RQ CEO Brendan Parnell and the BRC which would have resulted in Queensland’s best race-caller and all-round good bloke Josh Fleming being sacked from his SKY job at Eagle Farm and Doomben?
  • ARE his mates at the BRC trying to find him a job opportunity (like happened with Nathan Exelby) in the event of him being sacked as the race-caller for Radio 4TAB when the ownership of the station changes?
  • WHEN will he take a more objective view to controversial matters on the Press Room rather than build Brownie Points with those that might pave his future path with gold rather than the horse manure that awaits him?
  • WHY is he a voice in the wilderness defending the Eagle Farm track when RQ – in case he didn’t know – has (according to some of those who were present) told a meeting of angry trainers and jockeys that if they hang in there until after the Winter Carnival another new surface will be built? Perhaps he could ask who is paying for that should it eventuate and how much it will cost?

SOME career advice ‘Feathers’:

THROW in the towel and salvage what little credibility you still have as a race-caller and head off to your favorite holiday spot in South Australia where you will be in good company with the gallops in that State which is heading downhill like an out-of-control roller-coaster.

COME clean on what really happened at Albion Park, why you betrayed Kevin Seymour – the man who once moved mountains for you on and off the track.

STOP trying to build Brownie Points with the Brisbane Racing Club defending the way they operate and the state of the Eagle Farm track which everyone knows has no future just like you.

      

 

STEWARDS ACCEPT TACTICS WHICH SAW THE CHANCES OF AN ODDS-ON FAVORITE DESTROYED BY ANOTHER RUNNER – THEY’RE KIDDING!

THE hosts and form experts who front the flagship channel SKY Central and the one-stop live racing coverage on SKY 1 are poles apart.

That could not have been more evident at Randwick on Saturday when jockey Simon Price on Sikandarabad destroyed the chances of the heavily-backed odds-on favorite All Time Legend, ridden by Kerrin McEvoy.

Greg Radley and Ron Dufficy adopted the normal ‘soft cock’ approach we have come to expect from SKY Central while Tony Brassel and Greg Radley on SKY 1 called it as it was and were quick to protect the interests of the punters.

Rightly or wrongly – you be the judge – the Stewards’ Panel took no action against Price for what was in the opinion of most punters, and some form experts like Brassel and Gately, one of the biggest slaughter jobs on a metropolitan track in a long time.

From the comments made by the SKY 1 duo one could question whether All Time Legend would have saluted had it not been for the tactics adopted by Price. Amazingly, stewards accepted that he rode to the instructions of trainer Sam Kavanagh which ‘were not unreasonable in the circumstances’.

Stewards based their argument on the sectional times but in the eyes of many they had to be kidding. One wonders what McEvoy thought of the outcome. It was a brave effort by All Time Legend to finish third after being seemingly targeted from the get-go.

Such is the low opinion of Sydney racing that punters on social media were posing the question at the start of the day: “How many of the short priced favorites will get beaten?”

Three won and four got beaten but the day will unfortunately be remembered for the defeat of All Time Legend and the fact that stewards took no action against jockey Simon Prince who had only the one mount for the day. In fact he rode only two winners last season and hasn’t ridden a winner this season since Dancing Dollar fell in at Mudgee in early December. From his last 12 rides (mostly in the country) he has ridden two seconds.

Sikandarabad, now with controversial trainer Sam Kavanagh, has never shown the speed he did on Saturday to attack the leader. In fact at his previous start when ridden by Price he settled last. The new tactics adopted at the weekend and advised to stewards before the race saw him tire to finish seventh, beaten nearly seven lengths.

While Gately and Brassel were critical of the ride and went on the attack straight after the race there was no sign of Dufficy and Radley protecting the interests of the punters.

Their comments, not surprisingly, focused on ‘the great training effort by Chris Waller’ and the riding duel between James Macdonald and Tommy Berry who fought out the race on Shared Ambition and Mount Poppa – the duo that had the race served up to them on a platter when the odds-on favorite was forced to do it tough to lead then was attacked as soon as McEvoy tried to give him a breather.

Here's what the Stewards’ Report says:

SIKANDARABAD: When questioned regarding the tactics adopted rider S Price advised that his instructions as notified by the Stewards were to be more forward today with the anticipated slow early pace. He said in accordance with instructions he positioned the gelding in a forward position where he held the lead in the early stages and ultimately allowed All Time Legend to cross his mount near the 1000m. When questioned regarding the tactics adopted from this point S Price stated that All Time Legend crossed to the lead, and the pace was steadied by K McEvoy rider of All Time Legendand. This resulted in Sikandarabad improving to the outside of All Time Legend whilst he remained neutral on his mount. He further stated that he was instructed by connections to ensure that he placed his mount under pressure from throughout the event (700m) as Sikandarabad can hit a flat spot in its races and such tactics would allow the gelding to finish the race off as it has a tendency to be somewhat one paced. Trainer Mr S Kavanagh was questioned in regard to the instructions issued and confirmed his intention was to be more forward and in addition was concerned that the race would be run at a slow tempo which would result in a sprint home and that Sikandarabad does not have the necessary acceleration to sprint quickly. With this in mind he had instructed S Price to increase the tempo from the 700m to ensure Sikandarabad was given the best opportunity to obtain the best position in the race. After considering the sectional times of the event, which confirmed the pace between the 1000m and the 800m had slowed, Stewards found the tactics adopted by S Price, having regard to his instructions, were not unreasonable in the circumstances.

What can we say – except that it is little wonder punters have no confidence betting on Sydney racing. They have to be kidding if the tactics adopted by Price on Sikandarabad gave it every chance of winning the race. All it did was destroy the chances of an odds-on favorite not to mention cost punters hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Good one boys!

 

READ AN EXCLUSIVE BY ARCHIE BUTTERFLY ABOUT ‘HOW AN INNOCENT RACING WRITER ALMOST GOT SENT TO JAIL FOR SEVEN YEARS’

LOG in to www.peterprofit.com – this is a FREEBIE courtesy of ‘THE BUTTERFLY’

ARCHIE BUTTERFLY has published a story on his normally subscriber-only website www.peterprofit.com today that is too hot for letsgohorseracing to handle.

It is headed: EXCLUSIVE – a story of how an innocent racing writer named ARCHIE almost got sent to jail for seven years by crooks.

Archie has lifted the subscription on this ‘exclusive’ so that everyone can have a read. We are told much of what is alleged will be the subject of an upcoming trial involving The Butterfly and some high profile Queensland racing, political and media identities. 

It’s a ‘must read’ for anyone who follows racing and politics in Queensland. It contains some startling allegations against major race clubs, officials, stakeholders, their associates and questions why Archie Butterfly has been the target of a long on-going police investigation.

There is even a suggested link to the Ipswich City Council controversy which saw Mayor Paul Pisasele charged and a wire-wearing witness heavily involved in the Queensland racing industry with links to clubs, officials and trainers.

Allegations made by ARCHIE BUTTERFLY need to be investigated but he asks how can that happen when some of those he is accusing are the ones that would be involved.

It’s complicated but DON’T MISS THIS MUST-READ. The only place you will be able to is at www.peterprofit.com. We at LGHR love to open a can of worms but this one is far too hot for us to handle.

 

 

WILL EAGLE FARM SURVIVE AND WHAT HAPPENS TO ALBION PARK?

QUESTIONS are finally being asked by some high profile media identities about what is really happening behind the scenes involving the future of Eagle Farm.

Don’t expect any from Nathan Exelby, the Racing Editor of The Courier-Mail, who has resigned to take up a new role with the Brisbane Racing Club and Sky Channel – he’s not about the bite the hand that will soon feed him.

But when Ray Hadley starts calling Eagle Farm a ‘basket case’ on his high ratings 4BC Morning Show and Exelby’s columnist stablemate and SKY presenter of The Front Page, Peter Gleeson, weighs in – all of a sudden people are listening.

Not surprisingly there is deadly silence from the bunker of new and old Racing Minister Grace Grace – she’s a waste of space. And all the industry is getting from the RQ Board, who she originally appointed (apart from former Lord Mayor Graham Quirk, the only one worth feeding) is next to nothing.

Their mouth-piece, the CEO Brendan Parnell, has been left to carry the can and many stakeholders insist he should have been booted from the job long ago over the debacle involving the sale of Albion Park and his involvement with former Chairman David Fowler who exited the building recently before they shot him out of a canon from the Creek into the Brisbane River.

The trainers and jockeys, who held an emergency meeting (which took RQ a fortnight to convene) took umbrage at suggestions they took a soft-cock approach to the situation and insist that the problems with the Eagle Farm track created some heated debate.

That being the case why are they still racing there? Sure the numbers are gradually decreasing forcing some meeting to be transferred and nominations extended for eight of the nine races this Saturday.

Mail leaking from that closed-door meeting between RQ and stakeholders suggests there were pleas for jockeys and trainers to accept a band-aid solution to the track problems until after the Winter Carnival when they have been promised yet another new track.

What a disaster that could prove to be with many top stables already baulking at the idea of sending their stable stars north for the Winter fearing they will fail to handle the Eagle Farm track or worse still get injured by the rock hard surface.

Eagle Farm is once again a disaster waiting to happen. They pushed the rail out so far for last Thursday’s meeting that it was almost in the empty grandstands.

The number of horses jarring up continues to increase. In the past six weeks over a dozen horses have pulled up lame on the Eagle Farm surface not to mention those with eye injuries resulting from clods flying back in their faces during races.

Ray Hadley went on the war path about Eagle Farm and other racing issues on his 4BC show this week. When he speaks officials seem to listen. They can treat websites like letsgohorseracing and peterprofit like crap, banning us from receiving Media Releases and dealing only with those in the mainstream media and their social media colleagues because they ‘spin doctor’ the stories. But at the end of the day it won’t make any difference. Those inside and outside of racing will see RQ, the BRC and others for who and what they are.

Even Peter Gleeson weighed into the Eagle Farm debate in his column in The Courier-Mail this week when he wrote in part:

‘There’s a simple solution to the track woes at Eagle Farm – bulldoze it and turn the Hendra showpiece into Queensland 2032 Olympics stadium.

The track surface fiasco makes Eagle Farm the laughing stock of Australian racing and despite four attempts at getting it right, the track surface remains a major concern. The issue is the hardness of the track and the kickback into horses’ and jockeys’ faces.’

Can the racing industry afford to get it wrong again? After so many attempts at building a new Eagle Farm track is there any guarantee this won’t be another wasted $10 million or more?

There are serious rumors (unsubstantiated) doing the rounds about the sand that continues to be used and where it comes from that need investigating.

More to the point there was a long-held belief that Albion Park was the No 1 contender for the Olympics stadium. If it isn’t then the deal done between RQ and the APHRC (or more to the point Brendan Parnell and David Fowler) needs to be made public. This pathetic situation of hiding the details lacks transparency and the LNP Opposition should be getting off its arse and calling on the Labor Government and the Racing Minister to answer some questions.

It would seem that something has to give – building another new track risks pouring good money after bad. Could it be that one of the four – Eagle Farm, Doomben, Deagon and Albion Park – will not survive?

Doomben has to but does Eagle Farm? With all the high rise development already underway or planned perhaps it will be the one to go. As one reader commented to LGHR:

‘The high rise residential plans for the BRC are already a success story. When so many of the directors have invested in units there (including the penthouse), as they say the proof of the pudding is in the eating. But perhaps for transparency sake they should reveal what these directors paid for their units (one apparently bought four of them).’

Deagon would make an ideal venue for a combined state-of-the-art harness and greyhound venue but that would mean eliminating the gallops from that venue. This was contemplated by Bob Bentley when he was Board Chairman but a change of Government saw the idea shredded. Of course, the problem remains that some influential people own stabling in the area and will fight to the death to save their investments.

That leaves Albion Park and perhaps opens an opportunity for a dual purpose track with facilities for night racing there. The BRC once had a plan to run under lights at Doomben but that hit hurdles with the Aviation authorities – someone suggested a short-sighted Japanese Jumbo Jet pilot might mistake the flood-lit track at Doomben for the nearby Eagle Farm International Airport one night and try to land in the home straight. Just joking!

But if the BRC were to take over Albion Park – build turf and all-weather tracks with lights installed – it would allow them to short-circuit or compete with plans for the Gold Coast to have night racing as part of their master plan for the future.

The only ones who don’t seem to have been consulted on the Eagle Farm fiasco are the punters without whom there would be no racing. The very survival of racing relies on the punting dollar. As Archie Butterfly wrote recently on peterprofit.com: All bar $10 million of the $290 million racing receives in income is from wagering on the three codes and that $10 million in sponsorship and miscellaneous income would arguably disappear overnight if people stopped punting on the horses and dogs.

Here’s a suggestion – form a working group to determine the fate of Eagle Farm, Doomben, Deagon and Albion Park and instead of having RQ and the BRC totally dictate debate be selective in representation.

That would mean excluding the RQ CEO from this group (because of his involvement in the Albion Park behind-the-scenes deal with Fowler), make Graham Quirk the Chairman; Kevin Seymour a must because of the money he has poured into Albion Park, not to mention his share-holding in the TAB; Peter Gleeson because of his love for dog racing and involvement in the mainstream racing media; representatives from the Government and the Opposition, along with someone from the BRC who doesn’t have a financial investment in the high rises they are building or have built at Hendra; and, finally, a representative of the punting fraternity to add a bit of normality to the debate from the people who are really footing the bill for this disaster.

Yeah and by the Grace of the Racing Gods, pigs might fly.

 

IF WILL HULBERT WAS SO UPSET WHY DIDN’T HE GO TO THE STIPES?

IT would be an understatement to suggest that the QRIC Stewards’ Panel and co-trainer Will Hulbert are at complete opposites over the ride of Andrew Mallyon on Criminal Defence at the Sunshine Coast on Saturday.

Hulbert went off his trolley in an expletive laden profane rant audio file to owners of Criminal Defence not only expressing his dismay at the ride but also containing a tongue-in-cheek (hopefully) threat to kill Mallyon.

Hulbert’s defamatory attack on Mallyon also breached several Rules of Racing not to mention did not impress several owners of the horse – resulting in it being brought to the attention of LGHR and peterprofit.com.

Because the Stewards’ Panel on the day chaired by Peter Chadwick saw no reason to report any fault with the ride (the only comment was that Criminal Defence was slowly away) we saw the need to bring the comments of Hulbert which are now all over the social media platforms to the attention of QRIC.

Has Hulbert brought racing into disrepute and should stewards have questioned the tactics adopted by Mallyon which the co-trainer maintains caused the horse to get beaten when it should have won?

Rather than call Mallyon ‘brain-dead’ and accusing him of ‘going to the quicksand on the fence rather than follow the winner out wide’ perhaps Hulbert should have made his feelings known to stewards.

“What a waste of a f…n day. He will never sit on one of ours again. I am ropeable. I could kill that c…t”.

You be the judge! 

 

QRIC INVESTIGATING ORDERED WITHDRAWAL OF UNREGISTERED HORSE CATALOGUED FOR AUSTRALIAN PACING GOLD SALE

THE Queensland Racing Integrity Commission (QRIC) has commenced an investigation into a standardbred horse withdrawn from the Australian Pacing Gold (APG) sale when it was found to be unregistered.

As part of routine registration checks, QRIC Stewards became aware that Lot 30 Badlands Hanover – Bute Miss catalogued for sale at the Albion Park APG sales on Sunday 31 January is allegedly not a registered racehorse.

Stewards directed APG officials to withdraw the horse from the sale.

Chief Harness Steward David Farquharson said Stewards would inquire into the circumstances around the foaling and notification of the yearling to determine the owner’s compliance with the Australian Harness Racing rules.

“The Commission regularly attends sales events involving racing animals to ensure the rules are adhered to as part of its compliance activities,” he said.

 

CARNAGE IN THE STABLES - QRIC NEED TO INVESTIGATE THIS

THIS is a story with the potential to make HEADLINES nationally but you WON'T READ it in the mainstream media unless AUTHORITIES take some action.

WE are convinced that the information relayed to Peterprofit.com & LGHR is reliable and will be turning whistle-blower and referring it to the Queensland Racing Integrity Commission.

Here is what Archie Butterfly has written today:

THERE is an amazing story floating around in South-East Queensland circles that a high-profile stable foreman for an even higher profile trainer allegedly has for some time had a well-hidden serious drug problem which has suddenly exploded into rage and, according to industry sources, resulted in carnage.

The word is that this foreman got on the gear big-time the other day, allegedly  attacked a former top jockey who is now working for the stable, smashing his eye socket and putting him in hospital, then smashed up a rented house at the stables owned by a well-know racing identity, before taking more of whatever drug he was abusing (one guess - hint, its cold) and OD'ing before getting carted off to hospital in an ambulance.

I'm not naming any names but if the stories I am being told are even half true it's going to blow the roof off the industry.

Apparently the high profile trainer in question has promised the investigate the situation early this week find out what the f**k has gone on, and to try and fix up the mess.

As I said, if true this story is going to be huge.

Some drugs really suck - that's why I take the others.

 

 

CHIEF STEWARD EXPLAINS REASONS FOR CONTROVERSIAL DEAD-HEAT

SOCIAL media went into meltdown after the controversial dead-heat decision in the last at Caulfield and managed to get Chief Steward Robert Cram out of bed early and on the front foot in defence on Sunday.

Cram, who has not followed the policy of Terry Bailey in having a steward available to the media to comment on post-mortem programs, did the right thing by the punters on RSN this morning.

He was quick to defend the delay in posting the dead-heat result when it appeared to many punters from the TV image that favourite Defibrillate had beaten Hang Man by the barest of margins.

“The judge took his time using different tools designed to detect a clear margin but couldn’t with the technology available to him,” Cram said.

“When the image was posted connections deliberated. Stewards have powers under the Rules to alter decisions but we believed the judge made the right decision.”

In answer to suggestions that many punters were adamant that there was a margin in favour of Defibrillate, Cram replied: “The judge has access to a purer form of digital image. It’s a different clarity to the TV monitors. The image doing the rounds on social media isnot the image he used. We are looking into Racing Victoria being able to get the purest digital image up on racing.com.”

Respected form analyst Dean Lester, told the RSN audience: “Some well-known racing people embarrassed themselves on social media questioning a very experienced judge.”

Cram said representatives of both horses that figured in the dead-heat finish were given the opportunity to view and express their thoughts on the hawk-eye image that was by then available to the stewards and eventually agreed with the judge’s decision although it took Billy Egan, the rider of Defibrillate, some time to be convinced.

 

SOMEONE SHOULD HAVE BELTED THE CRAP OUT OF KIWI DICKHEAD

THE scenes at TRENTHAM had to be seen to be believed when a Kiwi peanut decided to run onto the track and stand in front of the field thundering to the line.

Fortunately (apart from this dickhead) no-one was injured and full marks to the jockeys for their professionalism in trying circumstances.

Why no-one in the crowd got hold of this wanker and didn’t belt the crap out of him remains a mystery. At least the coppers will charge him and hopefully he will get life from ever setting foot onto a racetrack or sporting ground again.

The incident rekindled memories of another dipstick, the Australian Peter Hoare who become a serial pest interrupting major sporting events and gate-crashing funerals, the most publicised when he invaded the track during the 1997 Melbourne Cup. Fortunately, he never got to the middle of the field like the Kiwi did yesterday.

 

GAI GETS ORDER OF AUSTRALIA WHILE ROBBIE HAS TO FRONT COURT

BOOKMAKER Robbie Waterhouse has been accused of using illegal inducements and incentives — such as offering free betting money and improved market odds — to lure punters to his online gambling website.

The Australian has revealed that the racing identity, who is married to leading trainer Gai, will front court next month after becoming the latest target in Liquor & Gaming NSW’s crackdown on illicit internet betting promotions.

The 66-year-old has been charged with five counts of unlawfully publishing gaming advert­isements relating to his eponymous betting website, ­RobWaterhouse.com, and faces a $55,000 fine if convicted.

The alleged offences relate to a promotional banner featured on his website last June, along with three emails he allegedly sent between last June and last August and a tweet posted by an account allegedly run by Waterhouse.

The tweet, which appeared on June 13, attracted the attention of authorities after promising betting “boosts” to gamblers on his website. “Forms done for today, markets are open! It looks a great day of racing. I’m giving punters 5 boosts a day join me now at http://RobWaterhouse.com,” it said.

Under the Betting and Racing Act 1998, it is an offence for sport bookmakers to publish or communicate any inducement to participate in any gambling activity unless the advertising is directly targeted to a person who holds an account with that bookmaker.

According to the act, inducement is defined as “the offer of a credit, voucher, reward or other benefit that includes additional benefits or enhancements”.

It will be alleged Waterhouse followed up the tweet days later with a promotional banner on his website on June 18 that promised: “Up to 5 price boots per day.”

The Sydney bookmaker has also been accused of sending emails to clients offering “FREE $20 cash”, “Bet Boosts” and a promotional email notifying the receiver that he had launched his betting website, promising “great pricing” and “lots of bonuses”.

“Hi Jai, I hope you took advantage of the FREE $20 cash I deposited straight into your Robwaterhouse.com account this week. If you are betting with me this weekend, remember I offer 5 Bet Boosts per day. Best, Rob,” Waterhouse allegedly said in one email to a customer.

Since Waterhouse is trading as a sole trader, he is being prosecuted as an individual, with each ­offence carrying a maximum penalty of $11,000.

In 2018 and 2019, state and territory governments implemented minimum protections for online gamblers called the National Protection Framework, which must be adhered to by all online wagering providers. Individual states and territories have separate legislation, with NSW having some of the strongest in the country.

The legal action against Waterhouse comes after multinational online betting sites Ladbrokes and Neds were convicted at the Downing Centre Local Court last February for promoting inducements to gamble. The firms were ordered to pay a total of $207,500 in fines — the largest gambling fine to be handed down in NSW.

Waterhouse, who was charged with the alleged offences last month, is scheduled to appear in court for mention on February 17. His wife, Gai Waterhouse, was ­appointed as an Officer of the Order of Australia on Australia Day for her distinguished services to the racing industry.

It is not the first time the ­Waterhouse family, one of the highest profile in racing, has come under fire for activities relating to its gambling empire.

William Hill, at the time headed by Waterhouse’s son Tom, was referred to federal police by the Australian Communications and Media Authority over a betting loophole that allowed punters to bet live on sports on their phones.

The AFP rejected that referral in October 2015.

 

BEN CURRIE FREE TO RETURN TO TRAINING IN JUNE - CHARGESFINALIZED

QUEENSLAND Racing Integrity Commission (QRIC) Stewards have finalized a number of outstanding charges issued against former Toowoomba Trainer Ben Currie.

Stewards have concluded three inquiries relating to several outstanding charges issued against Mr Currie as a result of an extensive investigation into his conduct while he was a licensed thoroughbred trainer.

As a result, Mr Currie has been fined a total of $14,000 and will be disqualified until 31 May 2021.

Stewards issued a series of charges to Mr Currie subsequent to the commencement of a stewards’ inquiry on 28 May 2018.

Charges 1 to 14 were finalised by the Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal or alternatively withdrawn by the Queensland Racing Integrity Commission.

Mr Currie pleaded guilty to charges 18 to 22 (as one charge); 23, 24, 25 and 27 as one charge, charge 28, 29 and 30 and Stewards withdrew charges 15, 16, 17, 26 and 31.

For these charges, the penalties imposed upon Mr Currie amounted to $9000 in fines together with a three-month disqualification to be served concurrently with a three month disqualification with the disqualification period to commence at midnight 1 January 2021.

Stewards inquired into the analysts’ findings that the prohibited substance Dexamethasone was detected in a post-race urine sample collected from the thoroughbred gelding Lil Rodge at the Ipswich Turf Club on 5 December 2018. Mr Currie entered a plea of guilty to the charge.  The penalty for the offence was $3000.

Stewards also issued seven charges to Mr Currie after the commencement of an inquiry on 15 February 2019.

Mr Currie pleaded guilty to charges 1, 5, 6 and 7, with the Stewards withdrawing charge 2 and holding charge 3 and charge 4 in abeyance pending the outcome of Queensland Racing Integrity Commission’s appeal against the decision in Currie v Queensland Racing Integrity Commission [2020] QCAT 310.

A penalty of $2000 fine was imposed for charges 1 and 7 together with a three-month disqualification for charge 6 to be served concurrently with a five-month disqualification for charge 5, with the disqualification period to commence at midnight 1 January 2021.

 

STAKEHOLDERS SHOULD STOP PUSSY-FOOTING AROUND & BOYCOTT EAGLE FARM – IT’S TIME FOR THE RACING MINISTER TO INTERVENE

IF top trainers and jockeys are so strong in their condemnation of the Eagle Farm track why don’t they follow the lead of David Vandyke and boycott the joint?

‘All talk no action’ isn’t going to rectify the on-going problems when you are dealing with a weak-kneed Racing Queensland Chief Executive like Brendan Parnell who seems to promise plenty and deliver little.

And where does the new Racing Minister Grace Grace stand in this situation. She has been conspicuous by her silence when many feel Eagle Farm needs to be closed for racing and an Independent Administrator appointed to do the job that RQ and the Brisbane Racing Club have failed to.

The NEWS LTD NATIONAL RACING NEWSROOM (that by-line was used probably because no Turf Scribe wanted to offend RQ or the BRC by putting his name to the story) reports that David Vandyke has become the first trainer to publicly black ban the maligned Eagle Farm surface, telling clients on Tuesday he would no longer be starting any stable runners there.

The story in The Courier-Mail (with a carbon copy on the Murdoch-owned Racenet) stated: that ‘after feature meetings on December 26 and January 2, Eagle Farm came under fire for being too hard and also for the top layer chopping out.

The Queensland branch of the Australian Trainers’ Association called for submissions from trainers, who were almost universal in their condemnation of the current state of the track. It led to a meeting being held last week where trainers and jockeys voiced their concerns to RQ CEO Brendan Parnell.

Trainers put Racing Queensland on notice at that meeting, declaring the current situation as unacceptable and demanding RQ come up with a plan to fix the track.

There have been murmurs from a few trainers on not starting their horses at the venue, but on Tuesday, Vandyke was the first to declare he won’t be starting his horses there. “Due to the state of the Eagle Farm track and in the best interest of our horses, we will not be running at that venue until further notice,” Vandyke said in a statement to clients.

When asked to comment to the Courier Mail, Vandyke said the decision followed the performance of three horses that were unplaced at Eagle Farm on January 2. “Dissolution and Hold The Line both won on Saturday, while Desert Lord ran terrific when only beaten a nose. All three were coming off unplaced performances at Eagle Farm.”

RQ pussy-footed around this problem for over a week while the Magic Millions carnival was held before meeting with trainers which the Racing Minister and stakeholders should have demanded earlier.

The problem with Eagle Farm has been reflected in the fields for Thursday’s meeting with only 74 acceptors and acceptances of only five, six and six in the first three races.

Despite this most top stables are represented at the meeting which hardly sends a sign that RQ has been ‘put on notice’ to take urgent action. If the track is still a problem this week then a mass boycott or strike action needs to be taken to get the message across – but don’t hold your breath.

Perhaps the Queensland Racing Integrity Commission stewards should get involved. After all – as witnessed by David Vandyke – form reversals are becoming commonplace with horses flopping at Eagle Farm when well fancied then coming out and staging form reversals at Doomben.

Ask any top trainer and they will tell you that Eagle Farm is now very much a ‘horses-for-courses’ track. In other words punters cannot be promised that every horse that starts on this surface will have every opportunity to win which is a breach of the Rules of Racing.

    

 

TIME T0 CELEBRATE AUSTRALIA DAY ON 1st TUESDAY IN NOVEMBER?

IT'S 'Groundhog Day' – and LGHR is back on our pet hobby horse – declaring how much more appropriate it would be to celebrate Australia Day on the first Tuesday in November rather than the 26th of January.

Melbourne Cup and Anzac Day are the two collective days on the Australian calendar that unite our people more than any other. For many one begins with darkness and remembers great losses, the other ends in darkness trying to forget great losses.

As one writer, far more talented than I can ever hope to be, once suggested: ‘Both capture elements of the larrikinism and egalitarian impulse that are embedded deep within this nation’s unique spirit.’

All of which again raises the perennial questions: Why is Cup Day, one of our quintessential annual rituals, not a national public holiday? And, what could be more appropriate than celebrating Australia Day on the first Tuesday in November?

The wowsers and cultural wankers continue to insist that we should not tell the world how strongly we feel about a horse race. That’s bullshit! Are there any events more Australian than the Melbourne Cup? So what better time to celebrate our national day?

Australia doesn't have many traditions. Attempts to get Halloween off the ground have stalled due to one too many home-owners telling little ankle-biters to ‘piss off.’

Australia's equivalent of America's Thanksgiving Day is Australia Day on January 26, commemorating the landing of the First Fleet of convicts in Botany Bay.

One could argue that there is much more emotional resonance in celebrating pioneering pilgrims who broke bread with the natives than there is in celebrating criminals that stole bread and were duly hung.

Needless to say, Australia has no tradition of putting the old ball and chain on our legs, and subsequently walking us down the street in tribute to the founding fathers. Likewise, Australia has no statues of the pioneering convicts holding up their shackled wrists in triumph!

Whilst many national days around the world involve citizens reflecting on the achievements of the ancestors that they have not personally lived up to, Australia’s national day involves citizens acting in a vastly superior way to the people that the date acknowledges.

Many believe that the 26th of January is an inappropriate date for Australia Day as it merely represents the arrival of the British to establish the penal colony of New South Wales. Others believe it insults the ‘rightful owners of our land – the indigenous population.’

They argue that it does not represent the birth of a nation. Which brings me back to my original point – when you consider that Australia’s top three heroes are a cricketer, a racehorse and a bush ranger – perhaps it is fitting the only times the nation stops as one is to commemorate our war heroes and to have a wager on the Cup.

As a celebration of free speech and freedom we'll go out on a limb and say it: For many Australia Day simply celebrates the worst aspects of our national character, where rather than being a day for thoughtful reflection on our history and our values, it’s degenerated into a half-witted contest to see how much meat we can eat and how much grog we can drink.

This isn’t a wowsers' warning against barbeques and beer. Far from it! We're keen supporters of a drink with our mates and we’ve never met a meat product we didn’t adore. But as the basis for a national holiday, getting plastered, while standing around a four-burner which is groaning under the weight of calcified chump chops and snags, seems to place us well down the order of intelligence. Sadly, for many, this is what Australia Day has become, and all it will ever be.

A piss-up, where the closest we get to a consideration of what makes us who we are is to slur that this is God’s own country, an absolute bottler of a joint, you wouldn’t be dead for quids and yeah, while you’re near the Esky, can you get me another Coldie?

Even the Federal Government’s Australia Day campaign is framed around the banal idea of cooking meat, with advertisements featuring Soviet-style imagery of buffed young Aussies proudly holding meat trays, urging us to ‘Barbeque like you have never barbequed before.’

Our concern is that many Australians are stuck at the first hurdle and can’t get their minds past the chops and the FOUREX. The two things which should be the focus of this national day – reflection on our history and values, and the importance of holding citizenship – are being shoved aside as we treat Australia Day like one big ‘barbie’.

And for every group of kids who use it as a chance to proudly and peacefully drape themselves in the flag and parade along the esplanade – indifferent to the fact that they’re demonstrating national pride with an emblem that’s sullied by another country’s ensign – there’s a few ratbags who imbue the practice with pushiness and hostility. As if failure to fly the flag or join the moronic ‘Aussie, Aussie, Aussie,’ chant is tantamount to treason.

Certainly food for thought but for us and our mates no Australia Day would be complete without a punt – and there are plenty of opportunities whether you want to head to the track, the local pub or club, or just enjoy a barbie at home and watch them go around on the box.

This year there are race meetings for the traditionalists at Caulfield in Melbourne, Warwick Farm in Sydney and Beaudesert (in Queensland where the metropolitan clubs are said to be too mean to program public holiday racing because of the extra wages they have to pay).

In the days before the dreaded COVID epidemic thousands would head to a race meeting with a difference at Hanging Rock in Victoria. That meeting and annual Cup has been transferred this year to Kyneton due to concerns over the club’s ability to implement safe COVID measures.

It won’t be quite the same. How much more Australian can you get than Hanging Rock Cup Day? No racecourse in the country attracts more non-race day visitors than the Rock. The scene of a book and a film (Picnic at Hanging Rock) draws tourists from throughout the world.

Racing at Hanging Rock is a tradition with some families over generations that never attend races elsewhere. They make the annual pilgrimage each year hail, rain or shine and it has become a way of life for many.

There are no rituals that everybody undertakes on Australia Day although some of us would argue it should include a day on the punt. People will celebrate with family and friends at home, in parks, in the surf, watching and playing sport - or simply enjoying yet another public holiday.

Sadly, very few will be able to articulate anything about why we should celebrate Australia Day on January 26th, let alone move the holiday to that first Tuesday in November.

AN AUSTRALIA DAY POEM written by WARREN DAKIN

AUSRALIANS are a funny lot, you’ll often hear one curse,
How things have started badly, and they’ll probably get worse,
The weathers dry, the sun’s so hot it’s stolen all the water,
The Government has never done the things we think they oughta’.

But if we hear a tourist say his home is much more grand,
They had better be prepared to make a very solid stand.
For although we Aussies may complain at what’s become our lot,
When someone knocks this country, we defend with all we’ve got.

We may criticise some teenage brat, may even wish them failure,
But we stand behind them cheering when they’re playing for Australia.
Because, if this is home to you, the country of your birth,
Then you back the native player to beat anyone on Earth.

When the cricket bats are swinging or when someone scores a try,
When a home grown horse has won the Cup and made the owner cry,
When some Paralympic athlete hits the front and sets the pace,
You’ll hear “Aussie, Aussie, Aussie” as the crowd goes off their face.

And although we like to take a break in overseas locations,
If you take the time to question this nomadic population,
They will tell you without blinking that wherever they may roam,
The best part of the journey was the last bit, ….coming home.

For the sun was never brighter on the beach at Waikiki,
Than it is on all the sandy shores Australia has to see,
The water never purer nor the air as fresh and clear,
The people never friendlier than those that we have here.

If you venture to the outback where grass is scarce as snow,
As you swelter you may wonder what it was that made you go,
But just look at the locals who have lived there since their birth,
And I know you will not find a better class of folk on earth.

All across this wide brown country from the Cape to Hobart town,
There are people who will help you when you find the chips are down,
And if someone should abuse you, and does it just because,
Then that person’s not Australian, and that person never was.

So when you feel disgruntled just remember this rendition,
And never blame the country for the acts of politicians,
Look up and count your blessings when you see our flag unfurled,
And be grateful that you live in the best country in the world.

 

 

 

LEGAL ACTION ON CARDS OVER EAGLE FARM TRACK INJURY

HE’S one of the nice guys of the training ranks in Queensland – minds his own business and doesn’t get involved in industry politics – but is about to be catapulted into the spotlight.

One of the best horses in his stable has unfortunately suffered a serious eye injury after racing on an Eagle Farm track that resembled a ploughed paddock.

Some might say that’s the risk you run starting a horse on this unpredictable and unacceptable surface but this setback has cost thousands of dollars in veterinary fees.

The trainer is angry and so are the owners of the horse. Both feel the serious damage done to their horse’s eye could have been avoided.

Legal advice has been taken – standby for action to be launched against Racing Queensland and the Brisbane Racing Club.

The precedent that will be created by this case will put the safety aspects of Eagle Farm – the basket case of Australian racing – in the spotlight and could be the forerunner to action by other owners or trainers whose horses have suffered a similar fate.

And to make matters worse the punting public was far from impressed by the soft-cocked response by trainers and jockeys when they met with RQ and the BRC to discuss ways of correcting the on-going costly problems confronting Queensland’s once premier track.

Before they know it the Winter Carnival will again be the subject of much controversy with interstate stables reluctant to test their luck on the terrible surface. Instead of pussy-footing around RQ needs to bite the bullet and order the current track to be dug up – yet again – and if they don’t move post haste then perhaps strike action from stakeholders is the only alternative.

 

SOME WHINES & WHINGES FROM OUR READERS

WHEN IT RAINS THE SATELLITE SERVICE FROM FOX & SKY STINKS

‘JUST wondering if any other punters with satellite dishes to access FOX & SKY encounter the same problems as my friends and I whenever it rains?

The smallest shower and the picture is gone with a message saying: ‘No satellite service is being received’. They must think we are a mob of Dumbo’s not to already see that.

As a mate said to me it’s just another El Cheapo Murdoch piece of crap. I think he’s talking about the satellite that delivers the service.

Trouble is the picture seems to disappear when the field is half way down the straight or about to jump. It’s not good enough and, of course, there’s no sign of compensation for the disruption to service which can continue throughout the day if it is raining.

Just imagine if the Air Traffic Controllers relied on the same satellite to track planes. They’d be falling out of the sky everywhere.’

 

‘DON’T MISINTERPRET THIS BUT IMAGINE IF IT WAS THE CURRIE’S’

‘NOW before I have my say on this subject let me be up front and admit that I am a fan and feel the Currie stable has been badly treated.

Just imagine if Ben or Mark were achieving the same success as a certain leading stable is at present. I am not suggesting anything toward where that trainer is concerned and good luck to him for the success he is enjoying.

But when Ben Currie was enjoying the same success many of his colleagues were complaining to stewards that it wasn’t a level playing field.

Fast forward and the same training fraternity is being made look second rate by another of their number but the silence is deafening.

I repeat – not suggesting anything untoward – but horses from this stable are jumping out of the ground at present as well. Wonder if that trainer endures as much attention prior to meetings as the Currie's did. Just saying – that’s all!’

 

‘HYLAND & BAILEY GET UP THE NOSE OF ARMCHAIR PUNTERS’

‘PERHAPS I am looking for someone to blame when I start losing my money but some of these talking heads on the racing stations tend to get up my nose.

The most annoying to me is Sam Hyland, who just rambles on when he is the SKY host at a meeting in south-east Queensland. The old adage that jockeys and former jockeys make the worst judges certainly applies to him. Just give us Michael Maxworthy every day of the week. He’s humble, informed and a terrific judge.

The other one that annoys me no end is race-caller Terry Bailey in Victoria. He is opinionated and sadly believes he’s a great judge. He's not even, in my opinion, a good caller. He focuses on the horse he has tipped or backed and if he declares one a risk will hold off calling it if it figures in the finish until he absolutely has to. ‘Benny’ Hill is so far clear of the race-calling pack in Victoria that the rest couldn’t sight him with a set of binoculars.’

 

IT WILL NEED A ‘MAN OF STEELE’ TO PICK UP THE PIECES AFTER FOWLER & HIS MATES SOLD ALBION PARK UP THE CREEK

ARCHIE BUTTERFLY continues his series of articles on the basket case that is the ALBION PARK HARNESS RACING CLUB which you can read in full on the subscriber-only website, www.peterprofit.com.

THERE is one thing I forgot to mention in the first part of my (to be continued) stories about the Albion Park Harness Racing Club AGM on Sunday.

It was probably the most important bit – the election result.

Board member Trevor 'The Bushranger' O'Reilly got tossed and went out screaming.

‘Feathers’ bolted because he knew that he was going to get plucked.

‘The God Botherer’ - Treasurer Damian Courtney - couldn't attract enough support, because he didn't deserve it.

Sadly, Linda Graham didn't pull enough votes for re-election, but the voice of reason on the Board left with the dignity that you would expect of a woman of her excellent character, not crying for herself but thanking the club for allowing her the privilege of serving the sport that she loves, and is her family’s life, and issuing a clarion call for greater representation of women on the boards of the organisations that run racing.

I agree with Linda wholeheartedly, and passionately hope that her hugely talented and quite wonderful daughter Brittany, the best harness racing broadcast anchor in the nation, elects to throw her hat in the ring for a Board spot at The Creek, or even as a Racing Queensland director, the next time the opportunity arises.

Britt is the best thing that's happened to Queensland racing since sliced cheese, and would be a certainty to be elected by universal acclaim and unanimous vote should she ever choose to put her hand up.

Greg Mitchell, ‘Flathead’ and Brad Steele weren't up for election this time around, so they were all sweet, although I am not quite sure that ‘Flatty’ is as ‘safe’ as the others.

Brad Steele is the new Chair.

Nathan Hand is a slow, steady hand who plays it straight and doesn't take sides, so he survived.

The new members are Peter Bell who runs King Kev's Egmont Park Stud; Warwick Stansfield, a real estate agent and car salesman who used to head the Queensland Harness Racing Board and is a long-time Seymour loyalist; and Jeff Riseley, a well-respected owner who understands grass that is green.

That gives Kevin AM a locked down four v three, even in a worst case scenario.

Wanna take on a ‘King’ in a palace coup?

You better make sure that you've got the guns.

He has.

Boom!

‘DISGRACEFUL’ LEGACY LEFT AT ALBION PARK BY THE FOWLER ERA

ARCHIE BUTTERFLY also reports:

WHAT became abundantly clear at the APHC's AGM was that the 'executive decision' to drop all legal action against RQ over its broken promises to build the club a new stand; to compensate the industry for the closure of Parklands; and for all the lost income lost as a result of the demolition of the Russ Hinze Stand at the Creek was made:

  1. Without any reference to Club Members;
  2. Without prior notice to a number of the elected directors of the Club;
  3. Based on incorrect advice provided to the Board by the Chairman David Fowler that the sale of the AP track and land was a fait accompli, and that there was no alternative but to agree to the RQ proposal that had been put to Fowler;
  4. Without Fowler or any other member of the so-called 'executive' or hidden inner sanctum of the Board using any leverage that the club had - and it had a lot - to attempt to negotiate a better deal for its members and for the harness racing sport at large.

This is a disgrace.

Who the hell would agree to a settlement of a long-running legal case by conceding everything and agreeing to sell the club's track and land lock, stock and smoking barrel without receiving any guarantee of a new track or facilities?

It is scarcely believable, but David Fowler did.

I hope like hell that Club Members launch legal proceedings against their now former Chairman, who couldn't even find the courage to attend the most important meeting in Albion Park's 53-year history, instead preferring to jump on a plane after calling at Ipswich the day before and head off on his annual holiday to Adelaide (who the hell chooses to go to South Australia for their R&R every year?)

This whole is an absolute scandal, and an utter disgrace.

Fowler and his First Lieutenants must be called to account.

EDITOR’S NOTE:

Since the articles concerning what has been going on behind the scenes under the Chairmanship of David Fowler at Albion Park, we have been receiving regular emails from harness racing stakeholders and followers of the code raising several issues. Here are some examples:

‘You suggested Grace Grace should use her Racing Ministerial powers to order an Independent Inquiry into what deals were done between Fowler, his ‘yes men’ on the Board and Racing Queensland CEO Brendan Parnell and ‘Feathers’ fair weather friends associated with the Brisbane Racing Club. Fowler is too close to Grace for that to happen which places a dark cloud over her ability to do the job as Minister – once again. Where is the transparency if the Minister seems to ignore things like this? It’s time the LNP got off their backsides and started asking some questions in Parliament.’

“When David Fowler elected not to face the music or the probing questions of the Seymours – who he allegedly stabbed in the back after all the support they have given him – he was swanning around at the Test Cricket match at the Gabba. One would assume of some bum who still believes this bloke has got some influence in racing through his connections at the RQ, the BRC and in the media. It’s time RQ cut him loose and Radio TAB stopped him from using their airwaves to get the message of his mates across. He should never have been allowed to use his Press Room to ‘spin doctor’ on behalf of RQ and the BRC. Noticeably, he never used it to promote his cause at the ‘red hots’ so how would you expect him to explain the ‘disaster’ that occurred under his chairmanship of the APHRC. As most in harness racing are now saying – good riddance and hopefully the Seymour camp will ensure legal action is taken to ensure explanations are forthcoming for his era there which wasn’t explained to Club Members at the AGM on Sunday when he burnt rubber out of the place.”     

 

LINDA MEECH GIVES BIRTH TO A HEALTHY BABY BOY

LINDA MEECH, arguably the nation’s best lady jockey before the emergence of JAMIE KAH, is celebrating the birth of a baby boy.

Linda and her partner, jockey-turned-trainer MARK PEGUS, have confirmed to close friends that the healthy boy was born at Stawell Hospital yesterday.

Good news for the legion of fans, especially among the punting brigade, after a settling in period as a mum, Meech is planning to make a comeback to the riding ranks where she was dominant for so long in Victoria.

 

WAKE UP MINISTER - HERE'S ANOTHER ISSUE YOU SHOULD ADDRESS

HERE’S what many stakeholders are saying about latest catastrophe with the EAGLE FARM track:

WHY did Racing Queensland have to wait until Magic Millions week was over to meet with trainers and jockeys to discuss the troubled Eagle Farm track?

THERE’S no point holding more talks about problems with the Eagle Farm track. It’s time stakeholders – owners, trainers, jockeys and even punters – boycotted the low joint.

IT seems a band-aid cure isn’t going to solve the problems that have plagued the Eagle Farm track for years now. Those responsible need to bite the bullet and tear the track up for a third time. The question is: Who is going to pay for it?

IF Racing Queensland continues to refuse to transfer upcoming meetings away from Eagle Farm then there needs to be a boycott from those owning, training or riding horses that race there.

WHERE does an owner stand if his or her horse gets injured racing on this inferior surface that is being served up at Eagle Farm. Are they entitled to sue Racing Queensland or the Brisbane Racing Club for presenting a dangerous track?

EAGLE FARM might be the major track in the State but is it fair on other clubs and the minor codes to continue to foot the bill for a problem that has failed to be fixed in the last six years? If this was a private enterprise business heads would have been lopped by now.

WHEN is the Racing Minister Grace Grace going to weigh into the debate on the Eagle Farm track? The problem during her first term in the portfolio still hasn’t been corrected and still she procrastinates while RQ and the BRC seem incapable of fixing it. It’s time to sack someone – starting with the RQ CEO and perhaps taking the problem out of the hands of the BRC but handing them the bill when it is fixed independently.

MANY racing followers had a good laugh when they heard that Nathan Exelby had quit as Turf Editor of The Courier-Mail to join the BRC and SKY Channel to promote Brisbane racing under their new contractual deal. Instead of spending money on ‘spin doctors’ – like they have in the past with Bart Sinclair – the club should get its own house in order. There will be nothing to showcase if the track continues to be the laughing stock of the nation’s racing.

ARCHIE BUTTERFLY got it right when he described the latest ‘jobs for the boys’ at the BRC as ‘A Marriage Made in Mediocrity’. Surely they don’t need Exelby to help Sinclair who should have been put out to pasture long ago. As for the CM coverage of racing it’s been a disgrace for years. The only writer worth his salt who contributes to this Fish & Chips wrapper is Ben Dorries. He doesn’t mind being objective when it comes to things like the Eagle Farm track. But now that King Rupert owns Racenet, Ben needs to keep an eye over his shoulder. The way things work in the racing media in Queensland, if you dare to be different and criticize you tend to wind up looking for a new job. Remember what they tried to do to the best race-caller in Queensland to shore up the stocks of yesterday’s man. Not to mention the influence on News Ltd that an would-be-if-he-could-be still seems to have when it comes to racing.

IS the Eagle Farm track problem the reason that on Australia Day there will be racing at Caulfield in Melbourne, Warwick Farm in Sydney but none in Brisbane - instead our Showcase on the Public Holiday will be Beaudesert or Kilcoy. If the BRC can find the money to keep employing staff then surely they can handle the extra wages involved in racing on this day.

 

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

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

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

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

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

The Minister needs to do three things:

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

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

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

FORMER CHAIRMAN ‘FEATHERS’ FLIES THE COOP

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

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

Welcome to the Byzantine world of Albion Park politics.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

"No we did not" Steele said.

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

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

"Yes we did" Flathead insists.

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

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

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

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

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

He won't.

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

There is no QC's advice.

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

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

He's just resting and readying for the battle.

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

Oh Davey and Paulie.

You bloody idiots.

…to be continued...

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Kev continues on his politely firm and measured attack.

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

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

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

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

Paul "Flathead" Ellis is no different.

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

Gotcha thinks Kev.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Steele turns pale and shuts up.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

THE DOCTRINE of DISPROPORTIONATE FORCE

"Is that really true" Kev AM asks?

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

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

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

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

"Yeah" Flathead grudgingly admits.

Seymour reverts back to the earlier point of attack.

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

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

A committee member jumps in.

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

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

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

Bad move.

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

"We saw it" Flathead says.

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

No answer.

Seymour starts to speak, but Flathead cuts across him.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Poor Dean.

to be continued .......

   

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 


DULL SYDNEY HOLIDAY RACING NEEDS A TOUCH OF MAGIC MILLIONS

By VETERAN TURF JOURNALIST MAX PRESNELL, courtesy of FAIRFAX MEDIA

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

STEWARDS LOOKED AFTER THE SON OF A LOST COLLEAGUE

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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